Sinclair Cares November is Diabetes Awareness Month
November is Diabetes Awareness month.
Diabetes affects some 29 million people in the United States.
In this 'Sinclair Cares' report, Jennifer Gilbert explains how managing diabetes can mean the difference between life and death.
Sam Benson, 56, is one of the 29 million in the United States with diabetes.
"Everyday to think about my meds, my counts, what I eat."
Like 90 percent of the people who have diabetes, Sam has type 2.
A chronic condition that affects the way insulin is able to process blood sugar.
"In type 2 diabetes, somebody has their own insulin still, but related either to aging or becoming overweight, or both. You becomes resistant to insulin, so the insulin is still there, but it's not working as well."
Some people wil 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.
"So I went a while without taking meds."
And that took a toll...a heart attack, nerve damage and excruciating pain.
"And tomorrow I go in for another surgery. I'm scares...i'm nervous."
But Sam is determined to better manage his disease.
He knows what the consequences can be.
"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 form his local hospital and community health worker, Verna Hines.
"Your sugar count can actually drop low," said Hines. "You don't have anything around to bring that sugar up, you could potentially die."
Risk factor for type 2 diabetes include, being overweight, being over 45, and being physically inactive.
African Americans and hispanics are particularly at high risk.
Sam has now found the strength to rehab and old rowhome.
"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.
Type 2 diabetes usually gets worse over time.
Even if you don't need medications at first, you may need them later on.