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The key to pursuing dreams for people with diabetes

(BPT) – When most people think of the 29.1 million people in the United States living with diabetes, they don’t think of competitive athletes who are performing at the top echelons of physically enduring sports like running, swimming, and cycling. These athletes are out there, and they’re competing at top levels thanks to active diabetes management.

One group of athletes in particular is determined to show others that diabetes doesn’t have to stand in the way of chasing your dreams. Team Novo Nordisk is a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists, triathletes, and runners living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and is spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. Formed in December 2012, the team is a partnership between Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care, and former pro cyclist and diabetes advocate, Phil Southerland.

The team’s mission is to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes by showing what may be possible to achieve with diabetes. Throughout the year, Team Novo Nordisk athletes participate in more than 500 sporting competitions around the world, meeting and inspiring thousands of people with diabetes along the way.

“These athletes show others what may be possible with diabetes and motivate them to set and achieve goals, whatever they may be,” says Southerland. “However, they know that the first step toward doing this is learning how to manage their diabetes.”

Regular activity is a key part of managing diabetes, along with working with your health care provider, proper meal planning, and taking medications as prescribed. When you are active, your cells are more responsive to insulin, and allow the insulin to work more efficiently at removing sugar from your blood.

Team Novo Nordisk athletes share a common goal of not letting diabetes stop them from pursuing their athletic aspirations. The athletes work closely with their health care provider to manage their condition so they can do what they love.

Here are a few quick tips on managing diabetes:

* Be mindful of your diet – Learn more about nutrition, how to count carbohydrates, and what makes a balanced diet. Then use that information to make good choices at meal time.

* Stay active – Aim to exercise for 30 minutes, 5 times per week. Find an activity you enjoy – whether it’s walking, cycling, jogging, or dancing – if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to keep doing it. Make sure you talk to your health care provider before starting any new exercise regimen.

* Monitor your blood sugar regularly – Know your blood sugar numbers at all times of day and note any patterns you see; then together with your doctor, you can map out adjustments as needed.

* Follow the doctor’s orders – Work with your health care team to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you, and stick to it.

* Build a strong support team – Recruit family members, close friends, and medical providers to help motivate and support you in managing your diabetes.

* Get involved – Join a local diabetes support group to connect with others also living with diabetes; the sense of community can help you stay on track.

Because everyone is different, anyone living with diabetes should seek advice from a doctor or another qualified health care provider on how best to manage the disease.

For more information about how Team Novo Nordisk is racing for every person affected by diabetes around the world, visit www.tnnprocycling.com.

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