A patient once described diabetes to me this way - “If it doesn’t take your life, it takes your life away.” I often reflect back on that comment. The number of Australians and New Zealanders diagnosed with diabetes now 1.2 million and 250,000 respectively.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kevin Frazier, host of a popular US show called “The Insider,” to discuss his personal experience with diabetes – a disease that affected his grandfather, uncle and now his father. Kevin’s father suffered a stroke as a complication of diabetes. As I listened to Kevin describe his father’s health habits growing up, diagnosis and the physical struggles that have left him unable to participate in his beloved game of golf, I was once again reminded of my patient’s comment.
Few people understand the serious consequences of this disease, which can include heart disease, stroke, blindness, nerve pain and limb amputation. It’s also important to be mindful of the symptoms. As I think back to my own upbringing, I recall several family members that very likely had diabetes but went undiagnosed because we simply didn’t know the signs.
Symptoms of diabetes can include frequent urination, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss and tingling or numbness in hands or feet. If you or a family member is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk with your doctor about being tested. Awareness and management are key components to making sure you can live your life to the fullest.
- 1. Diabetes Australia. Accessed 2/2/2017.
- 2. NZ Ministry of Health with Diabetes New Zealand. Accessed 2/2/2017.