Taking “healthy strides” to live a normal life with diabetes
By CHARLOTTE POLAND
Jay Eldridge is a pretty typical guy who lives in Northeast Louisiana. He was born and raised in Richland Parish in a small rural town on I-20 called Delhi. He likes what most “typical” southern guys like; hunting, fishing and riding his Harley. Jay was diagnosed with pre-diabetes about one year ago when his primary care physician ran routine lab work that revealed his fasting blood glucose to be elevated above 100. This diagnosis of pre-diabetes caused Jay to make several significant lifestyle changes which have enabled him to be able to take healthy “strides” in the right direction!
Jay said that before he found out he was pre-diabetic, he’d never given healthy living much thought; he ate what he wanted, how much he wanted and whenever he wanted! “My triglycerides had been up as high as 980 a couple of years earlier and I was on medication for that, so I thought that once I was on medicine I could continue to eat whatever I wanted as before! Once I heard the world “pre-DIABETES,” I thought that there was no cure for this.” Hearing that he was pre-diabetic pushed Jay to look at his lifestyle and make changes. “I’ve made several dietary adjustments like eliminating sweetened drinks and I seldom eat bread, but if I do, it’s wheat. I have also incorporated higher fiber foods like sweet potatoes and brown rice into my diet. I never have believed in dieting. I knew that if it wasn’t a lifestyle change, I wouldn’t stick with it, so I tried to make changes I could live with long-term,” Jay explained.
When we spoke about exercise, Jay said that he was never on any true exercise program. “I had just begun walking when my doctor found out my sugar level was too high, and I had actually lost a couple of pounds.” In beginning an exercise program, Jay started slowly by walking 2 miles about 3 times a week. Last November he surprised himself and was able to run a 2K Fun
Run/Walk in Delhi hosted by ConAgra Foods (Lambweston) and Delhi Hospital. This was the catalyst that sparked Jay’s competitive nature which has led him to continue running in several area 5K’s. “In the past, if I had to run, someone or something would’ve had to be chasing me!” he said. Jay now runs 3-4 miles 4 times a week and does resistance training 2-3 times a week as well. “I also want to say that if it hadn’t been for Delhi Hospital and the way the promote wellness & prevention for their employees and their family members, I probably wouldn’t have come this far.”
Internist, Dr. Paul Grandon, Jay’s physician, reports that he was able to stop all Jay’s medications for dyslipidemia (elevate cholesterol) during his last office visit due to his lifestyle changes. “I have been Jay Eldridge’s doctor for many years and I am extremely impressed with regards to the changes that he has made since learning that he had pre-diabetes. Jay has done well in only making changes that he felt he could stick with and this is where his success comes from.”
I asked Jay about any advice he had to give. “Don’t wait until you’re 50 years old to worry about your health! Start making lifestyle changes at an early age. I hear guys say, “I’m in my 30’s so I can eat whatever I want!” You can’t do that and expect to stay healthy. You need to begin healthy living early on so you don’t develop chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Teach your kids from a young age to be healthy.”
Jay is a participant in The Richland Awareness Campaign pre-diabetes program sponsored in part by grant money from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Resources (Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Rural Healthy Policy). This program is available to residents in Richland parish. If you would like to be screened or host a screening, please contact the Health Education Resource Center in Delhi at 878-2845. –LH&WT.