November- National Diabetes Month


Photo attributed to: Medical vector created by freepik -

November 14 is known to be World Diabetes Day. The entire month of November is recognized as National Diabetes Month.

November is a special month; we give thanks for what we have on Thanksgiving, we enjoy the breaks we get from school, and we also get to relish the crisp fall weather. But there is another reason why November is special– it is national diabetes month; a time when people all over the world show support and understanding towards those with diabetes. It is the very month in which the work of scientists who developed a breakthrough element for aiding those with diabetes is recognized.

Diabetes is a condition in which the human body either does not make enough insulin (this is known as Type 1 Diabetes) or in which the body’s insulin is ineffective (this is known as Type 2 Diabetes). Insulin is a hormone, produced by the pancreas, that plays a large role in regulating and maintaining blood sugar levels. With an ineffective or reduced amount of insulin, individuals with diabetes are not able to maintain their blood sugar levels, resulting in hyperglycemia, which can have a multitude of harmful effects.

In 1921, Dr. Frederick G. Banting and his assistant Charles H. Best began working on a way to replicate insulin as a potential treatment for those afflicted with diabetes. They built their work off of the discovery of insulin by Dr. John J. R. Macleod in 1910.

Keeping track of blood sugar is key to diabetes management. (Katherine Cervantes)

In the year of 1922, Banting and Best were able to effectively replicate insulin and significantly lower the blood sugar level in a 14-year old boy suffering from diabetes, proving that their replicated insulin works as a treatment. After his success, Dr. Banting chose November 14 as World Diabetes Day. Later on, November was named Diabetes Awareness Month in order to give more recognition to the common disease.

For their great work, Dr. Banting and Dr. Macleod were both awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 1923.

Diabetes affects 88 million adults in America, and so many more individuals worldwide (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Nevertheless, the individuals who are diagnosed with it can still reach for the sky; American singer and songwriter Nick Jonas was diagnosed with Type1 Diabetes (T1D) at the age of 13, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had symptoms of T1D at the age of 7, and well-known tennis player Billie Jean King suffers from diabetes as well.

Diabetes is a tough disease, but together, we are tougher.