Finally, they both credit their longevity equally to their mother's diligent care when they were younger and to advances in diabetes management over the past three-quarters of a century. "I marvel at being able to find out what my blood sugar is in only five seconds. There certainly have been great advances in diabetes care over the past 80 years!" says younger brother Bob. As Gerald says, "Have faith that the best things in life are ahead of you."
As for the rest of the old-timers living with diabetes for 40 or more years, their secrets most frequently emphasized the following items as being what they consider to be most important to their longevity with diabetes:
• Maintaining a positive attitude about diabetes and life in general
• Setting goals, particularly ones that are focused on having good health habits
• Learning all you can about diabetes and how to control it and its potential complications
• Having a supportive spouse, family, or friends and involving other people in your diabetes care
• Sharing your diabetes with others or counseling them on how to live well with it
• Regularly monitoring your blood glucose levels
• Finding a good doctor, preferably an endocrinologist
• Always taking your insulin or other medications to control your blood sugars
• Watching your diet (whatever it may be)
• Exercising and staying as physically active as possible
Although none of these secrets is actually earth-shattering, taken as a whole, they do strongly suggest that certain behaviors are more important than others. Moreover, they emphasize the point that what people have to do to live long and well with diabetes is possible for anyone. Yes, you too can live a long and healthy life with diabetes. If your diabetes has not been that well controlled up to this point, it's still not too late to start reaping some of the health benefits of improving your control now. You may even be able to slow the progression of or reverse some of your complications with a little more diligence to your blood sugars.
Diabetes care is rapidly changing nowadays, and there are new monitoring tools and medications to better control glycemic peaks and valleys. Most of the people who gave their secrets for my book have gone through a significant portion of their lives with diabetes without all of these tools, or even adequate education, available, so think how much better you should be able to manage by having all of them at your disposal.
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NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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