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Lifestyle changes are helping Chambersburg man cope with disease

January 04, 2001

Lifestyle changes are helping Chambersburg man cope with disease



Harry Shelly has learned how to keep his diabetes under control.

Shelly, 74, of Chambersburg, Pa., was diagnosed with the disease in 1971, during a physical exam.

His family doctor gave him advice about how to control his diabetes.

He was already active, but he cut back on candy and cakes. Still, he said he didn't take control of his diabetes early on.

The treatment at first included oral medication to keep sugar levels stable. For the last 15 years, though, he has been giving himself insulin injections three times a day before meals.

Shelly said the injections are "routine, no problem."

Before each meal, he takes a blood sample from his finger and puts it on a strip that can read his glucose levels.

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He adjusts his food intake based on those levels.

Shelly reads nutritional labels on food packages so he knows how much sugar and carbohydrates everything contains. He makes sure not to eat too much bread or pasta, opting instead for vegetables, fruits and lean meats.

Three years ago, Shelly had laser treatment to treat retinopathy, a progressive vision disorder that can be a complication of diabetes.

He continues to work, and stays active by doing projects in his wood shop and riding a stationary bike. His blood-sugar levels have been stable for more than a decade, and he's lost about 40 pounds since his diagnosis.

"I try to take care of myself," Shelly said. "If I don't, no one else will."

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