Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Diabetes Past, Present and Future

I read an article several years ago that said the 'smart' diabetic lives longest, but I knew very little about diabetes from 1945 until the 1980s. I finally had a meter, and found that carbs affect our blood sugar. In the 1990s I finally had basal and bolus insulins. That is when my blood sugar became more well behaved, and my A1c's were in the high 5's. My lack of knowledge during my early years did not cause me to have any diabetes related complications. How have I been so fortunate? Good genes, and a lot of good luck?
I think it is much more than good genes and good luck.The animal insulins I used for 50 years contained C-peptide. All humans and animals have C-peptide, if they produce their own insulin. C-peptide offers protection against diabetes complications. The synthetic insulins that I started using in the 1990s do not contain C-peptide. I started having complications after using modern day insulins for a few years. Rheumatoid arthritis was diagnosed when I was in my late 40s, but it has never been that bad. I can walk at a brisk pace and workout at a gym with no problems. I was diagnosed with some retinopathy and some neuropathy. After I started using a pump for a few months, the retinopathy disappeared, and has never returned. My neuropathy was not much of a problem at that time. Earlier this year a neurologist diagnosed me with severe neuropathy in my right leg. I do not know why it is called severe. There is pain, especially at night, but I do not need medication. I think the diagnosis was overstated. I do have several complications that are not diabetes related, but nothing serious. At age 76, and with 70 years of type 1, I am very fortunate to be so healthy. My pump, and modern day insulins, are largely responsible for my good diabetes health, but the knowledge that is currently available has been the primary reason for my continued success.
The Joslin Medalist Study has examined more that 1000 type 1 diabetics, all of whom have lived with their diabetes for 50 years, or more. Dr. King, head of the study, stated that he wanted to determine the factors that have enabled so many of us to live so long without any serious diabetes related complications. The study has been ongoing for more than 10 years. Yearly reports have been given, and very interesting things have been found, but I have not yet seen any explanation for our longevity, and good health.
I think that the new devices that have been developed, and the ones forthcoming in the years ahead may be very helpful to so many type 1 diabetics. The potential type 1 cure is also very exciting, but I am not expecting any of that to help a very long term diabetic like me. I am very content with my life as it stands.
To paraphrase a quote made by Eleanor Roosevelt: My diabetes past is history and my diabetes future is a mystery, but each day I live is a gift!!! That is the way I live my life, and I am enjoying each and every day to the utmost!

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