OVIEDO, Fla. — One Oviedo family is well aware of the challenges that come with managing diabetes.

What You Need To Know

  • Over 37 million Americans are living with diabetes and another 96 million are pre-diabetic, making it among the most widespread health conditions in the United States

  • In Florida, about 150,000 new people are diagnosed with diabetes each year

  • The CDC reports in Florida, diabetes costs add up to more than $25 billion each year, with diabetes patients paying over two and a half times as much in medical expenses as people who don’t have the disease

Every three days, Noah Urbina must switch out a device that delivers potentially life-saving medicine into his body. He switches out a port that delivers insulin into his bloodstream when his blood sugar gets too high. It’s a lot for a 17-year-old. But you won’t hear Urbina complaining.

“It doesn’t affect my day too much, I feel like I can do as much as they can in a sense, I just need to spend five more minutes changing my site and then I can have a normal day like anyone else,” said Urbina.

Noah has spent just about as much of his life with diabetes than without it. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was just nine years old. It’s genetic, and not reversible. But his treatment is much more manageable than it used to be. For many years, Noah had pricked his finger about eight times a day to check his blood-sugar levels, and he had to use a needle to inject insulin into his body after every meal.

His mother says it’s taken several years, and a lot of phone calls to the insurance company, to get equipment that doesn’t require so many painful pricks and injections.

“I’ll fight for this, but not only that, but I’ll fight for these devices, because it helps and makes it a lot easier for him,” said Dara Hibben.

But finding what Urbina needs is only half the battle. Even with insurance, Dara says insulin prices are expensive.

“You know how much it costs to do this? Ten cents,” said Hibben. “400 bucks we will pay for this little vial.”

One study shows it costs a few dollars to produce a 10ml vial of insulin. And in most countries outside of the U.S., a few dollars is all people have to pay for a vial of the medicine. In the U.S., the same amount can cost hundreds of dollars.

Working out is another way Noah tries to stay healthy. But even during exercise, he must monitor his levels.

“When I get low, my legs get weak, so if I was doing a leg workout I would have to take a break,” said Urbina.

He must keep his diabetic supplies in the top drawer in his bedroom. And there’s a fridge in his room in case he needs to chug some mango juice to get some quick sugar in the middle of the night. But as you’ve probably noticed, Noah doesn’t let diabetes stop him from enjoying life.

He’s a gamer. And, already accepted into UCF, he wants to become an architect one day. He says diabetes won’t stop him from achieving his dreams.

“It doesn’t really bother me too much if I can just live a good life,” said Urbina. “But it would be nice to have a cure just to save money and just not have to worry as much about myself.”

Noah’s family says networking with other families through organizations like the Type Zero Foundation in Central Florida has helped them on their journey to find more affordable medication and new advances in treatment.