Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Expand the Clubhouse

I've seen several news stories recently, about type 2 diabetes, which make me wince and cringe, for a variety of reasons.

This one, about treating post-prandials highs with Precose and that treatment not preventing the progression of diabetes, makes me want to go back and study more science. I wish I understood that more. It does seem to support Dr. McDougall's contention that a few high readings after meals may not be as worrisome as the whole diabetes establishment seems to think. Or perhaps I'm reading that wrong. I understand that I don't get that article well. Consult your local medical team.

This one, about tai chi and calisthenics exercise still having benefit to diabetics, I find very encouraging. I love tai chi, and since I may be off my feet for a while, some other calisthenic type exercise may be all that is available to me. Exercise is required, ladies & gentlemen!

This one and the other one, about diabetes control & treatment for differing racial groups, elicited another well-duh! reaction from me. One of the black persons who I know with diabetes (type 2), was so sick at the time of his diagnosis, that his physicians told him, "You either have AIDS or you have diabetes." Imagine his relief at getting his diagnosis of diabetes. And it's such a simple test, to test for blood sugar levels, which should point to diabetes. Why these racial disparities exist is something others have discussed at length. That they continue to exist is part of the shame of the USA. I wish these two stories were not true, but I have no trouble believing that they are true.

This one, about preventing pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes by prescribing metformin, is more complicated for me. It makes me wonder if we need a new term for diabetes type 2. And, are we going toward a "Prescribe metformin for every pudgy person" diabetes prevention policy? I'm all for lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. If they're on a drug for diabetes, can't we call them 'diabetics?' I don't know. Is every north American (with health insurance) going to be on ACE inhibitors and metformin to stave off high blood pressure and diabetes, just as a matter of course? This is scary to me. And, not everybody can take metformin (yucky digestive side effects-eeeww).

I'm not even going to give you the link to the stories about Korean pine-nuts and pomegranates. If you want to believe in one or two magic foods, go ahead. I believe in large categories of health-supporting foods and large categories of non-health-supporting foods. Choose what you believe to be your best nutritional and dietary approach to your life, listen (somewhat) to your tastes & preferences, check your numbers, and go from there.

But this one, about the expected 45+ million persons who will likely have diabetes in the USA by the year 2050, just makes me want to cry. (I'm assuming the majority of these new diagnoses will be for type 2 diabetes. I'm hoping by 2050, there's a cure or prevention for type 1.) How will there possibly be enough resources for all of us?

I welcome every new diabetic. Your diagnosis is an opportunity for you to change the course of your life and your health. Welcome to the diabetes club!

Embrace your diabetes. Wrestle with it. Master it. Roll with it. Let it influence and improve you.

I just wish, that there were fewer new members. It is a terrible disease, which can produce a lifetime of losses. It requires so much focus, so much management, so much change. Any secondary diagnosis or increased health risk (for instance, smoking) can make it unmanageable.

This outlook, for our numbers to grow so much, is sad. I do not wish to be so discouraged.


  • At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am not sure it is all that bad. Diabetes under true control is not life threatening, yet heart disease is. Many men are dying of Heart Disease before they really get to old age, and for some of us, we rather have the motivation of Diabetes that gets us healthy than the sudden death from a heart attack.


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