Tips to Help Manage Your Child’s Diabetes

Tips to Help Manage Your Child’s Diabetes

Nov22_TipsChildrenManaging your child’s diabetes can be overwhelming, but Debbie Butler, L.I.C.S.W., C.D.E., Clinical Social Worker, Pediatrics and Behavioral and Mental Health in the Joslin Clinic, gives some tips on how to make it easier.

10 Tips to Help Manage Your Child’s Diabetes

  1. Parents need to take an active role in diabetes management tasks, regardless of the age of the child.
  2. Work with a health care team that is knowledgeable about pediatric diabetes. “At Joslin, we are lucky to have a large multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurse educators, nutritionists, mental health specialists, child life specialists and other allied health professionals,” Butler says.
  3. See the health care team regularly – at least four times a year.
  4. Be honest with your health care team. Do not be afraid to tell them what is difficult for you and your child.
  5. Stay positive with your child. Tell him or her all of the things they are doing well, rather than focusing on what they need to work on.
  6. Be mindful of your facial expressions and what you say, especially when you see an out of range blood glucose.  Stress to your child that there is no “bad” blood glucose, because you want him or her to be honest about their blood glucose levels.
  7. Find time to check in with your child about diabetes management.
  8. Make sure that you talk about non-diabetes issues as well, like you do with your other children.  For example, when your children come home from school, ask them all about their day rather than just focusing on the blood glucose levels of the child with diabetes.
  9. Make sure your child does everything that he or she would have done if your child was not diagnosed with diabetes (ex. sports, sleepovers, parties, etc.).
  10. Prepare healthy foods for the entire family. A healthy mean plan for someone with diabetes is the same for someone without diabetes.

“Medical alert bracelets enable rapid identification of patients with a number of illnesses, including diabetes, which can make them unable to communicate their illness to others,” according to Shamai Grossman, M.D., Director of the Cardiac Emergency Center and Clinical Decision Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center).

Thank you to the Joslin Diabetes Center for the interview.

Surviving the Holidays with Diabetes

Nov20_HolidaySurvivalParties can pose a challenge for people with diabetes. Celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, and the holidays present a minefield of situations to navigate.  Without a little preplanning, you risk throwing your diabetes off course and sending a joyous occasion into a healthcare calamity.


