Managing type 2 diabetes
(SINCLAIR CARES) - November is Diabetes Awareness Month.
Diabetes affects some 29 million people in the United States. Working in partnership with our parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Newschannel 3 wants to keep you informed about important health matters.
Jennifer Gilbert explains how managing diabetes can mean the difference between life and death.
56-year-old Sam Benson is one of the 29 million people in the United States with diabetes.
Benson said, “Everyday to think about my meds, my counts, what I eat.”
Like 90 percent of the people who have diabetes, Sam has type 2, which is a chronic condition that affects the way insulin is able to process blood sugar.
Dr. Counts said, “In type 2 diabetes, somebody has their own insulin still, but related either to aging or becoming overweight, or both, you become resistant to insulin, so the insulin is still there, but it's not working as well.”
Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar levels with healthy eating and being active, but many require medication to keep it in check.
Sam admits, he didn't know how to take care of himself for years.
Benson said, “So I went for a while without taking meds.”
That took a toll; A heart attack, nerve damage and excruciating pain.
Benson said, “And tomorrow I go in for another surgery. I'm scared... I'm nervous.”
But Sam is determined to better manage his disease. He knows what the consequences can be.
He said, “I know people that had amputation, a guy I went to school with went blind and he died. I'm not ready for that.”
Sam is getting help from his local hospital, and community health worker, Verna Hines, who works to educate patients on managing their disease.
Heines said, “Your sugar count can actually drop low. You don't have anything around to bring that sugar up, you could potentially die.”
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
- being overweight.
- being over 45.
- being physically inactive.
African-Americans and Hispanics, are particularly at high risk.
Sam has now found the strength to rehab an old Row home.
He said, “I'm very proud of the things that I've done. It took me two months to do this room.”
Just like he's rehabbing his health, one step at a time.