Last year, a dear friend was unexpectedly diagnosed with diabetes in his late 50’s. He had no family history, was thin and in generally good health. In a matter of weeks he was overwhelmingly thirsty. He was drinking gallons of juice and water and nothing quenched his thirst. His wife urged him to go to the doctor. He did and quickly found out that he was one of the nearly 2 million people diagnosed with diabetes every year.
According to recent estimates from the CDC, diabetes will affect one in three people born in 2000 in the United States. If you have three children or grandchildren under the age of 10 it is very likely that one of them will be diabetic. Is someone in your family diabetic? Diabetes tends to run in families. A person with a family history of diabetes is 2-4 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone without a family history further increasing the risk for our children and grandchildren.
Diabetes may run in families, but it is also a family disease. When one member of a family has diabetes, it affects every member of the family. Diabetes means that everyone in the family has to be more aware of their health, what they eat and the increased risk of developing the disease. When our friend was diagnosed, it not only changed his life but that of his family. His wife cooks differently now. His kids now have a family history of diabetes and their children may be at greater risk.
Forget the hype and media scare about diabetes. Just be more aware of your loved ones. We all want our children to wear a helmet when riding a bike. We expect our teen drivers to wear a seat belt. We help aging parents around the house so they won’t fall. It’s love and common sense. To combat diabetes, eat a better and walk a little more. It’s good for the whole family.