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Burton High Stories: Diabetes and Genetics

Mars, a senior at Burton High School
Mars, a senior at Burton High School

Students studying health sciences at Phillip and Sala Burton Academic High School in San Francisco worked with KALW radio to share their perspectives on health issues and solutions. Mars, a senior at Burton High School, shares his family's history with diabetes.

My name is Mars and I’m a senior at Burton High School, and my project is about diabetes.

Diabetes has affected my family. I'd like to share a little bit about my grandpa on my dad’s side, who has a history of diabetes and has had it for almost his whole life. My concern is that perhaps it could be passed down to me through his genetics because of our lineage. My grandpa used to be an everyday smoker until one day he was rushed to the hospital and stayed there for a few days. My family and I prayed with our heart that he wouldn't die yet and leave us, and in some miracle, he awoke very much alive and we thanked the Lord so much for that!

Based on my personal experience with Diabetes, can you imagine having to live the rest of your life dealing with this disease every single day? Injecting yourself with insulin just to live another day? That would be such a hassle to go through everyday, considering that there might be a day where you forget one injection which increases your risk of death tremendously! One day you would end up in the hospital and have to be attended to a lot.

As I have been researching about diabetes, I learned that California, the state I live in, has one of the highest diabetes rates in the U.S, accounting for about 10.5% of the adult population. This is concerning because a lot of people are putting their health at risk for factors such as unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. Diabetes so far is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S as of 2022 which is something to point out that people can at least be concerned about or acknowledge.

My hope is that in the future, the diabetes rates in the entire US will decrease to about less than 8% ideally, so as to prevent more people from being diagnosed with diabetes and having to spend the rest of their life being diabetic. We wanna try to enhance our methods of spreading more awareness via posters, billboards, and PSAs to educate as many people about the risks of diabetes and help make them make better decisions for themselves such as incorporating a healthy diet, which would look like avoid eating too much junk food and an active lifestyle such as going out for walks or exercising often.