New Years: You may need less basal evening insulin should you have champagne on December 31.  This would help to stave off starting the New Year with hypoglycemia.  Carry emergency glucose
tablets and a protein bar.  You might try a small snack before arriving to the party to avoid an all night graze.
Eid al-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice and the most important feast honored by Muslims worldwide, 70 days after Ramadan): It commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmal for Allah.  It concludes with millions of Muslims taking the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  When sharing two-thirds of your meals with the poor, you will need less insulin and medication due to
limited food intake.  Consider limiting koftas.
Chinese New Year: End of January-mid-February (date varies). Traditions require people to practice various customs to promote prosperity (like sharing tangerines and oranges to symbolize abundant happiness) and ward off bad spirits (such as lighting firecrackers and wearing the color red).  It’s a week-long celebration, filled with all kinds of carbs.  Notable mention goes to a togetherness-candy tray.  Pace yourself and share money-filled red envelopes (“lay see”).
Easter: If you’re fasting for church service, you may need to reduce or hold your morning diabetes medications (check with your healthcare provider first) and pass on the chocolate bunny ears.
• Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting, dates change about 13 days earlier in each consecutive year):
People with diabetes are not required or advised to fast.  If you wish to follow tradition, get an individualized plan together with your healthcare provider to accommodate the pre-dawn to sunset fast to prevent hypo or hyperglycemia, and dehydration.
Thanksgiving: Bring a healthy choice to share, have a little of everything instead of a lot, build exercise into the day, and ask about the best medicine approach to take.
Bodhi Day (Buddah’s Enlightenment, oftentimes observed 12/8): Choose a small portion of rice and milk, count your carbs and act accordingly. Consider adding a protein.  If meditating for hours, you may need less medicine and a way to prevent dehydration.
Virgin of Guadalupe (honors the patron saint of Mexico / patroness of the Americas 12/12):
Adjust medicines to handle the several hours of morning fast followed by high carb content foods (champurrado — a hot, thick, chocolate milk with corn flour added, tamales and sweet bread). You may need less evening insulin, or to hold your morning medications until you have food, and extra quick-acting insulin to cover the extra carbs.  Bring quick acting sugar if you start to feel dizzy or low.
Hanukkah (sometimes spelled Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, occurring anytime between late November and late December): Enjoy the stuffed beef brisket or fowl, try baking the potato latkes instead of frying in oil or substitute with other winter vegetables. Try whole wheat challah bread instead of egg-enriched yeast and limit the honey-sweetened desserts.  Plan for extra walking
or extra medications to combat the extra carbs.
Christmas (12/25): Bring quick acting sugar with you to church (whether it be midnight or early mass) as lows can occur in the middle of a sermon.  Suggest non-food related gifts. You can also accept all neighborly gifts of baked goods to share with your friends and family. Have a snack if the main meal feast is delayed. You may need more bolus insulin to account for the big meal. Ask for a donation to be made towards diabetes research in lieu of giving you a gift.
Boxing Day (also known as St. Stephen’s Day, 12/26): Go easy on the buffet line.  Fish around for the dime in the plum pudding and limit the cream.  Other tips about alcohol and exercise apply here!
Kwanzaa (African American / Pan-African celebration, 12/26-1/1): Have the karamu (yams, sesame seeds, collard greens and hot peppers) early in the evening if you also plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  Factor candied yams into bolus insulin dose.  Watch alcohol intake in the passing of a communal unity cup.

Also, remember to always wear your medical ID bracelet. Even if you are attending a party with people who know about your diabetes, you should always be prepared and wear your medical ID.


Managing your Diabetes

Nov18_managediabetesAs part of our annual coverage of American Diabetes Month we’d like to provide some steps to managing your diabetes from our colleagues at the National Diabetes Education Program.  Many people avoid the long-term problems of diabetes by taking good care of themselves.

Work with your health care team to reach your ABC goals (A1C, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol): 

  • Use your diabetes meal plan.  If you do not have one, ask your health care team about one.
  • Make healthy food choices such as fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, chicken or turkey without the skin, dry peas or beans, whole grains, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.
  • Keep fish and lean meat and poultry portion to about 3 ounces (or the size of a deck of cards).  Bake, broil, or grill it.
  • Eat foods that have less fat and salt.
  • Eat foods with more fiber such as whole grains cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.
  • Get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.  Brisk walking is a great way to move more.
  • Stay at a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.
  • Ask for help if you feel down.  A mental health counselor, support group, member of the clergy, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns may help you feel better.
  • Learn to cope with stress.  Stress can raise your blood glucose (blood sugar). While it is hard to remove stress from your life, you can learn to handle it.
  • Stop smoking.  Ask for help to quit.
  • Take medicines even when you feel good.  Ask your doctor if you need aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke.  Tell your doctor if you cannot afford your medicines or if you have any side effects.
  • Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling.  Call your health care team right away about any sores that do not go away.
  • Brush your teeth and floss every day to avoid problems with your mouth, teeth, or gums
  • Check your blood glucose (blood sugar).  You may want to test it one or more times a day. Use the card at the back of this booklet to keep a record of your blood glucose numbers.  Be sure to take this record to your doctor visits.
  • Check your blood pressure if your doctor advises.
  • Report any changes in your eyesight to your doctor.

Actions you could take:

  • Talk with your health care team about your blood glucose targets.  Ask how and when to test your blood glucose and how to use the results to manage your diabetes.
  • Discuss how your self-care plan is working for you each time you visit your health care team.


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Who should wear a medical ID?

