Living with Diabetes - PIH Health - Whittier, CA

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Healthy Living Online

Published on November 13, 2015

Living with Diabetes - Martin Vallejos

Living with Diabetes: Education is the Key to a Healthy Life

Martin Vallejos’ recent Type 2 diabetes diagnosis left him feeling confused and overwhelmed. What did it mean? What should he do? How would this change the rest of his life? He began seeking answers online, but other than that he wasn’t sure exactly where to turn.

Living with Diabetes - Martin VallejosFortunately, Martin’s PIH Health primary care physician, Sonya Thomas MD, referred him to the PIH Health Diabetes Education Center where he began to better understand his condition.

The 55-year-old Martin enrolled in a free, three-week course designed for anyone considered pre-diabetic or who has been recently diagnosed with diabetes. Each week, instructors provided general education on the disease, addressing topics like causes, medication, and the effects of diet and exercise.

At the time, exercise was out of the equation for Martin, who was recovering from two knee surgeries. Not wanting to waste time, Martin decided to do what he could strictly through diet changes.

Living with Diabetes - Type 1 vs Type 2 chart“In order to take control of diabetes, you really have to change your eating habits, as well as your portion sizes,” he said. “During one of the classes, I learned how to figure out my food intake. I also learned how to read nutrition labels differently—as someone with diabetes—to determine whether or not that food was something I should consume. It was extremely helpful.” Martin also learned about healthy alternatives, like low-carb tortillas and the surprisingly high nutritional value of avocados. “At first I thought I would have to give up foods I love, but I quickly learned about food substitutions that would help me enjoy healthier versions of my favorite meals,” he added.

“That was very positive for me.” Since then, Martin’s results have been astounding. Within just three months of his diagnosis, his HbA1c (blood sugar) numbers had dropped from nearly 12% to a pre-diabetic level of 6.4%. He and his doctor were thrilled. “Thanks to the class, I realized that living with diabetes is not impossible,” Martin said. “It takes effort, but it can be done. I’m thankful this resource exists and is available to the community.”

If you would like to learn more about our Diabetes Education Center, please call 562.698.0811 Ext. 11320 or visit

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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