When Dan Ekserson was a teenager and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he was told that his life expectancy would be only at the beginning of his 30 years. Decades later, he continued to live a very active life, run, walk, and play hockey among his many athletic activities. People who know it may not even know they have the disease.
November is the National Diabetes Month to realize diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans and those who love them. Dan is my husband and our family knows the challenges that come with a chronic illness and how difficult it can be.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body can not use and store glucose. In type 1 diabetes, the body completely stops producing insulin, a hormone that allows the body to use glucose, sugars found in food, for energy. People with type 1 diabetes should take daily insulin injections to survive. (Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin or can not use it properly and is usually found in people over 40 years of age who are overweight with a family history of the disease.)
Diabetes management is a 24-hour work.
"It's hard but manageable, I take five injections of insulin a day, and I work to manage the amount of food I eat with the amount of insulin I take to keep my blood sugar in a safe range," says Ekserson. but it forces you to manage the food you eat, your way of life and to make you exercise. "
Dan has always been a very active person and played a lot of sports in high school, including hockey, which continues to play several times a week for most of the year. He made me a better skier, but I'm sure he'll agree that he's started running with me. He is also an avid and long-time tourist who recently finished 48,000 feet in New Hampshire. Physical activity can help your body use insulin better, but blood glucose levels should be closely monitored.
"I'm happy," he said. "All workouts make me feel good I have to control blood sugar and make sure I have glucose tablets if it's too low I check my blood sugar before and after workout and before a tense exercise Like a race to Mountain Washington, I reduce my daily dose of insulin.
"Training and hockey are fun, I just want to be better."
Keeping blood sugar levels as close as possible to the normal range is the goal of managing diabetes to avoid long-term complications that may include heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure, and blood vessel damage. Calculating just how much insulin is required at any one time is far from the exact science, and although I have never heard Dan complain about seeing him disappointed when dealing with the unpredictable nature of the disease.
"The worst is the impact the disease affects people around me," he said. "If you have a low blood sugar episode, you can be argued, disoriented, completely out of it, and even leak, which puts tremendous pressure on everyone I care about." The disease is more difficult for them than it is for me. "
Over the many decades of life with the disease there are improvements such as smaller needles and blood glucose monitoring. "I have changed very much in my 47s as a diabetic, but the main thing is monitoring and spending," Dan said. "Self-monitoring of your blood sugar does not exist when I started, and now I have a monitor that tells my blood low glucose levels (all day), almost eliminating episodes of low blood sugar." However, costs have risen from under $ 10 per month without insurance to almost $ 300 per month today with insurance. "
Diagnosis of diabetes has not prevented Dan from living in a full and active life. "I have a great family, I traveled a lot, I had a career, I won all 48 4000 feet, I competed challenging competitions and met other type 1 diabetics who did much more than I did."
For those newly diagnosed, he said that "there will be times when it is difficult and disappointing, but you can manage it." For a few days you are in place and your blood sugars are excellent, you are not the other days. that it should not stop you.
And I agree, I often do not run out of energy long before it does.
All facts and information about diabetes are from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, joslin.org.
December 1 is the Santa Claus race, shuffled 3 miles in Manchester, with Santa's costume for the first 1400 registered; and the 5K Ugly Sweater in Sanbornville.
Nancy Ekserson wrote about the escape on Sunday. You can contact her at [email protected]