Let's cut to the chase - diabetes is one of the most stigmatized diseases out there. Most people see diabetes as a disease that is brought on upon oneself from unhealthy eating and exercise habits. While they're not wrong, they are uneducated. There's more than one type of diabetes, and I'm here to tell you about the type that's affected me, Type 1. 

Approximately 1.25 million adults and children across America suffer from Type 1 diabetes, and 29.1 million suffered from Type 1 and Type 2 combined. I am fortunate to not suffer from this disease, but my grandparents suffer, one of my old boyfriends suffers, and my best friend suffered.

Emphasis on the suffered.

Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2010. 

It's not a disease you generally think of as one that kills, but more like something that people have to learn to live with. But in eighth grade, that all changed for me.

I had a teammate, who I had grown to care about, love, and consider my best friend. She suffered from Type 1 diabetes, and from seeing her at practice every day to hanging out with her at her house, I began to understand the in's and out's of this disease, and how much pain and discomfort it causes to those affected.

Think about the last time you were at the doctor and when they pricked your finger to draw blood. Now for you, this may happen once, maybe twice a year. But for a diabetic, they routinely put themselves through that discomfort and pain, sometimes up to 10 types a day, to make sure their blood sugar is stable and that they have enough energy and glucose in their bodies to survive.

Think about that as an athlete, as someone who relies upon their body to do everything they need it for in order to run up and down a field, to swing a bat, to catch a ball. Then, think about what might happen if your body failed to do the things that you have trained it to do - run, swing, catch that ball.

Essentially, this is what a diabetic goes through, but on a much larger scale. Something that the human body should do - produce insulin - simply does not work for them. They are dependent on needles, and insulin pumps, sugar tablets, finger pricks, blood sugar levels, and doctors visits to make sure they stay alive. 

There are two types of things that can be scary to a diabetic - when their blood sugar is too high, and when it is too low. This can end with Hypoglycemia, or insulin shock, or Hyperglycemia, when your blood sugar is too high.

My best friend had diabetes, and she lived with it every day. Once she passed, I learned that people get taken unfairly from this world early on in my life, sometimes for the simplest of reasons.

"Dead in Bed"

Hypoglycemia affects approximately 2-6 out of 10,000 a year. These aren't terrible odds, but when they affect someone you love, they're terrible to you. This happens when someone becomes severely hypoglycemic while sleeping but they do not wake up to catch it.

Not all diabetes cases end in some form of tragedy, but the biggest tragedy of it all is that not enough attention is ever drawn to this disease, especially in young people who have to live with it from the age of three. The tragedy is in not caring, not speaking out, and not making a difference.

So, again, listen up. Diabetes is real, diabetes is a disease. That is a fact of life. So next time you tell someone they'll get diabetes from eating too much candy - don't. If you want to make a real difference, donate to this organization that is working to find a cure, to one day prevent this awful disease.