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Article originally appeared in 2007

Live! Heart Health with Regis Philbin by Jonathan Jarashow


Hes watched by millions every morning as the host of "Live with Regis and Kelly," and one of the reasons he retains his popularity is because you never know whats next for Regis Philbin. For his part, Regis understands this all too well. About 14 years ago, he was shooting a commercial for Carnival on one of their cruise ships when he felt what he describes as heaviness around the heart area. Regis went to the ships doctor who immediately did an electrocardiogram, but didnt find anything. HEART PROBLEMS FOR REGIS The next day, after docking back in Miami, Regis went to Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, where one of his arteries was found to be clogged. It was the source of his pain. The doctors asked, Should we give you an angioplasty? (An angioplasty is a procedure where a tiny balloon is inserted into the blocked artery, inflated and then removedto open a blocked artery). I said, Sure, go ahead. They did it and I felt pretty good after it was done. However, about six months later, the pain returned. I began feeling the pain again and it was becoming more intense, Regis continues. My producer, Gelman, drove me to New York Hospital. The doctors put a stent in where I had the angioplasty six months earlier. Ive been pretty good ever since. KEEPING HEART HEALTHY While a large part of Regis good health can be ascribed to his positive attitude, he still has to work at it. I still love all the bad stuffice cream, Italian bread and butter, steakbut I try to eat everything in moderation, he says. I concentrate on the vegetables and fruits. That is the way you remain slim. All those things that weve been told about for yearsand Ive ignored for some of those yearsare true and I am doing the best I can with those right now. So thats how I keep trim and thats how I stay in shape. Physical activity also plays a large role in Regis everyday routine. He likes to run on the outdoor track at his gym several times a week at the Reebok Sport Center near his studio in New York. I can see the skyline of the city as I go around and I always find that it just elevates my spirits. I do as many laps as I can for my cardio. I also work out with weights to keep the other parts of my body fit. A LEGENDARY TV STAR Ask anyone who sees him, Regis is in good shape. He has to be to keep up with his nonstop schedule. He took his daytime success to prime time with "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and

"Super Millionaire." Earlier in 2006, he returned to prime time with the hit summer program, "America's Got Talent." Regis has won numerous Emmy awards, both personally and as part of his show. In 2006, he broke his own Guinness World Record for Most Hours on Camera, setting a new mark of 15,662 hours accumulated over his illustrious career. In 2001, Regis received a TV Guide Award as Personality of the Year and a Broadcasting & Cable Lifetime Achievement Award. Philbin was a 2006 inductee into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and was recently inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. Now in its 19th season in national syndication, "Live" originated in 1983. In 2001, Regis was joined by Kelly Ripa and the program entered a new era as "Live with Regis and Kelly." TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEART! Regis also does what he can to help educate others about health-related issues. (He recently had a flu shot while on the air.) When he had the stent put in, Regis invited his doctors onto the show to explain what had happened and how to avoid a similar situation. I hope that helped people and I think it did, Regis says. I got a lot of mail after that saying, thank you. Ive been suffering with that pain, afraid to go and I found out its as simple as you said it was. Even before he started Live! Regis was using television to help people. In the early days of cable television, Regis hosted a show on the Cable Health Network. It was a variety show that centered on health-related issues. The guests on his show included everyone from weightlifters to heart surgeons. This past summer, Regis lent a helping hand to a heart health gala at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center which was celebrating all of its successful artificial heart transplants. He was joined by Dr. Robert Jarvikinventor of the artificial heartas well as the first recipient of the artificial heart, who is still alive today. Its important to remember that we only have one heart and we really must do our best to take care of it, Regis says.

