Diabetes is a serious problem. To learn more about this pressing issue, we chatted with Dominique Wilkins, an NBA Hall of Famer about Diabetes Dream Team, a national initiative aimed at helping people with type 2 diabetes customize an approach to managing the everyday challenges of the disease. After Dominique retired from the NBA and stopped training at that elite level, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Given that his grandfather and father died from the disease, he knew that he not only needed to take charge of his health, but that he wanted to help others by becoming a diabetes advocate and educator for patients in the U.S. During our interview we learned about more this cause as well as the tips that he follows to maintain his health.
Momtrends: What is the Diabetes Dream Team?
Dominique Wilkins: I’ve partnered with Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care, on a new initiative, my Diabetes Dream Team. Our main goal is to help people living with type 2 diabetes learn how to work with their doctors, and other members of their “Dream Team,” to design a full-court approach to managing the everyday challenges they may face. Diabetes can affect many areas of your health. That’s why my Diabetes Dream Team is so important. Each member helps me with different aspects of my diabetes, by providing me with important tips and guidance. My team includes my doctor, a diabetes educator, a nutritionist, and a fitness expert. My family is also a very important part of my team; their support helps me stay focused on my health.
Momtrends: Tell us about your experience with the disease and how it has changed your life?
Dominique Wilkins: I lost both my grandfather and father to diabetes, so it has always been a condition that I’ve felt passionate about. When I was 40, shortly after I retired from the NBA, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Knowing my family history, I decided that I would do everything I could do to better manage my diabetes, and share my story with others to hopefully inspire them to do the same.
l’ve learned the importance of proper daily diabetes management, including a diabetes-friendly diet, regular activity, and the right medication for me. To stay on track, I try my best to keep things simple, have fun, and maintain open and honest conversation with my “Dream Team.” For example, for years I struggled with finding the right medication for me. The pill I was taking wasn’t getting me to my goals, so I talked to my doctor and he switched me to Victoza®, a once-daily, non-insulin injectable medication that has helped lower my blood sugar and allowed me to reach my A1C goals.
Momtrends: Tell us about your partnership with Novo Nordisk?
Dominique Wilkins: I am partnering with Novo Nordisk on the Diabetes Dream Team initiative because I hope that by sharing my personal journey, and the tips I’ve learned from my “Dream Team,” I can help others living with type 2 diabetes learn simple, daily steps they can take to better manage their disease.
As part of the campaign, I will be attending a number of diabetes health fairs across the country, where I will share personal stories and advice. We’ve also created my “Diabetes Coaches’ Clipboard,” which is full of insider tips and even some recipes from my team of experts. People can visit DiabetesDreamTeam.com to download their own copy and learn more the initiative.
Momtrends: What are some signs of type 2 diabetes?
Dominique Wilkins: Some common signs and symptoms of diabetes include:
- Being thirsty more often than usual
- Being hungry more often than usual
- Unusual weight loss
- Being tired more often than usual
- Blurry vision
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Numb or tingling hands or feet
Sometimes people experience other diabetes symptoms. And some people may have no symptoms at all.
Check out the 4 principles Dominique Wilkins follows to maintain his health.
- Be honest. I share everything with my Diabetes Dream Team. For years, I struggled to find the right medication and had many conversations with my doctor about how I was feeling. My pill wasn’t getting me to my goal, so I talked with my doctor about different options. Now I take Victoza®,a once-daily, non-insulin injectable medication that has helped lower my blood sugar and allowed me to reach my A1C goals. While not a weight loss product, Victoza® also helped me lose some weight.
- Keep it simple. My doctor helped me design a diabetes management plan that’s easy to follow – that has made a big difference in my success.
- Make being active fun. I enjoy a combination of running and walking on the treadmill and shooting hoops with my kids. Every little bit of exercise helps; even just a 30-minute walk can make an impact.
- Eat healthy most of the time. I try to maintain a healthy diet of lean proteins, like chicken and fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables. I continue to enjoy the foods I love, but in moderation.
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