August 22, 2014

Can We Afford 40% of Our Citizens to Have Diabetes?

This two out of every five projection of diabetes for adults is gloomy and at the same time should alert us to other problems we are facing. Then add to this that the rates for black women and Hispanics will be at 50 percent. And these projections do not include children and adolescents. What are the other problems we are facing?

This is just a partial list, but a very serious situation.
#1. There will be longer waits for doctor appointments. This is because of a projected doctor shortage.
#2. A serious lack of diabetes education is about to take place. It is serious enough at present, but with the activities of one certified diabetes educator group and their activities in opposing anyone being able to assist in education, it will become worse. This group is declaring that only CDEs are capable (not) of giving this education and others are not capable is the height of being conceited. With both CDE organizations unwilling to use telemedicine or group education, education will become a short commodity.

I will give credit where credit is due and that is many doctors in rural areas are taking diabetes patients that are willing and giving them education about diabetes to work for them as peer mentors or peer-to-peer workers. I have even been pleasantly surprised by the response I have received from the two doctors in Kansas that I have volunteered for as a peer mentor. They are having many of their patients ask me questions via email because they are not getting many questions answered by the telemedicine operation in Kansas. Time seems to be a constraint.

#3. Endocrinologists are even more overwhelmed because doctors are pushing many diabetes patients to them. This long article in Medscape helps explain the problem.

#4. No figures are being given for the numbers of new diabetes patients that have developed diabetes because of statins. At least we know that it may be near ten percent based on this study in Italy. See my blog from yesterday.

#5. No help is being provided by our government to encourage diet change. The USDA keeps promoting whole grains and other high carbohydrate foods instead of low carbohydrate, high fat nutrition. We also have the corn and wheat organizations influencing the registered dietitians to promote this as well.

Doctors, in their jaded wisdom, have coined the term "diabesity" to reflect the combined effects of the diabetes and obesity epidemics. They claim they go hand-in-hand, but give no reason for those obese patients without diabetes. And why should those people that are thin and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes need to put up with these prejudiced doctors. Plus these same doctors are not doing anything to educate patients or applying pressure to our government to change the nutrition of the population.

Not all the news from the study was bad -- the researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes are living longer than in the past. The CDC researchers estimated that the number of years lost to a diabetes patient diagnosed at age 40 decreased from nearly 8 years in the 1990s to about 6 years in the 2000s for men, and from almost 9 years to just under 7 years for women.

There is still a mountain of work that needs to be accomplished to help our population learn about proper nutrition – from the government level to the individual level.

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