December 6, 2011

Why Do You Let Teaching Moments Pass?

I could list many people that write about this, but I am interested in why they let teaching moments for diabetes get away from them. This raises many questions and provides very few answers.

Is it the setting, the time, or the place that stops them? Are they people that want to keep their diabetes a secret to be kept in a closet? Are they too embarrassed to speak up? Or, is this an invisible disease that keeps people tongue-tied?

When compared to breast cancer, awareness on a national level is more recognizable and better advertised. People have ribbon stickers on their cars, have larger, more publicized events and in general have come out of the closet in their battle against breast cancer.

What is it going to take to get the diabetes community to come out of the closet? The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is trying to lead the way in a color and a symbol. But the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is determined not to become part of this effort. They want their own color and their own symbol and seem to downplay the efforts of the IDF.

However, let the IDF have some success and the ADA will find a way to either hog the credit or say they had a large part in it. Sometimes they have a legitimate claim to a little of the credit, but they seem to want to have it all. Not a very professional or humanitarian thing to be doing is the way I view this.

The ADA does little to promote coming out of the closet and using education to promote the prevention of diabetes or giving the support to adult patients with diabetes. The ADA does not promote discussing diabetes to help people understand this chronic disease to the general public. They do not promote many activities for the cure of diabetes. The ADA is basically an association of and for doctors and this they do poorly. Why else would there be so many doctors that will not aggressively work to diagnose diabetes and try to stem the rising epidemic of obesity.

The only claim that the ADA can make is their enforcement of laws on the books protecting children and their rights in the public school system. They do also use the Americans with Disabilities Act laws to protect the rights of people with diabetes. This is their only claim to fame. While medical professionals look to the ADA for guidance in the field of diabetes, the ADA is very much behind the times in its pronouncements and guidance about the types of diabetes and effective ways to treat diabetes. Often this is five to ten years after the medical professionals have made the decision on their own.

There is research available and verifiable, but the ADA keeps looking for more on which to base a directive or issue guidance. This in turn leaves the patient with little to rely on in discussions and trying to make sound decisions for their own health.

Therefore I lay the fault of why patients avoid educating others about diabetes on the steps of the ADA and the medical profession. They wish to be the ones controlling the patients and having patients totally rely on them. The ADA feels that patients are incapable of learning about this chronic disease called diabetes. Before you think I am totally against the ADA (which I am), they are responsible for American Diabetes Month, but do little to promote education within this month.

Now that the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has a web site of approved and vetted diabetes sites (this is still in the formative stage and more sites need to be added), will the ADA follow and claim credit. I can see the press release about how they have had all the information available on their site. Yes, it may be there, but finding it and having access to it are two different things, both equally difficult and often costly, as they will not offer much freely, but for a fee. The AACE did think to include the ADA on their list of approved and vetted sites.

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