Healthy Living

Country Singer Ben Rue: "Buck Off Diabetes!"

Country Singer Ben Rue Sings for Diabetes Research

Diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 14, Ben Rue has learned to live with the chronic condition for most of his adolescence

“My mother is a nurse and always brought home little gadgets to test on her boys for fun and so she brought home a blood sugar test one day to test all of us,” recalls Rue. His blood sugar, he says, “was sky high. I thought I had won something before I realized it wasn’t a good thing.”

Ben met with his doctor and realized that the signs of diabetes had been there all along. One time he had wet the bed a little and was too embarrassed to tell anyone. He had dizzy spells and was thirsty all the time.

With the help of his mom. Ben realized that he would need to make some changes. At school, he would go into the bathroom and test his blood sugar in the stall. Growing up, Ben did not want anyone to see him because it made him feel different. 

Today, Ben Rue isn’t secretive about his condition. He partners with Roche and Accu-Chek Guide for their Buck Off Diabetes campaign. Ben hopes to work with Roche to inspire those who are living with diabetes. Rue says, “Buck off Diabetes is a bold attitude and means we are taking on diabetes."

A few ways to support Buck Off Diabetes is by using social media. Make your fingers into bull horns (pointy finger and pinkie up – all other fingers down) and share a photo using the hashtag #BuckOffDiabetes. For every post, Roche Diabetes Care gives a buck to diabetes awareness. People with diabetes are also asked to use the Accu-Chek Guide Simple Pay program to save a buck and get affordable test refills.

Ben Rue’s pledge for type 1 diabetes research

Ben Rue tells People Magazine, “I’ve seen all the ups and downs, but I’ve seen the amazing things that could come of it.” Rue admits that managing diabetes is challenging, especially when his job is singing on the road. When you have diabetes, you need to have a routine, check your blood sugar six to eight times a day and eat the same regimented diet. In Rue’s life, however, there is no routine.

As Rue travels across the country as part of the campaign and to promote his new single “Let ‘Em Loose,” Rue just wants to help people live as unrestricted as possible with diabetes.

Rue is an Oregon native and his Back to the Nights album reached the Top 12 on the iTunes Country Album charts. He has said that since he was diagnosed with diabetes 14 years ago, he’s tried to maintain a positive attitude. This attitude helps him deal with this chronic illness.

You can follow both Ben Rue and Roche through social media as they show people with diabetes that they are not alone. Life is a series of ups and downs for them, but it doesn’t need to be. The campaign asks you to save a few bucks and donate a buck.

  • Turn your fingers into bull horns and post a photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #BuckOffDiabetes. Roche Diabetes Care will donate a buck to diabetes education and awareness.
  • Save a few bucks by using the Accu-Chek Guide Simple Pay program. Pay the same low price with every test strip refill.
  • Buck the attitude and the trend. Change your perspective on living with diabetes.

More about type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes used to be insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. It is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is the hormone you need to allow glucose or sugar to enter your cells and provide energy.

Many different factors contribute to type 1 diabetes. Genetics and some viruses are the leading causes. Type 1 diabetes typically is contracted when you are a child or adolescent, but it can also develop in adults.

As of right now, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes. Active research is trying to find cures, but right now treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels with insulin, lifestyle changes, and diet.

Common symptoms of Type 2 diabetes may appear suddenly and include:

Researchers do not know what causes type 1 diabetes. The body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells (islet cells) in the pancreas. They believe the cause may be genetics or exposure to viruses and other environmental factors.

Once your islet cells are destroyed, you will produce little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that comes from a gland behind and just below the stomach called the pancreas. The pancreas works to secrete insulin into the bloodstream, which allows sugar to enter your cells. Insulin in healthy individuals lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As blood sugar levels drop, the secretion of insulin from your pancreas also drops.

Glucose is a sugar and the primary source of energy for your cells making up tissues and muscles. Glucose comes from food and your liver. Once sugar from the foods you eat is absorbed into the bloodstream, it enters cells with the help of insulin.

Your liver is the storehouse of glucose or glycogen. When glucose levels are low, and this happens when you haven’t eaten in a while, the liver uses stored glycogen to retain your sugar levels within the normal range.

When you have type 1 diabetes, there’s no insulin to let glucose into cells. Sugar builds up in your bloodstream and causes life-threatening complications.

Risk Factors

Studies and research have shown that there are several risk factors for type 1 diabetes. These include:

  • Family history: If you have a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing the condition.
  • Genetics: There are specific genes that indicate an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
  • Geography: Where you live is an interesting cause. The incidences of type 1 diabetes tend to increase the farther you are away from the Equator.
  • Age: type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, but it has two definite times. One is in children between 4 and 7, and in children between 10 and 14 years old.

Final thought: It's time for diabetes to "Buck Off"

There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Researchers are working on preventing the disease and finding a way to stop further destruction of islet cells. Your best fight at this time is to maintain your blood sugar, eat right, keep your weight down, exercise, and stay positive, plus take a picture of your bull horn fingers #BuckOffDiabetes. Keep the awareness of diabetes high.

Photo source: Ben Rue by 98.7 KUPL