-- Question: What are the keys to living a long, healthy hife with diabetes?
Answer: The keys to living a long, healthy life with diabetes are similar to the keys to living a long healthy life for someone who has any chronic illness. I've had diabetes for over 40 years and I think that I shouldn't tell you what I do and expect everyone to follow what I do, but I think that there are some lessons to be learned from people who successfully manage chronic diseases.
The first is a positive attitude. We know through new research, new therapies, that the lives of people with chronic diseases like type 1 diabetes are longer now and easier to manage than they were in the past. We know that people with type 1 diabetes and other chronic diseases must see their physician quite frequently to plan for the future, to monitor their health, to treat other medical conditions that could develop and make the diabetes harder to control. Or to treat other medical conditions that could make the unique complications of diabetes progress more rapidly. Specifically I'm thinking of things like high blood pressure. Even people without diabetes develop high blood pressure, but untreated high blood pressure can make many of the complications of diabetes worse, like the eye disease, like the kidney disease.
Similarly we know many people who have high cholesterol and have to be on statins. They don't have diabetes. But high cholesterol is a particularly dangerous disease in people with diabetes. And so they must pay attention to more than just blood sugar. Excellent blood sugar control is necessary but not sufficient to live a long, healthy life with diabetes. We have to pay attention to the other components of health.