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Miss America contestant encourages those living with type 1 diabetes to feel more confident

(BPT) – Approximately 1.2 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. For many, this diagnosis brings some insecurities. Miss America contestant, Sierra Sandison, felt the same way when she was first diagnosed.

Since her diagnosis as a teenager, the former Miss Idaho made it a goal to inspire those living with type 1 diabetes to manage their condition with confidence. For the young people who feel self-conscious about body image in relation to diabetes, Sandison is taking the conversation beyond the pageant and beyond blood sugar by speaking out about the tips and tools she uses to help manage her diabetes confidently each day.

“Becoming Miss Idaho would never have happened if I didn’t have diabetes,” Sandison says. “I was not popular in high school and not the typical definition of a beauty queen. In fact, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I hid it. I wasn’t taking care of myself. But when I saw Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, wearing an insulin pump on the runway and still being beautiful, it gave me the assurance I needed. I decided that I also wanted to go to the pageant one day and do for others what Nicole had done for me.”

Like Sandison, Dr. Bill Polonsky, co-founder and president of Behavioral Diabetes Institute, knows diabetes is more than just a physical disease. “Living with diabetes impacts my patients’ mental, social and emotional wellbeing,” says Dr. Polonsky. “I realized these aspects of diabetes are rarely discussed and more education and support was needed, which led me to create the institute.”

One of the tools Sandison counts on to help her manage her disease is a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM), an FDA-approved device that provides real-time glucose readings every 5 minutes. It shows where the glucose level is, where it’s going and how fast it’s getting there. Knowing glucose levels is critical for successfully managing type 1 diabetes. The new Dexcom G5 Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System sends real-time data directly to a patient’s iPhone — eliminating the need for a receiver — which allows patients to monitor their blood sugar more regularly and discreetly than ever before.

To help those living with type 1 diabetes and their loved ones, Sandison and Dr. Polonsky are offering inspiration and advice to live confidently with this disease, including:

* With type 1 diabetes, people must balance their insulin doses with the food they eat and the activity they do. Planning ahead and knowing your body’s typical blood glucose response to exercise can help keep your blood glucose from dropping too low or going too high.

* Important technology, like Sandison’s continuous glucose monitor, a system that tracks your blood sugar levels day and night, has evolved over the years to become more discreet and wearable than ever.

* It is important to discuss diabetes with your partner or family. Knowing and understanding how to deal with lows and highs could be critical in a medical emergency.

* Observations in a person’s behavior, sleep, and eating cycle all play a role in detecting depression in someone who has diabetes.

For additional information, visit www.dexcom.com.

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