By Ashley Porter - email
JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Health officials believe right now, thousands of Mississippians could have diabetes and not even know it. Breanna Owens recently found out she had Type 1 Diabetes.
"I was scared. I was just, I was so scared," Breanna said. "I was crying and I just didn't know what to think."
But seven months later, her outlook is quite different.
"It's really nothing at all. It's kind of overwhelming at first, but then it becomes a part of life."
Breanna's mom, Anna, said it's crucial to pay attention to the signs.
"I had noticed her being very tired, and as a parent, you're just finding reasons for things," Anna said.
Fatigue is one of the seemingly harmless symptoms of diabetes. Other include being very hungry or thirsty, and losing an unusual amount of weight.
"I think God gave me wisdom. I actually got on the internet and started doing symptoms and diagnosis and she had every single one for Type 1 Diabetes," Anna said.
Years ago, diagnosing diabetes was often a more difficult task. Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant remembers what lead to his mother's diagnosis.
"My mother, one day, had an automobile accident. And we were just puzzled. She couldn't remember what had happened, and it was a long period of trying to diagnose that," Bryant said.
"Year after year, it seemed like it was worse. And finally kidney failure, dialysis, and eventually, we lost her to this disease," Bryant recalled.
Now Bryant hopes stories like his mother's and Breanna's will raise awareness about a disease plaguing Mississippi. Monday at the state capitol, the lieutenant governor was named the Honorary Chairman for the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi.
Breanna hopes people realize a diagnosis of diabetes doesn't have to require a big lifestyle change.
"I mean, it just takes a little time out of your day to check your blood sugar and give yourself a shot," Breanna said.
Mississippi leads the country in obesity, one of the main causes of Type 2 Diabetes. Learn more about Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes at www.msdiabetes.org.