My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. — Hosea 4:6
For the past few weeks, I have shared the story of my family’s struggle with Type 2 diabetes in a series titled “Dousing the Flames of the Diabetes Epidemic.” New to my family, we all suffered the great loss of our mother, Fannie Estelle Hill Grant, in such a horrific manner.
Mother lost both legs and was extremely sad and depressed! Who wouldn’t be? Mother had kidney dialysis; high blood pressure and seven strokes. She was only 61 when she had her first major stroke, which resulted in paralysis, and only lived 12 years after her diagnosis.
Let me conclude this series with an exchange between Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and a caller during a C-SPAN interview in 2014.
The caller said: “My mother had triggered diabetes. I don’t recall what type it was. I have a brother and sister that are 10 years older than I am. They both take insulin shots and have had difficulties with this disease. Here I am so far in my life, I’ve been disease-free of sugar diabetes. This genetic makeup – if they have the gene and I don’t, I would like to know why I succeeded in life without becoming a victim of that.”
Rodgers answered, “Our genetic makeup says a lot about what we are likely to become. You may or may not have the same risk because we have two parents and you inherit half of your genes from one parent and half from the other. It could be that susceptibility gene, you may have been lucky to not inherit. A lot has to do with our environment, how much we are exposed to, what we eat.
“As it turns out, in Type 2 diabetes, our environment begins even earlier,” he continued. “For studies we have funded, both in our NIH Phoenix branch and other sites nationally, determines that our environment begins in utero. A mother who develops Type 2 diabetes or who has diabetes during pregnancy, the infant born to that mother when they have diabetes is more likely to develop diabetes later on in life than an infant born to that same mother who was not affected with just a small diabetes — known as gestational diabetes. There is something in our environment we are trying to understand. That’s another factor to be considered. Of course, if it runs in your family, that does put you at higher risk. It sounds like you’re doing the right thing and you are being checked periodically to determine whether you have any signs of it.”
To conclude, it may not be our fault when it is in our genes, which shows even more why early detection is important. Type 2 diabetes runs in my mother’s family, but it wasn’t discussed very much. They really didn’t understand what they needed to know and share — which is why I’ve taken the bull by the horns. I have promised to tell this story for the rest of my life.
Dr. Griffin said a good prescription is, one, get checked early and regularly; two, learn how to eat properly when you discover you are a candidate; and third, exercise and lose weight!
When you follow this simple 1-2-3 plan, you will save yourself and your loved ones from experiencing a life filled with pain, unnecessary suffering and regrets!
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-558-2107. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.