A sweet family affair
Diabetes is really a family affair. If you are dealing with this disease, most likely someone else in your family has already received this diagnosis or may have to face it in the future.
Researchers have declared that passing diabetes on to a family member is the number one cause of this disease. Currently one in four people have pre-diabetes. This is the condition where blood glucose levels are not low enough to be within a normal range but not high enough for the diagnosis of diabetes. In the past doctors called pre-diabetes a “touch of sugar.”
Initially diabetes is a silent disease. The average person walks around with it for an average of seven years before recognizing the symptoms or complications. Blood tests reveal the course of this insulin disorder.
As family members gather together for the holidays take a somber moment to discuss genetic health history. If Grandma or Uncle Jack had diabetes, pay attention — you may be next.
Fear is the number one emotion when this diagnosis is discussed. Many folks remember the treatments and unwanted affects of long ago. Glass syringes and needles big enough for a horse have been replaced with new technology.
Too many families ignore diabetes and this leads to more complications than just an elevated blood glucose. Pay attention to those in the family who have had recent diabetes training. Most likely if the information is older than five years old, it can be outdated.
As of 2011, there are more than 450 scientific research studies that are ongoing. Each investigation has the possibility of new information that ultimately may end in a cure. Any one of these explorations can make or break the treatment that is currently popular.
Attending a family gathering and observing relatives managing their diabetes can often –times be a recipe for disappointment, frustration and more fear. Immediate family support is usually strong but it’s the extended family relatives that can ruin a fun holiday.
Throw away books and pamphlets that are older than 10 years old and anything older than 5 years old may still be incorrect. This is a rapidly changing field of study.
When someone with a “touch of sugar” tries to explain that it is okay to eat a piece of pie with ice cream after a huge meal full of potatoes, rolls and succotash washed down with eggnog or a glass of sweet tea, just know that this relative is not very well informed. Question what part of pre-diabetes is not understood.
Hosts may go out of their way to prepare a special sugar-free menu item just for those dealing with this disease. This is not necessary if the person with diabetes is in compliance with a consistent carbohydrate meal plan. Often it is the amount of carbohydrate foods that affect the blood sugar — not the variety.
When people go on a vacation they research the location. Diabetes is a destination for family members who share this gene. Whether the entire family walks this road or one takes a detour around, it is a decision. Support those dealing with diabetes and learn more about the new treatments.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Dunlap Community Hospital in Orrville. Contact her at email@example.com or 330–684-4776.