If you have ongoing medical conditions, drug or food allergies, or are taking multiple medicines, you should wear a medical ID alert – we offer medical bracelets for women and medical bracelets for men alike.  An engraved medical ID bracelet or necklace presenting a concise overview of your conditions, allergies and medicines will alert a doctor or medic before starting treatment.  Informing medical personnel about your unique medical conditions and needs will greatly aid pre-hospital care.

Why is it important?

  • In an emergency, when you might not be able to speak for yourself, a medical ID bracelet or necklace speaks for you.
  • Symptoms of common ailments can easily be misdiagnosed. Prompt diagnosis is critical to effective treatment. A brief description of vital medical facts engraved on your medical ID ensures appropriate and timely medical care.
  • According to a published study, half of all medical errors occur because of mistakes made upon admission or discharge from the hospital. Wearing a medical ID protects against potentially harmful medical errors.
  • More than 95 percent of emergency responders look for a medical ID; more than 75 percent check for a medical ID immediately upon assessing the patient. If you`re wearing a medical ID, it won’t be missed.
  • Medical IDs can eliminate trips to the hospital, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and prevent minor emergencies from becoming major ones. Medical IDs save lives! One day, a medical ID may save you.

Meet Buckshot Bob, the Type 1 Diabetes Medical ID Bracelet for Kids

American Medical ID is now offering an adorable and functional medical ID bracelet for young children with type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes in children is a condition in which your child’s pancreas no longer produces the insulin your child needs to survive, and you’ll need to replace the missing insulin. Type 1 diabetes in children used to be known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.

The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children can be overwhelming at first. Suddenly, you and your child — depending on his or her age — must learn how to give injections, count carbohydrates and monitor blood sugar.

Although type 1 diabetes in children requires consistent care, advances in blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery have improved the daily management of type 1 diabetes in children.

The Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record, such as the fact that they have diabetes and use insulin. Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID.

Health Insurance: Protections for People with Diabetes

Nov11_DiabetesCostsThe Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, includes a number of changes to improve access to health insurance for individuals and families and make coverage more affordable.  Some parts of the law are already in place and people with diabetes are already benefiting from them, while many other protections go into effect in 2014.

The following information excerpted from the American Diabetes Association website.  For the complete article, click here.

Protections Already in Effect

  • Coverage for Children: Job-based plans and new individual plans cannot deny children coverage because of diabetes or any other pre-existing condition.
  • Coverage for Young Adults: Young adults can stay on their parent’s insurance plan until age 26 as long as the policy covers dependents.
  • Free Preventive Care: Most health plans are required to provide certain health services aimed at preventing disease at no charge. This includes diabetes screenings for adults with high blood pressure; cholesterol screenings; obesity screening and counseling; diabetes screening for pregnant women; and some preventive services for children. Certain preventive services are also free for people with Medicare, including medical nutrition therapy for people with diabetes and an annual wellness visit to develop (or update) a personal prevention plan.
  • No Lifetime Dollar Limits on Coverage: Health insurance plans cannot set a dollar limit on the amount the insurance company will spend on “essential health benefits” over the course of the time a person is enrolled in that plan.
  • Limits on Drug Costs for People with Medicare: Medicare beneficiaries with high prescription drug costs that put them in the coverage gap (also called “donut hole”) get a 52.5% discount on covered brand-name drugs while in the gap in 2013 and 2014.  Additional savings will occur each year for people in the gap until 2020, when the coverage gap won’t exist anymore.
  • Summary of Benefits and Coverage: Individuals have the right to get a plain language summary (called a Summary of Benefits and Coverage, or SBC) of a health plan’s benefits to help them better understand the plan’s coverage and compare plans. Plans must provide the SBC when a person is shopping for coverage, when there is a major change in benefits, or anytime a person asks for it. The SBC must include a general coverage example for managing type 2 diabetes. This example provides a snapshot of how much the plan might pay for medical care for a sample patient with type 2 diabetes. The example will not estimate your specific costs for managing your diabetes, but will help in comparing different plans.  Individuals can also ask for a copy of a glossary of terms used in health coverage. People who don’t speak English may be able to get the SBC and glossary in their native language upon request.

