The Pack Celebrates American Diabetes Month

Every 21 seconds someone is told they have diabetes. More than likely, you or someone you know has been directly affected by the disease, making this a personal issue for many members of the community.

November is American Diabetes Month. According to the American Diabetes Association a staggering one in 11 Americans struggle with the disease. More shocking is that out of the 30.3 million adults with diabetes, only 23.1 million are diagnosed, leaving 7.2 million Americans unequipped to best care for their health.

American Diabetes Month acknowledges those who balance this chronic illness on an everyday basis. It also brings awareness to the symptoms of diabetes, so that individuals are equipped to recognize the signs in the early stages. Symptoms include but are not limited to: frequent thirst and urination, hunger, fatigue, blurry vision and easy bruising.

To educate NC State’s employees and recognize National Diabetes Month, the topic for the November wolfpack wellness lunch was diabetes. The event was a collaboration between the Department of University Recreation, NC State Dining and HR Benefits.  The purpose of the lunch was to educate NC State employees on the two different types of diabetes, the symptoms, leading causes, prevention and treatment. Approximately 30 individuals participated in the event, including Physician Carolyn Garret-Piggott, M.D. and family nurse practitioner Catherine Vinzani, who gave presentations regarding their personal experiences of dealing with the disease during their practice.   

Participants engaged by asking general questions and sharing their personal experiences with the disease. Bruce Davis, computer tech support for the department of transportation, came pencil and paper in hand to get the most out of the presentation.

Davis wanted to learn more about diabetes, prediabetes and preemptive actions to prevent the disease from developing. “I learned diet and more activity – at least 30 minutes in combination – can make a difference.” In addition to his swim lessons at UREC, Davis plans to incorporate strength training and aerobic exercise into his routine.

North Carolina State University is located in the “diabetes belt” of the country, a cluster of primarily southern states that have the highest rates of diabetes within the United States. Piggott and Vinzani contribute the low, 4 percent diabetes rate among the NC State community to its young population and the environment on campus. The NC State community promotes a lifestyle that helps to reduce obesity and other contributing factors of diabetes, such as walking trails and access to LimeBikes. According to Piggott, “I love the NC State environment because it promotes wellness. If we can just get the word out that being active helps, even if it’s just walking at your lunch break.” She believes the NC State community can work together to decrease the growing epidemic of diabetes.   

Piggot is the faculty adviser for Type 1 Pack. Type 1 Pack is an organization that enables students to meet other students with diabetes, develop a support group and gain further knowledge of resources available. Membership of the organization is not limited to those with diabetes, but extends to individuals with family, friends and loved ones who suffer with the disease. To learn more about Type 1 Pack and obtaining a membership email Type1Pack@gmail.com.

Diabetes is a disease that has impacted most individuals, whether directly or indirectly. National Diabetes Month is a great way to increase not only the awareness of diabetes, but to learn more about myths of the disease, the struggles of diabetics and to celebrate their journey. To gain more information visit diabetes.org and take advantage of the resources at NC State such as Type 1 Pack. Diabetes will continue to exist but providing support to those effected, seeking knowledge on prevention and best practices will help us to combat this life changing disease.