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Wear blue to raise diabetes awareness

By Bonnie Guy
November is American Diabetes Month and this year’s theme is “Eat Well, America.”
The ADA (American Diabetes Association) is celebrating its 75th anniversary and is focusing awareness on healthy eating habits. Their message is simple. Eating well is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but healthful eating can also help with the management of diabetes.
To help spread the word, November 17th has been designated as National Healthy Lunch Day. People are being asked to wear blue in support of diabetes and to raise awareness. They are also being asked to share their healthy lunch photos using hashtag #myhealthylunch. Wednesday, November 18th has been designated in support of Juvenile Diabetes. Johnson County Schools as well as many others in the community are wearing blue to show support for those with the disease and the hope for a cure.
Oftentimes, diabetes is thought of as the disease caused by too much sugar, but that simply isn’t an accurate picture of the disease, especially in the case of juvenile diabetes.
Currently, diabetes affects nearly 30 million children and adults in this country. That’s almost 10% of our nation’s population. Another 86 million have pre-diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes. Every 19 seconds someone in the US is diagnosed with diabetes and the numbers are growing every year.
There are two categories or types of diabetes. Type 2 is the most common and affects mostly adults. However, with the ever increasing rise in childhood obesity, physicians are seeing more children and teens developing Type 2.
Management of Type 2 Diabetes includes a healthy diet, exercise, medication, and monitoring. 
Type 1, also known as Juvenile Diabetes, is more rare than type 2. It is much harder to control and it is common for it to be diagnosed during childhood or the early teen years although it can happen at any age. Type 1 is a more severe autoimmune form of diabetes. It requires very strict monitoring and lifelong insulin therapy. For those suffering with Type 1 Diabetes, the rule is you must take Insulin or you will die. Pills, diet, exercise, and carb counting are simply not enough to control this disease. Many with Type 1 Diabetes or parents with a child with Type 1 Diabetes report that the disease simply takes over the lives of the family. It takes constant awareness and diligence.  There is nothing a parent or a child could have done to prevent the disease. Although the exact cause of Type 1 Diabetes remains unknown, it is believed that family history (genetics), a virus, or environmental toxins may be involved in triggering the onset of the disease.
Like most places in the world, Johnson County has its share of young warriors fighting the daily battle of Type 1 Diabetes. What message do they want to convey to those of us that don’t face this daily, often hourly, struggle for survival? First, they want us to know they are more than the disease. Second they want to encourage everyone to show support.
Several young people in our community struggling with this lifelong disease were willing to share their personal thoughts and stories.
For the rest of the story, including bios on four young Johnson Countians that live with juvenile diabetes, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.