Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Step Out for Diabetes

Stop Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors appear to play roles. There are 23.6 million Americans living with diabetes, a disease that is outpacing heart disease, cancer and AIDS. Diabetes is a disease that has deadly serious consequences, and there is no cure. If current trends continue 1 in 3 children face a future with diabetes. 

Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless. Recent studies indicate that the early detection of diabetes symptoms and treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes. Diabetes symptoms include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability and blurry vision. If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your doctor right away. You can also take our Online Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you are at risk for diabetes.
Above text copied from the American Diabetes Association.

Diabetes is personal to our family. My mother has been a diabetic most of my life. I've seen her struggle with managing blood sugar, a kidney transplant, and other side affects from Diabetes. My mother in law also has diabetes and has neuropathy in her legs and hands. Both of these amazing women had to quit work years before they otherwise would have chosen to because of disability. What seems so unfair is that they are not to blame for their disease. Neither of them are obese, inactive or smokers. There is no known reason why they got diabetes. Even more frustrating is that it often feels like diabetes has them instead of them having diabetes. Sudden and unexpected side affects happen for no apparent reason. She eats a healthy meal and goes off to do housework and suddenly her blood sugar bottoms out. The glucose monitor is helpful but only gives you a reading for what your level is at that moment in that one drop of blood. You would have to prick your fingers every hour to see how your body responds over time to see if your blood sugar is rising or falling.

I know what its like to have that weird internal feeling that your body isn't doing what its supposed to. You feel hot then cold sweats, sometimes nauseated or dizzy, shaky hands, confused thoughts. Like something inside is just not right. Just last year I found out that I am insulin resistant, which is considered a pre-diabetic condition. My body doesn't handle sugar well because my cells don't respond to the insulin my body makes to control blood sugar. I'm making choices to be more physically active and limit my diet to try to prevent diabetes long term. I don't fit the profile of someone who is "at risk" for diabetes, yet I find myself fighting it with all I've got. I understand that the choices I make now will affect my long term health. 

My family will walk in the Step Out for Diabetes walk Saturday, September 24 in Baton Rouge in support of all of our family and friends living with diabetes and for the hope of a cure! Join us in stepping out for diabetes. You can donate to the American Diabetes Association here. Even if you can't donate you can take a personal step to fight diabetes by simply walking. Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise for all people. You don't need any fancy equipment, just a pair of shoes. Walking strengthens your heart, lungs, and muscles. It also helps keep you at a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure, and helps delay or prevent type 2 diabetes! So enjoy the cooler air of autumn and enjoy a nice long walk. With each step you are making a positive difference in your own health. As you walk this week, say a prayer for someone you know living with Diabetes.  

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