Protections Effective in 2014

  • Coverage for People with Diabetes: Starting in 2014, job-based plans and new individual plans aren’t allowed to deny coverage, charge more, or refuse to cover treatments due to a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes.
  • New Health Insurance Marketplaces: Starting October 1, 2013, a new Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) will be available in every state where individuals, families, and small businesses can buy health insurance. Plans in the Marketplace must meet certain requirements for benefits, consumer protections, and cost to the consumer. Coverage bought in a Marketplace will be eeffective as early as January 1, 2014. Initial open enrollment starts on October 1, 2013 and ends on March 31, 2014 and there will be a yearly open enrollment period every fall. Trained individuals called “Navigators” will be available to help individuals understand their coverage options and the enrollment process. Assistance will be available in-person, over the phone, and online, and will be available in multiple languages. For more information on the Marketplace and Navigators in your state, call 1-800-318-2596 or visit  The American Diabetes Association also has a fact sheet on the new Marketplaces available at or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (342-2383).
  • Financial Assistance: Financial assistance to make health insurance more affordable in the new Marketplace will be available for individuals and families who meet certain income requirements and do not qualify for a affordable job-based coverage or certain other types of coverage.
  • Medicaid Expansion: It is up to each state to decide whether to extend Medicaid eligibility to people earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level (approximately $15,856.20 for an individual and $32,499 for a family of four in 2013.)
  • Essential Health Benefits: A minimum set of “essential health benefits” like hospitalization, prescription drugs, preventive services, and chronic disease management must be covered in all new individual and small group plans (including all plans sold in the new Marketplace) starting in 2014.  •••••Tip: The specific benefits and what you pay within these categories of services can vary by state and by plan. When shopping for health insurance, it is important to ask if the plan covers the diabetes supplies, services, and prescription medications you need, and what it costs.
  • No Annual Dollar Limits on Essential Health Benefits: Most health plans cannot set a dollar limit on what they spend on “essential health benefits” for an individual’s care during a given year.

Other Changes Coming in 2014

Starting in January 2014, most individuals must have health insurance that is considered “minimum essential coverage” or qualify for an exemption. Otherwise, the individual will owe a tax penalty during the following year. Plans purchased in the Health Insurance Marketplaces as well as job-based coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, state Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP), TRICARE and the Veterans health care program, and certain other coverage meet this requirement. If health insurance
is not considered a affordable for an individual, that person will qualify for an exemption from the tax penalty. Learn more about the new individual requirement at

Where To Find More Information

  • For more information about these insurance protections and programs, call 1-800-318-2596 or visit
  • For more information on the Health Insurance Marketplace and Navigators in your state, call 1-800-318-2596 or visit Assistance is available in multiple languages by calling 1-800-318-2596. The American Diabetes Association also has a fact sheet on the new Marketplaces available at or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (342-2383).
  • You can also contact your state’s Department of Insurance for information about insurance requirements and consumer protections in your state. Information for state insurance departments is available at:
  • Some states have Consumer Assistance Programs offering direct help to individuals with problems or questions about their health insurance. These programs also help you file an appeal when an insurance claim is denied. Find out if your state has a consumer assistance program here:

Thank you to the American Diabetes Association for providing this detailed synopsis.


Diabetes Myths and the Real Truth

As part of our annual coverage of American Diabetes Month, we’d like to play myth busters with the help of our friends at  Here are some common diabetes myths and the real truth behind them.

Searching for Facts vs. Fiction - Magnifying GlassFact or Fiction: 5 Common Diabetes Myths and the Real Truth Behind Them

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that 1 in 10 adults have diabetes and more and more people are being diagnosed daily.  If the current trend continues in just a few short decades the number will soar to 1 in 3 adults.

Yes, 33 percent of adults would have this debilitating – and sometimes deadly – disease.

