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November, 2008: Time to kick the Habit

           This is American Diabetes Month.

            We should care.

            We should really, really care.  Why?  This is a disease that has more implications than just someone possibly having to take oral or injected insulin all the rest of their lives.  This disease can kill.  Before it kills, it can debilitate.  It can maim (loss of limbs, sight, etc.).  It causes kidney and heart disease.

            How do we get the news out to people?

            November 14th, 2008 is World Diabetes Day.  Take a pamphlet; take time to read it.  Read it with someone you care about and discuss it.  Access information via the Internet (try:  http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp or http://www.diabetes.org/communityprograms-and-localevents/americandiabetesmonth.jsp  ) to get more information and even recipes and help regarding exercise.  There is a wonderful fact sheet posted on the second link.  African-Americans are 1.6 times more likely and Hispanics 1.8 times more likely to contract diabetes than whites.  About 8% of the US population has diabetes (24 million – with 6 million walking around undiagnosed, not knowing that is why they do not feel well).

            The next thing on which to concentrate this November is November 20th – the Great American Smoke-out.  Let’s help our comrades who smoke stop doing so!

            http://www.cancer.org/docroot/subsite/greatamericans/Smokeout.asp

            The link above will bring you to the American Cancer Society’s information about how to stop smoking.  You can even get online help as you plan and execute the “funeral” of your tobacco habit!     

Use http://www.cancer.org/docroot/subsite/greatamericans/content/Plan_Your_Quit_Day.asp  as your link to the sinkin’!

            Finally, November always means the end of the harvest for most of the nation – a time to reflect before winter begins and to be thankful for what we do have.  In these difficult financial times, with worries over war and over how to pay our bills if the banks are being bailed out, we need to keep our personal health (mental, emotional, physical) at optimal levels. 

            Take the entire week of 18-24 November as National Family Week.  Whoever you consider family, be there with them.  And on Thanksgiving Day, it is National Family Health History Day – a perfect day to give thanks for what we do have together within and outside our families, and to gather - not just in family cloisters but - vital information about our health histories.

            Be thankful but be vigilant this month about all things health related.