originally published on Fox47.com
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MADISON- Diabetes is a growing problem in the US. More than 25.8 million adults and children are living with diabetes, while more than 7 million of those are undiagnosed.
A local retired cop is one of those living with diabetes while proving you can take control of your health.
Phil little says he’s 74, but you’d never know it looking at him. He’s turned his life around after realizing there wasn’t any choice but to get up and take control of his life. He’s retired UW Police, Chief of Police of Shorewood Hills and a Chief Deputy Coroner position. After learning he was living with diabetes he now spends his days working out.
“I was up to 320 pounds and every time I would walk somewhere, I would have to stop and catch my breath, no fun at all,” said Little.
Phil progressed during 10 years to needing about 300 units of insulin per day.
“Used to be a day of food, if I went to McDonalds, it would be 2 big macs and 2 quarter pounders with cheese, fries, perhaps,” said Little.
Little said he was also a peanut butteraholic, going through a large jar of peanut butter a week
Now, he’s watching what he eats and eating a lot more fruits and vegetables for fillers, cereals, just watching what he eats and learning about portions.
He’s down 66 pounds in just13 months and plans to continue on. Most importantly, he’s turning around his health.
“In the process of losing this weight, I am now off all diabetic medication,” said Little. “So, I’m a diabetic, but it’s controlled by diet.”
Dr. Gerhard Kraske, an internist at Meriter Health said Phil took the right route.
“Alot of people when they first hear the diagnosis, the first thing that comes to mind is shots and insulin and that’s not necessarily so,” said Dr. Kraske.
Dr. Kraske said American Diabetes Association guidelines recommend trying to get the patient to lose weight with the help of a nutritionist.
“I try to tell them this is not a death sentence, this is a wake-up call to a healthier lifestyle. “It entails eating better, watching portion size, exercising, losing weight, we can come to grips with this condition.”
The ADA estimates 79 million people are living with prediabetes. Dr. Kraske sais doctors need to do a better job screening for diabetes.
Dr. Kraske estimates by the time doctors pick up a diabetic, they actually already lived with diabetes for about 10 years.
Little said he was one of those who didn’t know he was living with diabetes, but after all his hard work.he hopes to never go back.
“The penalty of going back is still fresh in my mind from what I experienced, and I don’t think I ever will, but you never know.”
The Diabetes Step-Out Walk is August 25th. It’s not too late to join. Register to walk on a team or as an individual or donate as a virtual walker.
Register at diabetes.org/slashmadisonstepout