And lest you wonder why I'm talking about it on a green blog, let me share you how:
In a given month, I go through 120 test strips to check my blood sugars. 120 lancets. 2 1/2 pens of insulin. 60 pen needles and alcohol wipes. Four bottles of pills. And a few faxes to my M.D. And that's when I'm being compliant, remembering to check my sugars regularly and not scrimping corners by reusing needles or lancets.
Multiply this by 23,599,999 other Americans who have diabetes, and you've got yourself an environmental problem to go along with a health crisis. The CDC says that $1 of every $10 of health care dollars is attributed to diabetes. Yes, diabetes costs a lot. It costs a lot of time, a lot of worry, a lot of money (thank goodness I have a decent health plan) and a lot of daily medical waste.
I wish I could turn back time. Though I doubt I could have prevented diabetes (I was showing signs even when I was thinner, plus I have a parent with type 1), I could have done more to prevent things from getting worse. And, 14 or so years later, I'm now telling my child things like "See, mommy doesn't cry when she gets her shot."
Diabetes sucks. Of course, anyone with any chronic condition would tell you the same. But I'm trying to do more to fix my health. Eating healthier. Drinking more water. Getting regular rest. Squeezing in exercise, even if it's a few minutes of marching in place while I'm waiting for the next load of laundry to get dry.
But there's a lot a person can do to reduce their risk of following in my footsteps. Here's a few common-sense things to remember:
Watch your weight. And even if you're fighting a battle on the scale, know that even a 5 or 10 percent weight loss can help your health.
Eat whole grains, fresh produce, etc. Besides the fact that whole grains are closer to "real" food than processed, they have fiber and have a lower glycemic index, making it easier on your body.
Fit in fitness. Start small, like I am. Take a walk, work out at home, do what you can do and work up from there. (And get your kids involved; it's a great way to set a lifelong habit.)
Enlist support. Whether you're a diabetic or at risk, enlist people who care about you to help you stay focused on lifelong changes. Because this is a battle you will fight for life. But it's a battle that is worth it.
- Going Green Mama