• Dacia Bryant, Pharmacist

"I may have diabetes, but I'm too afraid to find out for certain"

It’s normal to feel scared and overwhelmed just thinking you may have diabetes. Thoughts race through your mind because the fear of the unknown leads you to imagine the worse case scenario.

I have heard all the valid reasons of why you are afraid:

· members of your family may have lost limbs from diabetes

· you don’t want to go on insulin

· you won’t be able to eat what you want

· your family will judge everything that you eat

Who wouldn’t be afraid??

We can’t escape hearing about diabetes as we are bombarded with the numerous commercials on a daily basis advertising cure all medications.

For many of us, diabetes is a dirty word that is spoken in whispers. We all have heard about an aunt who died from diabetes after starting insulin or about a cousin who just has “a touch of diabetes”.

Although you may hear about diabetes from commercials or within your own families, finding out that YOU may be at risk is frightening.

But one thing I know is true; it is better to know if you have diabetes sooner than later.

One of the biggest dangers is that for many years there may be no outright signs of having diabetes. Yes, there may be a little weight gain, but the real damage to your health could be happening, even if you don’t want to accept, every day, a little bit at a time. Diabetes does not happen overnight.

What may put you at higher risk for getting diabetes is having a family history of diabetes, being overweight and not being physically active. African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at an even increased risk of diabetes compared to White Americans.

But let’s back up and let me take you through a simple and quick lesson on diabetes:

Our body gets its energy from foods. Our body breaks down the food we eat into small units called glucose.

Insulin, a hormone made by our pancreas, has the task of taking that glucose to the cells inside our body to provide us with the energy we need.

If we have too much glucose in our blood to move, the insulin will store any extra glucose mainly in our liver.

Also, having too much extra glucose to move, means there may not be enough insulin to carry it. So, our body will try to make more and more insulin to try to keep up with the amount of glucose in our bloodstream. Eventually, the pancreas gets tired and cannot keep up.

So now we have this extra glucose, with a tired pancreas that is not making enough insulin to move it, and that glucose causes our body to try to get rid of it through urination. If there is STILL any extra glucose left over, it can just hang around in the blood stream. Some of the symptoms of this extra glucose in your bloodstream are blurred vision, high blood pressure and even kidney damage over time.

In many cases, it takes 10-15 years for our bodies to become resistant to the actions of insulin. Prediabetes is the term used to define someone who has high blood sugar, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes. A blood test called an “A1C test” determines how much glucose in in your bloodstream over the last three months, or just how “sugar-coated” your red blood cells are.

A reading of between 5.7-6.4 is considered to be prediabetes diagnosis.

A reading 6.5 or higher is considered to be a diabetes diagnosis.

Taking the Diabetes Risk Test is the first step in finding out your risk for diabetes. It is a simple and quick question answer tool available online. You can find this risk test on our website as well.

Reducing the risk of diabetes includes:

· maintaining a healthy weight by losing 5-7% of body weight

· inserting some physical activity into your daily routine

· learning how to managing stress better

· making better nutritional choices

Small changes in your life can lead to big results in diabetes management. Knowing your risk sooner than later can reverse the progression of the disease.

In the end, it’s better to know so that you can take action now and not end up in the emergency room.

Wouldn’t you want to know if your home or apartment had mold NOW, so that you could take the steps to fix it?

Wouldn’t you want to know that the brakes on your car need to be replaced NOW instead of finding out after a car crash?

Knowing will allow you to either prevent the onset of diabetes, delay diabetes or reverse the progression of diabetes.

You should take a risk test. Now.

You should have a discussion with your doctor. Now.

You should get tested by your doctor. Now.

Share this with a loved one or a friend.


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