Jay Cutler Diagnosed With Type 1 Diabetes
When Denver Broncos Quarterback Jay Cutler announced that he had been diagnosed two weeks ago with type 1 diabetes, he created another "teachable moment" for the public who don't understand diabetes very well.
Three things to know about athletes and type 1 diabetes
1. Not all people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed as kids. Some don't develop symptoms until thier teens or 20s. While the disease process has been going on for years, it's not until adulthood, when a lot of damage has been done to the pancreas, that people find out they have the disease. It's very important to know the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
2. While type 2 diabetes is often associated with being overweight and sedentary, type 1 isn't caused by lifestyle. It's an autoimmune disease that no amount of physical activity or proper diet can prevent. Here's a good resource explaining the causes of type 1 diabetes.
3. Athletes with type 1 face unique challenges. Without insulin, blood sugar can soar. With very vigorous exercise, blood sugar can plummet. Balancing diet, exercise levels and insulin dosing requires constant vigilance. Non-athletes with type 1 diabetes face the same challenges in managing type 1 diabetes, but usually don't have to cope with the very large drops in blood sugar that elite athletes do.
Here's a good article from the Rocky Mountain News detailing how Cutler plans to deal with diabetes as a pro quarterback.
Last year the New York Times did an excellent story about how athletes in many sports deal with Type 1 diabetes--including bicycling, running marathons, swimming and playing basketball, sometimes at elite levels.
And of course here at MyDiabetesCentral we have plenty of resources for type 1 diabetes, including access to medical experts, veteran patients and advocates.