As evidenced in a survey article, the fortunate folks who have received medals from the Joslin Diabetes Center for having lived with diabetes on insulin for 50 years or more have several things in common (see Chapter 17 for the full story). One is that they exercise more than most other people at their age. The authors conclude that "exercise may be an important protective factor." You can say that again!
The T1DM patients in my practice with the lowest hemoglobin A1c, the least need for insulin, and the fewest complications are the ones who do the most exercise. Exercise has so many positive aspects to it and such a minimal downside that it should be as routine for your child as brushing his teeth. I discuss exercise in detail in Chapter 9.
Don't expect your child to become physically active on his own. Unfortunately, schools are reducing physical education programs in favor of varsity football and basketball. Your child needs your example to start an exercise program. Get out and walk with him at first, then jog, swim, bike, or ski (or do a combination of these). There will come a day when your child will beat you to the end of the pool or down the ski slope and that should be a day of celebration because you know you've done your job right.
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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...