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Merrimack Valley

June 27, 2012

The faces of Type 2 diabetes Men share stories about living with diabetes

Local men share stories about living with disease for Holy Family videos

METHUEN — When Heriberto Reynoso and Sebastian Amenta were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, it was a wake up call for them.

The disease runs in both of their families. Amenta's mother and grandmother have it, and Reynoso's father died from complications of the disease.

"It was so scary. I had so many questions and had no answers," Reynoso of Lawrence said of his diagnosis in 2006.

He and Amenta of Salem, N.H., are sharing their personal stories about living with and managing diabetes in two 16-minute videos entitled "Diabetes Type 2: Sound the Alarm," produced by Holy Family Hospital.

Reynoso tells his story in Spanish; Amenta in English.

The men are shown at work, at the supermarket looking at food labels, relaxing at home, getting their blood tested, eating and exercising. In addition, medical experts including a dietician, ophthalmologist, nephrologist, cardiologist and fitness trainer give their advice on managing diabetes.

According to Holy Family's last health needs assessment, hospitalization rates for diabetes in Andover, North Andover, Haverhill, Lawrence and Methuen exceed the state average by 21 percent.

Between 2000 and 2009, the number of adults in Massachusetts diagnosed with diabetes increased by an average of 4.1 percent annually.

According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, in which the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin is ignored by the cells.

When a person eats, the body breaks down the sugars and starches in the food into glucose, the body's basic fuel. Insulin carries the sugar from the blood into the cells. But when glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells due to insulin problems, it can lead to complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system damage and lower-limb amputation.

Dr. Alberto Sobrado, clinical advisor to Holy Family Hospital's Community Benefits program, said people are consuming more processed foods with higher amounts of sugar, animal protein and other additives.

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