Living with Diabetes

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Decatur- More than 20 million people have diabetes across the United States and many individuals don't even know they have the disease.

One local man living with diabetes since the age of 11 has advice for others.

Jeremy Cook didn't have a childhood like most children. His consisted of lots of highs and lows.

"It's just like a normal weekday. I went to eat with my family. We went to the park afterwards and I got sick that night,” Cook said.

His family thought it was maybe food poisoning or the flu, but it wasn’t and he had to be rushed to Carle Hospital.

"My blood sugar was 876 which was extremely high. I was in and out of consciousness," he added.

Cook was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in the 6th grade. Hearing you are diabetic are words that changed his life.

"I was lucky enough in school that they had another Type 1 Diabetic. . . we were blood sugar buddies," Cook added.

Having diabetes said, it never stopped him from doing what he loves.

"It's just about keeping an eye on what your sugars are doing and monitoring them while you're out and about," said Cook.

"By continuing a healthy lifestyle you further decrease. . . the risk that everyone with diabetes wants to avoid and that's things like damage to your nerves," said Dr. Phil Barnell the Chief Medical Officer at St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur.

Along with watching your weight, staying active and monitoring your blood sugar, Cook said for those living with diabetes, individuals shouldn’t be embarrassed.

"Tell the people around you so they can get an understanding about the days you don't want to get out of bed...They know to check on you," Cook said.

On Tuesdays from 2:30-5 there is a Diabetes Self-Management Program at the SIU School of Medicine Family Physicians Office in Decatur. Call Marisa at the Macon County Health Department at (217) 423-6988 ext. 1130 if you would like to register for the program.

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