Facing the Enemy
Did you know that diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US? Did you know that some of the effects of diabetes can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations, and kidney disease among other conditions? Did you know that people with diabetes are nearly two times more likely to die from heart disease or stroke than a person without diabetes?
November is annually recognized as American Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a group of diseases indicated by high levels of blood glucose (sugar) derived from deficiencies in insulin production, insulin action, or both.
According to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report 29.1 million people in the US are affected by this disease. That’s 9.3 percent of the entire American population and it’s estimated that one in every four people with diabetes doesn’t even know they have the disease.
This is personal for me because I have two close friends along with a few family members who have diabetes. The irony of how my two friends, Lori and Carl, became aware of their individual situation was a little bizarre.
Carl’s case occurred so abruptly it was frightening. We were at work when all of the sudden he began losing vision (even with his glasses), he was thirsty, constantly urinating, and looked very ill. One of our co-workers rushed him to the emergency room where he was admitted with extremely high blood sugar levels.
Considering a normal blood sugar range is less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating, Carl was in dire shape with a reading hovering near 600 mg/dL. It wasn’t until Lori and I went to visit him after work that we realized the seriousness of his situation. His condition was so severe that on arrival to the ER the doctors couldn’t believe he hadn’t gone into a coma.
Fortunately Carl had a complete recovery (including restored vision) and was back to work within two weeks. Although diabetes diagnosis was the worst news he could receive as he was, and still is addicted to sweets and junk food.
Since we all loved Carl it was up to us to perform an intervention for his well-being by ensuring he ate well and was not exposed to candy. In the short-term this worked out well with Lori being the harshest taskmaster of the group.
Not long after Carl’s diagnosis Lori had bloodwork results which came back with an elevated sugar reading. Her doctor worked with her in an attempt to manage her sugar level by diet and exercise. When this didn’t work she was put on oral medication then subsequently insulin injections.
It’s important to note that Carl and Lori were among the one in four people who didn’t know they had diabetes until they were placed in a situation where the diagnosis came to light. Because diabetes is such a sinister disease that’s taken the lives of three family members, affected the health of friends and others who’ve gone through amputations I intend to talk about this issue every Wednesday in November.
You may already be aware that eating a well-balanced diet can help prevent or delay problems associated with diabetes. Another important aspect of diabetes prevention and overall health is exercise.
In last week’s post I talked about BlindAlive an accessible, eyes-free fitness program for the blind and low vision community. Taking advantage of new tools to keep our bodies and minds in shape will help us to maintain our good health. As I mentioned last week there are 4 workouts and 3 bundles available for download and if you’d like to check out BlindAlive’s mini workout the link to the post is HERE.
“Even if you have diabetes, you can have a healthy lifestyle and the quality of your life can be improved.” ~DJ Spinderella, hip-hop pioneer