"There is no cure for diabetes, but you can manage and control it," Jackson said.
Jackson knew that diabetes ran in his family, but he never thought he would get it -- until his health faltered.
"I was feeling tired and dehydrated. I could not get enough to drink. I felt like I had a cold," he said. So, he went to the doctor, thinking he had a stress-related illness.
He was shocked to learn he had type 2 diabetes and began immediate treatment to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle -- keys to managing diabetes. His weight loss, which included gastric bypass surgery, combined with a healthier diet and regular exercise, as well as regular visits to his doctor, has allowed him to control his diabetes.
On the IKnowDiabetes.org Web site that is part of the American Heart Association campaign, Jackson talks about his diabetes and invites others with the disease to submit their own health stories. Three people with type 2 diabetes who submit their stories to the site and whose experiences with the disease are inspiring to others will be asked to appear in a public service announcement with Jackson to publicize the importance of diagnosing and treating the disease. Oct. 21 is the deadline to enter stories on the Web site.
"Everybody's struggle is different. Symptoms are a little different, and the Web site is a great information portal to log on to," Jackson said. "Sharing stories will enlighten people."
Type 2 diabetes is the result of an insulin imbalance in the body, according to the AHA. Most of the food a person eats is turned into glucose, or sugar, that the body uses for energy. Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, is needed to usher glucose into the cells of the body. But when the body doesn't produce enough insulin or doesn't use it effic
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