Article originally appeared in 2007

Hall of fame quarterback Joe Montana: Taking Aim at High Blood Pressure by Alan Braverman
As quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Joe Montana led his team to four Super Bowl wins and earned three Super Bowl MVP awards. One would think that someone as athletic as Joe would be in tip-top physical shape. And he seemed to be, until he went for a routine check-up in 2002. Since his blood pressure was sky-high, Joes provider sent him immediately to a cardiologist where he was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Even though his mother has high blood pressure, Joe was blindsided. I was shocked, says Montana. I always thought high blood pressure would happen to an overweight person or someone who wasn't in shape, but its not that way. That's why I tell people, if it can happen to me, it can happen to you too. Anyone can get high blood pressure. It is simple to know if you have it, so just get checked. According to Dr. James Rippe, a prominent cardiologist and professor at the University of Central Florida, 65 million people in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, or hyper-tension. It can often lead to heart disease and stroke and accounts for almost half of all deaths every year in the U.S. Most people who have high blood pressure arent doing anything about it. Thats not because they dont care; its because they dont know they have it. There are no symptoms at all for high blood pressure, Dr. Rippe says. Some people may think they have symptoms, but really, there are none. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE PROBLEMS There are, however, various problems that can arise when someone has high blood pressure. Most importantly, the inner lining of your arteries can get injured, because they are not designed to withstand high blood pressure for long periods of time. The arteries can also become clogged. If that happens in the heart, the result will be a heart attack. If its in the neck, a stroke will likely follow. High blood pressure is also the leading cause of blindness and kidney damage. For people with diabetes, high blood pressure is of even higher concern. About 70% of all people with diabetes die of heart disease, of which high blood pressure is a leading cause. Dr. Rippe says people with diabetes need to aim for a blood pressure reading of 130/80 or lower, whereas the rest of the population is okay with 140/90 or lower. LIFESTYLE CHANGES Medication is usually needed, especially if blood pressure is over 140/90. However, thats not to say nothing else can be done. Losing weight is a reliable way to lower blood pressure. In fact, every 20

pounds lost will help lower blood pressure numbers by about seven points. Increasing physical activity is also helpful in reducing blood pressure another four to five points. Of course, not smoking is very important, too. Montana had to readjust his lifestyle after being diagnosed with high blood pressure. While he used to work out every day playing football, he began to allow his physical activity regimen to slow down after retirement. "Exercise was almost out of my life after retiring from football, he said. I was working out seven days a week most of the time. Then I said, 'OK. Id better cut back. So, I cut back from seven days a week to five, then to three days a week, and then OK, well maybe next week. Since being diagnosed with hypertension, Joe usually gets in 45 minutes to an hour of physical activity every day. He also takes medication and watches what he eatsvery carefully. The family takes an active role. His wife, Jennifer, cooks healthier meals and his four kids make every effort to out-maneuver their dad in moving the salt out of arms reach. This is important training for the kids, Joe says. I think theyve learned how important good nutrition is and, hopefully, theyll keep eating healthy foods as they get older. I always say, I have five great reasons to stay healthy, says Joe. Since 2002, Joe has been able to keep his blood pressure under 120/80. Joes meal plan is fairly simple: everything in moderation. People tend to supersize. If we like something we pile on more. When eating out, instead of the 16-ounce porterhouse steak, Ill order the smaller filet. Its not always easy to stay on track. Physical activity, exercise and medications can often seem like an uphill battle. Joe relates advice that Dr. Rippe gave him about medication: Overall, its only a pill a day. If you dont want to take medicine and think its tough, remember: a heart attack or stroke is even worse. According to Dr. Rippe, there are many good blood pressure medications available today. More than half of all people with hypertension will need two or more medicines to control their blood pressure. He counsels people with high blood pressure to talk with health care providers to figure out which medicine is right for them. AN ALL-STAR PARTNERSHIP Joe and his wife Jennifer collaborated with Dr. Rippe to write a book with tips and anecdotes about living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Joe Montanas Family Playbook for Managing High Blood Pressure is available for free at www.getbpdown.com. Together, Dr. Rippe and Joe are encouraging Americans to simply become aware of their own blood pressure. They emphasize that the damage from high blood pressure occurs gradually, and that high blood pressure can happen to anyone. Joe has made an impact as a heart health spokesman, and for him its gratifying. Friends tell me they heard about my campaign to get people to check their blood pressure and now they are taking steps to keep it down. Its a good feeling.

