Oelwein (KWWL)-It is a staggering statistic. Nearly 24-million American adults and children have diabetes. The disease can be a silent killer if not diagnosed and treated. In health plus, how one local woman found out she was diabetic.
In the 70's, she had gestational diabetes while pregnant but Cheryl patera didn't think it would be an issue so many years later.
"I noticed just that I was not feeling well at all. I was very tired, frequent urination, thirst," says Cheryl Patera.
Her symptoms led her to the doctor and a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 1999.
"Because of your weight status, because of your lack of exercise your body stops producing the right amount of insulin you need," says Dr. Shivendra Bahadur with Covenant Clinic in Oelwein.
And that was the now 59-year-old's profile-overweight and underactive.
"I was in total denial of it and I did not change any behavior," says Patera.
Eventually Cheryl was able to manage her diabetes-something doctors say is critical to preventing potential complications, like organ damage.
"You can't think just medications. You have to do proper exercise. You have to eat the proper diet," says Dr. Shivendra Bahadur.
Both encourage anyone, especially with classic symptoms, to see a doctor.
"If you feel like you have the symptoms, if you're tired all the time, if you don't feel well, if you're thirsty and you just have a lack of energy, the first thing you should do is see your doctor," she says.
Doctors remind you that many people who have diabetes don't know it.
Next week we'll show you the somewhat drastic step Cheryl took that she says cured her of diabetes.