While many people think of November as the beginning of a holiday season full of feasts and sugary treats, health advocates across the country recognize it as a time to raise awareness about diabetes. During Diabetes Awareness Month, people are encouraged to educate themselves about the risks, prevention and management of diabetes, a chronic health condition affecting more than 37 million Americans.

Because diabetes can be silent for many years with few or no symptoms, many patients have no idea they are at a higher risk of developing long-term complications that can affect their eyes, nerves, kidneys and other parts of their body. According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated 7.3 million cases remain undiagnosed, and about 88 million adults have prediabetes, putting them at serious risk of developing diabetes. With such staggering statistics, it’s clear that diabetes awareness is essential. Health experts and community leaders use November as a time to collaborate and promote knowledge about diabetes risk factors, prevention, symptoms and management strategies.

Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) staffs an experienced diabetes education team dedicated to supporting patients with diabetes. This team works with patients and their families to offer information through comprehensive diabetes education programs.

The PMC Diabetes Support Group offers emotional and practical support to those living with the condition, providing a safe space to share experiences and tips for managing diabetes. Members find the support group beneficial during the holidays when temptations to overindulge are typically at their highest and managing blood sugar levels is particularly challenging.

The holiday season, which kicks off with Thanksgiving and extends through the new year, is synonymous with celebrations, gatherings and opportunities to indulge in delicious, often sugary foods. By sharing knowledge, promoting healthier choices and offering support, the hope is that more people will be able to enjoy the festive season with their health in mind.