National Diabetes Month


Khadra Abdulahi, Staff Writer

November is National Diabetes Month, and communities are working to bring awareness to diabetes, a condition where the body doesn’t make enough insulin, or when glucose levels are too high. Diabetes affects more than 37 million people in the United States, yet continues to be overlooked, especially in Mounds View. It can affect a student’s learning, attention and even behavior. 

Many people don’t fully understand diabetes and what it is. “I don’t know a lot about diabetes, [but] I know that there are different types,” said junior Layla Layeux. It is important to know more about diabetes now, rather than later on. Trying to expand one’s knowledge of diabetes doesn’t mean knowing every detail about it, but at least knowing what it is and the symptoms can be helpful. It can happen to anyone at any age so being prepared is really important. It is important to know more about it now, rather than later on.

Type 1 diabetes is genetic. It occurs when the body attacks itself by mistake, which in turn damages the pancreas. Because of this, the pancreas cannot make insulin, which regulates glucose in the body. Taking insulin shots is usually required when having type 1. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is related to diet and exercise which may also be associated with type 1. It occurs when the cells don’t interact well with insulin. Type 2 diabetes also differs from type 1 in that it develops over time. The immune system attacks insulin-producing cells. Healthy eating and having an active routine help deal with type 2 diabetes. 

Mounds View’s school nurse, Victoria Gerlach, puts diabetes into perspective, showing what it is like to have a loved one with diabetes. “They have to pay a lot more attention to their activity level, teeth, heart and even feet. Monitoring is very important. I think that diabetes is very serious and is something you have to live with all your life but it is definitely livable,” she said. Additionally, she also emphasized how having diabetes affects a student’s life and what they have to pay attention to. Students who have diabetes do specific things to help them. “It depends. Every student is different, and they all have specific plans they follow. They make plans with their physicians and have to follow strict routines all school year. This is a part of their life and it’s normal for them. They are very aware of their bodies and they know what to do. They deal with it very well,” added Gerlach.

A person with type 1 usually checks their blood sugar 4-10 times a day and has numerous symptoms that are similar across most affected. “Diabetes is really hard on my dad, he has to watch what he eats, he has cut down on all sugary foods, which helped him as a type 1, although he gets sad he can’t eat sugar,” said sophomore Badriya Abdulahi. Diabetes is a big responsibility and needs a lot of monitoring. 

Many students are starting to acknowledge diabetes and what it is, research shows that more people learn more about diabetes in November because it’s talked about more often. “I don’t know much about diabetes but I do know it runs in families,” said freshman Mur Soren. Diabetes isn’t a well-known disease but that’s why national diabetes month is a month-long holiday.

At Mounds View, students learn about diabetes in their health and physical education classes, and also how it can drastically affect a person. They acknowledge that a diabetic person is more prone to heart disease, vision loss and even kidney disease. Due to this, they have to carefully watch what they’re intaking in their body, and sometimes, they also have to bring insulin everywhere they go.

There are so many effects of diabetes and living with it comes with so many risks. Living with the disease impacts their mental health, not just their physical constitution. Having a good support system is crucial, and National Diabetes Month can raise awareness and help those affected find help from the people that care.