American Diabetes Month: Access to Diabetes Care

Nov 2, 2023

Abarca has your back, whether you have just been diagnosed, are fighting one of the types, or preventing it; together, we can change the future. 

A concerning total of 37.3 million people of all ages had diabetes in 2019. Over 8.5 million adults around 18 and older have undiagnosed diabetes, meaning that 11.3% of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes. As a society, we must advocate for kids, pregnant people, and others for equal and affordable treatment access. 

The 2021-23 World Diabetes Day campaign focuses on “Access to Diabetes Care: If Not Now, When?” A century after its discovery, insulin and other fundamental components of diabetes care remain beyond the reach of many who need them. We stand with the call to action to ensure it reaches the people who need to hear it. You, too, can participate in the campaign and pledge your support.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease and a long-lasting health condition that occurs when your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high. Your body processes food into energy, mostly sugar, and releases it into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes high, your pancreas releases insulin into your cells to use as energy. However, your body sometimes doesn’t make enough insulin or simply can’t use it. 

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems, such as heart disease, nerve damage, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that with the proper knowledge and tools, you can take steps to prevent diabetes and manage it to live a normal life.

Types of Diabetes

There are significant differences between type 1 diabetes (~ 5-10% of people) and type 2 diabetes (90-95% of people). Other types, such as unusual genetic forms of diabetes, also exist. Diagnosing the type of diabetes is vital for appropriate medical treatment.

  • Type 1 Diabetes– Some types of diabetes — like type 1 — are caused by factors out of your control. Type 1 is caused by an autoimmune reaction where your body attacks itself and stops you from creating insulin. This type is fast developing and diagnosed in kids, teens, and young adults. People who have this kind will need to take insulin every day. 

Risk Factors: Family history and your age. 

  • Type 2 Diabetes– Your body cannot maintain regular blood sugar. This slow-developing type is mainly diagnosed in adults. If left untreated, it can lead to issues with weight, even with healthy eating and exercise habits. 

Risk Factors: Weight issues, 45 years or older, family history, gestational diabetes, and/or having a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

  • Gestational Diabetes– This type of diabetes can develop in pregnant women even when they have never had diabetes. Gestational diabetes can create health issues for your baby. The good news is this type goes away after your baby is born. Unfortunately, this increases your and your child’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes later. 

Risk Factors: Previous gestational diabetes, given birth to a baby over 9 pounds, 25 years or older, family history, and PCOS


Symptoms differ according to the type of diabetes that you have. Type 1 can include vomiting, stomach pains, and vomiting. Type 2 and gestational diabetes symptoms are often hard to pinpoint and might be silent. We suggest getting your blood sugar tested if you happen to have any or all of these symptoms: 

  • Urinate often at night
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Blurry vision
  • Numb or tingling hands or feet
  • Chronically exhausted
  • Dry skin with slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections

Prevention and treatment

According to the NIH, “Taking insulin or other diabetes medicines is often part of treating diabetes. In addition to making healthy food and beverage choices, getting physical activity, getting enough sleep, and managing stress, along with taking medicine can help you manage the disease. Some other treatment options are also available.”  Find out more treatment options here

Changing your lifestyle is crucial to preventing diabetes and even controlling an onset case. Here are some ways you can avoid a future of diabetes and complications.

  1. Be more active!
  2. Eat healthy foods, including healthy fats
  3. Weight management
  4. Stop smoking and drinking
  5. Increasing water intake 
  6. Live healthier with this Harvard guide

Teaching people how to eat and be healthier is crucial to ensure a better future. Remember, slow progress in healthy behaviors, no matter how little or slow, is still progress. We hope this mini guide helps you and your loved ones.

Abarca stands committed to raising awareness on diabetes among our community by spreading the word on the management, care, prevention, and education of the disease. For more information, please visit the American Diabetes Association