Thursday, March 17, 2011

Are We Falling Through the Cracks?

Before I proceed, I am not writing this to offend any Type 2 PWD as I believe this is also a serious chronic illness that takes much effort to treat and manage successfully.

I have simply had this post on the edit shelf for a while now and would like to air it.

We persistently get slammed by the media about diabetes, how it is out of control in modern society, how the numbers are staggering and numerous other sensationalized claims. The problem is they are generally referring to Type 2 Diabetes.  Which in why I am writing about the topic.  As it is my opinion that media needs to clarify the differences, and the public needs to be aware that there are two distinct types of diabetes, and 2 distinct disease processes taking place.

 Instead Type 1 PWD fall through the cracks from a media perspective.  Even looking at my own community  I notice;  more support groups, classes, and options for Type 2 diabetes then for Type 1 diabetes.  It is my opinion that this is largely related to the public's misconception of the two different types.

To give you an example of how the media can screw things up; remember Oprah's show a few months back, that was blogged about and discussed online, whereby they(Dr Oz and Her) failed miserably to differentiate between the 2 types of diabetes.  More recently there was a huge uproar from a Dr in the USA who runs a fitness club who grouped the two types together, and blamed type one on lifestyle(he retracted the article immediately) These two scenarios are obvious examples as to how the public is susceptible to these blanket media statements grouping diabetes into one common disease process.

 Frankly it's down right irritating.  I have considered(if I didn't have five kids to feed) starting a nationwide road show to tell people the difference.  We(Type 1's) wake up one day and wham, our pancreas is no longer in working order, so we require lifelong insulin to live. It is autoimmune, nothing lifestyle related.

I pulled some information from a 2009 Type 1 Diabetes Facts and Statistic Hand from the JDRF.

  • Diabetes affects 246 million people world wide
  • Expected to increase to 380 million by 2025
  • More then 2.4 million Canadians suffer from some type of Diabetes
  • Over 240000 people have type 1 diabetes
There are other cool stats at The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation if you're interested.

So to look at the above numbers as usual the stats are the same as they have been in terms of the difference in prevalence between type 1 and type 2 since I was a young diabetic.  90 % or more Canadians have Type 2 or other type of diabetes and 10% have Type 1.  So I get it, since we are 10% of the total population of diabetes, are  more resources are allocated to type 2?   Maybe it is just easier to group us together based on the 10% number, who knows?!

But i do feel, and know that governments, and the general voter may or may not know the differences and decisions are being made regarding allocating funds for coverage etc.  Like tests strips, insulin, pumps, etc.

To me it's a no brainer!  We Type 1 PWD could do nothing to prevent us or our loved ones from getting this disease.  Nothing, zilch, the big zero.  We could not prevent it by changing lifestyle, losing weight, eating less sugar as a kid, it had nothing to do with breast feeding, or not using oregano in our sauces. 

So to me,  funds should be allocated completely differently for type 1 diabetes compared to type 2.  Not saying Type 2's don't deserve funding, not at all, this is a major health issue, but what I am saying is that Type One Diabetes Is Uncontrollable in its Onset, so we should be covered, period.

Media and Politicians, need to understand this concept, and educate people about diabetes correctly.  For goodness sake people just google type 1 and read about it, then google Type 2 read about,  before discussing it publicly.

Wait a minute, maybe I should start writing to the editor?!  Sorry just had an epiphany. 

In the meantime, as I know all PWD do all too often, we have to educate friends, strangers, and others who have no understanding of the distinct differences in Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.

The problem with the spot light being primarily focused on Type 2, is that Type 1 people tend to fall through the cracks.


PS:  Let me know your thoughts, from other areas of the globe especially. Or if you feel I am totally in left field.


Natalie said...

You're not in left field, Trev, but when it comes to diabetes, NOBODY's in right field. Not for Type 1, and not for Type 2. More and more research is showing that Type 2 is no more a "did it to yourself" or "lifestyle" disease than Type 1 is. There are so many things genetically wrong in Type 2 that, in the presence of abundant food and a society that demands that people sit in cubicles all day, it's pretty near inevitable that Type 2 will manifest. A concentration camp diet, and 10 hours a day of strenuous slave labor would take care of that, but is it realistic?
It seems to me that ALL diabetes needs a better shake in terms of education and funding. Media reports about Type 2 are usually only oriented toward pre-diabetics and early-stage Type 2's -- no word about people whose disease is so advanced that the best diet and exercise in the world will not make it go away. And the progression of the disease is usually genetic, and not the victim's fault.
I would never minimize the difficulties of Type 1 -- and I agree that they are different from the difficulties of Type 2, but my feeling is that I want to support ALL diabetics.

Anonymous said...

Hi Trev: Type 1s actually are more than 10% of the diabetes population, more like 20-25%. There is a huge population of adult-onset Type 1s (sometimes called LADA) that are included in the stats for Type 2 diabetes (even thought that is a different disease than the one they have). Check out my blogs on TuDiabetes on the subject. And Manny Hernandez, founder of TuDiabetes, is one of those many adult-onset Type 1s who was misdiagnosed as having Type 2.

Shirley-Anne Parsons said...

Oh Trev .... you are so NOT out in left field!!! I was one of the people that complained to Dr. Bob Wilcher from Killer B Fitness ... he sent me back a apology email after I raked him thru the coals. Here is a great youtube avatar video someone made titled 'What Not to Say to a Parent of a Kid w/Type 1 Diabetes' ... you will def. relate:

I've so far written 4 letters to the editor of local Vancouver papers with this exact complaint. I'm continually amazed how, even in the medical profession, that this lack of clarification between the 2 types is persistent in media publications. I fully support the campaign to rename Type 1 ... after 25 years I still have to explain continuously that I have Type 1 not Type 2 and what that means.

Trev said...

Thanks for your comments. I absolutely agree that education needs to be clarified in both areas(Type 1 and Type 2) I just believe that they are different, like you said, it is a societal issue contributing likely to both. I just think the clarification needs to be more pronounced I guess, in terms of the suddeness, and no ability to reverse, make changes, slow the progresssion(destruction of beta cells) etc that is often an option for type 2 diabetes, but not with type 1.

Wendy said...

GOOD CALL! I totally agree :)

Reyna said...

Sadly, misinformation is constantly out there for us to attempt to undo and/or lessen. It is imperative that we, as a community, do this as we are able. If we don't, then who will? Who will shoulder the responsibility of this task for us? As Washington state is proposing severe limitations of insurance coverage of test strips we are reminded why our voices and our education matters.

Great post always!