30.3 million Americans have diabetes and 84.1 million people have prediabetes. Yet even with these staggering numbers it is easy to think diabetes won’t impact your life. Aarica Hanes is an LPN at Ohio Hills Health Services (OHHS), Barnesville Family Health Center and as a health care professional, she understands diabetes and interacts with patients every day. Yet, five years ago when her son Brayden was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes it caught her off guard and changed her life.
“Brayden had not been feeling well and I took him to see Dr. Lee-Wood. I was shocked when the lab results came back and he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes,” said Hanes. “I felt guilty I had missed something and from that moment on my mission was to learn everything I could about diabetes in order to keep Brayden healthy and just as importantly to allow him to have a normal childhood and to not have diabetes interfere with him being a kid.”
About 5% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to take insulin every day to survive. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.
“Aarica’s desire to learn about diabetes has not only helped Brayden, but she has been a tremendous support for other families who are coping with diabetes,” said Dr. Russell Lee-Wood, Medical Director, OHHS. “She received training to become a Diabetes Paraprofessional Level 2. Aarica works with patients diagnosed with diabetes to develop a plan for them to stay healthy and she provides the tools and ongoing support to make that plan a regular part of a patient’s life. We are glad Aarica is part of our healthcare team. She is making a difference.”
Brayden is not the only student in the Barnesville Schools who has been diagnosed with diabetes. The parents of these students have bonded together to educate others regarding diabetes and to ensure their children receive the support they need to cope with type 1 diabetes.
However, about 90% of people with diabetes have type 2. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults (but more and more in children, teens, and young adults). You may not notice any symptoms, so it’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you’re at risk. You’re at risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes if you are overweight, are age 45 or older, have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes or are physically active less than 3 times a week. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active. Taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education and support, and keeping health care appointments can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.
People at high risk are urged to discuss their risk factors with their doctor who can diagnose diabetes with a simple blood test. Call your healthcare provider today or call OHHS at 740-239-OHHS.
Photo: These 3 Barnesville Elementary students cope with Type 1 Diabetes everyday and were proud to bring awareness to diabetes at their school and in the community. (l-r) Alex Richards, Jude Grimes, Brayden Hanes with school nurse Christie Jones.