SALT LAKE CITY — It's estimated diabetes reduces the life expectancy of a Type 1 diabetic by 11 to 13 years.
In recognition of Diabetes Awareness month, KSL TV talked to a woman who has lived with the disease for 41 years.
Beverly Snyder does not let the disease slow her down, and now she and her daughter are on a mission to educate others. You might call this mother-daughter team "the dynamic diabetes duo."
"From the time I was born, I've lived with diabetes my whole life," said daughter, Brittany Ly, not because she has diabetes, but her mom does.
Doctors diagnosed Snyder with type 1 diabetes at age 13.
"I didn't know anything about diabetes at the time. All I knew was that they brought in this tray of syringes and said, take these shots every day," Snyder said.
She didn't receive a lot of education. They didn't have digital monitors and electronic pumps. The diagnosis seemed dire. Doctors even told her she couldn't have kids.
"The first few years were hard because you're struggling so hard to fit in as an adolescent and you can't because you're so different. And back then they made it like it was a death sentence," Snyder said.
But when she figured out she had some control, it made all the difference. "We know how to count the carbs, we know how to watch the stress levels, we're active, we exercise," Snyder said.
She tracks everything in her own ledger on a daily basis, making sure to note anything that might impact her blood sugar levels. Snyder then makes the necessary adjustments with insulin and what she eats.
Ly now uses her mom's example in her job as a diabetes educator for Utah Department of Health under the Healthy Living Through Environment, Policy & Improved Clinical Care (EPICC) division.
"One of the biggest things that I think breaks my heart is that we have a lot of resources," Ly said. "I just wish that everyone with diabetes could see that and understand that they're not alone, that you can live a perfectly healthy life if you're proactive."
Snyder is not only proactive but uses her dreams as a motivator.
"I want to see my grandchildren. I want to live. I want to grow old with my husband, and I can't do that if I let my diabetes take my vision away or take my kidney's away," said Snyder, "Diabetes is a disease that if left uncared for it can take you just like that."
The Department of Health and Ly work with clinics and doctors across the state to offer diabetic education programs, just go to choosehealth.utah.gov to find one near you.
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