November is American Diabetes Month

Do you know someone with diabetes? Chances are, with an estimated 20.8 million diabetics (that’s 7% of the population) in the U.S., someone close to you is afflicted with the disease. With that many Americans affected and another 54 million people at risk, it is important that we are all aware of the causes and effects of diabetes, and what we can do to prevent the disease. American Diabetes Month was created to raise awareness of the disease itself, and of the importance of proper diabetes care. Here is some information on diabetes. For more, go to "", home of the American Diabetes Association.

What is Diabetes?

The American Diabetes Association describes diabetes as: “a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.”

Types of Diabetes

There are several types of diabetes that have different effects on the body, and therefore require different care. In Type 1 diabetics, the pancreas does not produce insulin. In order for the body to convert sugars and starches into energy, the insulin needs it to be replaced with injections. Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children and young adults, and includes less than 10% of all diabetics.

In Type 2 diabetes, usually the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, and the cells do not take in enough glucose. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be controlled with diet and exercise. If this is not enough to bring the glucose level down to normal, there are several medications that may do the trick.

Diabetes Medications

  • Sulfonylureas and meglitinides stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to release more insulin.
  • Biguanides such as Metformin lower blood glucose levels by decreasing the amount of glucose produced by the liver. Metformin also makes muscle tissue more sensitive to insulin so glucose can be absorbed.
  • Thiazolidinediones such as rosiglitazone and pioglitazone help insulin to work better in muscle and fatty tissues and reduce glucose production in the liver.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors prevent the breakdown of GLP-1, a naturally occurring compound in the body that reduces blood glucose levels. By interfering in the process that breaks down GLP-1, DPP-4 inhibitors allow it to remain active in the body longer, lowering blood glucose levels only when they are elevated.
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors Acarbose (brand name Precose) and meglitol (Glyset) block the breakdown of starches such as bread and pasta in the intestine, and slow the breakdown of some sugars. This action slows the rise in blood glucose levels after a meal.
  • Diabetes medications can be taken alone or in different combinations, in addition to exercise and proper diet to achieve the right glucose levels in Type 2 patients.

    In all types of diabetes the blood glucose levels are too high. Therefore, blood glucose monitoring is the best way to keep diabetes in check. In addition to standard glucose monitoring and fasting tests which give current glucose levels, there is the hemoglobin A1C. The A1C test is said to have revolutionized diabetes care because it provides a “big picture” of glucose levels, giving a two to three month average. This average can help doctors to assess proper medication and diet for diabetics.

    Symptoms of Diabetes

    Untreated diabetes causes symptoms related to elevated blood sugar levels, such as increased urination, weight loss, fatigue and nausea, and can lead to infections of the bladder or skin. The disease is usually diagnosed with a glucose fasting test in a doctor’s office.

    Complications of Diabetes

    Diabetes can lead to chronic eye and kidney problems and nerve damage, all resulting from microvascular disease. In addition, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) caused by diabetes can lead to heart problems and strokes.

    Prevention of Diabetes

    It is possible to prevent or at least delay the onset of diabetes. Glucose levels that are higher than normal can be brought down with exercise and proper diet. According to the American Diabetes Association, in a recent Diabetes Reduction Program study, “just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with a 5-10% reduction in body weight, produced a 58% reduction in diabetes.”

    To find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, take the ADA’s Diabetes Risk Test.

    Diabetes Supplies From Allegro

    Allegro has all you need for testing your blood glucose level, including meters, test strips and lancets. If you are on Medicare, it is possible for you to get free diabetes supplies from Allegro, delivered right to your door. Contact our helpful staff to find out if you qualify.


    Allegro has test strips in boxes of fifty or one hundred for all the most popular meters. Also, test your blood glucose monitoring system for accuracy with a control solution, which allows you to make sure the meter and test strips are working together, and that you are testing properly, without using actual blood.

    Get lancets for less at Allegro, available in gauges of 21-30 for virtually pain free sampling- even for children. Allegro has many lancing devices that have varying penetration depths, and allow sampling from body sites other than the fingertips. Use a self-injection device to make injecting easier. Simultaneously inserts needle and administers insulin.

    Syringes for insulin users are less expensive by the case. Get yours here! And dispose of your needles properly, in a sharps container.


    Allegro features the latest in inexpensive, accurate glucose monitors that require less blood for testing. Or, get all your supplies in a kit – meter, lancets, lancing device, control solution and test strips, all included in one box, delivered to you. For the vision-impaired, a glucose meter with voice prompting makes testing easy, and helps to maintain independence.

    Shoes, Skin Care and More

    It is important that diabetics take good care of their feet. Loss of circulation and nerve damage can lead to infections, injuries and even amputation. Approximately half of diabetic amputations could be avoided with precautions taken to protect the feet. Allegro has many styles of Orthopedic-type shoes to help protect the feet from injuries. Increase blood flow and raise the temperature of your feet, while relieving foot pain with diabetic foot cream. And for a looser, more comfortable fit, try diabetic socks with wide tops and breathable fabric. For selection and low prices, take your foot care to Allegro.

    Keep insulin cold in the office or when you’re on the go with a travel pack which includes places for all your supplies, and re-freezable ice packs to keep everything cold for hours. Or a portable fridge may be the way to go, to keep insulin, and whatever else you desire cold for as long as you need.

    We have parts for insulin pumps, infusion sets and other insulin accessories. Check our stock. We may have what you need!

    Alternative nutrition for diabetics is available here, for tube-feeding and supplementing.

    The Mission of the American Diabetes Association is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

    Diabetes Information

    Call 1-888-DIABETES (1-888-342-2383) or go online to

    American Diabetes Month Fact Sheet (courtesy of the ADA)

    November is American Diabetes Month (ADM), which is designed to
    communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of proper
    diabetes control. ADM also focuses on type 2 diabetes risk factors and
    prevention, treatment of those diagnosed with the disease, type 1 and type 2, and support for their families. The theme for this year’s ADM is “The Many Faces of Diabetes” and throughout the month the ADA leverages opportunities both nationally and locally to raise awareness about a variety of issues relating to diabetes care and treatment.

  • Diabetes Prevalence Nationwide: 20.8 million people – 7.0% of the population – have diabetes
  • Diagnosed: 14.6 million people
  • Undiagnosed: 6.2 million people
  • Pre-diabetes: At least 54 million people
  • Worldwide: More than 246 million people have diabetes
  • Key Messages

    - If current trends continue one out of three Americans, and one in two minorities, born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

  • Since 1987 the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45%, while the death rates due to heart disease, stroke, and cancer have declined.
  • Keeping blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol in control can
  • make a difference in reducing your risk for heart attack or stroke.

  • Annual dilated eye exams and routine foot exams and blood pressure
  • checks can prevent blindness, amputations, heart disease, kidney
    disease, and strokes.

  • The ADA is a proud supporter of the United Nations Resolution on
  • Diabetes and the observance of the first World Diabetes Day on November 14.