T1D Tips from Dr. Natalie Strand

Dr. Natalie Strand is a pain management physician, a wife, a mother of two, and a person who has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for over 25 years.  As an advocate in the diabetes space, she focuses on promoting healthy adventure while managing type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Strand gained attention when she competed on and won CBS’s The Amazing Race becoming part of the first female team to ever win the reality competition, and the only person with diabetes to win. She traveled over 32,000 miles with only a backpack to carry her personal items for the month. From sub-Saharan Africa to the Arctic Circle, she traveled by rickshaw, airplane, train, and on foot to complete a variety of physical and intellectual challenges.

Come hear Dr. Strand speak at the JDRF TypeOneNation Summit on January 27, 2018.  Register online now at http://typeonenationaz.eventbrite.com



  1. Ask for help! When I was getting married, I asked each of my bridesmaids to remind me to check my blood sugar throughout the day and to remind me to eat snacks. I knew I would be distracted, and having a team helped to keep me on track. Go ahead and ask your siblings, team mates, and friends to help keep you on track!
  2. Have good communication with your diabetes care team. Make sure you connect with your nurse educator, endocrinologist, and dietician. Reach out to them with your questions. When I was getting ready to go on the Amazing Race, my nurse educator was the one who gave me the most useful tips on how to fit one month’s worth of diabetes supplies into my backpack.
  3. Try to have fun with it. Having a chronic disease is exhausting. Try to have fun in little ways if possible: decorate your glucose meter, insulin pump, or continuous glucose monitor.
  4. Get involved. Connect with a local group to fundraise, vent, or just understand each other. JDRF offers many wonderful events and resources to help those living with diabetes. Connecting with the diabetes community is a powerful way to help ease the burden of living with diabetes.
  5. Keep doing what you love. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up doing what you love. Make efforts to continue sports, travel, and other hobbies; even if there is a learning curve to doing this with diabetes at first.
  6. Maintain good oral health. People living with diabetes are 2x more likely to develop gum disease. Select a toothpastes that is FDA approved to reverse and prevent gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.
  7. Spring Clean Your Health. Pick a time of year every year to do your annual visits: eye doctor, endocrinologist, renew prescriptions, etc. Picking the same time of year every year ensures you don’t forget to take care of yourself!
  8. Make self-care a priority. It can be hard to keep diabetes care in the forefront. It can be boring, exhausting, and also fade into the background. Remind yourself that one of the best things you can do for you and your loved ones, is to stay healthy. Use your family as motivation to exercise daily, eat healthy foods, and maintain a healthy weight.
  9. Manage stress. Diabetes can be a big stressor. Add jobs, kids, relationships; and it can be downright overwhelming. Find an easy and effective tool for stress relief; and do it often. Even 5 – 10 minutes of guided meditation daily can make a big impact in stress management.
  10. Get into a routine. Find a routine that works and stick with it. This way you don’t have to make new decisions each day. Anything that can ease the mental burden of diabetes will help.