American Diabetes Alert Day: A one-day "wake-up call" to the danger of diabetes

March 28 is Diabetes Alert Day, a one-day "wake-up call" to the danger of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk.

The last thing Marie Mathieu wants to do before going to work is exercise. But when the vice president of Network Clinical Documentation at Hackensack Meridian Health was diagnosed with diabetes last year -- it was a wake up call that she needed to make some lifestyle changes ASAP.

I was devastated. I'm a nurse, I should know better. But I had no symptoms. Apparently I had been a pre-diabetic for years. To be honest I was in denial at first. But I had to quickly accept it and I asked how to get those numbers down."

Marie Mathieu

That meant daily exercise and immediate changes to her diet. With the help of the Molly Diabetes Education and Management Center for Adults and Children at Hackensack University Medical Center, she dropped her A1C from a 9 to a 6.6!

"They (team members at MOLLY Center) showed me how to do portion control and measure carbs. It's a chronic disease and it can have a lot of complications but what the Molly Center taught me is that you can control it. They're really nice and don't make you feel uncomfortable. They meet with you, they teach you. You just have to really dedicate yourself and it pays off," she said.

On Tuesday, March 28, Hackensack University Medical Center proudly observes American Diabetes Alert Day.

A one-day "wake-up call" to the danger of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk and raising awareness about the symptoms associated with diabetes among the American public. The CDC estimates 37.3 million or 11.3% of the US population have diabetes with 1 in 5 not diagnosed yet. In addition, more than one in three Americans have pre-diabetes, but almost 80% don't even know they have it.

Terrified at the complications diabetes can cause Marie is a prime example of someone taking charge of her health. She isn't ashamed of her diagnoses. She tells people about it and finds she gets a lot of support in return. And she urges anyone who may face a similar diagnosis to do the same.

"In the beginning you may be in denial. But you have to admit it to yourself and understand this can be managed. Think of your long term health -- you don't want to go blind. You don't want kidney failure. Educate yourself. Know the consequences and take it seriously." Marie urges.

Like Marie, many may not know they are at risk of Type 2 Diabetes. The MOLLY Center at Hackensack University Medical Center provides patients with the most up-to-date, effective methods of diabetes treatment and management including the information, skills, and tools needed to live a healthy, productive, and satisfying life.

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