Diabetic Pat Higgins talks with icyou about the seriousness of diabetes.
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Pat Higgins: People don't really know how devastating it is. What I like to tell people because doctors have said it to me is that if -- actually listed what people died from, all of them or a great number of them would say, diabetes because most of the illnesses cancer and other things aside, heart disease and all of those kinds of illnesses are very frequently based in diabetes. Diabetes actually accounts for the most amputations -- in the country, blindness, very bad kidney failure, huge problem for diabetics. You have renal conditions. You look pretty -- look right behind it, you'll find diabetes some place behind there, retinopathy eye blind, he also said blindness, retinopathy, a big problem for diabetics. So I really think it's a matter. People who have diabetes and doctors were in a habit for many, many years of talking to each other about that. Doctors didn't automatically say, you know what, maybe we should check your blood sugar. Much more prevalent now, they are much more on top of it than they used to be, which is also why you are seeing the numbers so much larger. People are becoming more aware but they're still not clearly aware enough. Question: Advice for others recently diagnosed. Pat Higgins: Make great friends with a diabetes educator because they are the people who you can go to and get actually on the phone on a fairly regular basis. Your doctors are very harder to get on the phone than a diabetes educator. They can really talk you about how to eat, about what exercise you ought to be doing and those kinds of things. So a lot of people think what I have diabetes, I can never have dessert again in my life, I am just going to ignore my diabetes because I don't want to go without chocolate, that's not what it's about now. We know now that diabetes is about the number of carbohydrates that come into your body personally versus the amount your body can handle. So my diabetes might be completely differently from your diabetes and the diabetes educator can help you with that. I want to still add, when I was first diagnosed and I went to see a diabetes educator, she told me about, it's about carbohydrates because all sugars are carbohydrates. So it's not about, oh I had it sugar-free, well, how many carbohydrates are still in it because they made up for the sugar someplace in another carbohydrate. So she said, you know, you can have sugar if you want, you got to count it. So I said to her, in other words, if I just wanted to eat four candy bars a day and that's all I eat, I could have four candy bars. She looked at me and she said, oh. She said, that's not a good diet. I said, I know. But I think people need to understand if you want to work in a square, you can do that, it's not -- it has to fit into your overall eating plan and your diabetes educator can help you with that.