Although I’ve been writing this blog for over a year, I’ve stayed away from sharing too much about the fact that my husband is a Type 1 diabetic. And then just this week I saw a report on the news that a new study, presented at the CDC’s Weight of the Nation Conference in D.C., predicts that unchecked, the obesity rate of Americans could increase by 33 percent by 2030. Seriously folks??? We’ve already been warned of the consequences that obesity brings–high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and yes, Type 2 diabetes. So, I’d like to share with you what it’s really like to live with someone who has diabetes and is insulin dependent.
I witness first hand what my husband has to go through each day in order to maintain a semi-normal life. While there have been great advancements made in the medical field in regard to diabetes treatment, nothing can compare to a healthy pancreas that secretes insulin normally. My husband’s biggest challenge, as with most diabetics, is keeping his blood sugar stable. Everything impacts it. What he eats, how much he eats, how much he exercises, stress, if he has a cold or infection–the list is endless. When his sugar goes too high he gets irritable and his stomach and muscles ache. What’s more frightening is when his sugar goes too low, which can happen suddenly for many diabetics, and he can appear confused until he is able to consume something that will bring his blood sugar back up to normal levels. It’s a constant battle and the only way to know where those levels are is by continuously pricking his finger and testing his blood throughout the day. I feel bad when I look at the tips of his fingers, but I know it’s necessary. To really drive this point home for you, I have probably said the words, “Have you checked your sugar?” to my husband more than, “I love you.” during our 9 years together. That’s how much diabetes is a part of our marriage.
I will also mention that we’ve got a multitude of doctors since diabetes has long term effects on the body. Most diabetics, like my husband, have a cardiologist, a nephrologist and a podiatrist along with their primary care physician. If you read my blogs you know that I make certain my family eats healthy and my husband and I exercise together regularly, but once you’re diabetic you’re basically trying to minimize the damage.
My point is that my husband never had a choice–he was diagnosed at age 13 with Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. For anyone who is making unhealthy lifestyle choices and heading down that road toward Type 2 diabetes, please stop. You do have a choice and trust me, there is no snack or food item that is worth the risk. Here are some tips to get you started on a healthy eating plan. Do it for yourself and your loved ones.