WATERLOO (KWWL) -- A diabetes diagnosis will change your life. But one Eastern Iowa woman says it doesn't have to be a struggle. She should know--she's lived with it for 46 years.
Here's Health Plus.
Julie Gallmeyer was only 23 when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Now 46 years later, the Waterloo woman is still working to keep it under control.
"Just other than watching what I'm eating, you know, exercise and make sure I take my medication--which I'm on insulin, have been for 46 years," said Julie Gallmeyer.
The 69-year-old checks her blood sugar nine times a day, but she says managing the disease is easier now.
"Okay when I first started out we had glass syringes and needles you had to boil them, sterilize them. And you had the tube that you put so much drops of urine in it and then you dropped the tablet in there and it changed colors. And whatever color it changed to you compared it to what was on the box and that's how much sugar you had in your system and had to take the shot for it," she said.
Type 1 diabetes stops the body from producing insulin.
"In type 1 diabetes there's not a lot of risk factors, you know. It's not about being overweight or obese. It's just something that happens so we have to get people over the guilt. So you're dependent on taking insulin. Right now the only way to take insulin is with an injection," said Mary Steffensmeier, diabetes educator.
Dietitians say leaving it untreated could be devastating.
"It's a condition where it can be controlled but it's still gonna take a little work and a lot of learning," said Mary.
Regular exercise at Covenant's Kimball Ridge Center is one way Julie keeps diabetes from doing more damage.
"Take your medicine, you do as the doctor tells you to do. You eat, you'll do just fine. Look at me, I've been with it for 46 years and I'm still here," she said.
Online reporter: Tara Thomas