Article originally appeared in 2007

Shooting For Diabetes Control NBA Rookie Adam Morrison By Alan Braverman
In many ways, Adam Morrison is like countless other athletes in their rookie years: hes making waves. By all accounts, his first professional game was a huge personal success. Entering the game with four minutes to go in the first quarter, he scored 10 quick points before the buzzer. His Charlotte Bobcats eventually lost to the Orlando Magic but Morrison, nonetheless, is the focus of much media and fan attention. What went mostly unreported, though, was his performance on the sidelines. Morrison stole a few moments when not playingin front of thousands of fansto check his blood glucose. That pretty much sums up how he handles his diabetes: its just part of his life and something that needs to be done every single day, no matter what. EARLY DIAGNOSIS Since he was 14, the rising National Basketball Association (NBA) star has been living with type 1 diabetes. While in the eighth grade in Spokane, Washington, Morrison had many of the typical diabetes symptoms, even though he regularly played basketball and other sports. He kept losing weight. He was always tired and his thirst was never quenched no matter how much he drank. One night, his parents noticed he needed medical attention. When they brought him to the local emergency room, his blood glucose was over 800. Morrison spent the night in the ER, recovering from the life-threatening glucose high and learning about diabetes. I had a great doctor, Morrison said. He basically told me that I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I took care of my diabetes. Once he proved himself capable of checking his glucose levels and administering his own insulin, Morrison was given the green light to get back into high school sports, and he did. Eventually, he moved on to an insulin pump. PEER ACCEPTANCE My high school friends and teammates reacted really well to my diabetes, Morrison shared. I wasnt looked down upon at all and coach was great. I wasnt his first player with diabetes. His teammates and friends acceptance of his diabetes didnt necessarily mean all was rosy for Adam. In his senior year of high school, Adam led his team to the state championship tournament. During one game, in addition to fighting formidable opponents on the court, Adam was almost brought down by the flu. Just living with diabetes and managing the flu can be quite a task. Adam, of course, was also playing basketball. Adams blood glucose level plummeted to 54 as he struggled to play the game. His food wasnt staying down, and all of his emergency food reserves were used up. His sister, Brandie, was put in charge of running back and forth to the concession stand to bring Adam orange juice for the timeouts.

Perhaps most amazing of all, Adam stayed in the game and scored 38 points in a losing effort. He was, not surprisingly, named tournament MVP. Morrison graduated from high school in 2003 and attended Gonzaga University in Washington state. He said he was just like any other student at the university, only I had diabetes. He checked his blood glucose levels before every game and, because he removed his insulin pump while playing, could often be seen checking his glucose levels during games. His amazing ability to manage his diabetes is also the result of trial and error. Working with a nutritionist, Morrison learned exactly what hed have to eat and at what time prior to taking to the basketball court. Exactly two hours and 15 minutes before game time, he sits down to the same meal: a 22-ounce steak, a big baked potato and 7 ounces of green vegetables. The result is a glucose level between 120 and 140a little high, but it works because of the amount of energy he uses in a game. Looking at his career, it is clear his diligence didnt get in the way of the game. During the 20052006 season, Adam established himself as one of the best college players in the nation. He was the NCAA scoring leader and led Gonzaga to the NCAA Tournament. Although his team eventually lost a hard-fought game to UCLA, Adam had made a strong impression on basketball fans and NBA scouts. LIFE IN THE NBA Selected third overall in the NBA draft for the 2006-07 season, Morrison is now with the Charlotte Bobcats, a young team beginning its third season. Much of its hopes are pinned on the 22-year-old forward, who has drawn comparisons to the legendary Larry Bird. He has enjoyed a solid rookie season, averaging about 12 points per game through the end of March. Even though hes hired a chef to help him out with three square meals a day (including the 22ounce steak), Morrison is still the captain of his diabetes management team. His A1C is pretty good and stays between six and seven. He attributes his tight glucose control to the fact that hes always testing himself. He uses the OneTouch Ultra2 Meter from LifeScan, which he said is helpful in seeing how glucose reacts to various foods. Its so important to stay on top of your diabetes, Morrison said. What you do now will affect you down the road. ADVICE FOR KIDS Morrison is an excellent role model for kids with diabetes. Hell check his glucose levels as often as 10 times a game on game days and, if he has to, will drink juice or take insulin shots on the sidelines. Im living my dream, he said. There is no reason why every single kid with type 1 diabetes cant do the same, if they put their mind to it. Just listen to your parents, your doctors and dont ever feel ashamed or embarrassed about diabetes.

