New Technology Offers More Freedom To Diabetics [INTERVIEW]
If you've ever been to a NASCAR race, you know the power of all those cars hurtling around the track at breakneck speed. The entire speedway vibrates with the sound of revving engines humming like a swarm of huge, angry metallic bees.
When I first got diagnosed, they told me I would never get back in a race car.
Drivers grip tenaciously to their steering wheels in an effort to control their vehicles so their cars don't crash into an opponent, shatter against the walls or spin out in the infield. So what could possibly make a racing career even more dangerous? Imagine that the driver is diabetic.
Bitten early on by the racing bug, Ryan Reed, 21, has been racing in one form or another since he was four years old. "I knew since I can remember that I wanted to be a race car driver," he said. Doctors diagnosed him with type one diabetes four years ago when he was 17.
The diagnosis should have ended Reed's career. "When I first got diagnosed, they told me I would never get back in a race car," he said.
"There's no way someone like Ryan can go around a track at 190 miles per hour when you're shaky and sweaty from riding in a car and not knowing what your blood sugar is," says Dr. Steven Edelman, a clinical professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of California at San Diego who is also a type one diabetic.
Using modern technology with lifestyle modifications, diabetes is treatable. It's not a death sentence anymore.
So what enabled Reed to continue pursuing his dreams? Edelman says that both he and Reed use a new technology called a continuous glucose monitoring device. "It's a device that gives you your blood sugar every five minutes, 24/7, and alerts you before you get too high or too low."
"Using modern technology with lifestyle modifications, diabetes is treatable. It's not a death sentence anymore," Edelman says. It's all about being knowledgable, he adds, which is one of the reasons he started the non-profit organization Taking Control of Your Diabetes. That knowledge can be life changing.
"Once I was able to get back in a race car," Reed said, "It made me that much more determined not just to be a race car driver but to be very successful at it."