If you take care of your diabetes or you’re the caregiver for a friend or loved one with diabetes you know it’s a demanding 24/7/365 job. From day to day, even hour to hour, there are endless decisions to make to manage the tightrope of glucose control and stay safe. Over the course of a year most people with diabetes (and caregivers) interact just on occasion with their healthcare providers. You manage, or self-manage, your diabetes primarily on your own.
The good news is that over the last decade technology has increasingly allowed people with diabetes (PWD) and their caregivers to connect online. You’re giving and getting support, offering practical advice, sharing the latest research and technology news and much more.
As a diabetes educator/healthcare provider (DHCP) I’m observing that the rapidly growing world of the Diabetes Online Community, the DOC for short, is helping people with diabetes (PWD) and their loved ones find support and feel supported. People and their caregivers are connecting, building relationships and feeling more positive about the challenges of managing their diabetes. I’m delighted to see this trend continue!
As a DHCP I’ve long realized that I can’t walk a mile in a PWD shoes. I can’t know what it is like day in, day out to deal with this challenging and relentless disease. But, what I do know is that we can learn from each other to change the dialog between providers and PWD to be more positive, more supportive. Goal one with these Dialoging about Diabetes interviews with diabetes activists is to help make living with diabetes…just a bit easier. Goal two is to enhance the two-way street – to help more PWD connect and encourage more DHCPs to connect PWD to the value of social networking.
Here’s my dialog with Kelly Kunik, who’s lived with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for 38 years as of Halloween 2015, (which was also her parents’ anniversary). She was diagnosed at the age of 8. Kelly notes, “My greatest weakness (my broken pancreas) has become my greatest strength & biggest passion.” Kelly is a Diabetes Advocate, writer, blogger, speaker, humorist, and consultant. She says, “I laugh every day and am passionately spreading the word about living a great life with diabetes.”
Boy time flies when you’re having fun! And yes, I’ve been having fun writing the Nutrition Q&A column in The Washington Post. Publication of the June 1st column marks column #20. This column came to be because I and several colleagues saw a big need at The Post for a column written by a dietitian to offer readers reliable, evidence-based answers to popular nutrition questions.
This is one in a series of book reviews. You may find any of the books I review of benefit if you: manage prediabetes or diabetes, follow a diabetes meal plan and/or aim to eat healthy to live well. This book and others I’ve reviewed can be found in my amazon a-store. Check them out and consider a purchase.
Back about a month ago I got a request from Karen Page, author of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, asking if I’d review a copy of her new book for twin purposes. One, to help her roll out her new masterpiece (my words, not Karen's). And two, to celebrate the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s National Nutrition Month. I agreed, as did other many other leading dietitians. Check out this month of celebratory blogs for The Vegetarian Flavor Bible.
Great I thought a new vegetarian cookbook to build to my collection and a new resource for healthy vegetarian recipes to add to my repertoire for family dinners and entertaining.
A few days later the book arrived. I quickly discovered that the book is not a cookbook. In fact, there are no recipes. But, the pages are filled with oh so much more!
Tuesday March 24, 2015 is the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) annual Diabetes Alert Day. This day kicks-off a four-week campaign which runs through April 21, 2015.
Diabetes Alert Day is THE day each year that ADA sets aside to alert the public to the Diabetes Risk Test. If the results of your risk test indicates you'r at risk, take the next step to know for sure. The goal is for you or your loved one to TAKE ACTION to get diagnosed and care for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
I wholeheartedly support this effort. The time for action is now!
The statistics about the prediabetes and type 2 diabetes epidemics are alarming enough to sound the alarm 365 days a year. They show the dent diabetes is making and will continue to make on our health care system, let alone peoples’ lives and longevity!
According to CDC's Diabetes Facts:
- 29 million children and adults are living with diabetes. (This includes about 6 million people who currently have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed.) Based on the current U.S. population, about 314 million people - roughly 9.5%.
- 86 million people are estimated to have prediabetes placing them at a much greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. CDC estimates that’s about 35% of all adults over the age of 20 and 51% of adults over 65 years of age (yes, you read that correctly!). Research from CDC shows, unfortunately, that barely 11% of these people know they have it.