Article originally appeared in 2007

Best-selling Author Dr. Stephen Covey: Healthy Habits for People with Diabetes By Jonathan Jarashow
After learning that his wife, Sandra, had type 2 diabetes, Dr. Stephen Covey, author of the bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and an internationally respected leadership authority, started thinking about how his habits approach could help people with diabetes. I have spent my life teaching people how to set and accomplish goals in their personal and professional lives and am now applying my habits to help people better manage their diabetes, Covey says. I know diabetes can be challenging to live with and I have gained an even deeper understanding of that fact since my wife was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Together, with changes in behavior, we turned the diabetes curve ball into an opportunity to learn, grow and deepen our lives. Practicing the advice her husband preaches in his series of books, Sandra Covey doesnt let diabetes bring her down. As Covey says, diabetes can become a real strength for people, a strength that spreads to other parts of their lives. Sandra checks her blood glucose every morning and makes it a priority to exercise on her bike every day. Eating right has become a habit, as well. Sandras diabetes has affected the whole Covey family in a positive way. She didnt become a victim. She embraced the reality of her situation, Covey says. The mother of nine and grandmother of 48 has become a role model for everyone, living by example and encouraging her family not to be overwhelmed. The 7 Habits are universal principles, so they can be applied to people with diabetes. According to Covey, developing healthy habits is particularly important for those with diabetes. People with diabetes need to understand the power of intention. If things arent working, they should try something new. Develop new habits. You have to pour out the old wine first in order to pour in new wine, Covey says. The person with diabetes needs to take responsibility for his or her own life. Complaining about the difficulties wont lead to necessary changes. We must become the creative force of our life, Covey says. In other words, we decide how we will feel. We determine the temperature in our own lives. Events and circumstances may be forced onto us, like diabetes, but we have a choice as to how to react to them. Covey talks about the 90/10 rule: In life, 10% of our challenges are unavoidable; they are what life throws at us. The remaining 90% of life, the vast majority, is how we react to these unavoidable situations and difficulties. That 90% is in our control.

Covey encourages people with diabetes to develop a personal mission statement, and to start small. Make promises you can keep, then keep them, and move on to bigger projects. Keeping to our commitments is very powerful. Our honor is greater than our moods, Covey says. Achieving our goals and keeping our promises establishes a chain that we dont want to break, regardless of what our mood might be at the time. This helps us to be a creative force. In essence being proactive in creating our lives, and not just reacting to whatever comes our way. Rather, we must go through life with an intention to stick to our commitments. TYPE 2 DIABETES IN CHILDREN According to Covey, the reasons for the increase in childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes are simple. Covey says, Younger kids are spending too much time watching TV screens and eating junk. Parents need to work with their families to emphasize healthy living habits. BUILD TEAM SPIRIT WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE TEAM A great health care team is crucial to managing diabetes. Synergies must play a major role. Each team member will become your support network and you should use the group's collective wisdom to help you. ADVICE FOR THE NEWLY DIAGNOSED Remember one of the 7 Habits: Put first things first, Covey says. Cultivate a relationship with a person whom you respect, who will listen to you and allow you to bare your soul. Then, start with small steps and keep to them. Eventually, you will feel your own power and become proactive, he says. HEALTHY HABITS Dr. Covey worked with Bayer Diabetes Care and the American Association of Diabetes Educators to develop a free booklet called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with Diabetes. It is designed to help people with diabetes adopt Coveys 7 Habits and apply them to achieve better disease management. The booklet advises people to take small steps to manage their chronic illness and to incorporate each of the self-care behaviors within their lives. For example, by applying Coveys Habit 1: Be Proactive. People with diabetes are encouraged to take responsibility for managing their condition by following the AADEs 7 Self-Care Behaviors, such as healthy eating, being active and monitoring blood glucose levels. For more information about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with Diabetes or to receive a copy at no charge, please go to www.diabetes7.org

Article originally appeared in 2008

RANDY JACKSON On Diabetes and Heart Disease By Jonathan Jarashow


Twenty-year music industry veteran and Grammy Award winning producer Randy Jackson recently completed his sixth season as a judge on the record-breaking show American Idol. Randy is also now the spokesperson for the American Heart Associations The Heart of Diabetes campaign, a national program to help those living with type 2 diabetes manage their condition and learn about its connection to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Approximately 21 million Americans have diabetes; and according to estimates, two-thirds of them will die of CVD, such as heart attack or stroke. RANDYS DIAGNOSIS About five years ago, Jackson weighed 355 pounds and started feeling rundown. He thought that he was coming down with a cold because he was thirsty all the time and was sweating frequently. But he kept delaying his visit to the doctor to find out what was bothering him. You know people, men especially, will often only go to the doctor when somethings wrong. So finally I went to the doctor, and I was shocked to find out that I had type 2 diabetes. I was really overweight at the time, so I had to do some things to change my lifepretty drastically and quickly. Jackson had gastric bypass surgery, and he has lost 110 pounds since. The surgery really helped to get the disease to a manageable level for me so I could just go on oral medication, he said. DIET AND EXERCISE Randy is the star of The Heart of Diabetes Web site, IKnowDiabetes.org. Its a great place to learn about diabetes and heart health, and offers helpful tips. For instance, they suggest eating a healthy, balanced diet and reducing intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars. Randy has taken these tips to heart: You have got to get your diet and exercise routine under control. And you have to come up with a balance thats going to really work for you. Its like showering and brushing your teeth. For me, I made it a part of my lifetheres no other way around it. Some more helpful advice from IKnowDiabetes.org involves getting active. Even 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week can help prevent diabetes, can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, can help you maintain a healthy body weight, and can minimize risk of cardiovascular disease. Randy has made the treadmill part of his own daily routine: I hated it before, but now I really love it because of my busy lifestyle. It's something I can always do, jump on the treadmill for 45 minutes. I suggest to other people that if you cant do anything else, walk for at least 30 minutes a day. Randy has made a point to talk to his kids about making healthy choices, because with diabetes, prevention is key. Weve got a pretty healthy thing going on at home. I mean, they still do some kid stuff; theyre still going to have certain desserts here and there, but not nearly as many of them because we dont have much junk in the house. PEOPLE WITH DIABETES CAN DO IT ALL

Elliot Yamin, who has type 1 diabetes, reached the American Idol finals and has become a star. Randy sees this as proof that just because you have a disease, it doesnt mean your life stops. You still can flourish and do everything that you could do before. And Elliot, Im just so proud of him! I mean, hes just an amazingly talented kid. And when youre committed, you can still lead a perfectly normal lifestyle, even with diabetes, Randy said. DIABETES AND YOUR HEART Randy is excited about his partnership with the American Heart Associations The Heart of Diabetes campaign, because, as he says, If it helps someone discover something thats going wrong with them or even just gets them to go to the doctor one or two more times a year, Im happy. The campaign aims to spread awareness that the No. 1 killer among people with diabetes is cardiovascular disease. Randy has found that many people dont really understand the connection. The campaign lets people know that because of what diabetes does to the body, where it can break down its organs, it makes you susceptible to other diseasesespecially heart disease. To learn more, visit Randy on the Web site IKnowDiabetes.org, or you can call 1-800-AHA-USA1 to get information live on the phone. Randy tells it like it is: diabetes management is not always easy. But taking charge of his lifestyle and becoming healthier has made him a stronger and happier person. Go to the doctor every three months for a checkup. Know whats going on with your body, and youll live a much healthier, safer life. Try to adopt an exercise program, even if you just walk. You dont need to join a gym or spend any money to walk. And, of course, you must watch what you eat.

