Sonia Sotomayor and Type 1 Diabetes

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As our colleague Alice Park wrote yesterday, one of the questions surrounding the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor involves the fact that she suffers from Type 1 diabetes:

The nominee’s chronic condition is worth noting, since it puts her at increased risk of several serious medical conditions, including heart disease, kidney problems, blindness and nerve damage — and an increased risk of early death. Studies show that adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely than non-diabetics to die of heart disease. But when treated correctly, say doctors, Type 1 diabetes patients are able to lead relatively healthy lives. The latest data suggest that patients can successfully manage the disease for four or five decades with no serious health complications.

So how serious is her condition, and how does she manage it? A White House official tells us this:

Judge Sotomayor has been a diabetic since she was 8.

According to her doctor, she has excellent control of her diabetes, with consistent blood sugars better than 98% of diabetics. Her hemoglobin A1c levels, the best measure of diabetes control, have consistently been less than 6.5%, the optimal level as defined by all diabetes organizations. She has no evidence of any complications of diabetes or even any early signs that they may develop.

She controls her diabetes through exercise and healthy eating, as well as daily/regular injections.

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