A message from Dr. Shannon McDonald, FNHA Acting Chief Medical Officer,
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to bring focus to a health issue that can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex or ethnic background.
While diabetes is one of the most significant healthcare conditions of our time worldwide, it can also be viewed as a reminder for all of us to live our lives in a good, balanced way. It's an extra incentive for us to make improvements in all aspects of our health and wellness, and to inspire those around us to live well. I have diabetes myself, and work hard to live well with it.
Many of the mainstream messages we see and hear about diabetes focus only on the physical self. As Indigenous people, we know that our health and wellness goes well beyond this, and that we must also nurture our mental, emotional and spiritual health.
The First Nations Perspective on Health and Wellness guides us to find balance in all four areas of our being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. For people living with diabetes, identifying what helps keep us balanced as individuals, and developing our circle of support, are key pieces to consider in keeping well.
Diabetes, which disproportionately impacts Indigenous people in Canada, is a chronic (lifelong) condition. So, if you have diabetes, it's important to create a wellness plan that is personalized to you – in other words, one that aligns with your traditional values, enables self-management skills, and will effectively support you in the long term. Your wellness plan should also reflect the ongoing development of new strategies and innovations in the management of your diabetes.
If you or a loved one have diabetes, and/or if you want to learn more about how to manage or prevent it, there is no time like the present to do so. Check out this resource about diabetes management and the following tips to nurture balanced health and wellness: