For those of you who did not know that November was Diabetes Awareness Month in the CNMI, now you are aware.
Diabetes is high glucose in your blood. This means insulin is not being used by the cells because they cannot absorb sugar, which is needed to produce energy. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age. I have been dealing with this non-communicable disease since 2004. It has been difficult and slow. I have had to change my lifestyle to better live with my diabetes. This change is sometimes very difficult for some of us to do. But change is crucial if we are to survive diabetes. Small steps, like just a 10-minute walk after dinner, can help with your Type 2 diabetes.
The CNMI has some of the highest numbers of diabetes in the world. We also have people who get dialysis and have to sit for four hours as machines clean their blood through a needle in their arm. This lifestyle is difficult to change, but if you don’t, it may take you down to the point where you will need others to care for you, or worse, a heart attack.
Three things that you can do to better live with your diabetes are:
One, I like to take the time to enjoy my walks. No rush, stay calm and speed walk. It will keep you strong and happy. I walk with my wife and we enjoy the strolls we have around the island. Also keep changing the location of your walks. It will keep you from getting bored.
Two, exchange notes with friends who have Type 2 diabetes. Also, if possible, join an online community to share all we know about diabetes. The American Diabetes Association is a good one.
Finally, the big one, food! We need to curb our appetites for food. Eat less and eat nutritiously. Eat in a bowl if necessary. No corned beef in a can or processed meat. Try to eat everything as fresh as possible. My favorite is fish. I eat all kinds of seafood and keep each meal as small as possible.
I know Diabetes Awareness Month has passed, but I believe that this is something we can talk about all year long. Thank you for listening, and if you have diabetes, you can beat it. It takes small steps, but eventually, they lead to bigger milestones, which you can celebrate with your family!
For more information & referrals on diabetes, contact NMPASI at 235-7273/4 or, for TTY & Fax call 235-7278, or visit us online at www.nmpasi.org.
Thomas M. Thornburgh