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August 19, 2013

Balancing act: Woman living 64 years with diagnosis

Warner, 66, recognized for more than 50 years of life with diabetes

Julia Warner will tell you that surviving diabetes takes balance and consistency.

She should know — the Logansport resident has made it 64 years with diabetes.

Warner, who in 2012 received medals from both the Joslin Diabetes Center and Eli Lilly and Co. for having lived with diabetes for at least 50 years, was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder just two months shy of her second birthday.

“The ambulance was called since I had less than an hour to get to Indianapolis,” said Warner, now 66. “I was going into a diabetic coma.”

Her blood sugar level was nearly 10 times what it should be. As the emergency vehicle raced from Logansport to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Warner’s father pushed the dashboard button for the siren while her mother stayed with her in the rear of the ambulance.

“Bob [Powell, the driver] said we would make it, and by the grace of God we did,” Warner said.

Once young Warner was admitted and stabilized, her mother stayed with her in the hospital room, learning to care for her child. “It was diet, schedule, exercise,” Warner said.

Warner’s family helped her weigh each item of food she ate at strict mealtimes, to ensure she didn’t over- or under-consume foods that would hike her blood sugar. Daily tests helped her parents determine the amount of sugar in her body. Her mother would administer regular doses of insulin, as well.

Warner was diagnosed with the less common type of diabetes, type 1. According to a fact sheet published by Logansport Memorial Hospital, about 90 percent to 95 percent of cases of diabetes are type 2, in which the body doesn’t efficiently use its insulin, which helps convert sugar to energy. Just 5 percent to 10 percent of cases are type 1, in which the body produces no insulin at all. People with type 1 diabetes must rely on daily insulin injections to live.

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