These are truly alarming statistics especially when you look at the facts:

  • Diabetes is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness, amputations, and various neuropathies.
  • More than 220,000 Americans die from diabetes complications each year.
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.

With this kind of harsh reality, the myths shrouding diabetes – and there are many – only add to the alarm and confusion surrounding what is already a pressing concern for a number of individuals.  The following will shed some light on 5 of the most common myths about diabetes.

Myth #1: Only older people have to worry about type-2 diabetes. 

Not at all.  As a matter of fact, the recent sharp rise in reported cases among children has prompted many experts to brand the phenomena as an epidemic.  Not long ago type-1 diabetes was considered the only type to be concerned about.  But now upwards of 45% of new diabetes cases in children are type-2. This diagnosis seems to go hand in hand with the rising obesity problem among our nation’s youth.

Myth #2: Diabetes is always and only controlled with insulin.  

While it’s true that type-1 diabetes requires insulin injections for proper management, smart food choices are also necessary to lessen the chances of runaway blood sugar levels. Type-2 diabetes can be controlled largely with a healthy diet and exercise, and insulin injections may not be necessary at all.

Myth #3: Carefully following a diabetes management plan ensures your blood glucose is always under control.  

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Type-2 diabetes is fickle.  Aging, stress, infections, other illnesses all can throw a monkey wrench into management plans.  But with diligence there will be far more consistent “good” readings and fewer occasional “bad” ones.

Myth #4: Diabetes requires a rigid, bland diet.  

While the diabetes diet does impose restrictions, that doesn’t mean people with diabetes are doomed to eat cardboard the rest of their lives.  It’s mostly a matter of controlling the amount of fat and calories consumed so that glucose levels don’t spike.  The focus should be on healthy carbohydrates and fats, fiber-rich foods, and lean proteins.  Something we should all direct our focus on anyway.

Myth #5: Being overweight leads to diabetes.  

Not always. There are plenty of overweight individuals who don’t have it.  Obesity, on the other hand, is one of the major risk factors.  A body mass index of 30 or higher is considered obese.

Right now there is no cure for type-1 diabetes but there are certainly steps anyone can take to drastically lower their chances of developing type-2.  The two biggest steps include lifestyle changes with regards to diet and exercise.

Once America, and indeed the world, tackles its obesity problem there will almost certainly be a drop in the alarming trends which are now underway.  An equally important step involves education, separating fact from fiction, and being proactive when it comes to maintaining your health


Diabetes: Knowing the basics

Nov6_DiabetesBasicsDiabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin.  Not sure what that means? This is the place to find out.

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes.  In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose),  starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.  Through multiple daily injections with insulin pens or syringes or an insulin pump, it will be up to you to monitor your blood glucose levels and appropriately administer your insulin.  You will need to work closely with your healthcare team to determine which insulin or insulins are best for you and your body.  Click here to learn more about Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.  In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin.   When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body.  Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells.

When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:

  • Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.
  • Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.

Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others.  Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.  Learn more about Type 2 Diabetes here.


Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. Based on recently announced diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes, it is estimated that gestational diabetes affects 18% of pregnancies.

We don’t know what causes gestational diabetes, but we have some clues. The placenta supports the baby as it grows. Hormones from the placenta help the baby develop. But these hormones also block the action of the mother’s insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother’s body to use insulin. She may need up to three times as much insulin.

Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in the blood to high levels. This is called hyperglycemia.  Read more about Gestational Diabetes here.

Learn More About Diabetes:

Other Helpul Links:

Information found herein courtesy of American Diabetes Association.

So you just found out you have diabetes? Diabetes Diagnosis: Getting the News

When newly diagnosed with diabetes, most people find themselves in a state of shock.  However, being diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t prevent you from leading a ‘normal’ life.

The following tips are reposted from the American Diabetes Association website.

Nov4_DiabetesDiagnosisTake a deep breath.

Preparing your mind for your journey with diabetes is one of the best first steps to take.

Being told you have diabetes, or that there is a problem with your blood sugar level can cause quite a bit of stress — and rightly so.

