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Defying diabetes

Jack Perkins was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 13, and it took time to learn his body’s unique reaction to food, exercise and doses of insulin. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)
Maria Sahagun, who does not have insurance, was referred to an intensive Los Angeles County program because her disease was uncontrolled. “It took me more than 20 years to take it seriously,” she says. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
Perkins has learned what working out does to his body (he lifts weights hree times a week, runs 10 miles a week, and plays basketball three times a week.) “If I lift weights on a Monday night, it’s going to help my blood sugar the whole next day. I’ll need less insulin,” he says. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)
Maria Sahagun, who has Type 2 diabetes, walks for exercise every other day with relatives because she is anxious about crime in her Huntington Park neighborhood. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
As a child, Perkins spent an initial week in the hospital, getting educated on the disease and learning to give himself shots. “I didn’t want to be doing all that,” he says. But he did, for the most part, except for a couple of rebellious years in college. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)