Racecar driver shows type 1 diabetes doesn't have to slow you down

IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball has been racing cars since the age of 9. So when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a couple years ago, he decided it wouldn't slow him down, even though it requires strict attention to test results and treatment schedules.

He recently told the Boston Herald that the diagnosis caught him off guard. He wasn't entirely sure what the news from his doctor meant, but assumed that it would be a condition that would be simple to treat.

However, the driver quickly learned that there is much more to type 1 diabetes management than simply taking a pill each day. It requires a person to constantly check their blood sugar, be mindful of staying hydrated and take insulin injections when glucose levels rise too high. All of this could have held back a driver who is used to living a fast-paced life.



Instead of letting the disease slow him down, Kimball found ways to deal with it. He installed monitors in his car that check his blood sugar and has water and orange juice bottles in the cockpit to stay hydrated.

"Just like I check lap time, speed, water temperature, fuel mileage, I check my level blood/glucose," Kimball told the news source. "I'm very conscious of the safety of not just myself, but the 26 other drivers. I don't want to pass out, wash up and take out somebody to hurt them."

Kimball has worked to take his story and use it to show other people with type 1 diabetes that the condition doesn't have to prevent them from pursuing their dreams. He has partnered with Novo Nordisk to advocate on behalf of the issue.

His experience shows that with proper planning and management, a person with type 1 diabetes can go far in life while pursuing their aspirations.
 
First published on: August 15, 2011