José Rodriguez often skipped breakfast and lunch only to eat a large dinner at the end of the day. Despite his erratic eating habits, Mr. Rodriguez thought he was healthy until a routine blood test revealed he had type 2 diabetes.
"I was shocked. I didn't expect to be a diabetic," Mr. Rodriguez said. "I told my doctor that I would do whatever it takes to manage my disease."
Mr. Rodriguez was referred to the diabetes education program at Loyola University Medical Center. A certified diabetes educator worked with him to make diet and lifestyle changes. This included cutting out soda, monitoring the food he eats, altering his portions, exercising more and checking his blood sugar.
"I didn't like vegetables. That was a challenge for me," Mr. Rodriguez said. "But once I learned more about eating well and portions, it helped me get my diabetes under control. I now eat well-balanced meals and exercise four to five times a week for an hour at a time."
Approximately 29 million Americans have diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes include:
•Feeling very thirsty
•Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
•Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
•Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Early detection and treatment can decrease the risk of developing complications from diabetes. Loyola's certified diabetes educators report that the new year is a good time to see a doctor if you think you have diabetes.
"The new year is an excellent time to take charge of your health and make any necessary adjustments to diet and lifestyle, so you control your diabetes rather than letting the disease control you," said Heidi King, RD, CDE, the certified diabetes educator who counseled Mr. Rodriguez.
Loyola University Health System