Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Family's History of Diabetes Leads to Concern

DEAR HARRIETTE: Diabetes runs in my family. Nearly every adult who has reached 45 years old has gotten it, and many of my father’s relatives died of complications from it. I am so worried that it will happen to me. For years, I worked out a lot and kept myself fit.

For the past 10 years, though, I haven’t paid much attention to my health, and I have gained a ton of weight. I am worried that I could be headed toward diabetes. I’m so ashamed. I have avoided going to the doctor because I don’t want to be told I have the family curse. I feel like such a loser. I don’t know what to do. I feel as though I will be letting my family down if I have it because I could have taken preventative measures. Is it too late to do anything now? What’s my next step? -- Hopeless and Ashamed, Syracuse, New York

DEAR HOPELESS AND ASHAMED: This wake-up call about yourself can seem daunting, but don’t try to hide from whatever your truth is. Go to the doctor and get a complete physical examination. Be sure to tell your internist about your family history. You should request the test for diabetes. It is wise to know what health issues you are facing so you can deal with them directly.

If you do have diabetes, follow the protocol your doctor has given you, and be sure to exercise and pay close attention to your diet. Eliminate everything that your doctor tells you to stop eating. If you follow directions, which will include losing weight, you may be able to reduce the impact of diabetes and any other ailments the doctor may discover. Instead of being paralyzed by shame, take action. You can oversee your health. You can choose wellness.

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