Tuesday, March 26, is American Diabetes Alert Day, a time to encourage individuals to learn their diabetes status. Diabetes — a disease that affects more than 29 million Americans — is especially prominent in Wisconsin, where 40 percent of adults are expected to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. Twenty-eight percent of adults in our state, including many Latinos, have diabetes and they don’t even know it.
For a time, I didn’t know it either, but now, I’m learning first-hand how hard it is to live with diabetes. One of the reasons I became diabetic is because I was a smoker. Smoking is a leading cause of Diabetes. What made things worse is I continued to smoke after I had diabetes, and now need larger doses of insulin to control my blood pressure and face other serious health issues.
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 have. I let them know about the connection between diabetes and smoking. Even if you never smoked, 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!