Fourteen years ago, Inkster resident Angie Ellis was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Angie had been prediabetic for years and lost a brother to diabetes. Following her diagnosis, Angie experienced mood swings, changes in appetite, and weight fluctuation. “I was really upset,” she explains. “It took me awhile to adjust and I’m still adjusting.”
Diabetes is a serious disease that affects an estimated one million Michigan adults. It is often called a “silent disease” because it can cause serious complications even before a person experiences symptoms. If not managed properly, diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, and more.
In April of 2011 Angie moved to Inkster where she learned about the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s (NKFM) Inkster community coalition, the Inkster Partnership for a Healthier Community (IPHC). On the path to better health and in an effort to effectively manage her diabetes, Angie participated in the NKFM’s Diabetes PATH and BodyWorks programs offered in Inkster.
“I really enjoyed Diabetes PATH,” Angie says, “I got to know a lot about myself as a diabetic and how to survive with diabetes.”
Angie explains that BodyWorks and Diabetes PATH helped her to make healthy lifestyle changes, especially when it came to modifying her eating habits. She stopped frying foods, started eating more vegetables, and stopped drinking pop. Many of these choices were a challenge, but Angie says that moderation is important. “I learned that I can eat the things that I enjoy as long as I don’t overdo it. Sweets are okay sometimes,” says Angie.
Angie has also participated in the NKFM’s Enhance Fitness program, which was offered at her apartment complex. She says that she would like to take more of these classes if she has the opportunity. Lately, Angie has been trying to walk more, as physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
“What stuck with me most from these programs is to watch my sugar intake. When the instructor filled up the cups to demonstrate how much sugar was in certain drinks, the visual really hit me,” says Angie, “Now when I go to the grocery store, I look at how many grams of sugar are in what I am buying.”
In the future, Angie hopes to continue walking regularly and maybe even run. “I want to lose this weight. I know it won’t happen all at once, but I’m working on it.”
Although there are challenges in living with diabetes, Angie explains that it can be controlled. By making healthy food choices; being physically active; and knowing your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers (the ABCs of diabetes), it can be managed to prevent other health complications down the road. For more information about the NKFM’s programs or for resources on diabetes and kidney disease, call the NKFM at 800-482-1455 or visit www.nkfm.org.