Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Circus acrobat thrives despite rare form of diabetes

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You've heard about the sports stars and the rock stars who succeed in life despite suffering from diabetes. Now, here's something a little more unusual: a circus acrobat! Dolly Jacobs is Circus Sarasota's "Queen of the Air." She recently gave an interview to the Bradenton Herald about her life in the circus.

Trim and petite like a dancer, Jacobs was diagnosed ten years ago. How did it happen? She had the warning signs most type 1s experience: weight loss and a killer thirst she just could not quench. Her mom already had type 1, so during a routine office visit, Jacobs asked the doc to check her blood sugar too. Whoa. It was 260 - way, way above normal. Jacobs was diagnosed not with type 1, but with a rarer form sometimes dubbed "type 1.5" or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of the Adult (LADA). LADA is basically the same as type 1 diabetes, but develops later in life.

So how does one deal with diabetes when your job involves flying through the air with the greatest of ease? Low blood sugar is easy, says Jacobs. Correct it with a soda or juice. High blood sugar is tougher. She says she can go as high as 500 or 600 just from adrenaline. So, just like any other athlete, she depends on testing several times daily and she wears an insulin pump - but not when she's performing. Eating healthy - lean meats, fruits and veg - are important too, she says.

Click here to read more. Kudos, by the way, to the journalist who wrote this article, Roberta C. Nelson, for taking time out to identify the different forms of diabetes and to explain the dangers associated with high vs. low blood sugar. Great!

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