Learning to Live Well with Diabetes after Diagnosis

For Immediate Release: June 26, 2006
Contact: Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Amelia Ashton, 78, was recently diagnosed with diabetes, a disease that led to her husband’s death 16 years ago and contributed to the loss of four of her siblings.

She decided the day she was diagnosed to do everything possible to learn about diabetes and make the necessary changes to slow the disease.

“You’re never too old to find out something new and helpful,” Ashton said. “I think I’m doing well, but I want to know more. Working on a farm left me no time to feel sorry for myself, and that’s how I still feel today.”

She began by reading “Learning to Live Well with Diabetes” a newly revised, free booklet published by the Vermont Department of Health. Ashton, the oldest of 15 children raised on a Vermont family farm, attended her first diabetes class last week.

In Vermont, 40,000 people, mostly adults, have diabetes, and 90,000 have “pre-diabetes” a condition that usually leads to diabetes unless excess body weight is lost or physical activity is increased.

People can get diabetes at any age. Diabetes, diagnosed at any age, can be either type 1 (the body doesn’t make any insulin) or the more common type 2 (the body doesn’t make enough or doesn’t use its insulin effectively). Excess body weight, a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, is the reason why one out of every three children born since the year 2000 are expected to get diabetes during their lifetimes.

“Because of the associated blood and nerve complications, authorities are saying that we might be seeing the first generation of children who do not live as long as their parents,” said Robin Edelman, diabetes program administrator for the Vermont Department of Health.

In the nation overall, every 24 hours there are 3,600 new cases of diabetes. And in people previously diagnosed, every day there are 580 deaths, 225 amputations, 120 people getting kidney failure and 55 losing their eyesight.

Copies of the new edition of “Learning to Live Well With Diabetes” are available by calling 802-863-7330 or 800-464-4343.

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