If you are like me, you’ve wished a thousand times that there were two distinct terms for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The problem as I see it is that when generalizations are made, misinformation is disseminated to the masses.
What difference does it make when 90% of diabetic people are Type 2?
For me it’s twofold.
First, a child might not be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the first sign of symptoms because most people only know the risk factors of Type 2 diabetes.
Second, outsiders judge parents of Type 1 children thinking that it is their fault for doing this to their child.
The reality is that my child was a healthy, active, thin child who ate a largely vegetarian diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. She rarely ate candy and was never served juice at home. She had no family history of diabetes. She had no risk factors.
And yet there she was at three years old losing weight while drinking an entire half gallon of milk in one day.
So when Oprah aired the show “America’s Silent Killer” featuring Dr. Oz on February 4, I hoped that they would dispel some of the myths of Type 1 diabetes.
In my opinion, they would have done a better service to viewers by spending the first 5 minutes being very clear about Type 1 diabetes, the causes and symptoms and then spending the rest of the hour on Type 2.
The majority of the show was about Type 2, but the experts merely said “diabetes” generically throughout the show.
I could give you a play-by-play of the show (I took notes), but I will only point out a few points that caused me concern.
Dr. Oz: “The amount of insulin you have to take depends on how bad your diabetes is.” (6 minutes)
I’m no doctor, but the amount of insulin a Type 1 diabetic needs once the honeymoon phase is over seems more a function of age and size. A five-year-old child needs considerably less insulin than a 30-year-old, both a lower basal rate and lower insulin to carb ratio.
I liken his statement to comments that a patient who uses an insulin pump must have “bad diabetes.”
No. Patients who use pumps to deliver insulin often have better control (if ever we are in “control” of diabetes).
Dr. Ian Smith was appalled when one of the church ladies tested at 122.
The 122 that they show on a meter at the church actually looked pretty good to me. If all our numbers were 122, I think we’d do a happy dance.
Our daughter’s target range is 100 to 200. Young children often have a higher range than adults.
O: Can you always reverse it or does there come a point where you can’t reverse it anymore?
D: Almost always you can reverse it… (31 minutes)
Type 2, Dr. Oz. You cannot reverse Type 1 as much as we would like to.
I get asked time and again if my daughter will outgrow her diabetes. No, she will not. But wouldn’t that be something?
Know someone at risk?
The good news is that Walgreens stores around the country are giving free blood glucose tests February 5 through 18 as part of their Diabetes Wellness Event.
The face of diabetes:
Though the producers of the show thought that scare tactics, including showing an amputated limb, would cause people to take notice, there is another face of diabetes.
Vibrant children who have long lives ahead of them. Children who are not lazy and did not eat their way to diabetes.
Children with bright futures like Q.
I could only hope that Oprah would do a show highlighting children with Type 1 diabetes who live normal lives despite the adversity they face every minute of every day.
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