Understanding Diabetes…What Is It and What does it have to do with SLICE?

Hello family…..I guess the first thing I’d like to say is….I’m glad to be back. Life happens and that’s all that can be said about my absence. At any rate, I believe the topic for this Blog is Diabetes….So what is it….Exactly.  Well, let me start by saying what it is not….IT IS NOT A JOKE AND IT IS NOTHING TO PLAY WITH!!!!

Specifically, for the sake of being specific, I am speaking of Type II Diabetes. The complete medical name is Diabetes Mellitus. It even sounds scary. There is a ton of literature about this vicious disease, mostly on how to live with it and how to manage it etc.  In addition, there is equally a ton of general information about the preventative measures we can take, like eating a healthy diet and making healthy food choices, getting regular exercise, exercising stress reduction techniques, avoiding high carb and high sugary foods, avoid empty calories, add more fruits and vegetables etc etc. But does the AVERAGE person, really know what Diabetes IS and WHAT is does to your body.

Well, let me try to paint a picture for you…..here’s what you do….go find a mud hole and siphon out as much mud and gook and sludge as you can and then drain all of the blood from your body and replace it with this muddy concoction and let that just run through your blood stream for a while. Got it….Good.  I know that is extreme…..but that is Diabetes.

A truer definition is: Your body’s inability to metabolize Sugars…..meaning your body is not able to use the sugar as fuel for your body. Not white granulated sugar you buy from the grocery store…I mean glucose. Glucose is in the foods that we consume.  Glucose is the fuel that our body needs to live and function. Every major internal organ needs glucose to function: heart, brain, liver and kidneys. And every part of our body is affected when we don’t have either an adequate blood supply or a contaminated blood supply.

Why is this important to me, well I lost my dear mother and grandmother to this disease and I spent several years educating myself and trying to understand exactly what this disease is and how it effects the body. I read tons of literature, mostly on the things I mentioned above. I even became a Volunteer Representative Speaker for the American Diabetes Association.

When I would speak publically on the topic of Diabetes, I love to use the analogy of the car. As I explained above….would you go out and siphon a mud hole and drain your car of clean oil and replace it with sludge?  I don’t think so. Your body is the same way.  If you have dirty contaminated blood running through your blood stream, your body will not function properly for very long or not at all.  Same with your car.  Try running sludge through your vehicle’s engine and see what happens.

Now, how does this happen with Diabetes. Well, if you don’t already know, your Pancreas is the organ that produces Insulin.  Insulin is the hormone that carries Glucose from your blood stream to your major organs as fuel so they can function.

With Diabetes, something has happened where your Pancreas is either 1. Producing Insulin but the body is not metabolizing it properly or 2. The Pancreas is failing to produce Insulin altogether. In either case, you keep eating and the Glucose (sugar) just sits there and builds up in the blood stream.  The effects of this may not be known for some time, which is why many millions of people may be diabetic or pre-diabetic and not even know it.  But when the symptoms start to hit you, the formal Diagnosis can be devastating. Imagine, whatever has happened to create this in your body, you are continuing to do for years and years before you even know what hit you.

There are so many factors that can contribute to the getting diabetes; of the most common of course is a combination of an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and excess weight. And many millions of people don’t’ find out they are a full blown diabetic until they are rushed to the ER because of a serious trauma that they are experiencing as a result. Many times, it is a Hyper Glycemic episode. This is when the blood sugar levels are so high that your organs start to fail or you have a heart attack or stroke because the heart cannot push the sludge around anymore and the pressure is so high that you suffer and heart attack or stroke. So you ask…How do I suffer a heart attack or stroke because of diabetes?

Well, here’s another visual. Imagine you are swimming in a pool full of Jello. You represent the “heart” the Jello represents the Blood Stream.  How hard do you think you would have to work to get through the Jello?  Got it….Good. If your heart has to work that hard to push sludge blood through your body AND carry excess weight around, then eventually it will just give up and give out….remember, your heart has to supply blood to every MAJOR ORGAN and it has to keep beating even if “fat walls” are crushing it to death. So when your heart cannot do its job efficiently, guess what happens, major organ failure, which are usually the heart and then the kidneys because they can’t work fast enough to filter all of that gook out of your system, so they fail too.

For a stroke, well the pressure of pumping blood is like you trying to put more and more air in a bicycle tire…you push and push and push and them boom, the tire explodes. This is analogous to the blood pressure building up in the brain, eventually, a vessel goes….boom….that’s a stroke.

