Living with diabetes

I wait nervously as my father pricks his finger and spills some of his blood on the strip and onto the meter to test his blood glucose level. I am hoping that the number is lower than 200, and I breath a sigh of relief as 149 comes across the screen.Diabetes is one of the many diseases that is overlooked despite the large number of people it affects. According to the American Diabetes Association, there’s a total of 25.8 million children and adults diagnosed in the United States, which is 8.3 percent of the population.

Diabetes isn’t just a disease that happens when you don’t intake enough sugar; it can happen to anyone. There are different classifications. Type 1 is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, where Type 2 often occurs in the aged population. Even when you are pregnant you are at risk for Gestational Diabetes.

“I think its very easy to stabalize it, but a lot of people don’t realize they have it until it becomes serious,” said Corey Peterson, a Valencia student who’s grandfather was hospitalized as a result of his diabetes. “It can come out of nowhere, and it can be harder for young people who don’t understand how to cope with it.”

As underestimated as this disease is, it can lead to a number of complications. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease. There is a very likely chance you might have diabetes and not be aware of it. There are approximately seven million people in the United States that are undiagnosed.

“I’m guilty of not taking diabetes as a serious health issue,”  said Shereen Albanna, Valencia student whose father was diagnosed last year. “I think students should know the risks as well to prevent the spread of diabetes across the U.S.”

The disease is occurring at a higher rate in young children than ever before, about one in every 400 kids, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Jessica Clinton was seven years old when she was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Even though she’s had it for the past eight years, she still finds it challenging.

“I constantly have to watch what I eat, and make sure I have enough insulin,” Jessica Clinton said. “I can never eat as much sugar as my friends or else I get sick.”

Diabetes is considered an uninsurable condition, meaning health insurance providers can refuse to insure someone who has been diagnosed with the disease. The total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007 was $174 billion. The American Diabetes Association has even created a diabetes cost calculator (find it here, which takes the national cost of diabetes data and provides estimates at state and congressional district level.

Fortunately, Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, can easily be prevented. According to new research, eating healthy is the best defense. Maintaining a healthy weight through proper nutrition and exercise is essential to prevention and management of the disease.

Diabetes is an important issue that people need to be informed about. It’s a easily preventable disease, that you can get without realizing it, and can affect your life in a large way. I hope that I live my life healthy enough, so that I never have to be as worried as my father is when he awaits for that meter to calculate.

Want to help stop diabetes? Make a donation to the American Diabetes Association, which goes towards research and help provides services to people with diabetes.