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From Santa Monica, California, USA:

I am a 13 year old teenager with type 1 diabetes. I play basketball and I am trying to gain weight to play better ball. I was recently in the hospital because I became sick from DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis], and I want to keep playing basketball without having to go to the hospital or getting sick again. Will I have to take insulin for the rest of my life? Will I be able to eat at McDonald's or eat candy at Halloween? What about birthday parties? Can I still play basketball in high school and college?


Will you have to take insulin for the rest of your life? Maybe, and then again, maybe not. Scientists are currently developing treatments to replace your islet cells such as islet cell transplants and stem cell islet regeneration.

You can eat McDonald's, candy at Halloween and birthday party treats just as long as you carb count and dose properly with insulin. Don't overdo on these types of foods, however. They are not healthy for anyone, even those without diabetes, because they are too high in fat and empty carbohydrates and very low on nutrients to keep you fit.

Of course you can play basketball in high school and college as long as you are tall enough and skilled enough at the game. Diabetes should not impair your athletic ability. Many Olympic athletes have won gold medals, despite having diabetes -- for example swimmer Gary Hall.


Additional comments from Stephanie Schwartz, diabetes nurse specialist:

The best way to insure you will be able to do all the things you want is get (and keep) your diabetes is in very good control which for now means taking the right amount of insulin for the food you eat and checking your blood sugars often to make sure the insulin is doing its job. You can do all the things you asked about, but you'll need to ask your diabetes team for help so you can learn how to do them.

Have your mom and dad set up a time for all of you to meet with your nurse and dietitian to talk about these things. They can help you come up with a "game plan" so that you can meet your personal and diabetes goals.


Original posting 12 Feb 2002
Posted to Exercise and Sports and Daily Care


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:30
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