Knowing the Risk of Diabetes

Posted Wednesday September 05, 2018

Daphene Baines, instructor for the Do Right! Healthy Steps Series, offers some insight on living with and knowing the risk of diabetes.

I read a post on Facebook that talked about diabetes. The post mentioned that diabetes is a very deadly disease and sometimes the side effects of diabetic drugs can be harmful to the organs and the mind.  It talked about how our families suffer because of this devastating disease.  This post touched my heart. Why did it touch my heart?  I think it’s because so many people think having diabetes is no big deal.  Well, it’s a big deal, and a big deal to me because both my mother and father had diabetes. All of my siblings and many of my 1st cousins have diabetes. In fact, and in 2004 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

When I was told my diagnosis I was somewhat familiar but I didn’t know enough.  I discovered through different classes and taking a class at the American Heart Association that “diabetes is when the body has problems either using or making a hormone called insulin. Insulin is important because it helps your body to turn sugar and other food into energy. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, it causes too much sugar to build up in your blood, which can cause damage to your heart and other parts of your body.”

There is so much to know about this disease, but we will save that for the class you should take. At the time of this writing, there are four types of diabetes, Type 1, Type 2, Gestational,  and Prediabetes. Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin. Because of this the glucose does not get into cells and hangs out in the blood causing the blood sugar to rise.

With Type 2 diabetes, insulin is being made by the pancreas, but it is not doing a good job with the glucose getting in the cells. The pancreas wears its self out trying to fix this issue and the blood sugar rises.  Gestational diabetes is when a woman develops diabetes while pregnant. Finally, Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are above average but not high enough to to be considered Type 2.

I know this is a lot to take in. Taking a class will be helpful if you have an interest in learning more.  Talk with your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms: feels tired a lot (the body isn’t getting enough energy); frequent urination (the body is trying to get rid of the blood sugar), and you may be drinking a lot to make up for the many bathroom trips.

Let me encourage you. Having diabetes is not the end of the world. Not caring about your diabetes can end your life.  You can experience a stroke, health problems when you don’t take care of your diabetes. Heart disease, problems with your teeth, tingling in your hands and feet, eye problems, problems with your memory, kidney problems, skin problems, and much much more are just some complications of uncontrolled diabetes.

There is so much more I want to talk to you about, but I will save that for another time. I think the bottom line is we need to care about diabetes and get educated. Having diabetes is not the end of the world. Learn what diabetes is, get the help you need, and live a happy productive life with diabetes. It can be done. I am living proof.

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