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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Diabetes awareness seems to be growing. The illness has been on the forefront lately with the Duval County School Board's approval of a new diabetes policy.

Last week, the Duval County School Board said it would be implementing a new policy that stems from the passing of House Bill 747 in 2010.

Before, the district limited where a student with diabetes could go to school based on the availability of staff to provide care. Now, students will be able to stay in their schools and carry their needed equipment with them.

Awareness is just what diabetic Jennifer Trednick said is necessary to make sure people get tested and really understand what it means to live with the illness.

"I test eight times a day," Trednick said. "I test before I drive, I test before I eat, I test quite frequently throughout the day because I want to know where my blood sugar level is at all times."

Trednick has been living with Type 1 diabetes for 30 years. Diagnosed at age 13, she said she's been able to manage her illness with an insulin pump. She said it helps her to monitor her blood sugar around the clock.

"If I'm going to have this [microwave meal] for my dinner tonight, it's as easy as turning this over and looking at the total carbohydrate count, and then program that into my insulin pump after testing my blood sugar," she says.

However, Trednick said having diabetes isn't always easy, and typically begins with a regimen of very close interval insulin injections, sometimes starting with five or six shots a day.

She said it's important for anyone with symptoms to get tested, because it doesn't go away.

"Most cases, not all, are diagnosed during childhood, but Type 1 diabetes is not a childhood disease. Once you're diagnosed with it, it stays with you forever."

Trednick said she looks at the illness as more of a blessing than a curse.

"Diabetes is something I perceived is a gift. It's enabled me to live a more disciplined life. I can do anything anyone else can do; I just need to check my blood sugar first."

Common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Blurred vision
- Cuts, scrapes are slow to heal

For more information: http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/local-offices/jacksonville-florida/

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