How to Thrive with Diabetes

By Santhosh Eapen, M.D.
Pediatric Endocrinologist
K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital

What do Olympic gold medalist Gary Hall, Jr. Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, and music sensation Nick Jonas all have in common?  They all have diabetes. And they’re all and thriving in life because of great planning and a support system.

Affecting nearly 16 million Americans, diabetes is a disorder of metabolism—the way the body uses digested food for growth and energy. With the proper planning and care, people with diabetes can lead normal, satisfying lives.

Gary Hall, Jr. told  C.F.K. magazine in Fall 2000 that when he found out he had diabetes it was disappointing and very frightening.  “I thought diabetes was a disease that happened to older people who had neglected their health over the years. As I learned and read more, I had a better understanding that it could happen to anybody. Now I do what I've always done. I eat right, exercise, take nutritional supplements.”

“Planning is key when managing diabetes,” said Santhosh Eapen, MD, pediatric endocrinologist at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.  “Proper planning allows you to keep your child’s blood sugar levels under control and can help prevent health problems in the future.”

To do this you need to do six things:

1. Take your insulin or pills when you're supposed to.

2. Follow your meal plan as much as possible.
3. Get regular exercise.
4. Check your blood sugar level several times a day.
5. Visit your doctor regularly
6. Learn as much as possible about diabetes.

Remember, diabetes care is a lifelong responsibility.  “While it is not curable, your diabetes team can develop a plan that allows your child to reach their goals,” added Dr. Eapen.

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