The sour side of diabetes

grayscale photo of wheelchair
Photo by Patrick De Boeck on

Even though there are more than 30 million diabetics in the United States, unfortunately this illness flies under the radar of many people. This is especially true in the Hispanic community, even though they are the second group at risk in the country.

Diabetes is not only the seventh cause of death in America, but also the number one cause for kidney failure, blindness, and lower limbs amputations in adults.

The last condition named above was detailed in a spine-chilling reportage published on CNN Health last week, which included the most recent statistics of the state of California–the state with the third largest Hispanic population in the U.S.

Between 2011 and 2017, more than 82,000 amputations were caused by diabetes. Half of these procedures were performed on African-American and Hispanic patients of low income in the age group 45 to 64 years.

According to the CDC, the direct and indirect cost of the diabetic population in America exceeds 245 billion of dollars a year.

Now, in order to understand this disease, we need to consider its three types. Gestational Diabetes is only developed during pregnancy. Type 1 Diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops insulin production in the body. It is diagnosed in early childhood or adolescence, and they such patients need daily insulin injections to survive. Causes and prevention have not been found yet.

The last, Type 2 Diabetes, also known as insulin resistance, is the most common (90% of the patients.) It is diagnosed mostly in adults, and its causes derive from obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Ironically, Type 2 Diabetes, which can be almost prevented by improving food habits and the activity level, is the principal cause of the cases that end up in amputations.

Diabetes is a disease I know well. In 2010, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)–a consequence of high sugar levels. Among other health problems, this was the root cause of my infertility.

After a tortuous treatment including Metformin, the key to success was a rigorous diet low in sugars and carbohydrates. The result? I lost 30 pounds, and not only achieved my dream of becoming a mother, but also cured my diabetes.

The OB-Endocrinologist who supervised my treatment used to paint a picture of diabetes like pouring molasses inside the gears of an engine. At first, it slows down the mechanics until eventually it shuts it down entirely.

Undoubtedly, the marvelous culinary staples of our Hispanic countries, rich is sugars, carbs, and fried foods, has turned us into targets for diabetes. This illness is sentencing thousands of people to a wheelchair after they suffer the smallest accident such as bumping their big toe on the bed.

So, before we become a statistic, it is worth to evaluate if burritos, chimichangas, tacos, rice and beans, and all Latin yummy food should be eaten every day or every once in a while. Everything in moderation is better!

Thank you for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

This column was sponsored by Zellner Insurance Agency. Many things in life don’t have insurance. For everything else call Zellner (888) 208-8119

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