Diabetic dangers: "By the grace of God, I'm here"

Diabetic dangers: "By the grace of God, I'm here"
Martha Heath Johnson
Martha Heath Johnson
Dr. Christina Kile
Dr. Christina Kile

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Recent studies show that diabetes continues to affect millions of people more and more each year. As part of Diabetes Awareness Month with one Brunswick woman whose life was threatened by the chronic disease.

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A smile from ear to ear, this was Martha Heath Johnson was two weeks before her entire world turned upside down.

"I remember getting on the gurney and really that was the last thing I remember," Johnson said.

She is long time diabetic and after just 48 hours without taking her insulin she was hospitalized, her blood sugar level exceeded one thousand, a number that shocked medical staff.

"They had only seen, me being the second person, who lived through a blood sugar that high," Johnson continued.

It took over a month for Johnson to get back on her feet, she had to re-learn how to walk and is currently in cardiac rehab. It's an experience she describes as terrifying.

"I didn't know what was happening to me," Johnson said. "Because I had no control over my legs. I was slipping on the floor."

At that very moment her daughter called and was able to get a hold of emergency responders, saving her life.

"If she had not called, someone would have found me on the floor dead,"Johnson continued.

Endocrinologist Dr. Christina Kile says roughly 25 million Americans suffer from diabetes, about 9% of the U.S. population.

"Those numbers are just staggering and the numbers of diabetics that will be if we don't change the way that we live," Dr. Kile said.

So, that's eating healthier, exercising, and watching for clues your body is sending you.

"And we take it for granted, like those are the things that we should be doing to be healthier, "Dr. Kile continued. "But if we don't do it then we are going to be diabetic more and more so in the future."

It's lifestyle change Johnson vows to take now that she has been given a second chance.

"I'm truly great by the grace of God, I'm here"

Johnson says to never neglect your treatment.

About 9% of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with diabetes, making it the 7th leading cause of death. The American Diabetes Association shows in 2010, 25.8 million people had the disease and by 2012 that number went up to 29.1.

Dr. Kile says even though family history and diet plays a role in developing diabetes everyone is at risk. In the last few years the chronic disease has spiked among adolescents, just over 200,000 in the U.S.

Health professionals recommend to check your check your glucose levels and to watch for signs such as extreme weight loss, constantly feeling thirsty or hungry, blurry vision, numbness in feet/hands or extreme fatigue.

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