Why Diabetes Alert Day?

Tomorrow marks the 23rd annual American Diabetes Association Alert DaySM, a day when the American Diabetes Association urges people to learn their risk for type 2 diabetes. It is a day when thousands of people take the Diabetes Risk Test. It is a day when they may learn some of the less commonly known risk factors for type 2 diabetes. It is a day when this awareness campaign may help someone prevent developing their own type 2 diabetes.

It is also a day when I personally get a lot of questions – why should I, as someone with type 1 diabetes, support Diabetes Alert Day? Do I realize I could not have prevented my own diabetes? The Diabetes Risk Test doesn’t indicate that I’m at any type of risk for diabetes, so what does it have to do with me? The short answer to this is: Diabetes Alert Day is bigger than me, and it’s bigger than my diabetes. Diabetes Alert Day is about helping people avoid some of the feelings of frustration I’ve been through.

Sure, I know that my type 1 diabetes was not avoidable (although I sure hope it will be one day!). But for the 79 million Americans living with prediabetes, a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes may be something that can be delayed or even avoided if they learn their risk and take steps to change it. And for another 7 million people, Diabetes Alert Day is an opportunity to learn that they already have diabetes, excelling them onto the path to good management rather than living with a disease they don’t know about as it damages their health.

For those of us who already have diabetes, Diabetes Alert Day is an opportunity to tell the people we love that we don’t want them to go through anything similar to what we’ve experienced – the finger pricks, the financial burden, the endless medical appointments (and endless paperwork) and the worry that you always have to do something else to be as healthy as possible.  Diabetes Alert Day is one of the many ways we join together to Stop Diabetes® and have an impact on the future of the diabetes epidemic.

I just want to say that I hope you will join me tomorrow, over the next month, and across the years in sharing the Diabetes Risk Test with your loved ones to let them know that you don’t ever want them to hear the words, “you have diabetes.” But if they do, then show them support and provide an example of what it means to live well with diabetes.

Stay tuned for more information tomorrow, and thanks for listening.

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6 Responses to Why Diabetes Alert Day?

  1. Mike Hoskins says:

    Thanks for posting this, Dayle. As you can imagine, I’ve written my own blog post on this with some awareness points and thoughts.

    I think what the ADA is doing is awesome, and awareness of any kind is great. We need it, all across the Diabetes Community.

    One thing that does get at me about D-Alert Day, though, is that it’s marketed as being a part of the Stop Diabetes movement and that’s clearly bigger than just Type 2. One worry I have is that people will get confused by all this going back and forth between types, and that really there isn’t much in the ADA materials that distinguishes this as just ONE PART OF that broader movement. For example, maybe something that said: “Diabetes Alert Day is focused on raising awareness about Type 2 diabetes, but it’s one part of a bigger Stop Diabetes Movement that focuses on all types of diabetes.”

    Sometimes, there are situations where Type 2 is the focus of an awareness initiative. Sometimes, the same can be said about Type 1. Or any other variation. But I think we, as a community, must always be aware of those pre-existing misconceptions and how anything that’s said can fuel those messages even more. We have to be extra cautious, watching every word and the implications that might come with it. Anyhow, I’d like to see that addressed.

    Thanks again for all you are doing, and everyone at the ADA is doing on all this and everything else!

    • Dayle says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Mike!

      First off, I’d like to thank you for recognizing the breadth of the Stop Diabetes movement. As you said, the movement to Stop Diabetes is bigger than a type 2 diabetes awareness campaign. I’ve said it before, but there are reasons it is NOT called the “stop your diabetes movement” – it’s about stopping both the physical and emotional effects of diabetes. The goal is for the movement to grow larger than the disease in order to one day overcome it. So we’re in agreement there, and you have no idea how happy it makes me that you “get it”!

      The other purpose that the Stop Diabetes movement serves, however, is to answer why the American Diabetes Association does the work that it does. This work includes the entire diabetes spectrum, including people with all types of diabetes and their families, people who are at risk for diabetes, and the clinicians and researchers that strive to make our lives better and ultimately, find a cure. Because of this, everything the American Diabetes Association does will be aligned with the Stop Diabetes movement. It is our rally call for events, awareness campaigns, Scientific Sessions, advocacy, research grants, and everything else the Association does.

      I don’t think you’ll see anything from the American Diabetes Association that is not a part of the Stop Diabetes movement. That said, I hear your concern about fueling pre-exiting misconceptions and will keep your suggestion for providing more clarity about a campaign’s connection to the Stop Diabetes movement as we move forward.

      Thank you again, Mike – you really put some thought into what you shared, and I appreciate that! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Why Diabetes Alert Day? | Diabetes Stops Here | Diabetes Portal

  3. Traci Murray says:

    Alert Day is such a great thing. I know some of my friends and family were not aware of a lot of the facts and days like this make more people knowledgeable. And that is key in stopping the rising numbers of Diabetics!

    I did my part in a couple ways. First I created a event on Facebook for it and invited all my friends, who in turn invited friends. Not too many people marked they were attending, but all things great start out small. I was also successful in getting my workplace to send out a company wide e-mail about Diabetes Alert day and they posted some of the available flyers from the site around the building. Getting the awareness out there is a big part of stopping this disease!

  4. Pingback: Why Diabetes Alert Day? | Diabetes Stops Here | Diabetes Watch

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