Supreme Court Justice meets with children to discuss type 1 diabetes

A child who has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes may feel as if they are the only ones who have the disease. However, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that 3 million people are living with the chronic condition in the U.S.

Moreover, some of these individuals are celebrities or national figures who are constantly in the limelight, although their fans may not even realize that they have type 1 diabetes.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer is one of these people. She recently spoke to a group of about 150 youths between the ages of 4 and 17 who were associated with the Children's Congress of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on how she has dealt with the condition throughout her life, according to an article published by National Public Radio.

The news provider reported that Sotomayer told her guests she first developed symptoms of type 1 diabetes at the age of 7. These included the typical signs of the disease such as excessive thirst and urination. She said that she was ashamed of her inability to control her bladder because she didn't know that she was sick, and she was scared when her doctor diagnosed her with type 1 diabetes.

Sotomayer explained that diabetes management has taught her discipline. Since insulin injections and simple finger-prick blood glucose tests were not available, she had to slice her finger with a razor to draw blood and sterilize needles each morning for her insulin doses, the news source said.

When asked whether or not diabetes management gets easier with age, Sotomyer said yes, it does. However, she noted that even now she must check her blood sugar levels before being seated at the Supreme Court each day, in addition to calculating how her diabetic diet and work-related stress will affect her blood glucose, the news organization added.

The ADA states that when an individual's body senses stress - either from physical injury or mental tension - it ramps up its production of hormones, which can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Different ways that individuals with type 1 diabetes can cope with stress include engaging in exercise, learning breathing techniques, practicing progressive relaxation therapy for muscles or using mind over matter to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, the ADA suggests.