Does this sound familiar?
• You need to hit the bathroom more often than not. In fact, you’ve never had bladder control issues before, but you find that if you do not get going sooner rather than later, there could be problems.
• You’re constantly hungry.
• You’re constantly thirsty.
• You’re often tired, sometimes very tired.
Not to be an alarmist, but you might have a condition that is plaguing our country.
Let me back up. I sat down to write about diabetes with a doughnut in my hand and started to chuckle. Then I thought about the syringe lying, literally, at my elbow on my desk and I thought about the phone call in April 2001.
My doctor did not mince words.
“Your suspicions were right. You have diabetes.”
With that memory in hand, all of a sudden, the doughnut did not seem as funny.
November is National Diabetes Month as well as Diabetic Eye Disease Month. In addition, World Diabetes Day is Nov. 14. As a diabetic who lives in an area of the country with a high rate of the disease — about 170,000 people in New Mexico have diabetes, the state’s department of health reports — I felt it was a good time to address the condition. The state reports that 531,550 New Mexico adults have what it calls prediabetes, most without knowing it.
As many of you know, there are two different types of the disease: type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 is when the body does not produce insulin and type 2 is when your body does not use insulin properly.
Christina Melendrez Castillo reports on the Sun-News Facebook page that she and her husband have both discovered that they have type 2.
“It’s been a little hard to make some lifestyle changes — eating healthier, exercise, etc.,” she said. “I know if we don’t take care of it now, we will end up with lots of other health problems later on. I enjoy life too much and want to live for a long time.”
Tammy Salas Bracamonte is also fighting the good fight.
“I was diagnosed this year. It’s been a struggle but I was determined,” she said. “I changed my diet, started exercising and lost 45 pounds so far. I’ve been talking to friends and family about symptoms, medication, changes and sharing as much information as possible.”
Information is key. So is a willingness to take action.
With half a million people in our state afflicted with prediabetes, many people are in a very precarious position, but one that can be improved.
The American Diabetes Association reports that such people can lose weight, become physically active, improve diet, lower cholesterol and stop smoking as ways to turn their health around.
Listen to your body. I’ve discovered that having diabetes is not the end of the world. While it is a difficult, often lifelong struggle, even slight changes to diet and activity can sometimes make a significant impact. Do not be afraid to have your blood sugar tested. Do not be afraid to ask questions. With knowledge, even if it is a diagnosis of diabetes, comes the power to change your life.
Brook Stockberger may be reached at 575-541-5457
Common symptoms of diabetes
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
American Diabetes Association