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How Diabetes Impacted My Family by Raul Chibas Sandoval, MD
In my home country, Nicaragua, an important family tradition is a large meal rich in flavor with “gallo pinto” (rice and pinto beans), deep-fried corn tortilla with cheese in the middle, and “pico de gallo” salad, paired with a sweetened natural beverage. This food provides comfort and satisfaction but also high-calorie intake and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are nutrients which, along with fat and protein, basically turn into sugar in our bodies and become our main source of energy.
Any extra energy that is not used is stored as fat, but over a period of time, this can overwhelm our bodies. And eventually, the way our body deals with extra sugar can lead to pre-diabetes and diabetes.
My mom was diagnosed with diabetes before I was born. And while she took all the medications her doctor gave her, she did not change her diet. She was given the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy, which is high sugar damaging the small vessels that supply the eyes. Even with treatment, she never fully recovered her vision, and ultimately, both her vision and her independence disappeared.
Diabetes is a devastating disease when poorly controlled, yet preventable in most cases.
If you have an unhealthy diet, are overweight or obese, or have a family member with diabetes, then you too should be tested for diabetes. Contact your primary care provider at Ryan Health. We have many resources available to you, such as rapid testing for diabetes, nutrition counseling, health coaching, clinical diabetes educators, and medical providers that will enable you to take ownership of your health and be an active decision-maker in what is best for you.
There are also many online resources available including how to make your favorite recipes more diabetic friendly. Please visit www.diabetes.org to learn more about diabetes, what is eating healthy, and how to prevent complications.
Please take care of yourself, we care about you.
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Ryan Health’s nurse-led diabetes group has gone virtual! If you’re looking to keep up on news about how to manage your diabetes during a pandemic, or to just ask questions and learn about your diabetes from a professional, and in the company of other patients online, join us every third Tuesday of the month at 11:30 AM! Contact our AmeriCorps Health Prevention Specialist Archit Gupta at archit.Gupta@ryanhealth.org, or 646-276-6907.
Dr. Raul Chibas Sandoval a second-year internal medicine resident at Mount Sinai Morningside - West. He is also in the primary care track and sees patients at Ryan Health | Adair.