Diabetes: A Look Inside the Hidden Disease
The following is an excerpt from a recent WDAM story, featuring a sit-down with Linda Gwaltney, director of Hattiesburg Clinic Diabetes Care.
Diabetes impacts millions across the globe daily.
“It’s a chronic disease,” said Linda Gwaltney, director of Diabetes Education at Hattiesburg Clinic. “It’s a serious disease. It can affect a whole lot of things in your body.”
Living with diabetes is no easy task.
“I was one of those guys who was really surprised,” said Type 2 diabetic Robert Gwaltney. “You’re 60-years-old, and we’re going to do a glucose tolerance test on you and ‘voilà,’ I have diabetes.”
But it can be managed.
“What was hard was for me to change my thinking to ‘I’ve got this disease.’ Even though I don’t feel different, I’ve got the disease,” said Robert. “I didn’t want to become like a lot of people where they had amputations or end up with cardiovascular disease.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, which is around 9 percent of the country’s population.
Diabetes is a long-term disease that affects the way your body creates energy from foods. Insulin is a hormone located in the pancreas that breaks down sugars and turns it into energy. A diabetic pancreas doesn’t do that.
“Insulin is a regulatory hormone that is necessary to get the glucose or blood sugar into your cells to be used,” said Linda.
There are two different types of Diabetes: Type 1, an autoimmune disease in which the body produces no insulin at all; and Type two, in which the body produces some but not enough insulin.