Jan 18, 2012

Living With Diabetes-Introduction:Paula Deen and Me

TV Chef Paula Deen

The buzz of the day is that TV Chef Paula Deen has type 2 diabetes. It seems that she has known about having the disease for about three years. Paula is known for her Southern cooking, full of butter, sugar, and other tasty ingredients high on the list of unhealthy foods.
No one is buzzing about it, but I’ve lived with type 2 diabetes for almost 25 years. My son Kreighton also lives with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans and over 40 million Americans have pre-diabetes (early type 2 diabetes). So, Paula, welcome to the club.

You probably already know someone who has diabetes, either a family member, co-worker, or family friend. But, just so that we start on the same page, here’s a brief rundown on the basics of diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar. Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both.

People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their pancreas does not make enough insulin, their muscle, fat and liver cells do not respond to insulin normally, or both of these issues.

There are many risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including: age over 45; a parent, brother or sister with diabetes, Gestational diabetes or delivering a baby weighing over 9 pounds; Heart disease; High blood cholesterol level; Obesity, Not getting enough exercise; Polycystic ovary disease (in women); previous impaired glucose tolerance; Some ethnic groups (particularly African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic Americans).


In my case, I’m the perfect poster child for the disease. Heart disease and high blood cholesterol levels run in my family. I was African American, obese and didn’t exercise. I was about 45 when I was diagnosed with type two diabetes and although I didn’t know it at the time, I had gestational diabetes during two pregnancies and delivered each baby at approximately 9 pounds.

It’s been an interesting journey to say the least, one worthy of sharing. So I invite you to come along with me as I trace each step of my road of discovery.  I hope that in doing so, you’ll learn a few things that might prove helpful to you and yours.  See you next time when we explore symptoms, diagnosis, and testing in Part 2.



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