"Taking Control of Your Diabetes" was the theme of a conference and health fair that took place at the Riviera hotel on March 10th. More than 500 people attended. Most were either diabetic or health care professionals.
There were opportunities to attend workshops and have one-on-one discussions with diabetes experts. Several inspirational speakers were also on hand.
In this week's Dealing With Diabetes report, the Eye on Health team met one whose diabetic journey began on a battlefield.
San Diego businessman, Urban Miyares was a guest speaker at the diabetes conference in Las Vegas. He first learned he had Type-1 diabetes around 1967while on a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Miyares said, "I was an infantry platoon sergeant. So when I went unconscious during a firefight, I woke up two days later in a Saigon hospital with a diagnosis of diabetes."
It's believed that diabetic retinopathy was the instigator of Miyares' eventual blindness.
Over the decades, he's experienced other complications, including neuropathy and impotence. And while the methods of managing diabetes have vastly improved since the 1960s, Miyares says the patient still carries much of the responsibility for wellness.
"But you're with yourself, most of the time living with the disease. So it's up to you to check your blood sugars, watch what you eat, exercise properly and do the things that will improve your health -- not damage it," Urban Miyares continued.
Today Miyares helps others cope with the emotional stress that often comes with diabetes. His favorite forms of recreation serve as an example of a can-do attitude.
He said, "You know, I ski mountains, I sail quite a bit. I recently went to Hawaii, sailed to Hawaii, as skipper of the boat with a crew. With control and understanding of the disease, there are very few things you can't do."
Miyares now helps to train rehabilitation-specialists at San Diego State University.
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