On Saturday January 29th 2011, I had the privilege of moderating an extraordinary program – (get ready for the long name) The 1st Annual JDRF Capitol Chapter Type 1 Diabetes Research Summit held in Bethesda, Maryland (at the foothills of National Institutes of Health). What a thrill to introduce these luminaries in type 1 diabetes research. Congrats to the volunteers who amassed these brilliant as well as gracious experts!
Here are my part 1 learnings and musing (check out part 2 learnings and musings):
Diabetes’ Civil War appeared in the Chicago Tribune late November. I had my eyes out for it because I was interviewed by the author. (My words seem to have ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor. Perhaps because they were way more educational vs. sensational – yes sizzle does sell.)
I’ve been stewing about the article for a couple of months wanting to react but in ways feeling it wasn’t my place because I don’t have diabetes. It’s now time from my vantage point as a diabetes educator.
I was quite taken aback by the anger and venom voiced by several quotees.
Nearly a decade worth of studies, with another one just published (online first), June 3, 2010, have explored the effectiveness of using one or a combination of two blood-glucose (BG) lowering medications (approved for type 2 diabetes) to prevent and/or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes or at high risk of type 2. These studies have used Actos (pioglitazone), Avandia (rosiglitazone), metformin, and others.
Do you (or a loved one) have type 2 diabetes and you’re under the impression that your blood glucose would rapidly fall into control if only you could just lose weight? Have you heard this promise from your healthcare provider (HCP)?
As a dietitian and diabetes educator nothing would please me more than to be able to say this is true. But it’s often not the case and particularly so as type 2 progresses over the years. My message to you, stop dreaming and act NOW!
The main mantra to people with type 2 diabetes, especially early on, used to be lose weight. Though losing 10 to 20 pounds can, especially early on after diagnosis, cause blood glucose to plummet and other medical problem to improve, research shows the continually pounding about weight loss that people often get from their health care provider needs to change. We know much more now about the progression of type 2.
In early March 2010, a research article titled Diabetes Risk Reduction Behaviors Among U.S. Adults with Prediabetes published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, put in writing what many experts (including myself) conjectured.
Oprah was finally to take on America’s Silent Killer – diabetes. YES! I first heard this from a diabetes educator colleague with the inside scoop. Soon the diabetes online community was buzzing with morsels of info leaking out about how Oprah and her producers would present diabetes. It wasn’t sounding good – heavy on scare tactics about complications and bold orders for behavior changes from Oprah’s famed health gurus.
It’s true. With today’s goals and efforts to help people tighten their blood glucose control to minimize the long term diabetes complications, practitioners can increase the risks and possible occurrences of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) for some.
However, if all you knew about the risks for and likely frequency of hypoglycemia was from the news (as well as movie and stage theatrics) you’d be convinced that every person with diabetes is likely to keel over regularly.
For years the way to diagnose diabetes has been to draw a blood sample and check the glucose count, either fasting or random (any time of day). Two high levels on two different days and the diagnosis of diabetes was made. Glucose tolerance tests went by the wayside years ago other than for diagnosing gestational diabetes.