At 21 Susan became pregnant, married the father of her child, and gained 55 pounds with her pregnancy. She was elated to have been blessed with a child and concluded the pounds would come off as she breast fed her baby, and attended to household chores. Three years and two more pregnancies later, and Susan had not shed much “baby weight”; in fact, her weight had hit an all time “high”. With three babies and all of the challenges of motherhood she had no time for herself. Susan was always tired, stressed out, and hungry even though she seemed to eat constantly. She placed her “cute” clothes in a trunk and went for the “stretchy pants, and oversized sweatshirts. They became her uniform.
Susan was at an all time low. She felt unattractive, old, and she was bored with her routine. Susan’s husband could see his partner deteriorating, and suggested she start taking time off beginning with a visit to the local nail salon for a pedicure. Although the appearance of her swollen feet, varicose veins, and ugly overgrown toenails horrified her, she put on her “big girl pants” and made the move. It was only short “vacation” but she desperately needed a break. As the nail technician began to do her work, she noticed that Susan had a sore on her big toe; it was very infected. Susan said she had injured her foot at least one month ago but hadn’t noticed or felt the pain of the sore. The technician was concerned, stopped the pedicure, and recommended Susan see a podiatrist. Angry and frustrated, she had to abandon the idea of the relaxing pedicure. Instead, she decided to treat herself to lunch at a local pub. She did call a podiatrist!
(Fast forward) Susan’s podiatrist learned she had had other sores that had not healed, she was fatigued, had excessive thirst, she was experiencing vaginal infections, and waking during the night to go to the bathroom. He suspected type2 diabetes and suggested Susan see her physician for diagnostic tests. Susan was concerned; her Mom had diabetes and had developed a series of complications resulting in her death.
Nearly 79 million adults are at risk for developing diabetes. If left untreated it can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and death. Susan’s symptoms are consistent with the symptoms some women experience as early warning signs of diabetes but it’s important to routinely check your blood sugar and have other diagnostic tests such as the hemoglobin A1C test.
With proper diet and exercise diabetes can be prevented. If diagnosed with diabetes, there are tools that may prevent the disease from progressing. Susan started by making adjustments in her diet including increasing the amount of protein she consumed and decreasing her carbohydrate and fat consumption. She began walking with her children to and from the bus stop and then walking around the track at her local high school. After one year she’s back at an all time low; she is ten pounds lighter than her pre-pregnancy weight.