We first reported on Dusty Jonas when he played football for the Red Raiders, then he took the microphone and began reporting for us last year in the sports department at NewsChannel 11.
Now, Dusty is in front of the camera for a much different reason. He volunteered to undergo a special screening hoping to encourage others to do the same. We knew his mother would be proud, we just didn't know how much.
"It runs in my family. My dad had it and my mom has it," said Dusty. 'It' is diabetes and Dusty decided to get screened for the illness since his family history puts him at risk.
"And ever since I quit playing football, my weight was rising," said Dusty, and weight gain is another risk factor.
Body Mass Index is a formula that compares height and weight to determine if a person is a healthy size or obese and at risk of diabetes or other weight related complications. At 6'2" and about 300 pounds, you'd think Dusty is mostly muscle since his job as a sports reporter keeps him active and after all this he still finds time to work out an hour a day, six days a week.
"I'm looking at your risk factor. It adds up to about a six. A score of three to nine is low risk. So you're low risk, but I would like to check your blood sugar if that's okay," said Christy Hust, Director of Diabetes Education at the Combest Wellness Center.
The blood sugar test is just a prick of the finger, but that single drop of blood can reveal a lot about the body. The normal range is between 60 and 99.
"We are going to do it again. That means it is very, very, very, very high," said Hust.
A second test and a second drop of blood surprised us all by sending up the same red flag.
"This is not normal so we need to do more testing," said Hust.
That's when the technician stepped aside for more expertise. Terry Curran is a nurse practitioner at the Combest Wellness Center. It only costs $5 at Combest to screen for diabetes. Less if you can't afford it, because no one can afford to ignore the symptoms of diabetes.
"You are so thirsty you can't think of anything but always wanting a drink? Always going to the restroom? Drinking during the night and going during the night?" asked Terry.
It's estimated that more than 20 million Americans have diabetes and that six million of them are just like Dusty walking around with this disease and completely unaware of it. At least Dusty knows now that even all that exercise wasn't enough to keep his blood sugar down.
"I thought that would be a big part of me not having diabetes. My exercise regimen. But I guess you never know," said Dusty.
So what's the risk if you do nothing and let diabetes go untreated? Long term, it could mess up your kidneys and put you on the list for a transplant or cut off your circulation so you need a toe or a limb amputated. Diabetes can leave you blind which is why Dusty had the foresight to come in for screening at an early age.
"She's mentioned how young I am to be getting diabetes. I'm glad I came and didn't put it off," said Dusty.
As it turns out, Dusty got an emergency insulin shot in the stomach. But, later that day he was back at work with medication he will take every day now, a blood sugar monitor, and a lot to read about, diet and diabetes control.
The National Institutes of Health has provided this BMI calculator to determine your risk of obesity, which is a strong risk factor for diabetes. For the BMI calculator, click here.