Good Control, The Key To Success

Good Control Is Usually The Key To Success

When I participated in the Joslin Medalist Study in 2009, the director was there making sure everything was done properly. She gave me some interesting info. The medalists are type 1 diabetics who have lived with diabetes for 50 years, or more. I was told that some participants had never taken very good care of themselves, and they eat almost anything they want. They do take insulin, but they have no serious complications. There are also other participants who have some rather serious complications, but they have taken very good care of themselves. So I asked if these two groups were a significant part of the 500+ medalists who had participated at that time. She said that the two groups were rather small. The great majority of the participants who had practiced good diabetes management were in good health, with no serious complications. It seems that the members of the small groups mentioned above are exceptions to the rule. I am one who has always done everything possible to have stable control, and it has paid off.

At the present time there have been approximately 950 participants in the Medalist Study, and they plan to continue until there have been 1000 medalists participating. The JDRF, the NIH, and private sources are funding the study. Some very interesting things have been discovered.

I have mild nerve damage after 69 years of type 1, but there is no other diabetes related problem. I hate to think what might have happened if had been in denial during my early years. I want to be the first type 1 diabetic who lives 100 years with diabetes. That would happen on September 15, 2045, and I would be 106 years old. Does anyone want to attend my celebration on that date?

That's cool Richard. Keep it up. Know how hard it is. More power to you.

OK, I'm only at 34 out of the 50 years needed to join the study. But I did at least a little overlap with the pre-home-bg-testing era and I am amazed so many medalists came through the stone-knives-and-bearskins era with good control for decades or more.

If I’m still around on 09/15/2045, I’ll attend your birthday party along with my daughter who has T1D and is currently 12 years old!

Would you mind if I asked you some questions? Have you ever been in DKA? Ever lost consciousness due to hypoglycemia? Are you a pumper? What’s your “typical” A1C? What’s your diet like: LCHF? Vegetarian? Vegan? Low carb? Do you exercise a lot?

Hello rg, what kind of an md are you?

I never heard of DKA until I started reading on the internet in 2006. I know I had very high blood sugar most of the time before I got my first meter in the mid 1980s. When I started testing I saw numbers in the 200s most of the time. It seems likely that I had DKA, but it has apparently done me no harm.

I lost consciousness with hypos many many times while growing up, but only at night.It continued that way, but less frequently, until I started using a pump in 2007.

My first A1c was in 1980, and I had a 10-14 range for many years, but it gradually improved with the ability to test 1n the mid 80's, and using synthetic insulins with basal and bolus control in the mid 90s. Then my A1c's started dropping into the 5.4-6.4 range. I have been in that range for about 15 years. My most recent A1c was 5.6.

I avoid many foods like rice, cereals, and most breads. The only bread I eat is multigrain and low carb. No more than two slices per day, 9 carbs per slice. I never eat more than a half cup of pasta or potatoes at a meal. I prebolus before eating if my BG is more than 100, so I will be below 100 at mealtime. Then I can avoid really high BG's one hour after eating. I average 170 carbs per day with three meals and three snacks. My average total insulin (basal + bolus) per day is 36 units.

I workout one hour per day, three days per week, at a gym with muscle building machines. I take one hour walks on roads with hills, 2 or 3 days per week. I also do many home repairs that can take many hours per week, especially during nice weather. I am currently tearing out the kitchen floor, replacing the quarter inch plywood covering, and putting in new tile.

I am very lucky to have no serious complications after 69 years of type 1. Maybe the Joslin Medalist Study will find the factors that explain the longevity and good health of so many type 1 diabetics in the US.

Wow, I'm amazed you were in 10-14 range for so long without complications that is great and you have done an amazing job. I would love to come to your party!

I would be around 86 in 2045, so sure. If I'm still kicking, I'll be there with bells on Richard. :D I know that I said it before but we've Very Proud of you. Are you going to be one of those 105 year olds who do such things as jumping out of air planes for the first time and so on, Richard?? I can't believe what these elderly People do when they reach the 90's and 100's. Scary!! Take Care!

Terrie, I am not adventurous at my present age, except for the exercises I listed. I will be lucky to walk with a cane around the block in 2045....maybe just a walker from room to room. HA!

Wow, congratulations. I am so inspired by people like you. I am diabetic for 13 years and right now I am struggling a lot. I do not give up though I have a target to lower my A1c, but when I think about how much more years of life I have left I get very sad. But stories like you inspire I might have a chance despite my poor control lately. I am just wondering how closely did you manage diabetes ? Have you ever had spiked A1C? What about your lifestyle? Do you excersize? Do you follow any special diets? Like the ones with carb under 50 grams? Any advice you would want to share?

Richard, I'm 52. I'll attend your party if I'm still around...

Sofie, if you look higher on the page you will see my reply to rg. I answered most of your questions there.