Diabetes is scary.

Denial, Guilt, Anger

You may have read headlines about what can go wrong or witnessed firsthand the negative effects of uncontrolled diabetes.

Maybe you have been in denial that anything is wrong. That’s OK.  Denial protects and buffers you from difficult or shocking information.

Do you feel guilty? Like you caused diabetes?

If so, your first assignment is to stop the blame game and get on your own side.

Anger, too, is a common reaction and is often the first sign that you acknowledge that something is wrong. It is never too late to jump-start your diabetes self-management program.

The key is to be gentle with yourself because you are your best resource for managing your diabetes.

Diabetes is never convenient, but with some effort and help from the experts, it is manageable.  It is important that you acknowledge this.  How you perceive this diagnosis will greatly affect how successfully your diabetes is managed.

Learn to Laugh

As strange as it sounds, learning to laugh can help.

Your thoughts and feelings have an enormous impact on your body. Positive thoughts do have positive physical effects.

Humor is a useful tool in helping manage diabetes by adding perspective—not that there is anything funny about having diabetes.  But a little humor may help you see from a different perspective.  Humor can help you build the confidence to know that you can deal with diabetes.  Plus, laughing lowers glucose levels!

Focus on Positives

Let’s focus on something positive about your diabetes diagnosis. Feel free to repeat the following to yourself:

  • “I can follow my dreams and passions.”
  • “Diabetes stinks, but I can manage it.”
  • “I am not alone.  Millions of people are dealing with diabetes and thousands of health care professionals are fighting to make a difference in my life and the lives of others.”
  • “The feelings I have about diabetes—be it anger, depression, fear, eagerness to learn, or relief at finding out—are typical.  I have the strength to do something about my diabetes.”

You Are More Than Diabetes

Diabetes does not define you;  it’s just a small part of your complex being.  When it comes to diabetes, your treatment plan starts with being mentally prepared.

The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record, such as the fact that they have diabetes and use insulin. Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID.

This article adapted from Your First Year with Diabetes: What to do, month by month, written by Theresa Garnero, APRN, BC_ADM, MSN, CDE, and published by the American Diabetes Association, ©2008.


November is American Diabetes Month

American Medical ID is a proud partner of the American Diabetes Association and supports the effort of American Diabetes Month to raise awareness of diabetes as a growing concern in the world.

American Diabetes Month 2013

Nov1_DiabetesOne of the American Diabetes Association’s primary objectives is to raise awareness and understanding of diabetes, its consequences, management and prevention of type 2 diabetes. American Diabetes Month is an important element in this effort, with programs designed to focus the nation’s attention on the issues surrounding diabetes and the people impacted by the disease. In 2012, the Association launched a socially focused initiative for American Diabetes Month called A Day in the Life of Diabetes, to demonstrate the impact diabetes has on our families and communities across the country.  In 2013, the American Diabetes Association will continue to grow the campaign with a host of online and offline program elements.

Theme: A Day in the Life of Diabetes

Diabetes doesn’t stop.  It is 24/7, 365 days a year.  To showcase the extraordinary effort it takes to live a day with the disease, the American Diabetes Association will continue to ask people to submit a personal image to the Association’s Facebook mosaic representing what A Day in the Life of Diabetes means to them. The image can be a picture of themselves or someone they care about, or otherwise represent how the disease impacts their lives. The image will then make up a larger mosaic image that will embody the message of A Day in the Life of Diabetes.

About Diabetes


  • Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
  • Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to stop diabetes.

The Toll on Health

  • Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
  • The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
  • About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.

The Cost of Diabetes

  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion. Direct medical costs reach $176 billion and the average medical expenditure among people with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than  those without the disease.  Indirect costs amount to $69 billion (disability, work loss, premature mortality).
  • One in 10 health care dollars is spent treating diabetes and its complications.
  • One in five health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes.

Wear Your Medical ID

The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times. Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record, such as the fact that they have diabetes and use insulin. Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID.