December 18, 2013

Diabetes, What Ignorance Does for You

Ignorance tends to be the rule when it comes to diabetes. This applies to the doctors and to the patients. Many doctors order the patients to test their blood glucose and then stop their explanation. Instead of explaining the why, when, and how to test, their ignorance shows because the patients often have no idea what they were told.

Many patients then seek out their pharmacists and receive the information needed. However, these same patients only think they are testing for their doctor because he ordered them to do it. Ignorance is king among these patients. A small group will attempt to find out why they should test and spend some time trying to learn. Then when they don't find anything that “applies” to them, they give up and test for the doctor. Others just test because the doctor told them to do this.

Some find the American Diabetes Association (ADA) website and become baffled by the mountains of information available. They soon realize that most of it is aimed at doctors and become discouraged. They do not find the information for patients, the forum, and other patient information.

Some find the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) website, but because they have dropped the list of approved diabetes websites and have no links to other sites they have, people do not often stumble across this site. Some do not like this site because there is not a lot of good patient information contained in it. This tells me that the AACE does not really care about patients either.

All diabetes organizations work harder for people with type 1 diabetes, as they should.  When it involves people with type 2 diabetes, we are stepped on or ignored, they won't support testing requirements and want limits on our testing supplies. The leaders of the ADA and AACE think we can survive by only knowing our A1c results. This is further discouragement for people with type 2 diabetes and many let this lead to further ignorance about the importance of managing their diabetes.

Many people refuse to learn about diabetes and how to manage their diabetes. They trust their doctor to do what is best for them and as a result, they forget to manage their diabetes, remain ignorant about diabetes, and let their blood glucose levels do damage to their bodies and progress to the complications. Most doctors fully believe this and treat their patients with diabetes accordingly with no education, or encouragement to manage their diabetes to delay or prevent the complications from developing.

If people with type 2 diabetes would learn about diabetes and how to manage it, they could do a lot to prevent or delay the progression to the complications. A few of the complications may develop, but with good diabetes management, many of the more serious ones can be delayed for many years. Most people with type 2 diabetes develop neuropathy, but with good management, even this may not develop as fully as it can.

It is still a shame that people have to let ignorance govern their life with diabetes, when it possible with self-education to manage diabetes and die of old age before many of the complications rear their ugly heads. It is also a crime that our doctors care so little for their patients and will not even help with education. If they could work with peer workers or peer mentors this could really boost the education level. Doctors could also provide a page with good diabetes sites to help with education, but doctors can't seem to do something this helpful because they won't be paid for their time.

If you think that this article is on track about whom people turn to for diabetes information, you would have to question how the questions were asked and the source of the survey. They make it sound good for the doctors, but by doing some intensive research, certain words lead to doubts. “Eight-in-10 indicate their doctor is very or somewhat involved in their own or their household member's diabetes management; half report their doctor is their primary source for condition info.” 'Somewhat involved' is a key two words and leaves a lot to be desired.  "Primary source for condition info" is very confusing and means that as diabetes progresses, the patients can only rely on receiving condition information and nothing about prevention of the progression to the complications.

The fact that AccentHealth is a source of information that they put in the waiting rooms and doctors exam rooms may mean that they have a right to claim what they do. This does not mean that the doctors are the 'go-to' source of information, just that they have some of the information that may help patients. Most doctors do not have the time for education and maybe have their nurses handing out the information provided by AccentHealth. Either way, patients must still read these handouts, many of which end up in the waste containers in the doctors' offices.

Most of the pamphlets are advertising for diabetes drugs or drugs for the disease that you are seeing the doctor for help. Very little in the pamphlets is about managing the disease and self-education. I know that the pamphlets for diabetes have very little to help the people with diabetes other than make them familiar with the drugs they want the doctor to prescribe. In my opinion, they cannot be relied on for good diabetes management information.

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