Diabetic Climber Conquers Mt. Everest

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Type-1 diabetic Geri Winkler completed the ascent to the top of Mt. Everest on the way to being the first diabetic to climb the world's Seven Summits. Geri's latest success on Mt. Everest makes this the fifth and tallest of the seven summits he has dedicated himself to climbing to prove to the world that diabetics can achieve a full active live.

Type-I diabetic Geri Winkler successfully climbs five of the world's Seven Summits.

The thin air and bone-chilling winds notwithstanding, 50 year-old Austrian climber Geri Winkler looked down from his perch and saw the world spread out below him. At 30,374 feet, Mt. Everest had a view that could only be seen from the top of the world: a curving horizon of spectacular mountain peaks and endless clouds.

After months of training and preparation, struggling against the extreme cold, deadly ravines and the oxygen-thin air, Geri finally reached Everest's summit on May 20, 2006. Already a great achievement by any standard, Geri's triumph was two-fold: he had not only climbed the world's highest peak, but he's proven yet again that a diabetic can overcome his condition and live a full and active life.

Diagnosed with type-1 diabetes in 1984, Geri set out to take responsibility for his health, maintaining a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise, mostly from outdoor sports like mountain climbing. Now a popular diabetic spokesperson, his success inspires others to follow his example.

Determined to show the world that diabetics can live a full life with the right mindset and healthy lifestyle, Geri's mission is to be the first diabetic to conquer the Seven Summits – the highest mountain on each of the world's seven continents.

So far, he's successfully climbed five of the seven: Europe's highest, Mt. Elbrus in Russia; South America's highest, Mt. Anconcagua in Argentina; Antarctica's Mt. Vinson; and North America's highest, Mt. McKinley in Alaska. With his latest victory at Mt. Everest, Geri only has two more to go.

Climbing in extreme environments is a difficult challenge for a healthy person; for a type-1 diabetic it can be deadly.

Aside from keeping on a strict training regimen and diet, Geri relies on insulin and supplements to help keep his blood sugar at a safe level. "I take my Charantea with me everywhere I go," he says, taking a sip of the bitter melon tea from a flask he carries in his backpack. Used by diabetics in Europe and Asia, Charantea is made from Ampalaya (bitter melon) fruits and is used to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. "I drink Charantea to help manage my blood sugar at high altitudes," says Geri, describing how the strain of cold and high altitudes can cause blood sugar to fluctuate to dangerous levels. Far from being weighed down by the dangers, Geri takes it as a challenge to overcome. "Don't let diabetes restrict you. You're the boss," he says, smiling.

Encouraged by his success on Everest, Geri is already turning his thoughts to the challenges that lie ahead. Only two more mountains stand between him and his goal: to prove to the world that diabetics can live normal, active and fulfilling lives.

For more information about Geri's quest to reach the Seven Summits, visit http://www.charanteausa.com.

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