I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the young age of 31. By then, at 400 pounds, I’d been feeling the symptoms for about six years. And ignoring them. I didn’t even know what diabetes was when I was diagnosed. My family has a history of type 2, but most have passed now and didn’t know they had it until it was too late.
I am a Subway® restaurant franchise owner, and at the time I was so focused on building a successful business that I ignored my health and suffered through numerous gallbladder attacks before finally seeing a doctor. They checked my blood pressure and tested me for diabetes, then sent me to the hospital.
Twenty years later, I weigh about 185 pounds and have brought my A1C (average blood glucose levels) down from a staggering 12 percent to just over 6 percent, which is close to the normal range. I finally learned – the “hard” way, with daily exercise and healthy eating – what it takes to be healthy.
Now I’m doing all I can to help Stop Diabetes®. I have helped raise more than $1 million for the American Diabetes Association by placing donation boxes and selling pin-ups in each of my 30 Subway® restaurants.
A type 2 diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to end your life, but you need to take it seriously. If you have diabetes or are at risk for it, eat right, exercise and listen to your doctors. You have to do everything you can to maintain a healthy weight. The consequences are too high if you don’t.
Do you know YOUR risk for type 2 diabetes? March 25 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day®, so get ready to take the Diabetes Risk Test and share it with everyone you know. You will find this free test on Facebook, at diabetes.org/risktest or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).