788 Diabetes

Mike talks about diabetes, what it is, how he got it, and how he deals with it.

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Todd: Hello, Mike.

Mike: Hey.

Todd: Now, Mike, you are diabetic.

Mike: That's right.

Todd: OK, so that means you have diabetes.

Mike: That's right.

Todd: Can you explain what diabetes is?

Mike: OK, basically, your body... everybody has an organ in their body called a pancreas. Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin and insulin coverts your body - the sugar you take into your body - it converts it into energy. Now all food you eat, all sugar.... all drinks you drink, they all are basically sugar. They have sugar in them, and they come into your body, it's digested and it changes into plain sugar. The insulin changes that sugar into energy, and then for diabetics their pancreas stops making insulin, so you body just collects all this sugar and it can't get rid of it, but it has no energy, like no fat, so diabetics would typically start to lose weight, and they're peeing... going to the bathroom all the time, and the reason is cause the excess sugar that's building up in their body.

Todd: Now this is something you've had since you were a child?

Mike: That's right. I've had it for over 25 years. I got it when I was about twelve years old.

Todd: Wait a minute! So you're not born with it? It just suddenly one day, you became diabetic.

Mike: That's right. Yeah. It's... They're not sure why. They still don't know but it's probably partly genetic, so I think if you have it in your family there's a chance you can have it yourself and these days, people are, you know, getting it more and more.

Todd: Right, so how is your life different, that being a diabetic?

Mike: Well, of course, I have to be much more careful with my diet. I think probably the most important thing, if anybody's diabetic, listening to this, the most important thing is to make sure you're always checking your blood sugars, and making sure that your blood, that your blood sugar levels are controlled. That's the most important.

Todd: So, that's the main thing you have to do?

Mike: Yeah, absolutely.

Todd: And how do you check that?

Mike: Well, I have a.... it's called a glucometer, and you prick your finger with a little needle and the blood comes out, you put it on a little strip, and the strip goes in the glucometer and it gives you a reading of your blood-sugar level.

Todd: But basically you still have a normal life. You know, your life isn't different compared to normal people - other people's.

Mike: Yes.

Todd: Right.

Mike: Of course. Yeah, things are pretty much normal, except for me in general, but my lifestyle and everything else is the same.

Todd: Thanks, Mike.

Mike: Sure

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


You are diabetic.

If you are a 'diabetic,' you have a medical condition where your body does not produce its own insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body metabolize glucose and other nutrients.

Notice the following:

  1. Some people who have a bad diet can end up being diabetic when they are older.
  2. She has to watch what she eats, as she is a diabetic.

it converts it into energy

The sugar you take into your body - it converts it into energy.

It 'converts it into energy' refers to the way in which the body will change the sugars that it gets through foods and use them to power the body's major functions.

Notice the following:

  1. We eat food and then the body coverts the foods into energy.
  2. The more food you eat the fatter you will get, as the body will not convert it all into energy.

it can't get rid of it

Your body just collects all this sugar and it can't get rid of it.

'It can't get rid of it' refers to the way in which the body cannot dispose of the all the sugar.

Notice the following:

  1. You should not eat too much sugar, because if you don't do enough exercise, then the body can't get rid of it, and you will end up putting on weight.
  2. I am worried that your body will just not be able to get rid of all the sugar, and this will have detrimental effects.

they're not sure why

They're not sure why you get diabetes.

'They're not sure why' means that people are not certain about the reason for something.

Notice the following:

  1. They're not sure why there is so much traffic on the roads today.
  2. I have put on a lot of weight, but they're not sure why.

partly genetic

It's probably partly genetic, so I think if you have it in your family there's a chance you can have it yourself.

When something is 'partly genetic,' it means that it could be partly hereditary or your parents may have given you the disease.

Notice the following:

  1. Your weight is partly genetic I think.
  2. Do you think that your personality is partly genetic?


Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
diabetic • convert • get rid
not sure • genetic
  1. He discovered he was when he was a teenager.
  2. The problem that I have with my muscles is actually .
  3. I feel like I can't of this cold.
  4. He's having problems hearing, and the doctors are why.
  5. You need to eat something now, so your body can it into energy for the game.