Diabetes awareness – NFL players

In honor of diabetes awareness, this month's blogs will focus on different topics concerning the disease. We have discussed some aspects of living with diabetes in past blogs. It is a challenging disease to manage, but one that should not limit your aspirations. With a growing incidence of diabetes in a growing population, not even athletes, a physically fit population, are immune to acquiring this problem. There are actually a number of athletes who have reached the professional level while living with diabetes. The NFL boasts three such athletes in Jay Leeuwenburg, Mike Echols, and Mike Sinclair.

Both Leeuwenburg and Echols have type one diabetes. This type of diabetes is also known a juvenile diabetes as it is frequently discovered when you are young. Before the advent of the portable glucometer, a blood glucose measuring device any diabetic is quite familiar with, the ability to manage this disease was quite difficult. Medicine today offers many tools to monitor blood sugars and treatments to stop damage caused by changes in blood sugar from occurring. While a different beast than adult onset, or type two diabetes, the diligence of management is of equal importance in juvenile diabetes. The players we mentioned have to keep very close tabs on their blood sugars, using diet and insulin to keep the proper levels.

Players like Mike Sinclair, DE Philadelphia Eagles, face the same disease that affect tens of millions of Americans. Type two diabetes is often associated with obesity and poor diet and increases in prevalence with age. When diagnosed early, changes to diet and exercise can often be enough to keep this disease a bay. In the case of Mike, who is getting plenty of exercise, swapping the double bacon, half pound burger for a turkey sandwich helped him get his blood glucose in check. Regular checkups with your primary doctor as well as your podiatrist can help you detect changes early. By discovering glucose changes early, changes to diet can have a greater effect on managing this disease. Lifelong medication may be needed to manage if your diabetes goes undetected for months or years.

Don't let diabetes interfere with your life. Educate yourself about your disease, visit your primary doctor, consult Dr. Thomajan and learn the things you can do you keep your diabetes in check. Doing so early will help you continue doing the activities you like to do.

Until next time, keep those feet happy and healthy Austin!

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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