Article originally appeared in 2008

Gladys Knight Sings the Praises of Diabetes Education by Jonathan Jarashow


Gladys Knight has received great recognition for her musical talents over the last five decades. She is a seven-time Grammy Award winner and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Her hit songs as a solo artist and as a member of Gladys Knight and the Pips include Midnight Train to Georgia and the ensemble piece Thats What Friends Are For. At this years AARP Inspire Awards, Gladys was recognized for another part of her life in which she is a genuine star: helping others through the organizations she is involved in, such as the Elizabeth Knight Fund. Knight's family established the fund through the American Diabetes Association in memory of Gladys mother, Elizabeth, who had type 2 diabetes from the time she was 30 until she died in 1997 at the age of 80. The fund supports diabetes research and awareness programs. Gladys is particularly active in educating people with diabetes about how they can live gratifying and successful lives with diabetes, as Elizabeth Knight did. We spoke to Gladys about her mothers fund, its focus on diabetes education, and on being a role model for good health. Elizabeth Knight was a big believer in education. She learned as much as she could about how to take good care of her diabetes and therefore was able to live a happy, healthy life. According to Gladys Knight, She said to us I dont know why you are all worrying about me because Im gonna live till Im 80. She stuck to that and she did live until 80. ON DIABETES EDUCATION The Elizabeth Knight Fund has become a vehicle to educate people about living well with diabetes and diabetes prevention. Gladys explained, We want to get the word out that you can control diabetes with simple changes. We want to help people learn how to take care of themselveswhat to do and what to eat and what not to eat. I love the opportunities to tell people about this disease, like when I have a seminar and I am able to make people aware of what diabetes can do and how they can better live life with it. DIABETES IN THE FAMILY Gladys doesn't have diabetes, but it runs in her family. To prevent the disease, she practices what she preaches. She is careful about her health and her diet. I dont have diabetes; my brother Bubba doesnt have it either. But so many of us domy sister has it, my brother David had it, my mom had it, and my uncle had it. In my family, we have a tendency to be on the heavy side, so we really have to be careful about our weight. Gladys works hard at keeping healthy and fit because she knows that weight and its consequences can creep up on you. So she sticks to different health and diet programs in order to keep on track.

My mom wanted us to be smart about that. She taught us to try to be an example and a light to others. In order to do that, you have to set a certain standard for yourself. You have to try to live the life that you are telling people about. I cant tell you about how to prevent this disease if Im not trying to take care of myself. Gladys also has an important diabetes-prevention message that she emphasized should not be overlooked: Dont just assume your doctor or health care provider will ask you all the right questions, even if diabetes runs in your family. As she advised, When you go to the doctor for your checkup, ask to be tested for diabetes. KIDS AND DIABETES Gladys laments that it has become more difficult for today's kids to stay healthy with physical education reduced or cut out of many schools. Now you have video games and fast food and all that kind of stuff, so kids dont get the exercise they should get. You used to be able to send the kids to school and they would get into music, they would get into athletics. Its no guarantee anymore. KEEP THE SOUL IN YOUR FOOD Gladys grew up cooking soul food at the knees of her mother and her grandmothers. Her aunts and uncles were great cooks, too. But as an adult, she found ways to cook in a healthier way. Our food was heavy, with a lot of fat and rich ingredients. And you want to have food that tastes like it did in the day. You can still make a good soul meal without the hamhock, without the bacon or the butter. There are so many great substitutes you can go to now. For example, you have turkey and you have wonderful oils, like olive oil and grapeseed oil, which are really good for the body and that you can cook with. Gladys shares some of her culinary secrets and best recipes in a cookbook called At Home With Gladys Knight: Her Personal Recipe For Living Well, Eating Right & Loving Life. It is published by the American Diabetes Association and is available for purchase at www.diabetes.org. 2008 AARP Inspire Award Winner Gladys Knight tells us she is a regular Walgreens customer in her hometown of Las Vegas and the new relationship between AARP and Walgreens gives you more reasons to be a Walgreens customer, too. Now more than ever, people age 50 and over need and deserve convenient, professional health care resources. Walgreens has always provided the highest quality pharmacy care, and now we are a trusted neighborhood source of valuable AARP health and wellness information. AARP and Walgreens are working together to bring you information you can trustreliable resources that can help you take charge of your health, medicines and life. We encourage you to explore some of these free resources.

