Diabetic Pat Higgins talks with icyou about her diagnosis of diabetes.
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Pat Higgins: I believe that I have been diabetic rather for probably 25, 26 years but I was only diagnosed ten years ago. I was diagnosed after I already had some advanced problems and that's how I found out I was diabetic. I think I was earlier than that because a doctor one time 30-some years ago said, oh, you have a little sugar in your urine and never said another word beyond that. I had no idea what that meant at that time and I ignored it and he didn't pushed it. 20 years later, I suddenly didn't had feeling in my toes and I went to the doctor. I thought I had stubbed my toe and turned out I was diabetic of type 2. I developed neuropathy in my hands and in my feet and retinopathy in my eyes. It took me five years really from that time to get it under control. I am now insulin dependent, which I am happy to be because that's actually what brought it control for me. So my A1c is now 5.8, I am extremely happy. I work in diabetes association once your A1c to be under 7. So that's - I think if I lose the weight, I'd be really good. I was as angry at myself as I was with the doctors because I should have paid attention when the first doctor said to me, oh you have a little sugar. I should have asked, what does that mean? I didn't because diabetes is one of those illnesses that is not well enough understood by the public to immediately become alarmed, and I should have become alarmed then instead of 20 years later. Once I did know about it, then I was very unhappy with that earlier doctor and myself. As I said, it's taken me a while to get it under control. Medication alone did not work for me; I needed the insulin as well. So that's become part of my daily existence. Some days, I am really good at managing it and some days I am not good at managing and that is part of the problem for diabetics. It is a disease that has to be managed every single day and at every meal everyday. So it becomes very overwhelming to a lot of folks. Question: What do you think needs to happen to stop the diabetes trend? Pat Higgins: Well, I really think it begins with public education. I think it's a very clear cycle. I think that if the more people know about it, the more people who are diagnosed or who get screen for it, the more people who understand it, I have it in my family so I need to be careful. The more we will be advocates for ourselves and for diabetes in general. I promise that if more people were vocal about it and knew more about it, knew how devastating it really is, then businesses would suddenly learn more about it. My personal belief is that if businesses start onboard with it, you would see changes overnight because it is a highly, highly expensive for companies to have employes that are diabetic.