You might not think of a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis as a positive thing, but for Jeannie Williams, a consultant at the Jackson location of Medical Weight Loss Clinic, it’s exactly that.
She acknowledges that diabetes has affected her life in various ways, but believes it has helped her life for the better. Since November is National Diabetes Month, we’re exploring why.
“From a young age, I had to learn and understand how foods, illness and just simple everyday life choices impact our bodies,” Jeannie says.
It even helps her in her work, because it helps her closely relate to her patients.
“I understand their struggles following a meal plan, but also can give them great advice on healthier and tastier food options,” she explains. “I am able to help them understand things like simple and complex carbs, and foods with lower glycemic index. These things can help with weight loss and controlling blood sugars.”
Jeannie, who is now 32, was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease when she was 9 years old.
She manages her diabetes with three to five insulin injections per day, along with following a healthy diet. Fortunately, there have been improvements in managing Type 1 over the two decades she has lived with the disease. Jeannie says she has a much easier time scheduling injections and managing her blood sugar levels thanks to that progress.
Jeannie believes that there are misunderstandings around Type 1 diabetes as well as how it differs from Type 2.
“I would like people to know that Type 1 diabetes is not a disease that you can see,” she explains. “It is not an issue with eating too much sugar or having weight issues. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that impacts the pancreas’ job to produce any insulin at all. There is no cure or pill that can help cure Type 1.”
Meanwhile, with Type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t use the insulin it produces effectively, so the pancreas tries to compensate by producing more. However, the body is essentially insulin resistant. Type 2 can be controlled and even reversed through a healthy diet and exercise, medications and sometimes insulin injections.
In addition, Type 1 cannot be prevented, but there are several factors that make someone at risk for Type 2 diabetes.
“Both forms, however, carry many health risks - especially when uncontrolled,” Jeannie says. “This includes kidney disease, heart disease, neuropathy and blindness.”
She wants people who are newly diagnosed with Type 1 or struggling with their diagnosis to know that they can still live well.
“Dealing with diabetes does get easier and taking care of your nutrition really can help with your numbers and keeping you healthy and strong to live a fulfilling life.”
If you are ready for guidance in creating a healthy meal plan that will help you manage your diabetes and lose weight, contact Medical Weight Loss Clinic for a free consultation at 248-353-8446 or click here to schedule online.