- One in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050.
As a diabetes educator/healthcare provider (DHCP) I’m observing that the rapidly growing world of the Diabetes Online Community, the DOC for short (link to handout), is helping people with diabetes (PWD) and their loved ones find support and feel supported. People and their caregivers are connecting, building relationships and feeling more positive about the challenges of managing their diabetes. I’m delighted to see this trend!
As a DHCP I’ve long realized that I can’t walk a mile, or even a few feet, in a PWD shoes. I can’t know what it is like day in, day out to deal with this challenging and relentless disease. But, what I do know is that we can learn from each other to change the dialog between providers and PWD to be more positive, more supportive.
Goal one with my Dialoging about Diabetes interviews is to help make living with diabetes…just a bit easier. Goal two is to enhance the two-way street – to help more PWD connect and encourage more DHCPs to open the doors of social networking to PWD.
Here’s my dialog with Catherine Price, who’s had type 1 diabetes (T1D) since 2001. Catherine engages with the DOC in several ways, writing and blogging for the diabetes site ASweetLife.org, organizing patient advocacy efforts and talking about the DOC at medical and pharma conferences. Beyond being a PWD and doing diabetes-focused consulting work, Catherine is a nationally known journalist. Her work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, and Slate Magazine. Inspired in part by T1D and her interest in writing about nutrition -- she’s written the new book, Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection. But first, enjoy Catherine’s responses to my questions about life with diabetes, the DOC and insights from her new book.
Announcing the arrival of my newest book, Eat Out, Eat Well – The Guide to Eating Healthy at Any Restaurant, published by the American Diabetes Association, available online from ADA's book store or from my amazon a-store.
I’m no stranger to this topic, that’s for sure! I’ve been fine-tuning my advice on strategies and tactics for healthy restaurant eating for more than two decades. My first book on the subject, The Restaurant Companion, was published 25 years ago. Wow!
Changes in types of restaurant fare, the frequency of eating restaurant meals increased availability of nutrition information online and much more has changed and thus the need for a totally refreshed book - now THE go-to resource for assembling all types of healthy meals and snacks in just about any type of restaurant, from fast food to fast casual, to upscale dining and numerous ethnic cuisines.
If you’re like me, once in while you read an article or hear a report that resonates with your thinking and hits the nail on the head.
On Sunday morning (2/8/15) I did just that. The article, “Revoke the License of Any Doctor Who Opposes Vaccination", by Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, the director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Department of Population Health was in The Washington Post’s Outlook section. The article focused on the current media frenzy about vaccinations, specifically the measles vaccination. But several of Caplan’s points resonated with me on a broader level and have relevance to the debates about science and research in my profession, the field of nutrition and specifically, diabetes nutrition management.
Our kids are growing up with restaurant meals a frequent feature of their food repertoire. That’s truer than ever before. And it’s likely to increase not decrease.
Restaurant foods, whether you eat them in, take them home or eat them on a ball field, are accessible 24/7/365 today. Our pace of life is faster than ever and convenience-driven, particularly when it comes to food. The digital age will forge ahead with technologies to make it even easier and less energy expending to order restaurant foods fast. Meals will be ready and waiting for you in restaurants with the touch of an app. You’ll place your order in sit down restaurants with a digital device.
You get the picture.
Pile on the sad fact that kids aren’t learning near enough about how to purchase and prepare foods. They’re lack of motivation is understandable with restaurant foods a plenty whenever, whereever. A catch-22, for sure!
Losing weight is one tough challenge, but not as tough, research shows, as keeping those lost pounds at bay over time. What are the THE TRUTHS about keeping lost pounds at bay?
Research shows that the most weight most people, on average, lose, even with pretty constant expert support, is about 6 to 10% from your starting weight. Example: 200 pounds that's 12 to 20 pounds. For sure, some people lose more (but do they keep the weight off?). Losing this 6 to 10% of weight hardly seems worth it compared to those triple digit losses touted by the Biggest Loser TV show or some weight loss plans.
Research also shows people lose these 12 to 20 pounds by about the 6 months to 1 year point of their effort. It’s simply tough to lose more weight. Read Weight Loss, Control: Expectations vs. Research-based Realities.