^Diabetes is an illness that can produce serious complications and potentially cause an early death. However, millions of people live with it every day, and live well.
A type 1 diabetic herself as well as a researcher of diabetes, Sheri Colberg has spoken with thousands of people who have the illness. The ones who have the most success at managing their diabetes do not let it take over their lives. It is a challenge that definitely affects their lives, but like Colberg, they live life first and are diabetic second.
Especially when she was interviewing people for her latest book, 50 Secrets of the World's Longest Living People with Diabetes, she heard a common theme from her subjects, some of whom have lived with diabetes for more than eight decades. The people she spoke with did not let their diabetes control them. People with a chronic disease commonly suffer with depression and a sense of hopelessness, but "these people have gone so far beyond that, to the point of embracing diabetes,"20 she says. They told Colberg, "Diabetes saved my life. I look around and see people so unhealthy, and I'm healthy."21
"Diabetes doesn't have to hold you back from much of anything," she explains, knowing this from her own life as well as from others' experience. "Diabetes can even make you stronger, because you have to take responsibility for yourself."22
When people are diagnosed with diabetes, they can feel overwhelmed and frightened. After all, diabetes is potentially deadly, and it has serious consequences when not controlled. Newly diagnosed people have a lot to learn about their disease and how to manage it. This is important to avoid the lifealtering complications and also to live as well as possible with it. Some people never learn to manage their diabetes well, or for some reason they are not able to. Their diabetes seems to rule their lives, and they can become seriously depressed. But many people adjust well and work hard to keep their diabetes under control. This takes a lot of effort, patience, and a positive outlook. Here are the stories of four people who learned to live life first and be diabetics second.
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Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...