Professional bowler discusses how type 1 diabetes affects his lifestyle

When people think of professional sports, football or baseball may be the first thing that comes to mind. And when they picture a professional athlete, individuals may visualize a strong man or woman in excellent health - probably not an expert bowler with type 1 diabetes.

However, New York resident Ryan Shafer is not a typical athlete. He recently told the Press of Atlantic City that he was uncertain about how his type 1 diabetes would affect his life when he was first diagnosed at the age of 19, but this encouraged him to pursue a bowling career on a whim.

"Back when I was first diagnosed, we didn't have the medical advances that we have now to treat the disease. I wasn't sure what kind of future I was going to have, so I decided to try bowling and see how far it could take me. I told myself I could always go back to school when I was done bowling, but 26 years later, I'm still at it," he told the news source.

The newspaper explained that Shafer must wear an insulin pump at all times, even when he is competing in tournaments that are broadcast on national television.

Individuals with type 1 diabetes may use insulin pumps in lieu of numerous daily injections, since these devices deliver a continuous flow of rapid-acting insulin through a catheter, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

The organization explains that insulin pumps may help diabetics limit the number of lifestyle interruptions they experience due to type 1 diabetes. Some people who have type 2 diabetes use these devices, as well.

However, there are several downsides to using an insulin pump, which is why patients should discuss their options with a physician. The ADA notes that catheters may sometimes become detached, which may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Individuals who start using an insulin pump may also experience weight gain.