November is National Diabetes Month

  • November 15, 2021


Authored by Steven Wright, MD, Director of Medicine at Whittier Street Health Center

November often conjures up thoughts of turkey, leaves changing and lots of foods, but it is also recognized as National Diabetes Month in order to raise awareness of a disease that is frighteningly common place. Over 10% of the US population has been diagnosed with diabetes and there are a projected 7.3 million cases that have gone undiagnosed. While Diabetes can be managed, not knowing the risk factors or symptoms leaves one vulnerable, so it is key to understand what exactly Diabetes is.

After we eat our food is broken down into a sugar called glucose which is then released into our blood stream. This triggers a response in the pancreas to release insulin which regulates how our body processes the nutrients received from food. When an individual has Diabetes the body does not produce enough insulin or is unable to utilize that which is produced. If this persists, cells will stop responding to insulin which results in too much sugar remaining in the blood stream. If gone untreated these effects can cause health issues such as heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease. The effects of Diabetes are concerning so it is important to know the risk factors and the types that exist.


Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 – This form of diabetes causes an autoimmune reaction that stops your body from producing insulin. Those with this form need to take insulin each day and there is currently no way to prevent Type 1 Diabetes.
  • Type 2 – With Type 2 Diabetes your body does not use insulin effectively in addition to not being able keep your blood sugar at normal levels. This form of diabetes is preventable, but develops in those who do not eat healthy and live a sedentary life style.
  • Gestational Diabetes – Forms in pregnant women who have no prior diabetic history. This form of diabetes often goes away after the baby is born, but places the child at higher risk of reaching obesity and developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
  • Prediabetes – Refers to individuals that have higher than normal blood pressure which raises your risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. 1 out of every 3 adults (88 million) in the United States have Prediabetes.

Those living with Diabetes have to actively fight the disease and Whittier Street Health Center offers many services to help our patients managing this issue. We offer a Diabetes Educational Group which is open to those dealing with multiple types of Diabetes that provides patients with a road-map on how to set goals and manage their condition through healthy eating habits. The key thing to remember as someone with Diabetes is that it is manageable and you can achieve good health despite it.

Whittier Street Health Center offers the Diabetes Clinic through our Adult Medicine Department at 1290 Tremont St, Roxbury, MA 02120. Please call 617-989-3115 for an appointment.

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).