When it comes to Diabetes, family support is critical to staying healthy

This National Diabetes Month, the National Diabetes Education Program & Its Partners Remind People that Diabetes is a Family Affair.


Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans and an estimated 79 million people are at risk for developing the disease. In Alaska, diabetes affects more than 20,000 people, and 6.6 percent of Caucasians and 9.9 percent of Alaska Natives have pre-diabetes. For people living with diabetes or at risk for type 2 diabetes, family support is critical to staying healthy.

In observance of National Diabetes Month 2013, the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) and SEARHC want people to know that Diabetes is a Family Affair. SEARHC and its partners are working with individuals, families and communities to take action and encourage simple, but important lifestyle changes to improve their health — particularly if they have diabetes or are at risk for the disease.

Diabetes is a challenging disease that affects the entire family in many ways. For people with diabetes and their families, it’s important to work together to manage diabetes and prevent serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney
disease, and nerve damage that can lead to amputation. People with diabetes who have a strong family support system are better able to cope with the day-to-day challenges associated with the disease.

“SEARHC understands that family may mean loved ones at home, school, work, place of worship, or in the community. We want to be part of that family, your partner in health, because we believe having a support system is an important part of staying healthy,” said Renae Mathson, Health Educator for the SEARHC Diabetes Program. “The SEARHC Health Promotion division and the NDEP have many resources to help people work together to improve their health to prevent diabetes and its complications.”

It’s also important to know that having a family history of diabetes, such as a mother, father, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes, puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is you — and your family — can take small, but important steps to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

This November, the NDEP wants to remind you that diabetes is a family affair and provide you with resources that you can use with individuals, families, and communities to take action in the fight against diabetes. Visit http://www.searhc.org/services/health-promotion/diabetes-services and www.YourDiabetesInfo.org/DiabetesMonth2013 to learn more.


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