Many South Georgians diagnosed with diabetes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Many South Georgians diagnosed with diabetes

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January 17, 2007

Albany -- The International Diabetes Federation says more people worldwide die of diabetes than AIDS. Eight percent of people affected are Americans, including south Georgians of all ages and races. People concerned about the disease take steps toward prevention.

After a long day at work Albany woman Delicia Jackson spends at least a 30 minutes walking around Lake Loretta. A preventive measure she takes against diabetes, a disease that runs in her family.

"The doctors told my mother when I was born, I was the one most likely to be affected by it," said Delicia Jackson.

She's concerned because her father suffers from Type 2 diabetes, meaning he developed the disease as an adult. And he's just one of the 246 million people worldwide diagnosed.

There are two types of the disease. Type 1 affects children. It's a life-long condition in which the pancreas stops making insulin needed for energy. A person must inject insulin shots, diet and exercise daily.

Type 2 affects adults and overweight children and adolescents. The pancreas can produce insulin, but the body won't use it or it's not enough insulin. A person can control this condition with weight loss, medicine, diet and exercise.

Certified diabetes educator Tania Earley says the number of people diagnosed with either type are on the rise, and it involves serious health problems.

"Diabetes can affect you from your head to your toe. It's a vascular disease. It can affect your eyes, your kidneys your heart, it can cause nerve damage. However with good blood sugar control, they have found you can prevent, or at least drastically decrease the risk of developing complications," said Tania Earley.

Complications Earley says people with the disease can control, and others can prevent with an active lifestyle, limiting sugar intake, and eating healthier. Lifestyle changes Delicia Jackson made after watching her father battle diabetes.

"I just want to stay healthy for my kids, watch my kids go through college and graduate from high school, college. Have grandkids," said Jackson.

Jackson has made daily walking a habit. An easy step she takes toward a diabetes-free future.

For adults some early warning signs of the disease include frequent infections, blurry vision, and a loss of feeling in your hands and feet.

It's recommended you get your blood sugar levels checked by a doctor on a regular basis, and learn ways to maintain a normal blood sugar level.

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