Sarah Smith found out in april she has diabetes.
"I had no idea how serious it was until I was actually diagnosed."
Smith's doctor told her about a class offered through Bay Medical Center that teaches diabetics how to better manage their disease.
Jo Colville is the coordinator for the diabetes center and is also one of the instructors.
She says the first thing people always want to know the first day, the first minute of class is.. what can I eat. Colville says the key to living a healthy life with diabetes is education, adding
"Research has shown the more they know about their disease the better they do.
It's important for them to understand their disease, they're the ones who need to manage it.
The doctors are not at home telling them what to eat and what not to eat. they have to learn those principals.. they have to learn that exercise is useful in helping to control their blood sugars.
Not getting your blood sugar under control can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness and even amputation, but that doesn't mean you have to say good-bye to your favorite foods.
Colville says that was your grandmothers diabetes.. where you used to have to not eat cakes, candies, cookies or anything that tastes good. Now we know you can eat anything you want, you just have to know the proper proportion.
As for Sarah Smith, she has a partner who joins her for every class and pushes her to make the right decisions about her health. Her Granddaughter Christina Hancock.
"I make sure she eats the right food and help her out if she's feeling down..I'm like it's okay grandma, it's okay, keep trying."
The diabetes center offers the three week classes in the morning, afternoon or evening.
There are also free screenings every month. For more information you can call the diabetes center at 770-3518.