KATHY is a young woman. She watches her diet and her weight, gets plenty of exercise, and follows her doctor’s instructions. She also gives herself insulin injections every day. Kathy is one of many millions of people who have diabetes.
In spite of all her precautions, Kathy admits: “I never can tell what my blood sugar will be. One afternoon it may be 300. The next day, on the same schedule, it may be 50 and I’m going into insulin shock.” Not long ago she developed a nonhealing infection and spent weeks in a hospital.
Mae is an older woman. She does not watch her diet and, as a result, is 50 pounds (23 kg) overweight. She admits that she does not follow her doctor’s orders very well. She shrugs off the fact that her blood sugar often hovers above 300, and she refuses to take insulin. Though she does take a diabetes pill daily, she seems surprisingly unconcerned about her disease.
Although they seem so different, both these women have the same disease. It is called diabetes mellitus. Why is there such a difference in the two of them? More importantly, what can they do to enable them to live with their diabetes?