Blog Entries With Tag: education

Posted: Feb 16, 2012
It's a place of shock, bewilderment, desperation, sadness, fear, or sometimes, misplaced relief or joy. 

It's a diabetes diagnosis.

Sometimes, it might come at us in a tactful way, but more often than not, it gets thrown at us like a volleyball in a game of tag. "You're it! It's your turn now, to go, and get it figured out!" 

A diabetes diagnosis may be paralizing for a patient, especially, when little is known about the disease, or when the diagnosis was not expected. However, few medical professionals seem to realize this, nor the need for essential information right from the start to communicate not just the seriousness of the disease, but to ease feelings of helplessness or resignation that a patient might experience. Insurance hurdles, often limiting helpful actions a medical professional might take, usually end up making matters worse. 

So, what can we do? Where can we start? How do we help ease the fogginess of confusion?

Well, if Bob's crazy journey in the movie "What About Bob?" taught us anything... the answer begins with "Baby Steps."    

Bob is right: "All I have to do... is take... one little step at a time... and I can do anything..." Truer words were never spoken by a "crazy" man. 

See, Bob isn't really "crazy." He's just soooo overwhelmed by looking at the big picture of life, and everything, all at the same time -- that he's distracted from the little baby steps, and the things that matter. His psychiatrist, just wanting to get rid of him, unwittingly gives him the answers.

Type 2 Diabetes is much like this; a baby steps adventure. Yes, it's an adventure! Just as Bob goes on, exploring a brave, new, and often frightening world... so must we, also, discover that we can do this, and much, much more. 

Just what do baby steps look like? Well, I find that learning what the problem IS before I even start, can help signifficantly. So, let's begin. 

Just what exactly IS diabetes? (THIS is the real problem. The equation to solve.) Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not use glucose adequately. 

  • What in the world is glucose? Is this sugar? Well, yes, and no. Glucose is definitely a type of sugar, but it's not 'table sugar,' and it's not exclusively derived from any sweets, or treats, you might like to eat. Glucose is the fuel your body uses to power itself so that it can do tasks, perform bodily functions, exercise, etc. In short, it's the gasoline that powers your vehicle. Your body will take ALL the food you eat (from one degree to another), and turn it into glucose so that it can power itself. Most of that power will come from carbohydrates (around 98% of them will get turned into glucose), some from protein (around 58%), and a little bit from fats (around 10%.) 
  • What does it mean to not use glucose adequately? Well, it usually means that your body's red blood cells, and muscle tissues, etc. cannot allow glucose to enter them because: a.) they are not communicating well with insulin (insulin is like a door man, allowing glucose to enter cells when it's present), b.) there is not enough insulin present in the body to even try to communicate with glucose, OR c.) both a & b.  
When insulin cannot communicate effectively with red blood cells, and tissues, etc., we call this "insulin resistance." When there is not enough insulin to simply help glucose enter cells, at all, we call this "insulin deficiency." Both insulin resistance, and insulin deficiency, can vary. Some insulin resistance is very advanced (meaning, the pancreas has failed again and again to produce insulin that can communicate effectively with tissues), and some insulin deficiency is absolute (meaning, there is no insulin production left, in any real signifficant levels.) 

If you have insulin resistance, your pancreas will try to continuously make insulin until it can process that extra glucose in your blood stream, allowing it to enter your body's cells and tissues, etc.

This means that if you have pre-diabetes, your pancreas has to work a little harder to process that glucose because it is struggling to keep up with the demands. It might take a few cycles of insulin production for it to get that extra glucose into your cells and tissues, but it can still get the job done.

If you have Type 2 Diabetes, your pancreas can no longer meet these insulin production demands adequately, and your blood stream will start to carry unsafe levels of blood glucose long past digestion. Any extra insulin your pancreas might produce is not communicating adequately, or quickly enough, with your cells and tissues to allow glucose to enter them effectively. Sometimes, the level insulin resistance is so great, that a person may need to supplement with oral medications, or even insulin, to help overcome it. 

