Diabetes

Why these 5 Olympians with health conditions are #1 in our hearts

The 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games have come to a close. Did you happen to catch any of these 5 Olympians with health conditions (recently highlighted in The Mighty)? Their performances were inspiring — but their perspective on living with illness is what’s really golden. U.S. pairs figure skater Alexa Scimeca-Knierim developed a rare, life-threatening gastrointestinal disorder that caused episodes of vomiting and severe weight loss and has been hard to diagnose. She had three abdominal surgeries and has shown her scars on Instagram. After a long and painful recovery, Alexa was able to return to skating. “My whole outlook changed,” she told Team USA. “I was grateful to have the chance to fall instead of stressing out over falling or not. Was a fall as big of a deal as a drain getting pulled out of me? No, not at all. I was grateful.” In PyeongChang, Alexa and her husband/skating partner, Chris Knierim, took home the bronze medal in the figure skating team competition and placed 15th in the pairs competition. Alexa shared this photo with SELF for a video about her health problems and extraordinary road to the Olympics. American long-track speed skater Brittany Bowe sustained a concussion when she collided with another skater in 2016. Later, after fainting multiple …

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How many kinds of diabetes are there? Lots. Explore type 1, type 2, LADA and more

Confused about the different types of diabetes? Never heard of other forms of diabetes beyond “1” and “2”? You’re not alone. As American Diabetes Month comes to a close, we’re shedding some light on this topic. Overall, more than 30 million Americans (9.4 percent of the U.S. population) have diabetes. Here’s a guide to help you and your loved ones learn more about the various kinds of diabetes. Join PatientsLikeMe today to connect with and learn from members living with 10+ different forms of diabetes. Well-known (but still misunderstood) types of diabetes People are most familiar with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, so let’s start with some stats, facts and myths about those: Type 1 diabetes – About 5% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes (previously called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, but it can develop at any age (some members on PatientsLikeMe say they were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in their 60s). It’s caused by an autoimmune reaction (where the body attacks itself by mistake) that destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin (the hormone that lets blood sugar …

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From tomatoes to turmeric: Can foods fight inflammation?

Inflammation is a hot topic. What’s it all about? And what’s the scoop on certain diets, foods and supplements, such as turmeric, when it comes to fighting inflammation? What is inflammation? Not all inflammation is “bad.” Acute inflammation is part of the body’s natural way of defending itself from foreign substances like viruses, bacteria, cuts and splinters. It may cause redness, swelling, heat and/or pain. The upside is, these symptoms are a sign that the body is responding after an injury or infection by triggering white blood cells and disease-fighting chemicals. But some “other” kinds of inflammation — like chronic inflammation (which may include constant low-grade or systemic inflammation) and inflammation from autoimmune disorders (where the body attacks its own healthy cells as if they’re foreign) — doesn’t always show visible or obvious symptoms and can play a more long-term and complex role, according to Mayo Clinic. Which diseases or conditions does it affect? Mounting research shows that inflammation is a common underlying factor (and possibly a cause) in many — perhaps even all — diseases. You’ve probably heard about the role of inflammation in arthritis or heart health. But researchers and doctors have also studied inflammation’s link to a wide range of other diseases and conditions, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s …

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What’s in my bag? Motherhood with a health condition = “Mary Poppins” purse

Happy (almost) Mother’s Day! I’m Erin, a PatientsLikeMe senior copywriter living with type 1 diabetes – and a very busy toddler. My sister recently joked that my purse is “quite the Mary Poppins bag.” And it is. Between my diabetes “jazz” and baby paraphernalia, I need a big bag. The spread of stuff I lug around is far from those sleekly styled “What’s in my bag?” features you see in tabloids, where celebrities flaunt their favorite eyeliner, seaweed snack and fur keychain. So what’s in my bag? This is just a sampling of things I bring when I’m running quick errands with my daughter (longer trips call for larger and/or multiple bags). Diabetes stuff Glucose meter and all the fixin’s: needles for finger sticks, test strips, alcohol wipes to use when I can’t wash my hands before testing Insulin, Humalog (insulin lispro), and needles for injecting it An empty medication bottle, which works well as a mini, childproof “sharps” container Snacks! I try to pack a few kinds – like popcorn, whole-wheat crackers, protein bars and string cheese – for a mix of carbs and protein. Manufactured foods have been demonized lately with the (positive) trends toward “clean eating” and …

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Hollywood star

44 Celebrities With Kidney Disease

Roughly 37 million US adults have chronic kidney disease (CKD).  Kidney disease is a silent killer, ranking as the number one leading cause of death.  Your kidneys are about the size of a computer mouse and filters all the blood in your body. Their primary role is to remove waste, toxins, and excess fluid. They also aid in regulating blood pressure and stimulating red blood cell production. CKD is defined as having a kidney abnormality that inhibits kidney function. While there are many causes of kidney disease, often times it is affected by other chronic disease like diabetes, is hereditary, or congenital. To bring awareness to this “silent disease” in honor of National Kidney Month, so we explored some well-known people who’ve been affected by kidney disease. All Walks of Life As the University Kidney Research Organization notes in their list of famous people who have battled kidney disease, it affects people of all ages, races and walks of life – even cowboys (Buffalo Bill) and royals (Prince Rainier III of Monaco). Here’s a sampling of stars on the list: The Hollywood crowd – Directors Stephen Spielberg, Howard Hughes and Alfred Hitchcock; actresses Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), Sandra Dee, Marlene Dietrich …

