SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sansum Clinic is taking part in a national campaign to educate local communities about diabetes and special services available to residents living with the condition.
"Even if you're feeling ok, that's the thing with diabetes," said Lily Yip, Medication Therapy Management Pharmacist with Sansum Clinic. "It's what we call a "silent killer" where your blood sugars can be really sky-high and you can be asymptomatic. You might not feel any different because your body is so used to having high blood sugars."
Yip said there are at least four types of diabetes and called the disease a "widespread epidemic."
"It got to the point where i didn't want to get out of bed sometimes," said Mike McGill, one of Yip's patients. "And I just didn't have the energy or the get up and go."
Gone are the days of the finger prick, for some patients. Yip and McGill credit a small device known as a FreeStyle Libre that reads McGill's levels digitally, through a patch on his arm.
"Now I just do like this," McGill said as he runs the device down his sleeve and waits for it to sound.
McGill, a former Army medic and retired Ventura County Sheriff's deputy, said he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes more than 20 years ago. He credits awareness and prevention to helping him live a healthier life -- and eating more vegetables -- and shares symptoms that he wants others to be aware of, for their own health.
"I would say one of them would be bein' light-headed," McGill said. "When you're walking, I would sometimes go to one side or the other and I don't know, just not sleepin' good."
McGill recommends people stay active and move when you're feeling especially tired. Yip said diet, portion control and, limiting carbs are all key factors to preventing or maintaining Diabetes. Watching your weight and blood sugar levels are also important. Yip said in some cases, the condition does have a genetic link.
"If you have a family member that has any signs of symptoms of increased thirst, increased urination, feeling extremely tired and having a lack of energy and not knowing why -- or, if you see that they're eating too much or complaining of weight gain, I would strongly suggest they see their doctor and get their glucose checked," Yip said. "Especially if over 44. So many times I have patients that come in that I see who have said, 'I wish that I had known sooner.' You can have Diabetes for years and never realize. It's definitely something you can take full control of before you develop any complications like kidney disease, eye disease or neuropathy, which is nerve damage where you feel pain in your hands and your feet."
For more information about Sansum Clinic's Diabetes education page, click here.
For more information about Diabetes, click here.