RALEIGH -- Doctors diagnosed more than 25 million Americans with diabetes. That statistic is just one reason thousands of people made the trip to downtown Raleigh on Saturday to find creative ways to cope with their condition.
“It's not the worst thing in the world, but you learn how to deal with it and adjust your style of living,” said Bertha Montague.
Just three months ago, Montague found out she was a diabetic.
“At first I was in shock because I couldn't believe it. I said this is my time to learn how to be a diabetic,” said Montague.
A strong family history with the condition led Montague to take a proactive approach to her health.
“Staying away from greasy foods and the french fries, you have to readjust your thinking about how you eat and how you want to live,” added Montague.
Doctors say a healthy diet and exercise are some of the best ways to take control of diabetes, but others say adding a little fun works too.
"It's not impossible to walk past the bakery," said guest speaker Maggie Hunts.
Saturday's lectures were also paired with a few laughs by people who have lived with diabetes for years.
"It's not impossible to have one instead of three," added Hunts.
They're adding a fun twist to the everyday challenges a diabetic faces to show them the best things in life can be sugar free.
"We want to bring our sugar down so we can feel great. That's why it's exciting to share solutions we have in our lives so we can protect ourselves and feel wonderful," Hunts said.
Meanwhile doctors say moderation is key.
“There is no magic to the diabetic diet. It's two to three well balanced meals a day. Eat the foods you like in moderation,” said conference founder, Dr. Steven Edelman.
North Carolina ranks above average in the number of people with diabetes. About 10 percent of the state's population has been diagnosed with the condition.