Category: Awareness

Resources for National Diabetes Awareness Month

November has been observed as National Diabetes Awareness Month since 1975. In the United States, more than 100 million people are living with diabetes or prediabetes; that’s nearly 1 out of every 11 people with diabetes, with 1 out of 4 unaware they have the condition. Awareness of the disease cannot only prevent future cases for those at risk, but also help raise funds to develop new treatments for those living with diabetes.

There are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes presents with the body not making insulin, and those diagnosed must take insulin injections every day. Only 5% of those diagnosed with diabetes have type 1, and there is no known method to cure or prevent type 1 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, one’s body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. Type 2 diabetes has a number of risk factors:

  • Being overweight;
  • Being 45 years or older;
  • Having parents or a sibling diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; and
  • Being physically active less than three times per week.

Race and ethnicity can affect one’s risk. Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and some Asian Americans are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes. Preventing type 2 diabetes can be as easy as eating healthy

Read more

Intersex Awareness Normalizes Naturally Occurring Bodies

The “i” in LGBTQIA stands for intersex. Intersex is an umbrella term for people with differences in sex traits or reproductive anatomy. Intersex people are born with these differences or develop them in childhood/puberty. There are many possible differences in genitalia, hormones, internal anatomy, and/or chromosomes compared to the typical binary notion of male and female bodies. An estimated 1.7% of people are born intersex.

Since 2004, October 26 is observed as Intersex Awareness Day. Intersex Awareness Day commemorates the anniversary of a protest held by members of the intersex community during the annual American Academy of Pediatrics convention in 1996. Activists gathered in action against the standard practice of invasive gender-based surgeries that many intersex children have historically endured. This practice is largely considered outdated and harmful today, though only Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Boston Children’s Hospital have categorically stated that they do not perform infant genital surgeries.

Intersex people are often made to feel like medical curiosities

Read more

Mental Illness Awareness Relieves Stigma

For over 30 years, the first full week of October has been Mental Illness Awareness Week. This year, the NeedyMeds blog has observed Mental Health Month in May, Minority Mental Health Month in July, and Suicide Prevention Month in September. We’ve discussed how everyone’s mental health matters, the unique factors affecting mental health for vulnerable populations, and how to prevent devastating outcomes, but we have not yet touched on the realities of mental illness in 2021.

Twenty percent of the population — as many as 65.6 million Americans — live with some kind of mental health condition, with nearly 5% living with a serious mental illness that substantially limits their life activities. Those living with mental illness fight stigma while trying to survive under profound internal duress. Awareness is important to ensure resources are made available to those who need them and the stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental illnesses can be reduced.

Everyone has stress and difficult emotions on occasion, and this is completely normal. Mental illness, however, is any condition that

Read more

Blood Cancer Awareness: Leukemia and Lymphoma

September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, also known as Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. Leukemia and lymphoma are types of cancer that can affect the bone marrow, blood cells, lymph nodes and other parts of the lymphatic system

Someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with blood cancer every three minutes, with someone dying as a result every nine minutes. An estimated combined total of 186,400 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma in 2021, leading to an estimated 57,750 deaths this year.

There are multiple types of leukemia, some more common than others. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) affects bone marrow and blood and has several subtypes that affect the type of treatment and likely outcomes, though will progress quickly if left untreated; acute myeloid leukemia (AML) affects cells that are not fully developed limiting their ability to carry out their normal functions, and can be difficult to treat; chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myeloid leukemia

Read more

How to Save a Life: Suicide Prevention

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. Each year over 45,000 people in America die by suicide — a rate that has increased 41% since 1999. Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but 54% of those who commit suicide do not have a known mental illness

Suicide is rarely caused by a single factor, and is also affected by personal relationships, substance use, physical health, and stress from jobs, money, legal issues, and/or housing. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued systemic injustices have also had a chilling effect on Americans’ mental wellbeing. Awareness is important to end the stigma of suicidal feelings and help more people access life-saving help in dark times.

Anyone can have suicidal thoughts, but it is important to know they are not permanent. Having suicidal thoughts is not a sign of weakness or failure, but is a symptom of profound distress. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be very damaging and dangerous and should be considered a psychiatric emergency. 

Other than mental illness, there are a number of risk factors for suicide:

  • A family history of suicide;
  • Substance abuse — using drugs and alcohol results in mental/emotional highs and lows that can exacerbate suicidal thoughts;
  • Intoxication — more than a third of people who die from suicide are under the influence at the time;
  • Access to firearms;
  • A serious or chronic medical illness;
  • A history of trauma or abuse;
  • Prolonged stress;
  • Isolation;
  • A recent tragedy or loss;
  • Agitation; and/or
  • Sleep deprivation.
Read more

About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.