SAN DIEGO, CA—
For anybody to make it to the ripe old age of 90 is an accomplishment in itself. To do it after spending the previous 85 years with diabetes is downright incredible.
But that’s exactly what Bob Krause has done. The San Diego man celebrated his 90th birthday on Sunday surrounded by friends, family and his wife of 56 years. He also received a medal from the Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center to commemorate his amazing achievement. Since 1948, the center has honored long-time diabetes survivors, with 34 people earning medals for making it 75-years, but this is the first occurrence of someone surviving with the condition for as long as Krause has.
He attributes his longevity to being a “stubborn old man” who refuses to give up.
Krause has type-1 diabetes, a condition shared by roughly 3 million Americans, in which the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, which is needed in order to convert blood sugar into energy. As a result, many people who suffer from this condition stand a higher risk for serious health problems as they age. High blood pressure, heart disease, kidney damage and amputated limbs are not uncommon for people with the illness, nor is a shorter life expectancy.
Krause monitors his body and what he puts into it very meticulously. He says he only eats enough food to fuel the activities he plans to do each day. The former University of Washington mechanical engineer says he eats to keep himself alive instead of eating all the time for mere pleasure. Since he is older now and not as active, he doesn’t eat as much. He also monitors his blood pressure and checks his blood counts several times a day. He credits his long life with his being on top of all the data his body gives him.
Doctors also give credit to being a bit lucky with timing, as he was diagnosed when he was five years old in 1926, not long after the commercial production of insulin made it available to people across the country. Before this breakthrough, being diagnosed with diabetes was the equivalent of receiving a death sentence. In fact, Krause’s younger brother died just one year earlier from diabetes due to the fact that insulin wasn’t yet widely available.