Admit it, Type 1s. In weaker moments, you look down your noses at the Type 2 diabetics. You know that their disease can result from poor lifestyle choices. You know that their treatment regimen, compared with yours, is simple.
Forty-three year old stage and TV actor Stephen Wallem is a jack of all trades when it comes to entertainment. Best known for his one-man musical review, "Off the Wallem," he is also a playwright, composer, and director. Currently, he plays Thor, a gay nurse with type 1 diabetes, on the Showtime series "Nurse Jackie."
Professional snowboarder Sean Busby started competing at age 14 and began training for the Winter Olympics at 16. But in 2004, at age 19, Sean's troubling bouts of thirst and weariness were revealed as symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
Mike Golic is the co-host of ESPN's wildly popular radio show, "Mike and Mike in the Morning." Before beginning work as a broadcaster in 1995, he played for nine years as a defensive tackle in the National Football League, including stints with the Houston Oilers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Miami Dolphins. About five years ago, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Since then, he has become involved in getting the word out about type 2, including the potential danger of hypoglycemia. He is a spokesman for "Blood Sugar Basics," a website and outreach program co-sponsored by Merck and the American College of Endocrinology.
Last May, 24-year-old Charlie Kimball was in Car #35, taking Turn 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Firestone Freedom 100. He was in radio contact with his pit crew, who informed him that he had a headwind coming out of the turn and onto the 5/8 mile "straight." Charlie kept an eye on the car next to him, moving closer and beginning to crowd it on the inside. Having raced professionally for six years, he knew that he had to make a move, and soon. He shifted into sixth gear and accelerated.
When I became a type 2 diabetic, I wanted to find a way to manage my weight and blood sugar with diet and exercise. I tried the high carb diet recommended by my doctor and dietitian for a time. It worked wonderfully well while my blood sugar level was high, but when my blood sugar stabilized and I was able to go off medication, I started gaining weight again. The next thing I tried was low carbohydrate dieting. I found it to be a very effective way to lose weight rapidly, but I was unable to endure the regimen for more than a short time.
Erin lay on a bed in the emergency room, finally serious about getting help. Her second episode of diabetic ketoacidosis in a single year had sent her to the hospital shaking and vomiting. For the past seven years, she had been driven by one desire: to lose forty pounds. She refused to give herself her full dose of insulin, fearing weight gain. She hadn't seen her endocrinologist or checked her blood sugar for a year or two.
Now that a few months have passed since the New Year, what is the state of your resolution to lose weight? If it is a just a painful memory, you might be pondering the strength of your willpower and concluding that it is shamefully weak. In fact, it's not, according to Daniel Akst, the author of We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an Age of Excess. Although a full two-thirds of us are overweight, our willpower is no weaker than that of the slim generations that preceded us. It's just that we're up against temptations that we never evolved to resist, in an environment that seduces rather than sustains us.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified a swath of the southern U.S. as the country's "diabetes belt." In this region, made up of parts of 15 states, some 12 percent of the population has type 2 diabetes, compared with 8.5 percent of people in the rest of the country.
Ellen Granberg is an obesity sociologist who studies the processes that people go through when they lose weight and keep it off. As she says, "If the problem were that we don't know what people should eat to lose weight, that would be one thing, but we don't have that problem. There are a hundred weight loss plans out there that are perfectly good. We understand all about the physiology of weight loss maintenance and the metabolic impacts, but nothing about the social and emotional impacts. People who sustain weight loss over time move through a lot of different challenges."
I recently spoke at the Diabetes Camping Association’s annual meeting for healthcare professionals and camp directors. This group serves a network of more than 150 organizations providing summer vacation camp for children, and adults, with diabetes.
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