It’s no secret that a diabetes diagnosis is serious. If not properly managed, patients have the potential to develop heart disease, blindness or even kidney failure.
Unlike many other diseases, diabetes is an illness you can control – the key is identifying the symptoms and taking consistent action. Local meteorologist Nicondra Norwood is a true success story of not just living, but thriving with diabetes.
Nicondra discovered she had gestational diabetes when she was expecting her son Gage in 2015. It’s routine to be tested for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy and the CDC reports 2 – 10% of pregnancies every year are affected. Keeping a healthy diet, checking your blood sugar regularly and being active are all key ways to manage your gestational diabetes, which typically goes away after your baby is born.
This wasn’t the case for Nicondra. Although her blood level sugars initially appeared to stabilize after her son was born, before long it was apparent that something was off. Nicondra was losing weight rapidly and experiencing crashes from low blood sugar. She didn’t fit the profile of a Type 2 diabetic – she wasn’t overweight and she didn’t have high blood pressure – so her care team at Ochsner took a closer look.
After consulting an endocrinologist, Nicondra found out she was the rare exception – she had Type 1 diabetes and her body was not producing insulin. Only 5% of people with diabetes have Type 1 and although not unheard of, this diagnosis usually develops in children or adolescents. Today, Nicondra uses an insulin pump, which continuously monitors her glucose levels. She also closely monitors when and how much she’s eating to make sure her levels stay within a healthy range.