Thursday, December 9, 2010

Diabetes in the News

I was trying to think of something to write about next, and I finally got my answer while surfing the web yesterday.  On's home page, one of the headlines was "6 Misconceptions & Myths About Diabetes", with other diabetes-related articles below.  I was excited to see that diabetes was getting some face time, but I was slightly disappointed by the content of the articles after reading them.

6 Common Myths and Misconceptions About Diabetes

In this article, Sue McLaughlin, former president of healthcare and education at the American Diabetes Association, expounds on the most common myths about the disease.  Most of her advice is spot-on, but I had a small problem with #5:
"A diabetes diagnosis means you automatically need insulin. That's the case with type 1 diabetes but not with type 2 diabetes. In some cases, proper diet, exercise, and oral medications, if needed, can keep type 2 diabetes under control for some time before insulin becomes necessary, McLaughlin says. The key is to make a lifestyle change. That means no smoking, more healthful eating habits, and regular exercise."
Don't get me wrong; it's nothing but the truth.  However, I think that her statement about insulin may further discourage those with Type 2 from taking insulin when often it could be a great option for treatment.  Research is showing that by starting insulin right away (instead of as a last resort after medications and diet have failed to be effective), the pancreas' beta cells (the ones responsible for insulin production that are damaged by diabetes) may be preserved from further destruction.  I am all for making that lifestyle change she talks about, but I'm also a big proponent of finding the absolute best treatment for your particular case, and that very well might include insulin.

Aside from that one minor complaint, I found this article to be informative, especially for those who may not be familiar with the disease and might stumble upon it as I did.  Mainstream media is a GREAT way to raise awareness, so I'm happy when diabetes makes the top headlines.

4 Easy Steps to Lower Your Diabetes Risk

When I first read the title of this article, I was intrigued.  You often see articles on prevention of other diseases, but rarely do you come across one in the headlines on the prevention of diabetes.  Dr. Judith Fradkin of the National Institutes of Health's "4 Easy Steps..." are just that--short and easy.  However, I don't see how they really apply to the prevention of diabetes specifically.  Yes, they are essential steps for achieving good overall health and preventing obesity or losing weight, which are both key to preventing Type 2 Diabetes. 

However, I don't like the correlation she makes between eating sugar and the prevention of diabetes...After all, the first article clears up the myth that eating too much sugar causes diabetes, so why lead people to believe that it's true?  Again, I know that eating less sugar is a great idea, but it's not going to prevent someone who has the genes and other environmental factors from getting diabetes, according to my understanding. 

Losing weight, exercising, eating whole grains, and getting better sleep are all good things for anyone to do, and very well may help prevent someone with the predisposition from developing Type 2 Diabetes.  What the author didn't mention, however, was that there are no guarantees when it comes to disease prevention.  In my case specifically, I was relatively healthy, and I still ended up getting diabetes.

Finally, right under the links for those articles, there was a link to Bing search for "Find delicious recipes for diabetic diets"...Right after the myths & misconceptions article specifically noted that there is no "diabetic diet".  I'm not convinced I'm the only one who notices these things...

Maybe I'm being too picky, but the way I see it, if they're going to put these articles front and center, I wish that they would ensure that the information in them is current with today's medical knowledge about diabetes.  Otherwise, they may just be contributing to the very misinformation they're trying to clear up.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Lesson in Diabetes Etiquette

I hope everyone is doing well!  It seemes like everyone I know has been sick in one way or another lately...My husband, as well as my friends' husbands and kids, were all down this week with a stomach bug.  Luckily, it passed me by.  I don't know if I'm quite ready to deal with illness and diabetes at the same time just yet!

I had a big lesson in foot care on Thursday.  We had driven a couple of hours to see my aunt for her 50th birthday and to run some errands while we were there.  I wore some flats that I've had since I was in high school (I graduated five years ago this May), thinking that they would be comfy...But I was wrong!  In hindsight, I should have known; however, in my defense, who would have thought?  After running around town all day, I had painful blisters on both of my little toes from the pointy toe on those shoes.  My aunt gave me a bandaid to put over them, but they were still extremely painful the rest of the night...I even  had trouble walking! 

Normally, I wouldn't think much of it; but now that I have diabetes, I'm more conscious of how I treat my feet.  I've been babying them the last couple of days to help them heal as quickly as possible, and now I know that I shouldn't wear shoes I haven't worn in a long time when there's going to be lots of walking involved.  Before, I would have dealt with the pain in the name of fashion, but now I can't do that.  Lesson learned!

Speaking of lessons, I would like to share this handout that I got at the Diabetes Health Fair with you.  It's a great, straightforward way of giving those who don't have the disease some advice on how to treat those of us who deal with it on a daily basis.  The tips might surprise some of you, but anyone with diabetes will tell you that they're all correct!  You don't realize until you are having to deal with this disease firsthand the impact that others' comments have on your spirit.  These are all little things, but trust me, they will be greatly appreciated by anyone who has diabetes.

Courtesy of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute:
(Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's Next?

Bonus Days!
Wednesday, December 1

What’s next? – Even though American Diabetes Month is over, diabetes continues to be a 24/7/365 disease. What will you do to keep America’s focus on diabetes?

This month has given me a chance to reflect on my experience with diabetes in a way that will hopefully inspire someone else to learn more about the disease, take care of themselves better, or get involved in diabetes awareness and advocacy.  I also want to take the opportunity to say "thank you" to the people and organizations that are fighting every day to make life better for those of us with diabetes.  I have faith that someday, a cure will be possible because of their dedication and passion.

Even though the "Blog 30 Days of Diabetes in November - And Beyond!" is finished, I plan on continuing my blog posts on my experience.  I hope to include some diabetes book reviews, interesting articles and news on the disease, and of course, the ups and downs of living with diabetes.  I hope that you'll continue following my blog, and please let me know if you ever have any post suggestions or comments!