Article originally appeared in 2008

Jay Cutler Denver Broncos quarterback dealing with NFL defenses and Type 1 Diabetes by Jonathan Jarashow
The national football leagues Denver Broncos are led by quarterback Jay Cutler, a 6-foot-3, 230pound emerging star with a bright future ahead of him. Like all quarterbacks, in order to be effective, he has to stay healthy. But Cutler is unique among his peers in that he has to cope not only with the weekly impact of punishing hits from swarming defensive linemen, but also with a disease taking an even greater physical toll until he was diagnosed last April: Type 1 diabetes. CUTLERS DIABETES DIAGNOSIS Cutler, who was drafted by the Broncos with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, threw for 3,497 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. After his play dropped off at the end of the 2007 season, he wondered what might be the cause. A routine physical gave him the answer. I had diabetes for six and a half months and I had no idea; it was just a random physical blood test that found it. We did physicals about two weeks earlier, and I was just going to work out. They had just gotten everyones results back, and my blood levels were like so high that they sent me straight to the doctor when I got in to work. GETTING BACK INTO A FOOTBALL ROUTINE At first it was hard for Cutler to adjust. Before a workout, his blood glucose levels would be in the range of 130150 mg/dL. But after working up a sweat, they would drop. To keep his blood levels in check, he now stops midway to check his levels and has a sports drink to keep them in a moderate range. It took some getting used to, but now instead of checking over 20 times a day, Cutler checks it no more than 10 times a day. Support is a major factor in how Cutler manages to have type 1 diabetes and still play in the NFL. His family and friends have, of course, been a big source of support, as have his teammates. My teammates have been great. Theyve kind of given me my privacy about it, but theyre always making sure Im all right out there. If my blood sugar gets low, theyll find some Gatorade for me. Its worked out well so far. Off the field, Cutler has a great diabetes team he meets with regularly, including the Broncos doctor and nutritionist and the Colorado University Hospital staff. Cutler also reached out to his quarterback coach from Vanderbilt University, who coincidentally was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 25. It may be difficult at times for Cutler to balance his diabetes care with his football needs, but he makes it work. For 24 years of my life, I was eating whatever I wanted and drinking whatever I wanted to drink. And then one day youre told you have to watch what you eatit was definitely a big change. His diet has become a much healthier one, where chicken, fish and vegetables are staples. Cutler is fortunate to have all his meals prepared for him by the same people who do the catering for the rest of the team. He tries to keep his carbohydrate intake down, but as a professional quarterback, he burns a lot more calories through his intense daily workouts than the

average person with diabetes. His activity level requires him to keep his weight up, so sometimes he does load up on carbs, but he tries to keep them healthy ones. As part of his diabetes care plan, Cutler picks up his insulin at his local Walgreens Pharmacy and uses a wireless insulin pump called an Omnipod. He is able to work out wearing the Omnipod, but takes it off once the game starts. Cutler also uses the Navigator continuous blood glucose device that updates every minute. A HERO TO KIDS WITH DIABETES Cutler knows he is in the public eye and wants to be a good role model. He is amazed about 85 percent of the fan mail he receives is now from kids 15 or younger with diabetes, encouraging him and giving him advice. He knows these kids need support and assurance that they too can live normal lives even with diabetes. After the season, Cutler looks forward to giving back to the community by getting involved with Dedicated to Diabetes, a Denver-based organization that aims to improve public knowledge about diabetes. Cutlers diabetes care routine is working well, and he is back to his pre-diagnosis form. Says Cutler: Im doing great now. Ive gained all my weight back, all my strength, and its going really well. The fast-acting insulin helped out tremendously. It gave me the ability to eat normally again and get my weight back. So I feel great; I feel like I did a year ago. Football fans in Denver, and his new fans with diabetes who are pulling for him from across the country, certainly hope Cutler is back to his old formand strong enough to lead his Broncos back to prominence in the NFL.