Battling Diabetes in Quincy, FL

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It’s National Diabetes Month, and doctors in our area are trying to get the word out that help is available.

Health experts in Quincy put on a health fair for diabetics in the community.

“You can’t just say you got diabetes, you gotta work with it," says Katie Simmons, who is working with it.

Twenty one years ago she was diagnosed with diabetes. At that time she weighed 300 pounds.

"I cut back on my eating ‘cause I was a big eater, and I love starchy foods and chocolate.”

Health officials say Simmons isn't alone in seeking a healthier life style in spite of diabetes.

“This is a way that we can talk to people in a group setting where they can take this information back to their families, they can talk to their doctors about things that they learned today," says Brenda Althouse of the Quincy Health Department.

“Exercise and nutrition have a lot to do with it, and there’s so many new drugs that are out there today," says diabetes care specialist Sue Tucker.

Diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney failure even amputation, but doctors say that doesn't have to happen as long as patients learn to manage the disease on their own.

“Now we’re finding there’s a decreased death rate and also decreased illness rate from the complications," said Dr. Miriam Gwathney with the Gadsden Medical Center.

It’s a much rosier picture than when Simmons was diagnosed more than two decades ago.