Thank you so much to my dear friend, Art, for writing this month’s guest blog.
My name is Arthur; I met Julie during our college years through a mutual friend who I had known from high school and who was Julie’s roommate at the time. To provide a little background on myself; in 1981, I was born with a developmental disability called spina bifida. As a result of this diagnosis, I have to use leg braces and crutches to walk, and I sometimes use a wheelchair for long distances. In recent years I have developed a passion for raising awareness about disabilities. A component of that involves writing my own blog addressing topics that deal with living with a disability in an inaccessible world. When I was asked to write a guest blog for this site, I was honored and excited, yet I had no idea where to begin. I could not think of how my story could relate to the topic of diabetes. It wasn’t until after Julie suggested finding any information that related spina bifida and diabetes.
In my search, I discovered that the Spina Bifida Association (SBA) website (www.spinabifidaassociation.org) is full of resources for living a productive life with spina bifida. On this site, resources are provided that discuss the connection between spina bifida and diabetes. Although it is not a diagnosis that I have been given, Type 2 Diabetes is a secondary diagnosis that is increasing in numbers among individuals who have spina bifida. SBA reported that 50% of children who have spina bifida are obese which increases the chance for a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis. Having spina bifida increases one’s risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes in multiple ways. One of these ways is because individuals who have spina bifida often have lower metabolism rates. In addition, burning fat for individuals who have spina bifida is more difficult because it is often difficult to exercise. The often sedentary lifestyle of individuals who have spina bifida is also a contributing risk factor of the development of Type 2 Diabetes within this population.
This information is valuable not only for individuals who have spina bifida, but for everyone with or without a disability. It is important to stay active and to eat healthy.
Arthur L. Aston
Executive Director, Build Jake’s Place
Founder, Our View