Washington, DC - More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes – and each one is the most important member of their diabetes care team. This National Diabetes Month, I urge everyone with diabetes to make your care a joint effort between you, your loved ones and your health care team.
In addition to managing blood glucose (often called blood sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol, and not smoking, people with diabetes need to make healthy food choices, stay at a healthy weight, move more every day, and take their medicine even when they feel good. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it – research has shown that these efforts can dramatically lower the risk of many diabetes-related health problems, including heart, kidney, nerve, and eye diseases. Having a network of support can help people with diabetes cope with the daily demands that come with diabetes and help them be more successful in managing their health.
But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to diabetes care, and treatment plans need to consider each person’s values, goals, needs, and preferences. Developing realistic goals – such as taking breaks for short walks during the day if you are too tired to be active in the evening– can help you manage your diabetes in a way that works for you.
At NIH, we are learning more about the importance of taking each person’s needs into account through research taking a “precision medicine” approach where a person’s genes, environment, lifestyle and other factors all help determine the best treatment for that person.
The NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) supports a wide range of research, including testing the most effective approaches for diabetes care for individuals. The ongoing Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study is comparing four drugs as additions to metformin, the most common first-line type 2 diabetes medication, to determine which drug works best to manage the disease in different people.
NIDDK research seeks to help all people with or at risk for diabetes. For example, Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet screens more than 16,000 people with a family history of type 1 annually to find ways to delay or prevent the disease.
To find recruiting medical trials funded by NIDDK, go to www.clinicaltrials.gov and search “diabetes.” Type “NIDDK” in the “Other Terms” box.
Diabetes takes multiple forms. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the most common type, the body does not make enough insulin or does not use insulin well.
As we learn more about how to treat and someday prevent all types of diabetes, we hope you’ll use this National Diabetes Month as a chance to take charge of your health. Go to health visits with questions you may have. Start making small changes to your lifestyle. Learn more about diabetes with free health information from the NIDDK at www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information. Find even more ways to improve your diabetes health with the National Diabetes Education Program, a joint program of NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the NIH, we’re committed to improving outcomes for all people with diabetes. This National Diabetes Month, we encourage everyone with diabetes to take center stage in their health care and to set health goals that work for you.
The NIDDK, part of the NIH, conducts and supports basic and clinical research and research training on some of the most common, severe, and disabling conditions affecting Americans. The Institute’s research interests include: diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases. For more information, visit www.niddk.nih.gov.