The Angry Type 2 Diabetic: It's Type 2 Diabetes Alert Day? Really?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's Type 2 Diabetes Alert Day? Really?

I don't keep track of all the designated days for things... and in fact, often, various organizations just randomly make up a day, out of the blue, whenever they want to promote something... (Not necessarily a bad thing, really.)

So, apparently, today is Type 2 Diabetes Alert Day. 

The American Diabetes Association wants to create awareness of the risks a person might have for developing Type 2 Diabetes... by having them answer some basic, simplistic questions. Yeah, pretty basic and simplistic:

  • Are you old?
  • Are you a man or a woman (because apparently men are more screwed than women)?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Did you have gestational diabetes (which should be a big DUH, right)?
  • Did you have a mother or father with Type 2 Diabetes (another big DUH)?
  • Are you a fat, couch potato? 
Yeah, that's about it. 

Don't get me wrong... there are some people out there who still, to this day and age, don't realize they are at risk (even with the big indicators above). There are, also, a lot of minority communities who receive very little information, and outreach. 

But, the thing is... these tests don't do much for people who truly are at a HUGE risk, for other reasons. Where are the questions about "Do you have Depression, or are you on anti-depressants or other mood altering drugs?," "Do you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?," "Do you take statins, and have high cholesterol?", "Were you ever exposed to Agent Orange?," "Do you take steroids?," etc, etc. When we keep these questions OFF of the radar, what we do is keep on people's minds the notion that only fat people get diabetes, and that all they have to do is stop being a fat person.

There are a LOT of people, more so than we think, getting diagnosed when NOT fitting any of these descriptions. Just by the sheer number of the people I speak to, every day, if I had to take a sample... I'd say a huge chunk of them were NOT obese when diagnosed, and not inactive. (A small minority of them are misdiagnosed, and are Type 1.5 (or LADA), instead... but it's just a minority.) 

What's worse is that we have so over-abused this word, prevention. 

NO ONE can prevent diabetes, of any kind. What we can do... is REDUCE OUR RISK for Diabetes. Reduce our ODDS. We look at diabetes in the face, and we try to call it's bluff. 

That's what we do. 

Again, don't get me wrong... PLEASE CALL DIABETES' BLUFF. Fight, with tooth and nail. Maybe you'll be one of the ones who DON'T win this lottery. But, please understand that at the end of the day, it really is still... a lottery. 

Now, yesterday, in preparation for Type 2 Diabetes Alert Day, the American Diabetes Association asked their "fans" if they had success stories to share; stories of having learned their risk, or having been diagnosed with Type 2, and taking control. (Suspiciously, that post is gone, now.) 

I assume they may have gotten many responses like this... The ones someone like ME would have given: 

Dear American Diabetes Association,  
When I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, the first thing I did (like any other person newly diagnosed), was to go visit your site. I studied it quite a bit... and gleaned some buzz words like "tight control," and goals of keeping my blood glucose under 180 mg/dL.  
Then I thought to myself... wait a minute? 180 mg/dL is awful close to 200 mg/dL. That sounds... quite dangerous and irresponsible. That can't be right...  
So I googled, more, and more... and even the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists suggests keeping blood glucose levels under 140 mg/dL, and preferably, as close to normal as possible. 
I understand blood glucose goals are individual, and should be consulted with one's doctor, ADA... (Some of us have other illnesses and hurdles that might make tighter blood glucose control difficult.) But you are giving people a very risky, and low MINIMUM hurdle to shoot for, without much other guidance!! WHY???? Please excuse me if I don't immediately reject the theories that you have deep conflicts of interests with big pharmaceutical representatives lining your pockets.  
Now, dear ADA... you claim you don't embrace any particular diet, but say we should ALL just eat healthy as healthy should be considered for ANY person without diabetes, without further explanations... Honestly, ADA, shame on you. We all know that's just veiled talk for telling people they ought to eat a diet made up of 60% carbohydrates, rich in fruit, starchy grains, and vegetables. (Yes, a world in which corn is good for your health.) It sounds charming, and wise... But even to my mind, back then, that was just hogwash. Normal people don't have a BUSTED pancreas... If this were the case, then hey! Everyone, throw your glucose meters, oral medications, and your insulin away. 
So through more research of my own, I found out I could eat following the guidance of my glucose meter, instead. The way it SHOULD be. Oh, imagine that...?! I should eat meals, and use my glucose meter to TEST those meals, to see if they exceed 140 mg/dL! And OMG, instead of just eating whatever because it's "healthy..." Wow, what a concept! I'm sorry, but oatmeal, for my diabetes, is NOT healthy. Hope Warshaw might lie -- but my glucose meter NEVER will.
Don't get me wrong, ADA... some people DO need meds, as their poor pancreases are too pooped out... But why the hell should I put the BURDEN of my care and how well I do, on just meds and insulin? Requiring more and more meds as time goes on, and more and more insulin... and then, oh no... developing complications I could have delayed, or reduced a risk for? I would be just accelerating the damage, and pancreatic beta cell failure, by willingly keeping myself at 180 mg/dL goals all the time.. when I could help it.
It's not easy, ADA... but why should we lie to people and make them believe it is? You know what's harder? DIALYSIS. NEUROPATHY. AMPUTATIONS.  
Then I thought to myself... "Hey? Who the hell are the American Diabetes Association, anyway? They're not even endocrinologists! What THE fructose!"  
Yeah, that's right...  Just a bunch of six figured salaried talking heads for big pharma sponsored researchers.
So, in essence, American Diabetes Association... here is my success story: I went and read your site, and then I did the opposite. 
  • I made a goal of keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. 140 mg/dL or less, at 1 hour, and 120 mg/dL or less at 2 hours... with 140 mg/dL at 2 hours being the ABSOLUTE highest I will ever tolerate.
  • I decided I needed to find the TRUE point at which my blood glucose levels were spiking, and not just blindly test at 2 hours, thinking everything's right. I test at 70-75 minutes after taking the first bite, for most meals, with some exceptions. 
  • I test *EVERY* meal I eat, and every snack. I do not assume ANY food is healthy for me, just because Hope Warshaw, or anyone else, says so. If I can't (at the most) easily burn it off with exercise, I WILL NEVER EAT IT. 
  • I reduced my carb intake to 80-100 carbs a day. 15 or less for breakfast, 40 or less for lunch, and 30 or less for dinner... with an occasional 15 or less for a snack.
  • I did NOT go rushing to get on 20 pills, before even having the illnesses. Statins, and blood pressure meds, raise blood glucose levels and create other risks. Instead with my new diet and carb control... my blood pressure and cholesterol went right back to normal, on their own. Yes, ADA... you recommend diabetics keep their blood pressure under 130 systolic... but I keep mine between 100-110. 
  • You encourage people to just go lose 10 lbs... as if that's going to fix their diabetes. ADA, I've lost 80... and that hasn't fixed my diabetes, but it's a heck of a LOT better than if I did it your way.
On this Type 2 Diabetes Alert Day... I'd like to challenge you, ADA, to perhaps heed an alert of your OWN: A different approach is needed for treating type 2 diabetes.  People need to be diagnosed SOONER, by more thoroughly educated medical professionals, and not be kept in such obscurity.

When will you get with the program? Millions are waiting.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Lizmari. Sounds like you have some great personal habits more people might want to mimic in their D-care, regardless of type (me included!!).