This is a personal struggle for my friends and my family and is a very important subject. I have decided to publish this message to make people aware of the horrific byproducts of diabetes. The disease ruins your cardiovascular and renal systems…. And the drugs, like metformin, that are prescribed, may encourage the onset of dementia. Diabetes is very invasive and destructive to our body, even after treatment, and medications. Your body is still struggling with trying to regulate the spiking/dropping of blood sugar levels all the time. It’s a very long process. Is there an “epidemic” in Bexar County — diabetes and obesity? This year I have had two friends in need of a kidney and are going through dialysis and another with congestive heart failure. All were told it was due to lifestyle and it really is a new “epidemic.” It is said losing your kidney or feet is very common. One doctor said if we watched our carb intake we could all be healthier. Are we not aware or do we just not care? Has diabetes affected you or someone in your life? Let’s talk about it…

Mary Tamez Escamilla: “I see that every day at the Doctor’s office I work at. It has been much more common lately.”

Barbara Ann Mendoza Mead: “All the darn Mexican restaurants on every corner. San Antonio is one of the fattest cities in our nation.”

Rebecca Perez: “As a diabetic, believe me, I am aware of what causes diabetes and how to control it. But to be honest we get tired. We get tired of the medicines and how expensive the meds are. We get tired of being told what is best for us. We get tired of having the things we are used to taken from us. Not just for a little time but all together at one time; Then not seeing a change. The food they say we need to eat is expensive. Not everyone has the money to eat healthy. It’s not that we don’t care but it’s just sometimes you feel like no matter how much you change your lifestyle your body does not reflect it.”

Kelly Narvaez: “Sometimes Diabetes has nothing to do with being overweight. I was 28 years old and weighed 135 pounds when I first got diagnosed. I’m 5’7 so I was nowhere near overweight. Luckily I am not on insulin but there will be a time where I just might be due to how long I will have it. For me It was genetic. My entire family has Diabetes. Now if you are overweight for your height and have a pretty high BMI, then you can control the disease by losing weight, watching your diet intake, etc and maybe just be able to manage it without medications. The longer the disease goes untreated, the higher the risk of all those complications.”

Rene Benitez: “Yes, it has affected my whole family and myself but I overcame it with exercise and eating healthier.”

Mel Abrego: “Yes, San Antonio is number 1 in the nation with zip 78207 & 78237 due to amputations because of diabetes. Then, somewhere in Louisiana. I’ve been to too many meetings, in the past, doing outreach. This has been one of San Antonio’s major concerns.”

Nini Lopez: “I think a large part of our community doesn’t care until they get diagnosed, and even then, they may not care. The self control in alot of our people is very weak and it gets weaker when you can smell the greasy barbacoa being made right across the street.”

Mark Alonzo: “I believe we care, it’s just hard to give up the tacos!”

Victoria W: “My dad got diagnosed with diabetes a couple of years ago, just like my grandma. It was no surprise to me since my dad’s lifestyle consisted of drinking Coca-Cola everyday instead of water and the way he eats is not any better. I actually felt relieved that now he would be forced to finally eat healthy, but no, I was wrong. He takes care of my grandma and thinking that she too has diabetes maybe she would teach him to eat better and drink more water. NOPE. Instead she keeps buying soda that’s on sale for him to drink on the daily and she keeps cooking the same sugar/ carb filled meals as usual. I argue with her to help him get better, don’t help him get worse, and her response? “He’s a grown man and he can do what he wants.” My point is, changing your eating habits is very difficult, especially in an economy that enforces unhealthy food. We need family and the ones that love us most to support us. Diabetes is not a joke, it is the primary killer in the United States after all.”