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Type 1 Diabetic Conquered Everest

Will Cross became the first American with diabetes to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Cross has proven that even people with diabetes can conquer the world’s highest mountain.

Before Cross, a 49-year-old Austrian man, Geri Winkler, became the first type 1 diabetic to scale the world’s highest peak earlier in May. Nevertheless, Cross was happy to have conquered Everest on his second attempt.

Climbing Everest poses brutal challenges for the”ordinary” climber, more so for persons with diabetes like Cross and Winkler, who both have type 1 diabetes, which requires regular intake of insulin.Aside from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar episodes that could put their lives in danger, they are also more susceptible – to frostbite, bacteria and dehydration. Medical experts say Cross’s achievement would have been impossible fifty years ago. But with new and better ways to monitor blood sugars and improved delivery systems for insulin, even diabetics can now scale the “top of the world.”

Methods of delivering insulin have progressed from needle injections to insulin pumps. Even insulin has improved, and Cross used a form of insulin called rapid-acting insulin in his Everest expedition. Aside from an insulin pump, Cross also brought along a product called Flexpen – a prefilled injection device – to give him the most control of his insulin.

Besides scaling Everest, Cross was also the first American and the first person with diabetes in the world to walk to the North and South Poles and to climb the highest peak on each continent, an odyssey known as the NovoLog Peaks and Poles Challenge.

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