3,500 years. Experts say that's how long society's known about the chronic disease we now call diabetes. Of course awareness has evolved since 1500 B.C. In fact, medical professionals use this month to educate people about it. Managing the disease has changed too, just in the last few decades. Rockford resident Tim Oswald gives us his perspective on growing up with diabetes.
"We're leaps and bounds beyond what it was in 1961 when I was first diagnosed." -Tim says.
It's difficult for Tim to remember a time when he didn't have Type 1 diabetes. He found out at six years old. Tim says back then, treatments were much different.
"It was all glass syringes, stainless steel needles that you could use once then you had to boil to sterilize. You could only use the needles so long because they'd get dull. You'd have to throw them away and then go buy more. Then when they finally came out with disposable syringes and needles I thought 'Now there's a breakthrough.'"
He got his first glucometer as a teenager. It only read his blood sugar levels. Now he has two and they do more to help him.
"They send a radio frequency to my insulin pump and send my blood sugar right to the pump." -he says.
Tim wears that pump all day, every day, which regulates his blood sugar better than injections he took as a boy.
"It keeps you on a more even keel throughout the day."
SwedishAmerican health professionals say we've come a long way, but doctors are doing their homework for future advances.
"Especially in Type 1, they look at immune issues, so the researchers have some exciting things to look at it. There are always new medications coming out. They're refining insulins, they're looking at different ways drugs can work or different target areas in the body to help control their sugars." -says SwedishAmerican Diabetes Self-Management Center Manager Linda Dries.
Experts say it's important to get your blood sugar checked every now and then, especially if diabetes runs in your family.