As the Tour of Britain gets closer to us, with the Fakenham to Ipswich stage this Saturday, I was interested to learn more about Team Novo Nordisk, the first all-diabetes professional cycling team, who are taking part in this challenging event. All of the team members have type 1 diabetes and manage their condition while competing in one of the toughest endurance sports.
In the UK, there are approximately 3.9 million people living with diabetes, and the number is increasing – every two minutes, another person receives a diabetes diagnosis. The NHS spends 10% of its yearly budget on managing diabetes, which amounts to £1 million every hour.
Phil Southerland, co-founder and CEO of Team Novo Nordisk says: “We are thrilled to be competing in the UK again this year. When diagnosed with diabetes, many people think it means they won’t be able to live life the way they’d hoped. We’re here to showpeople with diabetes that you can achieve your goals and live life well through good control. That’s exactly what we’re doing in the UK, with the men’s professional cycling team and elsewhere with our wider team; including the youngsters in our development team.“
Karen Addington, Chief Executive in the UK for type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, said: “Team Novo Nordisk is inspiring people with diabetes of all ages. Exercise, monitoring and appropriate treatment is important in the management of both types 1 and 2 diabetes. The team’s success shows what’s possible when living with the condition – diabetes never has to hold you back in life. Daily self-management of the condition is certainly a challenge. But in embracing this challenge, you can still go on to achieve great things.“
Novo Nordisk A/S is the primary sponsor of Team Novo Nordisk, a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists, triathletes and runners who live with diabetes, spearheaded by the professional cycling team. Most members of the team were diagnosed before the age of 18, and act as inspirational role models to young people with diabetes, showing what can be achieved while maintaining good diabetes control.
Phil Southerland, co-founder and CEO of Team Novo Nordisk was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just seven months old. He began cycling at the age of 12, and climbed through the ranks of junior competitions. In 2007, Phil competed, along with his teammates, in the 3,000 mile Race Across America-a race which the team went on to win. He has since combined his passion for the sport and his mission of redefining the boundaries for those living with diabetes by forming Team Novo Nordisk, and becoming a global ambassador for diabetes, educating and empowering people with diabetes across the world.
The Team Novo Nordisk pro-cycling team competed in its first International Cycling Union (UCI) race in 2013, and includes 18 riders from around the world. Team Novo Nordisk is part of the Changing Diabetes® initiative, the Novo Nordisk global commitment to improve conditions for the 387 million people living with diabetes today, and those at risk of developing diabetes tomorrow.
Outside of the professional cycling team, Team Novo Nordisk devotes much effort to inspiring and empowering young people with diabetes to take control of their condition and reach their goals. Team Novo Nordisk supports a growing Development Team, a talented group of aspiring cyclists with diabetes who, themselves, train and race around the globe, with the aim of one day reaching the professional rank.
Diabetes (or diabetes mellitus) is a chronic, life-long metabolic disease. The condition develops when there is too much sugar in the blood due to the body being unable to produce or respond to the hormone, insulin, in the normal way.
There are two main types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin. People with type 1 diabetes, therefore, need insulin injections for the rest of their lives. About 10% of all people with diabetes have type 1.
Type 2 diabetes is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. The symptoms oftype 2 diabetes can sometimes be controlled by exercise and eating a healthy diet and monitoring blood glucose levels, but if the condition gets worse over time, it may need to be managed by medication.
Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat other serious chronic conditions: haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 39,700 people in 75 countries and markets its products in more than 180 countries.