Diabetes : Don't Ignore Diabetes Risk

Brook Stockberger

Cheeseburgers are my demon.

No, no, I don't mean to imply that a stack of beef with bacon, cheese and mayo is inherently evil. I love 'em. My problem is I have trouble with moderation. A cheeseburger is fine for me once in a while, but I want them every day. I know, though, that I must be careful with my diet.

About a decade ago I was diagnosed as a Type-2 diabetic, which is when the body does not produce enough insulin or cells ignore the insulin. (Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce insulin.)

Since November is National Diabetes Month as well as Diabetic Eye Disease Month, I thought this would be a good time to raise awareness.

Romi Means, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator who teaches classes for the department of health, told me that the Center for Disease Control reports there are more than 25 million people in the United States with diabetes, 7 million of who do not realize they have the disease.

How can so many not realize they have diabetes? In seems to come down to multiple reasons, whether people do not know what the symptoms mean, they are in denial or they feel they can't afford the health care.

"A huge number of people don't know they have it," said diabetes educator Charise Ellsworth. "There are people walking around with pre-diabetes (undiagnosed) because they don't normally keep up with annual appointments with their family physician.

"Or they're having symptoms of diabetes and they are ignoring

them," she said.

Means said that finances can be a concern too.

"A lot of people don't have insurance and are afraid because of what the bill would be," she said. "We try to get them go to one of the community health clinics."

Another diabetes educator, Sunnie Bell, said that the America has developed a "diabetes lifestyle."

"I'm not trying to berate America, but many of the habits here are not conducive to good health," Bell said. "If we can buy a gallon of milk a block away, we still drive.

"You have to make a decision to live a healthier lifestyle, you have to pull yourself away from the norm," she said. "It's not a matter of just joining a gym, it's working (exercise) into your lifestyle. Our work isn't physical, it's sitting at computer screens. We have to work in some level of physical activity several times a day. Instead of taking an elevator, go up the stairs."

Means said that it helps to look around at your relatives.

"Diabetes is a disease associated with family history," she said.

The American Diabetes Association reports that some people with Type 2 diabetes have no outward symptoms and that is why you need to be aware of your family situation and/or if you fit other risk factors.

If there are symptoms, some of the signs to look for include frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, fatigue, cuts bruises that won't heal, blurred vision and others.

You can take a free, three-part class through the department of health. Means said people can call 575-528-5053 or 575-528-5065 for information.

Brook Stockberger may be reached at 575-541-5457; follow him on Twitter @Bstockberger


Here are some of the symptoms for diabetes as reported by the American Diabetes Association:

--Frequent urination

--Unusual thirst

--Extreme hunger

--Unusual weight loss

--Extreme fatigue and irritability

--Frequent infections

--Blurred vision

--Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal

--Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet


There are multiple sources to learn about diabetes. One is with the state department of health which conducts weekly classes. For more information, call 575-528-5053 or 575-528-5065


(c)2012 the Las Cruces Sun-News (Las Cruces, N.M.)

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