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Vol. LXIV, No. 24
November 23, 2012
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‘Sugar & Strife’
During Diabetes Month, NIH’er Shares Personal Journey

On the front page...

Diabetes struck the Warren household twice in less than 5 months; first Ivori (r) was diagnosed, then her husband Kevin.

Diabetes struck the Warren household twice in less than 5 months; first Ivori (r) was diagnosed, then her husband Kevin.

Photo: Michael Clark

Ivori Lipscomb-Warren, an NIA management analyst, was 35 years old when she experienced a range of symptoms that landed her in the local ER. Diagnosis? Type 2 diabetes.

Two days before, Lipscomb-Warren had felt unusually tired, lacking her normal energy. She’d stayed in bed that weekend to rest. Being bedridden was not the norm for this woman of many roles—wife, employee, doctoral student, events planner and active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Arming herself with information, she began a battle to free herself of both diabetes symptoms and medication. Lipscomb-Warren lost weight, exercised more, regularly checked her glucose levels and educated herself and her family about the disorder.

Continued...

Fast forward 4 months after diagnosis. Just when things were improving, her husband Kevin began experiencing symptoms Lipscomb-Warren knew all too well. Recognizing the signs, she made an appointment for him to see her endocrinologist. As she suspected, it was diagnosis diabetes, take two. The disease had hit the Warren household twice in less than 5 months.

Although both husband and wife are well under the target diabetes age of 45 (Kevin is 38), both experienced almost all the other common symptoms, which include frequent urination, excessive thirst, fatigue, blurred vision and increased hunger.

Shown striding from the Baltimore Inner Harbor, the 5K team consisted of 29 participants who walked 3 miles alongside Ivori and Kevin in support of diabetes education, research and a cure. The Warrens had T-shirts designed for Team Diamonds & Pearls, which raised $2,062 for diabetes research, awareness and education.

Shown striding from the Baltimore Inner Harbor, the 5K team consisted of 29 participants who walked 3 miles alongside Ivori and Kevin in support of diabetes education, research and a cure.

Photo: Anita Greene

The Warrens had T-shirts designed for Team Diamonds & Pearls, which raised $2,062 for diabetes research, awareness and education.

Photo: Scott Crawford

Nearly 26 million Americans have some form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes—the most common form, which has risen concurrently with the obesity epidemic—the body does not make or use insulin well. An estimated 79 million adults have prediabetes, which places them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to such serious complications as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation.

Like the Warrens, many people do not know they have diabetes until they experience an overload of symptoms. They can have different warning signs, but sometimes there may be no obvious signals.

To tackle the disorder head on, Ivori and Kevin organized a team of family and friends—including several sorority sisters and frat brothers—to participate in “Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes,” the American Diabetes Association’s 5K walk at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The event drew 1,478 participants and raised nearly $300,000 for the cause.

“Team Diamonds & Pearls” was born of the couple’s dedication to their Greek letter organizations. Consisting of 29 walkers, the team raised more than $2,000.

“[The walk] is so much more than a fundraising event to us,” Ivori said. “[On] February 28 my world changed when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and in June…my best friend—my husband of 11 years—was diagnosed as well. This walk is our opportunity to empower and make a positive impact in the lives of those who have—or have family members or friends who have—diabetes.”

The walk is over, but their efforts to increase diabetes awareness have not ended. They intend to make the ADA walk an annual event and have a larger team next year with the goal to raise more money for diabetes research and education. They also have created a Facebook page, “Sugar + Strife,” where they provide educational messages on diabetes and give viewers a personal look at their daily journey to overcome the disease. Find the page at www.facebook.com/sugar.strife.

“A diagnosis of diabetes for me and my husband does not mean that we are throwing in the towel and allowing this disease to defeat us,” Lipscomb-Warren emphasized. “This health hurdle simply intensifies our priorities and strong desire to fight harder to overcome it and educate others. Our mission...has messages of strength, encouragement and hope. We tell everybody we meet now not to ever take their health for granted, to seek medical attention when needed and not to ignore symptoms like I did for months on end. Americans should place their health as their foremost priority.”


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