Wednesday, March 22, was American Diabetes Alert Day, a time to encourage individuals to learn their diabetes status. Diabetes — a disease that affects more than 29 million Americans. The disease is especially prominent in Wisconsin, where 40 percent of adults are expected to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. Latinos in the state have a higher diabetes rate than the general population.
I know the struggle of living with diabetes first-hand. One of the reasons I became a diabetic is because I was a long-time smoker, which is a leading cause of Diabetes. Because I continued to smoke after I had diabetes I needed larger doses of insulin to control my blood pressure and faced other serious health issues. My doctor warned me that if I didn’t quit, I’d lose my leg.
Thankfully, I quit smoking and am now a member of the Wisconsin Hispanic Latino Tobacco Prevention Network, which works to educate Latinos in Wisconsin about the dangers of tobacco use. Now I work to help others avoid developing health problems like I did. Even if you didn’t smoke, finding out your diabetes status could help you get treatment or avoid the disease altogether. But, if you do smoke, it’s even more important that you get tested. Better yet, get tested and quit today. It could save your life!