Learning “How to Live a Long and Healthy Life with Type 1 Diabetes”

Learning “How to Live a Long and Healthy Life with Type 1 Diabetes”

T1DWhat is the secret to living a long and healthy life with type 1 diabetes? Let’s look at some success stories from the Joslin Diabetes Center, a teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

 
The Joslin Medalist Program

The Joslin Diabetes Center first began awarding medals to people with diabetes in 1948 with a 25-year Victory Medal. Believing that proper self-management was the key to minimizing long-term complications, the program was the vision of Elliott P. Joslin, MD,founder of the Joslin Diabetes Center. The program served as an incentive for those committed to good, though challenging, diabetes care. In the early 1950s, the name was changed to the Blue Ribbon, and as more and more people lived long healthy lives with diabetes it finally became the 25-year Certificate that is awarded today. In 1970, Joslin expanded the program and began awarding a 50-year bronze medal. Since 1970, the Joslin Diabetes Center has presented more than 2,905 50-year medals. And Joslin presented the first 75-year medal in 1996.  Joslin has awarded 28 distinctive 75-year medals from 1996 to the present.

The recipients serve as inspiration for anyone living with type 1 diabetes. They attribute their longevity to being active, being vigilant about their diet and having a positive outlook. They credit their good health to a combination of getting plenty of exercise, being cautious about their diet, keeping a check on their blood glucose, and having a loving/supportive spouse.  A “can do” attitude, coupled with steadfast attention to blood glucose monitoring, diet and exercise, are the factors that allow a person with diabetes to live well into their 70’s, 80’s and even beyond.

Success Stories

Patricia La France-Wolf, who successfully lived with diabetes for 68 years,  was quoted as saying that diabetes self-management “can be a DREAM or a nightmare.”

“D” standing for Diet

“R” stands for Responsibility

“E” stands for Exercise

“A” stands for Attitude

“M” stands for Medicine

James Quander, who successfully lived with type 1 diabetes for 80+ years, had five simple words he lived by: “Faith, hope, love, perseverance, and discipline.

Faith referred to his own faith in God and in himself.

Hope referred to teaching others to control their blood sugars.

Love referred to his family and friends who loved and supported him.

Perseverance referred to determination to live life to the fullest.

Discipline referred to self care for his diabetes for over eight decades!

Four Keys to a Long and Healthy Life with Type 1 Diabetes

MEDICATION – Keep your blood glucose levels controlled. When you aim for a target A1C level of 7.0% or less, you reduce the risks of retinopathy, neuropathy, and kidney damage by 35% to 90%.

Always take your insulin injection (or bolus dose on the pump).

Test, test, test! Check your blood glucose frequently and make adjustments as needed to stay within your target range.

DIET – Maintain lifelong healthy eating. Keep a balanced diet of carbohydrates, fat and protein for meals and snacks.

Control your portion size.

You don’t need to abstain from any specific food.  Limit quantities of unhealthier food choices.

EXERCISE – Physical activity helps lower blood glucose. In addition, endorphins are mood-enhancing hormones that get released in your body when you exercise. Endorphins are a natural way to help improve your mood.

Exercise: walk, run, play tennis, play team sports (basketball, soccer, etc.), swim, etc.

Stay active: walk the dog, ride a bicycle, dance, etc.

ATTITUDE – A positive attitude is one of the key secrets to living well with diabetes! Having a positive outlook can improve your quality of life and give your health a boost.

Make a commitment to take care of yourself. You have to accept diabetes and learn to live with it.

Having a supportive family and friends is very important.

Stress and depression can affect your ability to care for and control your health. Learn how to lower your levels of stress and feelings of guilt. Use your fear of diabetes complications to your advantage by letting it motivate you to maintain control over your blood glucose levels and to live a healthier life.

Find outside interests to focus on that you enjoy, such as hobbies, activities, community organizations, or religious participation.

Empower yourself by using the knowledge you have to control your diabetes.  YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR DIABETES – DIABETES DOES NOT CONTROL YOU.

Brought to You By:
Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE
Clinical Psychologist and Certified Diabetes EducatorDDP Staff Writer.
www.diabetesdailypost.com

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DDP Staff Writer
Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE
Clinical Psychologist and Certified Diabetes Educator www.AskDrBev.com.

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