Keeping ahead of diabetes

Long-distance cycling is one of Geoff’s passions. Last year he completed the Cape Town Cycle Tour in South Africa.

Living with Type 2 diabetes for over 30 years has not stopped Geoff Steinberg from leading an active, fulfilling life. He has owned and managed his own building and home improvement company for 42 years. A devoted husband and father, he and wife Toni have been married over 40 years, have four children and are doting grandparents.

But it’s not as if Geoff can ignore his disease. “I am aware of my condition every waking moment of my life,” he explains.

For Geoff, the key has been controlling his diabetes, through medication, exercise and diet. He credits a 20-year relationship with UHN’s Dr. Gary Lewis with helping him keep his diabetes in check. As Director of the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre at the University of Toronto and holder of the Sun Life Financial Chair in Diabetes and the Drucker Family Chair in Diabetes Research, Dr. Lewis is an international leader in diabetes management and preventing diabetes complications. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Dr. Lewis is the best,” says Geoff. “I check in with him every six months and he monitors my condition with care and compassion.”

UHN Endocrinologist Dr. Gary Lewis has treated Geoff for over 20 years.

Keeping one step ahead of his diabetes is top of mind for Geoff. He witnessed his father’s struggle with the disease and his ensuing vision impairment and foot damage, two of the most common long-term complications of diabetes. Geoff is determined to avoid these by being vigilant. “I have to pay attention to what I eat and drink,” he explains. “It’s a constant trade off. If I choose to enjoy an ice cream or fries or a little wine I have to make sure it’s in moderation.”

Fortunately for Geoff, his love of cycling and walking helps keep his weight and glucose levels under control. This allows him to enjoy the primary pleasures in his life, including playing with his grandchildren, annual trips to Florida and long-distance cycling.

Geoff believes that the future of diabetes care lies in the use of affordable smart technology. “Everybody has a smart phone these days. It would be great if I could monitor my blood sugar levels through smart technology.”

Dr. Lewis agrees with Geoff. In fact, developing efficient and cost effective digital tools is a priority for Dr. Lewis and UHN Foundation’s Diabetes Campaign. “Through advanced digital tools, wearable devices and remote monitoring, we can simplify the daily lives of people with diabetes and reduce the heavy burden it places on them and their families,” he states. “Just as the discovery of insulin transformed the lives of people with diabetes in the 20th century, I believe the use of digital health tools will be the insulin of the 21st century.”

In the meantime, Geoff is determined to continue working hard and pursuing his love of family and the outdoors, all while keeping his diabetes safely in check.

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