November 14th is World Diabetes Day. The theme for 2009 – 2013 is Education and Prevention. This is goes for both Type 1 and Type 2. While we still don’t know the trigger for Type 1, research on prevention is just as important as it is for Type 2.
November 14th is the birthday of Fredrick Banting, who along with Charles Best, is credited with the discovery of insulin in 1921. Imagine if you can, how people with Type 1 diabetes coped without insulin. They didn’t. It’s a painful death without insulin with 100% mortality. Now, some 88 years later, there are still people in the world who have no access to insulin. Thanks to global organisations like Insulin for Life, some insulin does get to people who would otherwise not be able to obtain it. It’s mostly economics. No, we are not all equal – certainly not in the realm of being able to afford what is now a simple, abundantly available medication.
Which country do you think has the highest rates of Type 2 diabetes? You’d be wrong if you thought the USA. From what I’ve read, it’s India!
Which countries do you think have the highest rates of Type 1 diabetes? You’d be wrong if you thought the USA. It’s Sardinia and Finland.
Which areas of the world have the lowest incidence of Type 1 diabetes? Zunyi, China, and Caracas, Venezuela.
Do you know the differences between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes? Can you name at least 3 other forms of diabetes?
I was not all that shocked to read what Kate from the T1DN, after attending the conference in Montreal in October 09, wrote in her report:
A central area in the conference was the Global Village where all the world’s diabetes association (the equivalent of Diabetes Australia in every country) had displays and staff there to chat with you about what they were doing. Through the Congress I tried to do the rounds of these stands and find out about anything that other countries were doing to support adults with Type 1 diabetes. I have to say I was shocked and amazed at how many times this conversation ended up with me explaining that Type 1 really is very different to Type 2 and the supports and services people with Type 1 need are also different. That Type 1 occurred in large numbers in adults was also not well understood – when I asked about Type 1 I was often informed about children and had to push and prompt. This appeared to be news to many of the associations I chatted with including several with high prevalence of Type 1 – Canada and Denmark, for example.
Even in this day and age, I also come across so many medical professionals who seem to know a lot of rubbish and unproven information about Type 2, and know even less about Type 1. They also know next to nothing about other forms of Type 1 Diabetes of adulthood. Why? Where is the education for professionals?
If the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) wants education to be the focus of its World Diabetes Day, they really need to start with doctors, nurses, Certified/Credentialed Diabetes Educators, pharmacists and the people who work for the various diabetes organisations world-wide! Educating these people is paramount and is the first line to the rest of the education the IDF wants.
But how is the right kind of education going to happen when so many professionals can’t get it right. Being mis-diagnosed for 30 years, as I was, isn’t confidence inspiring. Neither is being given totally wrong information on how to manage diabetes, from people who should have known better… and still probably don’t.
The IDF states (here) that
Prevention of Type 2: Lifestyle changes aimed at weight control and increased physical activity are important objectives in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. The benefits of reducing body weight and increasing physical activity are not confined to type 2 diabetes; they also play a role in reducing heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.
Wrong! Plenty of thin Type 2s. Emerging evidence that people don’t necessarily eat their way to diabetes. Plenty of obese and morbidly obese people don’t have and will never get diabetes. If in doubt, this article is a must read! As Jenny writes:
While people with diabetes often are seriously overweight, there is accumulating evidence that their overweight is a symptom, not the cause of the process that leads to Type 2 Diabetes.
Even so, it is likely that you’ve been told that you caused your diabetes by letting yourself get fat and that this toxic myth is damaging your health.
Blaming you for your condition causes guilt and hopelessness. Even worse, the belief that people with diabetes have brought their disease on themselves inclines doctors to assume that since you did nothing to prevent your disease, you won’t make the effort to control it–a belief that may lead to your getting extremely poor care. READ MORE
If the professionals can’t get it right, what hope is there for the media which influences a vast number of people who, when we’re around them, can make our lives with diabetes so much more unpleasant than it already is?
The food police (“Should you be eating that?”) – yes, I’m Type 1, I have insulin and theoretically, I can eat whatever I want.
The totally misinformed (“Oh you have Diabetes, just lose some weight”) – no, there’s no cure for Type 1, plenty of thin Type 2s, plenty of Type 2s who need insulin and have already lost weight, plenty of Type 2s who do exercise, eat like birds and can’t shift the weight.
And please, folks, going low fat will do a whole lot less for diabetes than reducing carbs in your diet.
Learn about fructose without fibre and high fructose corn syrup and what they do to your body and your insulin response! See prior posts on this issue – here and here.
Yes education is always the key, but how can so many people (who should know better) get it so wrong for so long?