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Member Chris finds the uplifting side of type 1 diabetes

“I am the only 7-fingered diabetic record-holding powerlifter and motivational speaker you know!” Chris (ChrisRuden) says in his profile. He was born with two fingers on his left hand and a shorter left arm. He was bullied in high school, and he struggled with depression, alcohol and drug use. Chris was diagnosed with diabetes at age 20, when he was in college studying law. His diagnosis inspired him to shift his focus to health and wellness (personally and professionally), and he earned a degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from Florida Atlantic University. He runs an online nutrition and fitness coaching business and he published an e-book called The Art of Losing Body Fat. He holds four state records in powerlifting (with one hand)! He is also a motivational speaker who has given talks at schools, businesses and organizations like the American Diabetes Association across the U.S. We recently caught up with Chris about his interests, overcoming adversity and the upshot of his diabetes diagnosis. What are your three favorite things to do? What do you love about them? I love powerlifting, speaking and helping people get in shape! Powerlifting allows me to compete against myself and push my …

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Meet Lindsay from the PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors

  Meet Lindsay (Shyandspicy), a member of the PatientsLikeMe 2016-2017 Team of Advisors living with bipolar II, fibromyalgia and diabetes. We recently caught up with Lindsay to learn how she finds purpose in her relationships with her family, her faith and helping others.  Keep reading to get to know her story and how she tackles the obstacles of living with her conditions through research, self-advocacy and connecting with others. What gives you the greatest joy and puts a smile on your face? There used to be not much that could give me joy or even make me smile. Now I can say one of my biggest joys in life is bringing pride to God and my family and other supportive loved ones. I have put them through a lot of strife and knowing that they recognize my hard work and attempts at trying to correct the past and become a better version of me brings joy. Along with that, I get a smile on my face when I spend time with my son, who is 13 and my little sister, who is 30 years younger than me. Experiencing life again through their eyes has a whole new meaning! What has …

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Member JoeSixPack shares his experience with diabetes

Say hello to Peter (JoeSixPack), a father of three and member of the diabetes community. He was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1998 when he was 34 years old. In a recent interview, he told us about his life-long struggle with his weight, managing treatment, and how he found the motivation to lose weight and quit smoking. Check out what he had to say about life with diabetic neuropathy and coming to terms with the realization that he’s not invincible. Tell us a little bit about who you are. What was life like before your diagnosis? How has life changed since your diagnosis? I am a 62-year-old male that was married to the same lady for 40 years prior to her death in September 2013.  When I married my wife I weighed in at 335 pounds.  I was an executive with a financial company for the previous 12 years and eventually Peripheral Neuropathy had gotten so bad it finally put me off work in January 2015.  I was diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic in August of 1988 and struggled with my blood sugar levels for most of my adult life.  Like most 34-year-old men, I regarded myself invincible so …

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Member Susan shares about life with type 2 diabetes

Meet Susan (sugarpolicewoman) from Montgomery, Alabama. She loves birds, flowers and kittens and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over 40 years ago. Check out her story to learn more about how she manages her condition while living in an assisted living facility. Can you tell us a little about yourself? What are your passions? I caught diabetes from my dad, who had diabetes, type 1.  I have type 2. I grew up in a Methodist preacher’s homes. We moved around an average of every four years, although my dad was a District Superintendent for six years once.  I had to switch schools quite a bit due to moving, therefore I never did develop close friendships, only casual acquaintances. We lived in several towns and cities in the state of South Carolina. When I was 14 years old, I caught chicken pox from my younger sister. The case was bad, probably because I had the pox later in life instead of during my younger years. When I had mumps, doctors still visited and treated sick people in the home. In front of me, my doctor told my mother I could have all the Coca-Cola I wanted. Unconsciously perhaps, that might have been …

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“I have been empowered to face the challenges of my condition” – Member Deb shares her journey with type 2 diabetes

Meet Deb (optimisticrealist), a self-described optimist who found no challenge too daunting, exercised daily and maintained a healthy diet. We recently caught up with her and she told us how her type 2 diabetes diagnosis changed the way she thought about what it meant to be healthy. Learn more about Deb’s story and what she had to say about empowering herself through education, finding veganism and learning to live with her new normal. Tell us a little bit about who you are. What was life like before your diagnosis? I have always been an optimist, nicknamed Pollyanna for my focus on the bright side. I had the sincere belief that with creativity and perseverance there was no challenge that I could not surmount. If all else failed, I could reframe the situation to find the positive. How has life changed since your diagnosis? Having had none of the classic symptoms, my diagnosis of type 2 diabetes completely blindsided me and caused me to wonder if optimism was just another word for denial. I was diagnosed while in the hospital and sent home with prescriptions but no instructions about how to live with my new reality. I will never forget standing …

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