If you are insulin deficient, this means that the beta cells -- the little cells within the Islets of Langerhans, inside your Pancreas, which are responsible for insulin production -- have become exhausted from the constant insulin production cycle, and have "pooped out." A good amount of them have died, if not nearly all of them. Your pancreas can no longer make a safe level of insulin to help keep you healthy, and processing glucose, so that you don't starve. (Yes, our body's cells, and organs, will starve without glucose!) Patients with insulin deficiency, must supplement with insulin therapy, or risk fatal consequences.

Some insulin deficiency is absolute, and it is brought on by the body's own immune system suddenly attacking these beta cells, for currently unknown reasons, until there are none or virtually none, left. This is called Type 1(a) (or Type 1) Diabetes, and though it is often seen in children, it can present at any age. The fact that it is brought on by an autoimmune attack, makes it distinctly different than Type 2 Diabetes, and it is the main reason why Type 2 Diabetics do NOT turn into Type 1 Diabetics if they become insulin deficient.

Knowledge is Power
And this is our FIRST baby step. Now that we are armed with at least, some of the most basic concepts of Diabetes, and the problems and hurdles it may present, we can live with a little less fear. Do you see the light yet? A little bit?

Is it too much? Read it... just a little paragraph at a time. Try to visualize it.    

Next blog post, we will discuss what we can do... with ALL this power. :) Stay tuned. 
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Posted: May 22, 2008

I found this on NewsRx: there's a troubling accessibility deficit in education materials regarding diabetes, yet low-literacy and special-needs populations are some of the populations most vulnerable to the condition (particularly type 2). Looks like we need to do better at making educational material about diabetes accessible to everyone.

I'm something of an accessibility nazi; it's amazing how many medical conditions are aggravated by illiteracy or learning disabilities, and in general more always needs to be done to make health care information available to everyone. For example, here is an interesting study about numeracy and its affect on diabetes control.

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Posted: Mar 21, 2008


IHi all, my name is Dan Weiman and I am an intern here at Body1, primarily working here on diabetes1. You may have seen some of my feature stories already on diabetes, or on the the Body1 stories of the day. I am in my senior year at Emerson College here in Boston, MA with a major in Political Communications and a psychology minor. I have a strong interest in public health and health advocacy and education, which is what led me here to diabetes1.

Diabetes is an ever growing public health issue that, as I'm sure you may know, affects much more than just the on-the-surface problem of regulating blood sugar. Its side effects can be very hard on those with the disease, it can affect one's lifestyle and mood, and, while treatment is becoming more and more effective, there is no cure currently. Furthermore, diabetes is a growing concern world wide because it is starting to effect a higher percentage of people among both Type I and Type II.

As there is not much widespread understanding of the disease amongst the general public, I feel it is critical for diabetics to have an outlet where they can share their experiences with others like them. The communities here are a great opportunity to bring people together and to instill confidence and understanding among those with the disease.

I'll try to use this blog to discuss the latest news in diabetes treatment, or elaborate further on certain articles. Look forward to seeing more of everyone!

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Surviving the Holocaust with Type 1 diabetes  |  Eating from the ground - Yuca Fries  |  My first month with Bowie my Dexcom G4 CGMS  |  Miss Idaho is Defeating Diabetes  |  Sugar and Your Health  |  When You're Hot, You're Hot  |  My First Night with Dexcom G4 CGMS  |  Low potassium diet  |  Diabetes among us...  |  Diabetes Expo

From: ekc

Posted: Feb 21, 2008

I am not your typical diabetic.

I was diagnosed as a teenager even though I was athletic and as far as I knew, healthy. I'm now 30, still feeling healthy, still athletic but am a diabetic. For me, diabetes is something I have to live with but I don't let it control my life. By eating right and exercising I'm able to have good control and only the people who are very close to me even know I have the condition.

I'm really interested in learning as much as I can about diabetes in order to stay one step ahead of the disease.

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Surviving the Holocaust with Type 1 diabetes  |  Eating from the ground - Yuca Fries  |  My first month with Bowie my Dexcom G4 CGMS  |  Miss Idaho is Defeating Diabetes  |  Sugar and Your Health  |  When You're Hot, You're Hot  |  My First Night with Dexcom G4 CGMS  |  Diabetes among us...  |  Diabetes Expo  |  keep going
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