Tracey D. Brown
CEO, The American Diabetes Association
November is American Diabetes Month, and the American Diabetes Association is raising awareness by encouraging healthy lifestyles, community engagement, and improved access to medical services.
“People with diabetes can do more than just survive; they can thrive,” said Tracy Brown, CEO of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). “The ADA encourages everyone to manage their diabetes by incorporating the right balance of nutrition, physical activity, and mental health management.”
For the month of November, the ADA will be raising awareness online through their #WeStandGreaterThan campaign, hosting live cooking demos and virtual workouts among other activities. “We’ll be focusing on nutrition and wellness the week of November 16-21,” Brown said.
Diabetes during the pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has raised new health concerns for people living with diabetes. Forty percent of COVID-19-related deaths have been people living with diabetes, according to a report from the CDC. “This is why the American Diabetes Association continues to advocate for increased COVID-19 testing within local communities that need it the most,” Brown said. “With increased testing, more people will know if they have contracted the virus and can take the proper precautions for a safe and speedy recovery.”
Because of the increased risk for people with diabetes, Brown stressed the precautions that should be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “If you begin to feel symptoms, take it seriously and call your doctor. We urge everyone to continue social distancing, washing their hands often, and properly wearing masks whenever out in public.”
COVID-19 has made regular in-person check-ups more difficult, but Brown said that shouldn’t prevent people from speaking with their doctor. “Many practices are offering telemedicine appointments as a safe alternative for routine appointments,” she said. “We should not wait until complications set in. We must tackle them head on.”
Addressing health inequities
Diabetes disproportionately affects Black and Latino communities, which are 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. “The ADA is determined to raise awareness around the health inequities that exist within these communities and the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on all people with diabetes,” Brown said.
Advocating for these communities is one of ADA’s top priorities. “We’re advocating for states to extend healthcare coverage to those who’ve lost their jobs,” Brown said. “We need to eradicate the co-pay for insulin that millions are struggling to pay for in order to stay healthy during this pandemic, and we need to bring COVID-19 testing into these high-risk communities in order to inform and stop the spread of this virus. If these actions aren’t taken immediately, we will continue to see devastating impacts and increased numbers and outcomes for millions of Americans.”