Imagine being 26 years old, in medical school, preparing for a career of caring for people and then learning you have Type 1 diabetes. For Dr. Brendan Devine, an Envision emergency medicine physician at HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood, the diagnosis changed everything. It also made him more aware of the challenges his patients could be experiencing.

“Living with diabetes is much more difficult than people realize,” Dr. Devine said, of having to be more mindful of how the food you eat and activities you participate in affect your body.

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body’s blood sugar is too high. Dr. Devine is one of more than 37 million people in the United States who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have diabetes. However, most people have Type 2 diabetes.

“If I have a patient who's diabetic, there's an immediate connection,” he said. “I can tell them and say with you know, real sincerity, ‘like, I know what you're going through.’ I'm going to spend a lot of time sitting down with them, talking with them, trying to help connect them with resources that I've become familiar with as a diabetic.”

Nov. 14 is World Diabetes Day. It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the public health issue and advocate for better disease prevention and care management. According to the CDC, one in five people have diabetes but don’t know it. If they are experiencing some of the common symptoms, they should seek medical advice.

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue

While there isn’t a cure for diabetes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy weight and diet, and receiving the appropriate medical treatment can help with the management of the condition and the prevention of complications. For additional information and resources, visit the CDC.