Managing Diabetes

■ ▼ Managing diabetes requires consistent, responsible self-care. Many people with diabetes have lived a long time by taking proper care of themselves—eating right, monitoring their blood glucose faithfully, and exercising consistently. One is Gladys Dull, now in her nineties, who has outlived her four nondiabetic siblings, according to diabetes expert Sheri Colberg. She became friends with Gladys during interviews for her book 50 Secrets for the Longest Living People with Diabetes. Robert and Gerald Cleveland, brothers who are both around age ninety, have also lived longer than their younger brother, says Colberg, and one of them still often goes for 20-mile bike rides (32km). Like Gladys and the Clevelands, many of the other people Colberg interviewed for the book showed her that "attention to health and lifestyle has a positive effect."17 In other words, living well with diabetes is all about self-management.

Colberg knows how true that is. She has had type 1 diabetes since she was four. It has complicated her life, but she also has a fulfilling, productive life. At age forty-four she is an author, lecturer, professor, exercise physiologist, and expert on exercise and diabetes. She is also a mother, wife, and enthusiastic exerciser. Even with diabetes, "the world is still open to you," she says. "But it is work, and you have to be aware and plan ahead, like taking your blood glucose meter and medications along wherever you go."18

Diabetes management has several key components: weight, nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep. But the first important task is to learn about Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support.

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