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Did you know that diabetes is not contagious? It's time that we knew the basics facts about diabetes and how it affects those who live with it every day.  Although November is Diabetes Awareness Month, we need to be aware of our individual risks for the disease right now.

Facts about diabetes:

-You can lead a very normal life with diabetes

-Insulin is not a cure for diabetes, it is maintenance for diabetics

-Type 1 diabetes does not necessarily run in families

To keep it simple, here is a short breakdown of the types of diabetes:

Type 1: Insulin Dependent/Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults (also known as juvenile diabetes). In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas (see cute little photo at the beginning of the post) does not produce insulin, the hormone needed to convert sugars into energy needed for daily life. Type 1 diabetics need to keep their blood sugar levels carefully in check, and test their blood by pricking their finger several times a day, placing a drop of blood on a monitor, and measuring out the necessary amount of insulin they need inject into their bodies.

Type 2: This is the most common form of diabetes in the United States. With type 2 diabetes, the body is resistant to the effects of insulin, or the body doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal level.  Type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening if blood sugar levels are not regulated. Millions of Americans are unaware that they are at risk of becoming a type 2 diabetic, and millions more have already been diagnosed.

Gestational: Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before, but who have high blood sugar  levels during pregnancy have gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes affects about 4% of pregnant women. Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. This type of diabetes lasts throughout the pregnancy, and needs to be carefully controlled with diet. If not, there can be complications with the baby and possibly the birth.

Acupuncture is completely safe in for diabetes, as the needles are one time use only, and we carefully swab the points with alcohol inserting needles. Besides, these needles are MUCH smaller that the injection needles! There are acupuncture points to help control blood sugar, diabetic neuropathies, as well as help control other issues that may come up. Diabetics unfortunately often develop other autoimmune disorders, such as asthma or Crohn's disease. Acupuncture practitioners can also recommend safe herbal formulas to control blood sugar more effectively with Type 2 diabetics.

If you are at risk for diabetes, here a few great articles and sites to look at and start taking care of yourself:

-Look into a change in diet that can help you count carbohydrates and sugars:

-Switch from sugar, honey and other sweeteners to great alternatives- check out this post for some ideas.

- Read this article by Christine Dionese, LAc about how to prevent diabetes!

Anya Rozek- Type 1 Diabetic and the bravest kid I know