Photo of Janelle Patterson
Nancy Jenkins, 67, of Marietta, does not allow her Type 2 Diabetes to prevent her from enjoying a chair volleyball game at the O & # 39; Neill Center in Marietta.
Photo of Janelle Patterson
Rhonda Kaatz, 61, of Marietta, has lived with diabetes since she was 31 years old, and says she can still enjoy sweets in moderation, such as Christmas cookies at the O & # 39; Neill Center in Marietta.
MARIETTA – Constant fatigue, hunger and thirst, blurred vision and frequent urination are all common symptoms of a chronic illness that one in three Americans suffers: diabetes.
"We get a lot of people who simply badume that because their family members have it, that their genetics makes them destined for it," said Nathan Lonidier, coordinator of the diet and diabetes program for the Center Diabetic Education of the Memorial Health System. "But there are ways to prevent it, genetics is not the biggest risk factor."
According to the National Institutes of Health, the prevalence of diabetes (type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes) will increase by 54 percent to more than 54.9 million Americans between 2015 and 2030; annual deaths attributed to diabetes will increase by 38 percent to 385,800; and the total annual medical and social costs related to diabetes will increase by 53 percent to more than $ 622 billion by 2030.
And with the Washington County figures continuing the national trend of increased diagnoses, a growth rate of 56.16 percent between 2004 and 2014 according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. UU They are essential to prevent the disease before it appears.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when blood glucose levels rise more than normal because the body does not use insulin properly or does not produce insulin at all. .
For years it was called diabetes onset in adults, but Lonidier said that it is no longer the only population at risk.
"I've seen people as young as 12 develop it", said.
"It is not the same as Type 1, which is usually found in children and young people who do not have any of the other risk factors but who develop insulin deficiencies, but type 2 is preventable, only 10 percent of people with diabetes have type 1 ".
The prevention of the disease includes a diet high in vegetables rich in vitamins and low in sugar and fat, as well as exercising regularly.
"I focus on eliminating sugary drinks and junk foods from customers' diets" Lonidier said. "We are not interested in losing weight in the short term, it has to be long term, they have to be the ones who take care of what they can do with their diet and exercise and work with their doctor for their Health".
Lonidier explained that once diagnosed with the chronic disease, while it can be managed, one will continue with the treatment of the disease for the rest of his life.
"Essentially what diabetes is, is when the pancreas, which is responsible for producing insulin, wears out," Lonidier said. "You can not restore that, but with weight loss and exercise along with medication can help your body respond better to the insulin it has."
DEEP, or Educational Empowerment for Diabetes, are clbades offered by the O & # 39; Neill Center in Marietta at no cost to seniors at risk or diagnosed with diabetes.
"It's a series of clbades over six weeks that last two hours each and we talk about how blood sugar levels affect the rest of your body, what foods you can eat, and more. , explained Connie Huntsman, executive director of the center. "Many people do not realize how this can affect the rest of their body and the complications they can develop if they do not control their blood sugar level."
Huntsman said that those interested in taking the course are invited to call the center to register.
"Our next clbad is scheduled for March, but with enough interest we will begin one in January," he added.
Clbades and local resources are also offered through Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Washington County Health Department and Memorial Health System.
Rhonda Kaatz, 61, of Marietta, has lived with Type 2 since she was 30.
"You can live with that, it's not a death sentence," she said. "But it's definitely a challenge, sometimes you're so tired"
Kaatz said that she fights the disease with a structured regiment of medication, proper nutrition and an active lifestyle.
"I come to the O & # 39; Neill Center every day I can, play volleyball, call bingo and also volunteer with RSVP," he said . "So, as long as you tell your candy and do not complain too much, it's manageable, after having it for so long, I know that if I consent it will take three or four days to recover."
For Nancy Jenkins, 67, of Marietta, living with type 2 during the last decade has changed her eating structure.  "I was tired and I realized that if I ate something sweet I would visibly slow down", he said. "I was addicted to chocolate and then I fell asleep."
Jenkins now eats small portions throughout the day, stays away from sweets and makes sure to exercise with activities such as volleyball and aerobics at the O & # 39; Neill Center.
"The older you are when you are diagnosed, the harder it is to make changes", he said. "But now I only care about what I can have and I can not". I do not expect my family or the world to change for me. "
Kaatz said that when he was first diagnosed he received education on how to improve his prognosis and still continues to do so.
" I even took the DEEP clbad at the center, I hope I can teach, " she said. " It's important to me since I've had it for so long. I want to educate people about what they can do to live a full life. "
For more information about diabetes, risk factors and prevention, visit diabetes.org.