SAN ANTONIO – Diabetes is a problem across the world, across the country, and especially in South Texas.
Metro Health data shows one and seven people in the San Antonio community has diabetes. Unfortunately, a lot of people who have diabetes or prediabetes don’t even even know they have it — and that could have terrible consequences down the line.
Tuesday is Diabetes Alert Day, a one-day “wake-up call” that focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk.
Sid Bednar, a patient at the Texas Diabetes Institute, said he had no idea diabetes could be in his future until he took a test, and it changed him forever.
“I really don’t want to be a needle insulin diabetic type of thing,” Bednar said. “My lifestyle has changed. I try to go and manage what I eat.”
Diabetes and prediabetes is a concerning issue, especially in the San Antonio community.
“The eating habits of people who live in South Texas fosters weight gain. And, of course, obesity brings out diabetes. And so, this is a very bad combination of the lifestyle not going in our favor and genes not going in our favor,” Dr. Ralph DeFronzo, Chief of the Division of Diabetes at UT Health San Antonio said.
And it’s not just adults dealing with the disease.
“At the Texas Diabetes Institute, we now have more children with type two diabetes than we have with type one diabetes. And the underlying issue is always there, they are very, very much overweight. So the most important thing that you can do, particularly in children, and it’s also true for adults, is to maintain your body weight,” DeFronzo said.
If you have anyone in your family with diabetes, it is a big warning sign.
“By the time you develop symptoms, then the disease is already quite far along. So there is a test that you can take. You can go on to the CDC or the ADA website and answer some eight simple questions and they will tell you whether you’re very likely to have diabetes,” DeFronzo said.
Eating healthier, getting regular exercise and taking the easy tests could help save your life.
As for Sid, he is retired now and wants to be able to spend as much time as he can with his family.
“It’s been good. I’ve been managing my blood pressure and my blood sugar levels and all this kind of stuff. And it’s just keep on going, one day at a time,” Bednar said.
For those interested, here are some links for online and in-person tests. To scheduled an appointment, call 210-450-9050.