Joan Smith was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1997 following a routine check-up by her doctor, and she remembered it coming as a bit of a shock at the time. Nowadays, both she and her husband Keith manage their conditions together, following his diagnosis in 2008.
"I got a phone call from my doctor at about 6.30pm that night asking if I was all right," Joan said.
"And I said, 'Yes I'm fine. Why?' and they said my blood sugar level was up to 23.9. It is supposed to be between five and eight.
"I'd been living with it for a while, not knowing. And, apparently, that was quite all right with me, being at that level."
Joan said she was not really put on a diet back in 1997, but was told what not to eat a lot of.
"I was put on tablets, and was to live on a healthy sort of a diet and try to exercise two to three times a week," she said.
Keith said his diagnosis was far more gradual.
"They warned me about the sugars being consistently high and we needed to do something about that. To watch what I consumed," he said.
"We found it harder and harder to keep the glucose levels down, we were given tablets, then it was tablets plus insulin and the dosage slowly increased as they were trying to keep this sugar down.
"All the time they were warning us that the ramifications for later life for not doing the right thing would be blood circulation dropping off and extremities not getting the blood supply, and all the things that may occur."
Keith said they did not dwell on the exercise aspect, possibly because he looked all right at the time.
"I was fairly active in sport, fishing and walking the streams and so forth," he said.
"We were fairly active in a number of sports, playing tennis."
Joan said the disease could be inherited, but was age related.
Both will be attending the Armidale Dumaresq Lions Club Lap the Map for Diabetes on Sunday, November 17. It will be held in Civic Park from 8.30am to 11.30am, with registration near the sign in Dumaresq Street.
Lap the Map is all about diabetes prevention with Lions clubs across the country hosting family-friendly walks and community events to promote healthy lifestyle and raise awareness of an epidemic that affects more than 1.3 million people with the disease and an other estimated 2 million people who are in the high risk category.
Type 2 diabetes represents 90 per cent of all diabetes cases, and can be prevented or delayed in more than 50 per cent of cases through the following healthy lifestyle choices:
- Regular physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Making healthy food choices
- Managing blood pressure
- Managing cholesterol levels
- Not smoking
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