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HOUSTON (KIAH) Texas has one of the highest rates of diabetes, which jumped by 40% over the past 10 years.

Health experts say if you have diabetes, you need to make choices and take action every day to manage your blood sugar levels.

The current Texas Diabetes State Plan shows priority areas that build on past accomplishments and use current national, state, and local efforts to improve diabetes education and management in Texas.

U.S. adults overall have a 40% chance of developing type 2 diabetes. But if you’re a Hispanic or Latino adult, your chance is more than 50%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One woman, who has been living with diabetes for more than 20 years is a fierce advocate for educating the Hispanic community about the chronic disease. 

Mireya Martinez is an ordained pastor for Pattison United Methodist in Pattison, Texas, about 20 miles west of Katy, Texas. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at just 24 years old. She was not surprised as her parents and several extended family members who also battle with the disease. However, Martinez was determined not to be controlled by it.

She sits down with CW39’s Idolina Peralez to talk about her journey and shares a story of when she saved the life of one of her parishioners.

PERALEZ: Joining me now is Mireya Martinez. She is an ordained pastor over in Pattison, Texas. She has been living with diabetes for almost two decades and the disease actually runs deep in your family.

MARTINEZ: It does. Absolutely. So when I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 24, it was not a surprise to me. Both of my parents are diabetic, several of my aunts and uncles are diabetic, and a couple of my grandparents were also diabetic. So by the time I was diagnosed, I knew enough to know that I wanted to take control of this disease and that I didn’t want the disease to control me. So crucial and critical and vital in my life is that I control diabetes – it does not control me.

IDOLINA: So you’ve learned a lot of lessons. What are those lessons and the message you want to share with the Hispanic community?

MARTINEZ: I have three things that I like to share with the Hispanic community. The first is to know your status. So, knowing whether or not you’re diabetic. There are so many of us that are walking around not feeling well and not knowing why, and diabetes is often the culprit in our community. 

The second thing is that this disease is totally manageable. It is no longer the death sentence that it was 100 years ago. 

And the third thing I would say is that there is technology out there available to help so use the technology that is available.

IDOLINA: And also I understand in your church one day you actually saved the life of one of your parishioners. Can you tell me that story quickly? 

MARTINEZ: I did. Yes. I heard his alarm blaring that he was at a critical moment. And I keep sugar in my pulpit. And so with hand signals, I signaled his wife and I grabbed some sugar and took it to her, and we were able to treat him and so he was fine by the time worship ended. So, it was a powerful experience. 

IDOLINA: That’s an amazing story. Well, thank you so much for joining us. And thank you for sharing your message during Hispanic Heritage Month.