LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Ten percent of Louisiana's adult population is living with diabetes and the bayou state ranks at the top of the list, #1 in the country, for the most diabetes-related deaths. But some simple dietary changes could keep your sugar and health in check.
It's been eight years since Gerald Hansen of Sulphur was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. "They put me on insulin right away," says Gerald, "as soon as I got to the doctor's office, they gave me a shot of insulin and showed me how to give myself shots of insulin."
Gerald is just one of 24 million Americans living with this disease that centers on an insulin deficiency. West Cal-Cam Hospital Director of Nutrition Services, Fran Landry says, "Diabetes is a disease which affects the way your body metabolizes glucose. The pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin - when that occurs, people either have to be on insulin or on an oral hypoglycemic medication."
Landry says diabetics need to make healthy eating choices, but drastic measures aren't necessary. "Really, all foods can fit, you just have to learn how to carbohydrate count," she says.
This is something that leveled out Gerald's blood sugar levels. "You could eat just about anything, but within reason," he says, "so, after I did that, my blood sugar stabilized, I got off the insulin and I've been on oral medications ever since."
With Gerald's diabetes management - he's actually healthier today than before his diagnosis. He's walking three miles a day, eating in moderation and has lost 40 pounds.
*Support is key for managing diabetes and your opportunity to take part in a free seminar on the disease is coming up Tuesday, November 10th at 10:00 A.M. at Dynamic Dimensions in Sulphur. There will be a cooking demonstration, information on health issues associated with diabetes and a registered dietitian to help with menu choices. To reserve a seat, call 527-5459.