Diabetes is a disease that is prominent in the San Luis Valley. Chances are you know someone in your family who has it or you might know a friend with childhood diabetes. I have had diabetes since 1986.
At first I controlled my diabetes with exercise and diet. But as I became more computer literate and sedentary in my work and home life, the weight increased and along with it, my blood sugars. Fifteen years later, I was on some common medications for diabetes: glucotrol and glucophage. Now I am injecting insulin several times a day.
In the summer of 2011 Gena Akers, another columnist for the Valley Courier and an educator with the San Luis Valley Health (.org) project funded through the Colorado Trust and part of the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center, wrote an article highlighting diabetes. It’s published at www.sanluisvalleyhealth.org.
Her article (http://www.sanluisvalleyhealth.org/alex-gallegos-how-to-beat-diabetes/) interviewed Alex Gallegos, newly diagnosed.
Over the years, some of us have volunteered for studies on diabetes. I remember being part of a new insulin study that was a time released/slow released insulin. Others have been part of the study based on their heritage.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and a lot of people still do not know that they have diabetes. Some symptoms are: frequent urination, unexplained gaining or losing weight, insatiable thirst, blurring of eyes and even neuropathy or numbing of toes and fingers.
Your family physician can quickly see if you have diabetes by a simple prick and collection of the blood droplet on a test strip that is inserted into a diabetes blood glucose monitor. If your blood sugars are above 125, chances are you have diabetes but your health care provider will tell you for sure.
At first I was scared and sad that I had diabetes, but diabetes can be controlled with medication and when needed, insulin. Valley residents can be signed up for education classes about diabetes and how to cook for someone with diabetes. Some doctors provide their patients with free monitors and some companies discount lancets and test strips.
Some 25 million Americans have diabetes – either childhood diabetes (type 1) or adult onset (type 2). You may know someone with diabetes. Help find a cure by donating to the American Diabetes Society at www.diabetes.org or by calling 1-800-DIABETES.