Alexander Zverev says he got bullied at school for his diabetes

Zverev learned about being a diabetic when he was 4 years old
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Alexander Zverev announced in August 2022 that he has had type 1 diabetes since he was four years old and started a foundation to help people battling diabetes. The Alexander Zverev Foundation is intended to finance insulin and other essential medicines for children and young adults. Support for a healthy and active lifestyle is also provided.

The foundation held its first tennis clinic for children recently in Madrid, Spain. It was their first international event outside of Germany and Austria. Many children traveled from all over Spain and Germany to attend the event.

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic illnesses diagnosed in childhood. It affects a rising number of young children, accounting for 15-20 percent of all new diagnoses in children under the age of five. Type 1 diabetes needs lifelong treatment because there is no cure yet. The most important thing to do is to ensure the blood sugar levels are in a healthy range.

Alexander Zverev says he got bullied at school for being a diabetic

A child who has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can find day-to-day life very frustrating as glucose levels are never stable and it's difficult to do high-intensity activities. They have to check blood sugar levels at least four times a day and take insulin via injection or pump if the sugar goes up too much.

There is always a fear of hypoglycemia (weakness and dizziness) in public and also the risk of serious conditions like diabetic ketoacidosis, which happens when there is not enough insulin in the body to let the glucose into the cells. The body starts to break down fat instead of sugar which can cause nausea, vomiting, fast breathing, and, in several cases, unconsciousness.

Diabetes awareness and giving children and parents hope is extremely important. Zverev is doing a great job speaking out about his experience with type 1 diabetes and raising awareness of the illness. Children with the diagnosis should know it can be managed effectively nowadays and it does not need to limit their involvement in sport.

After the clinic, Zverev was asked in an interview when he chose to make it public and why.

Zverev said: "I was very insecure about it for a very long time. I got bullied at school for it as well because kids don't understand limits, they don't understand where the fun kind of stops in a way. So when they are mad or when they're trying to argue or fight with you, they use whatever they can a lot of times it was my diabetes.

"I got injured in 2022 and I had a lot of time to reflect and I was thinking to myself look there's a lot of parents that are in the same position that I was and my parents were and if they see that anything is possible, I think it would help them."

It's inspirational for kids just starting their journey with diabetes to see a successful tennis player with diabetes. This gives a lot of hope for the children and their parents. The inspiration comes from having someone to watch who reached successful heights after being told it is not possible to do what he is doing right now. That's incredibly special for those children.

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