The CDC says 13-percent of the U-S adult population has some form of diabetes. Understanding the disease and how to control it is important. With this month being Diabetes Awareness Month, we talked with Michelle White, a diabetes educator at Lawton Community Health Center, about diabetes and things people can do to better manage the disease.

This year’s theme is ‘Small Steps, Big Difference.’

“Start with small steps,” White said. “Because big steps we’re probably not going to keep doing those because if it’s a rapid, massive change in our lifestyle, it’s really hard to keep up, and we end up going on a diabetes vacation where you just quit everything.”

White said those changes don’t mean you can’t do something like go out to eat, but it does mean getting a sweet potato instead of the baked potato or eating half a roll instead of the entire roll

“You didn’t become diabetic overnight,” she said. “You didn’t gain that extra weight overnight. So those small steps, after you start taking them, make a huge difference in your life. You feel better. You move quicker. You have more energy.”

Being aware of your risk factors for diabetes is also important.

“There are so many little risk factors that you can have that should be pointing you to being more mindful earlier than 45, 50 when we start getting those yearly checks,” White said.

If you find yourself with diabetes, you don’t have to go through it alone. The Lawton Community Health Center has two diabetes educators and a doctor of pharmacy that just recently joined their team.

“We’re really opening it up to the public so you have multiple options of who you’d like to see, what you’d like to have done, whether it’s fixing my eating habits, talk to be about exercise,” she said. “We now have an endocrinologist that’s here in the clinic, so Lawton Community and Comanche County are pushing because they know diabetes is bad, and we need to do something.”

If you’d like to meet with one of the diabetes specialists, White said it’s best to go through your primary care provider.