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  News and Events

November 25, 2016

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is the name given to disorders in which the body has trouble regulating its blood-glucose, or blood-sugar, levels. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes: Not the Same

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. T1D usually strikes in childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood, and lasts a lifetime. Just to survive, people with T1D must take multiple injections of insulin daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump.

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a metabolic disorder in which a person’s body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively. T2D is usually diagnosed in adulthood and does not always require insulin injections. However, increased obesity has led to a recent rise in cases of T2D in children and young adults.

Taking insulin does not cure any type of diabetes, nor does it prevent the possibility of the disease’s devastating effects: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications.

The Scale of Diabetes

  • Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes (8.3% of the population).
  • Diagnosed: 18.8 million
  • Undiagnosed: 7 million
  • As many as 1.25 million Americans may have T1D.
  • Diabetes currently affects more than 371 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 552 million by 2030.
  • In the U.S., a new case of diabetes is diagnosed every 30 seconds; more than 1.9 million people are diagnosed each year.

Taken from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation website 



When were you diagnosed with diabetes?

I was three years old when I was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes, now called Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).


Do you have to give yourself injections?

I was taking insulin injections for the first 14 years after being diagnosed.  My parents gave me injections until I was 9 or 10 years old, and then I learned to give them myself.  When I was 17 years old, the technology for insulin pumps had improved to the point that my endocrinologist decided it was time to move me over to the insulin pump. I've been on it ever since, and haven't looked back!


How does the insulin pump work?

The pump delivers a small amount of insulin continuously into my body, through a small cannula that sits under my skin on my abdomen or hip.  When I eat, I count how many carbohydrates I will be taking in, and program an amount of insulin to be delivered based on that.  Every three days I have to change the site that the cannula is in.


Do you still have to check your blood sugar with the pump?

Yes, I still have to check my blood sugar levels anywhere from 4 to 8 times per day, depending on what I am doing, how much I am exercising, and what I am eating.


Does having T1D limit you from doing anything?

Other than not being able to become an astronaut or SCUBA certified in the US, I don't let it limit me.  Activities and travel just take ALOT of extra planning and supplies.


Did being diagnosed at a young age influence how you grew up?

My family has always been incredibly healthy, and they had to be even more so once I was diagnosed.  Eating healthfully and mindfully was the only option, and regular exercise was always at the center for good blood sugar control.  Being diabetic I'm sure helped me to grow up to be very responsible at an early age, and empathetic to other people going through their own journey with medical issues.  It absolutely influenced me to find an occupation where I helped other people get as healthy as they can be, or bring them back from illness into better health. 



Julie Jarosz 

Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer  Island Health & Fitness  

310 Taughannock Blvd  

Ithaca, NY 14860  

(607) 277-3861

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