Why so dramatic….well, one thing I notice is that the message about the seriousness and level of urgency just isn’t there….yes there are efforts and awareness campaigns to raise the level of importance of the dangers of diabetes, as diabetes is an epidemic in our country, but people really need to panic, as if this was an outbreak of the Ebola virus…..isn’t that a bit extreme, of course it is, but nevertheless, there does not seem to be an urgency. THIS DISEASE IS VICIOUS AND INCIDIOUS AND DEADLY….and PREVENTABLE.

 The diabetic condition, effects every part of the body…Do you know anyone who has lost lower limbs (legs, feet and toes); that’s what happens when the lower extremities don’t get a good supply of good, clean blood;  the flesh dies, that’s called Necrosis. Do you know anyone who has lost their vision; that’s what happens when your optical system does not get a good supply of good, clean blood.  Do you know anyone who has had Kidney failure and is now on Dialysis.  I already talked about that one….Do you know anyone who went into a Diabetic Coma and died…that’s often times what happens when diabetes is left undiagnosed and untreated…. I do…….so hence the drama….

In addition, once you are a medically diagnosed as a Diabetic, there is not much instruction you will get from your physician (hopefully you are lucky enough to even be seen by a doctor or have medical insurance). No slight to physicians at all….many doctor’s, unfortunately, do not have the time, make the effort, or have the resources or the patience to educate you on everything you need to know about diabetes, much less how to manage it.  Often times, you will get a prescription for Metformin or some other insulin producing medication with some general pamphlets (maybe) and some verbal instruction to eat right and exercise.  They may talk to you about your A1C level or discuss your current “numbers” and give you some goals and measurements to strive for…..Thanks….that’s it….yep, that’s it.

Now, what does any of this have to do with SLICE? Well, you must know by now, that my whole message with SLICE IT UP is to speak on topics that make you think about your current life situation and give you the motivation to change it, so you can be all that God wants you to be in HIM; to live out your life’s purpose and passion.  You can’t be a “Soldier for the Lord” if you are overweight or obese and can’t breathe.  I dare you to try to fight ANY war in that condition. Do you know any out of shape and overweight soldiers?  If you are active duty, you are fit to fight or fit for flight…..

That’s how we need to see ourselves in God’s army. We have to be fit to fight or fit for flight because you never know when you will have to do either.

Anyway, back to Diabetes. There is so much information and resources out there to help you understand this disease.  So I admonish those of you who have not given much thought to your current health and lifestyle choices, to please know that there is a price to pay, in the end, for making unhealthy food and other unhealthy lifestyle choices.

And quite frankly, the same preventative measures and advice on how to avoid diabetes could easily be applied to many diseases of the body. Other than heredity, we really can take control of our health by making healthy food choices, being educated on the disease and your family health history and being aware of how your lifestyle choices may affect your life and the lives of your families.

Remember, WHY you are here….if you don’t know or have not taking the time to explore what your passion in life is, then you really ought to consider finding out what drives you; what is your heart’s desire? Read my other blog entitled “Life’s Passion, Everybody Has One….What’s Yours” Once you can focus on your passion, which is God’s purpose for your life, then you will take care to protect the only vessel that can get the job done…which is your body. You don’t get another one…. Remember, God cannot dwell and work in or through an unclean temple.  But he can always use you when you begin to focus on HIM and HIS purpose for your life.

Am I in perfect health, of course not, but I am trying to apply what I have learned about this disease to insure that I don’t get it. I am, of course predisposed so I have to really stay on top of my game.  But I know my purpose and I am trying to stay healthy so I can continue to live out my passion and I do hope you find your passion so you can do the same.

And lastly, as this is such a personal passion of mine, I wanted to do something to galvanize women, in particular, to take control of not only their own health but the health of their families, as we are the primary caretakers. In that effort, I started Divas Against Diabetes.  This is a global T- Shirt campaign to galvanize women to declare that the Diabetes Awareness and Education effort starts with us……

DIVA means Determined, Invigorated, Victorious and Able.  Please read more at www.divasagainstdiabetes.com.

Declare your “DivaNess”by proudly wearing this Diva Tee. I am also asking that you take a Selfie in the Diva Tee and post on your favorite Social Media Site with a brief caption of who you are a DIVA for; yourself, in your own battle or a loved one or family member or friend in their battle.