Many know him as a solid meteorologist, with a great sense of humor. I know Rich Luterman as a close friend, always upbeat and in good health. But recently something changed.
"I had a soreness in my elbow and shoulder, it was the kind of soreness you have when you have a black and blue mark, it had that feel but I didn't have a black and blue mark on my body," Luterman said.
Rich notices his daily walks with his dog Indy grow more painful, his feet and joints ache, "I kept thinking it would get better" he said. There was another lingering symptom that he couldn't ignore. His 20/20 eyesight was suddenly deteriorating. "My doctor said usually when middle aged men walk in and complain their vision has quickly gone downhill usually it's something else," Luterman said.
Excessive thirst kicks in, and Rich has a revelation, "all of the sudden I put all these things together and I thought I could be diabetic," he said.
Unfortunately, he was exactly right. After diagnosis, Internal Medicine doctor Harry Rosenswag begins to help Rich learn to live life as a Type 2 Diabetic. He's monitoring his blood sugar several times a day, and taking medication to control the diabetes. All the while knowing he can never cure it.
"I think that was the hardest thing for me, realizing I had this condition for the rest of my life."
There are about 25 million adults and children facing the same battle about 5 percent have Type 1 in which the body doesn't make any insulin, Type 2 diabetes is far more common and often triggered by excess weight and inactivity. In patients like Rich, doctors can't pinpoint the exact cause, but the result is the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin or the cells ignore it. Your body needs insulin to get sugar from your blood into your cells for energy.
"When I don't feel well I can feel worse in a hurry," Luterman said.
Davida Kruger, Certified Nurse Practitioner at Henry Ford has been treating diabetic patients for decades. "It affects your heart, it affects your kidneys, it affects your vision, it affects everything. And it also predisposes you to cardiovascular disease, which is why we try to control those blood sugars," she said.
Rich knows the better he eats, the more he exercises, the more he can control his Type 2 diabetes and that's his new approach to life, control what you can for as long as you can!
"I expect to live a full life with a lot of things I'm looking forward to."
Fox 2 is sponsoring a cycling event Saturday, June 15, 2013 to benefit the American Diabetes Association.
Follow the link to Tour de Cure for more information.