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DENVER (CBS4) - Nearly 26 million adults and children in the U.S. are living with diabetes and that number keeps growing.
In most cases the disease can be prevented. One woman who attended the Diabetes Expo at the Colorado Convention Center this weekend made a major lifestyle change to stay healthy.
“My knees were hurting, my hips were hurting, my feet; I was out of breath,” Gwen Vann said.
Vann knew she had to make a change. At only 5-foot-2, she weighed 290 pounds.
“I was out of breath and I just realized that my life was in danger,” she said.
Last year, after turning 50 and watching many of her friends get diagnosed with diabetes, she made a commitment to lose weight.
“I had a friend who they had to amputate her leg because they wouldn’t take control of their health,” she said. “You have to change the lifestyle that you are living. That is building those factors that can cause diabetes.”
In Colorado 316,000 people have diabetes and many more don’t even know they have it.
At the Diabetes Expo thousands came out in search of answers. There were blood screenings that measured a person’s risk, and some were diagnosed on the spot.
“Many people come here just to see, ‘What can I do to prevent myself from getting diabetes,” Dr. Mike McDermott with the American Diabetes Association said.
In many cases it can be prevented. Around 57 million Americans are pre-diabetic — their blood sugar is a little high but not enough for a diagnosis.
“Those are people for whom diet, exercise and weight loss has enormous benefits,” McDermott said.
Living healthy should start early, but Vann, who’s been overweight since fourth grade, said it’s never too late to change.
“People will say, ‘I don’t have the time or the money.’ Well, you know, what all you have is your life,” Vann said.
CBS4 is a sponsor of the Diabetes Expo.