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Paula Deen’s Diagnosis – A Sign for Change?

The big news of the day is that Paula Deen admits to having Type 2 Diabetes.  It turns out that, yes, she was diagnosed about three years ago.  At that time, Paula made the decision to keep this information out of the public realm.  It was considered need-to-know information that was only to be shared between herself, her close family members and (presumably) her doctor.

 

And some would completely agree with that stance.  They would argue that the general public has no business knowing the health challenges of the chefs that we watch, day-in and day-out, on TV.  We are not their family.  We are not their friends (although we do become attached to them, and FEEL like we know them… we really don’t).  This is a private matter that Paula was definitely not comfortable sharing with her viewers.  And that is totally OK.

 

Well, fast forward three years and there seems to be a change of heart.  Paula is now more than comfortable and willing to share her condition with the world.  And not merely share this information… no!  Paula is now on a mission.

 

Paula has now partnered with a drug manufacturer to promote their diabetes medication.  Now this is an interesting coincidence indeed!  Does this lucrative opportunity have anything to do with Paula’s recent change of heart?  I guess everyone will have to make up their own mind on that.

 

But, it does raise an issue that is very close to my heart (literally).

 

Several years ago I was diagnosed with exceptionally high cholesterol levels.  Accounting for my (relatively) young age, my gender, and my family history of heart problems, it was a major red flag.  I remember being on the phone with my doctor and being told that I could try to lower my levels through diet and exercise, but, if I was unsuccessful, I would HAVE to go on medication.

 

What a wake up call.

 

Maybe it was because I believed these things normally happened to older folks, or overweight folks (I was normal weight for my height, but on the higher end of “normal”), or folks that just didn’t take care of themselves all that well (I *thought* I was in shape).

 

That was the beginning of a process that has seen me lose about 30 lbs, increase my average walk to about 6 km (3.7 miles), and frankly feeling the best I have felt in my life!  And the bonus was that my cholesterol levels went back down to where they should be, which was a HUGE relief!  Come to think of it, if I had never been diagnosed with high cholesterol, I’m not sure that I would have put in the time and energy needed to get myself in this kind of shape. 

 

I guess everything happens for a reason…

 

So… the real question I have for Paula is… does she think this medication will solve all her problems?  Does she think that she can continue living an unhealthy lifestyle, and the medication will just “make up” for it?  I seriously hope not.  And I seriously hope that her fans, other people that have diabetes or another serious condition, or anyone else watching her will see that the medication will only take you so far.  Sometimes you have to do more than pop a pill to help yourself.

 

Diabetes needs to be managed on several fronts, not just with medication.  For example:

  • Not smoking
  • Eating healthy
  • Becoming physically active
  • Controlling your weight
  • Monitoring your glucose levels
  • Watching your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Taking good care of your feet (a particularly vulnerable area for diabetics)
  • Managing stress
  • Plus… Taking medication, if necessary

 

I totally acknowledge that for some people, the medication will be absolutely necessary and unavoidable.  And for those people, I’m glad there is medication available. 

 

For others (those lucky people), they will be able manage their condition without the use of medication.

 

But, whether you need the medication or not, it might be a good time to start looking at the whole picture.  You know, give yourself the best possible chances of success.  So why not use your diagnosis to spur on the changes that can really add to your quality of life? 

 

I can honestly tell you from experience… you’ll be glad you did!

 

Important Note:  Please check with your doctor before changing your diet or exercise level, especially if you are contending with a life-long condition like diabetes!

 

Sources, Type 2 Diabetes Info: 

Canadian Diabetes Association:
http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/living/just-diagnosed/type2/

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, MedlinePlus:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000313.htm

American Diabetes Association:
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-2/facts-about-type-2.html

 

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