What is diabetes?  The Center for Disease Control defines diabetes in the most simplest terms.  Diabetes is described as a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal.  Glucose is one of the simplest forms of sugar.  Our bodies get glucose from the food we eat.  Our pancreas produces a hormone called insulin.  Insulin helps the body use glucose for energy.  If someone has diabetes, their body doesn’t make insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes correctly.  This results in sugar to build up in their blood.

There are 3 different types of diabetes.  First, Type I diabetes is when the body produces no insulin and requires insulin injections to control blood sugar.  Second, Type II diabetes is when the body isn’t producing enough insulin or the insulin that is produced is not being used as it should be to get glucose into the body’s cells.  The third type is gestational diabetes which is caused by hormone changes during pregnancy.

Most of us have a family member or knows of someone who has diabetes.  What most of us don’t know is that diabetes is a lifelong disease.  There is no cure for diabetes but it can be managed.

Larita Wilkinson is a positive example of someone living with diabetes who has effectively manages this disease.  Larita has been living with type II diabetes for over 20 years and has avoided becoming insulin dependent.  It takes hard work on her part but she has figured out a strict daily routine for herself.  Larita eats small meals every two hours avoiding sugary foods and salt.   She is diligent about checking food labels.  She prides herself on eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Checking blood sugar levels happens twice a day for her, the numbers are recorded and reported to the physician that she visits about every 3 months.  Larita exercises daily and makes sure to take her vitamins and oral medication.  This disease will last her lifetime but as she continues to take good care of herself she will be one step ahead.