Emory Young probably pays more attention to what he eats than most people. That’s because in 2002, Young was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
“I was thirsty all the time. I had dry skin. I was frequently going to the bathroom and experiencing weight loss,” says Young.
Young is one of more than 29 million people in the United States living with diabetes. But more at risk with pre-diabetes. This is a term developed years ago to identify a patient whose blood glucose is not normal but also not diabetic.
“The criteria for pre-diabetes is a fasting blood sugar between 100-125 and using another test called a hemoglobin A1C, which checks what your blood sugar has been over the last three months. Between 5.7 and 6.4, those are areas where the blood sugar is moderately elevated but not quite as high as developing diabetes,” says Dr. Horowitz.
Dr. Ruth S. Horowitz is Chief of the division of Endocrinology at GBMC and a partner with Bay West Endocrinology Associates. Horowitz says failing to manage your diabetes can have serious consequences.
“When we see micro vascular complications, we see things like the small blood vessels in the eye, the kidney, and nerves, and it leads to blindness," she said. "It causes nerve damage so you have sensory problems and causes kidney dysfunction and can lead to kidney failure. The macro vascular increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.”
Maintaining a healthy diet and weight is also important to managing your diabetes. Dr. Horowitz says support from family and friends is key.
“It’s been shown people who have the support structure do much better,” says Horowitz.
"You can still do all the same things but also be more aware of food you consume, how much you consume, and try to definitely get out and exercise more,” Young said.