November 7, 2011

We Need a Unifying Symbol for Diabetes

I normally can live my life and let others live theirs. But this issue cries out for support and wide publicity.

The time has come to support the cause for diabetes and I admire Amy Tenderich for her stand on unifying behind one symbol and making this our symbol of choice. In reading the comments posted to her two blogs so far, I can see the division making its presence felt. I am not sure that those taking the opposing views have the well-being of the diabetes community in our best interest. I use the term community to include all types and variants of diabetes and say that we need a unifying symbol.

Amy says “the fact that AADE uses orange and gray as its branding colors, while JDRF uses its own acronym printed in blue. ADA uses that big red ‘A’ reminiscent of the Scarlet Letter, and more recently, that creepy hand with the blood drop — not exactly an image you want to ask friends and family to pin on their clothing. The fact is that NONE of their logos is universally recognized by people outside the D-community. Heck, most people within our community are confused about what color is supposed to represent us.”

If you agree with some of the comments posted and worry about money being spent for a unifying symbol, read some of the blogs about a JDRF ad in the NY Times. Talk about a waste of money and the use of fear. This is not what our young people need or their parents. While hypoglycemia is a fact of life and the Artificial Pancreas will be potentially a gigantic aid, the use of fear is something many people have blogged against when used by their physicians, and yet the JDRF chose to use the same tactic. This does not put a national organization in good standing.

One comment to Amy's blog really troubles me. It is one about not putting type 1 and type 2 under the same symbol. Except for those of us within the diabetes community, some family, and friends, very few actually understand the differences. And, we have the other forgotten types of MODY, LADA, and medically caused diabetes that this person does not even mention. If people are concerned about lumping all types of diabetes together, let me say that by leaving type 2 out would be one way of isolating us without an organization for support, but no more so than we already are.

No, do not even think that the American Diabetes Association represents us. It is an organization of and for doctors and does not represent the patients, of any type. Even the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists does not represent any type as it encompasses the entire endocrine system. It does come the closest to having our best interests in mind by providing vetted sources for reliable diabetes information. There are some notable absences currently missing from the list, but at least they are starting a service for type 2 diabetes. Many of the vetted sites also work well for all types of diabetes.

Another comment on the first of Amy's blogs about the blue circle had been well covered by Amy in her second blog when she says, “To be clear, this not a call for those organizations to spend countless dollars remaking or “rebranding” themselves; all we’re asking is that they officially recognize the Blue Circle as “our lapel pin,” and do their part to ensure that consumers across America begin to recognize it.”

She then describes five ways to accomplish this without a large outlay of funds. I agree with her blogs and support her efforts. When I look at the money spent by the ADA for lobbying, I have to think the efforts are mainly for protecting the income of the physicians from Medicare cuts and not for research for cures. See my blog here for the actions of ADA.

In an effort to unify the diabetes outcry for education and the needs of the diabetes community at large, we need a common symbol to unify behind and give a united front for the well-being of all types of diabetes. Then we can start true education of the type differences and work harder for all types of diabetes. I agree that we need the blue circle as our symbol for all types of diabetes.

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