Sunday, June 1, 2008

What's Your Type

Personally, I can do without Wilfred and his constant badgering about Quaker oats. Enough about the oats alreay! Larry finds this particularly funny, and I had to send the link directly to him (I guess so he can play it anytime he needs a pick-me-up). But whether you like Wilfred or not, you gotta love this one:

Diabetes is in the news - a lot. Type 2 is the new "in" disease. Our doctors and the media are telling us that we have sedentary lifestyles, get fat, we are at risk of getting this disease. In the U.S. 8% of the population has Type 2, and many more are undiagnosed.

Type 2 is a genetic-related disease, generally speaking, often brought on by choice of lifestyle. Only 10% of those diagnosed with the disease are Type 1, otherwise known as insulin dependent, or juvenile diabetes (I swear, I am not juvenile!)

I've noticed that the media has been offering many poorly researched articles and ads by companies wanting to sell the latest weight loss program - and the implication (and sometimes in part stated outwardly), that is Type 2 happens to fat and lazy people. Just lose the weight, exercise a bit, and you'll be fine. Commercially, this phenomenon is a boon to the weight loss industry. Lose weight, you can look great, and be all better! Isn't life just so simple?

The media rarely talks about Type 1, except in hushed tones as it talks about poor Timmy who's only treatment is to take insulin. If Timmy says he has Type 1, adults give Timmy a new respect, because after all, poor Timmy has to take NEEDLES!! (actually many T1s, including kids, use insulin pumps - needles are so 'old school'). But the implication is that, if you have T1, you have a "real" disease.

Now if you have been diagnosed as having T2, the implication is that you must be fat and lazy. The fact is, we are all a product of the diseases we have, and we need to deal with the disease as it affects us.

But let's take a right turn for a moment, and talk about cancer (I'll get back to diabetes in a moment, just bear with me). Now just about everyone knows someone in their family who has cancer. But is there a difference, for example, if you got cancer due to exposure to asbestos or whether you got it because it's in your family? It's still cancer. Causes, treatments, impacts on quality of life and survivalrates may vary, but it is still cancer, and a life threatening disease.

Both T1/T2 diabetes is serious, regardless of why someone has it. It is up to our doctors to determine the appropriate course of action and treatment based on our own medical conditions and set of circumstances, and it is up to the person with the disease to keep on top of things.

If you, a friend, or someone in your family has, or is diagnosed with diabetes, they are part of a growing crowd of people with this disease. But just because there's a big crowd of people, don't assume that all people with diabetes are the same, after all, this disease is so much more than just saying no to the piece of cake.

Contributed by Jamie Naessens

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