Category Archives: Type 2

Reading the Alphabet Soup

It seems like the more I move along this advocacy trail, the more I’m reminded that I still have an awful lot to learn.

The work I do as part of my state’s Advisory Council on Health and Wellness is a prime example. For the record, I live with Type 1 Diabetes. But the majority of People With Diabetes in my state are living with Type 2. So I’ve had to learn a lot about these subjects lately:
Diabetes Prevention Programs – The title pretty much says it all about these programs geared toward the booming population with prediabetes. The point is, where possible, to keep prediabetes from becoming Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Prevention Programs follow the National Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The DPP requires a full year commitment. You’re encouraged to develop a diet, exercise, and overall diabetes management routine that becomes a habit over that time.

In a DPP, you’re concentrating your efforts on changing diet and exercise to achieve a 5% to 7% weight loss in the first six months. Yes, you will be weighed at each session. But there’s also a good ingredient of a DPP, in that participants are encouraged to “discuss strategies for self-monitoring of diet and physical activity, building participant self-efficacy and social support to maintain lifestyle changes, and problem-solving to overcome common weight loss, physical activity, and healthy eating challenges”.

The good part about DPPs is that they seem to work: According to an NIDDK study, people with prediabetes who lost 5% to 7% of their body weight had a 58% lower chance of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs – Again, geared toward Type 2s, DSMEs aim to provide a Person With Diabetes with information that will potentially help them manage their diabetes better than before.

The DSMEs can be ongoing, allowing the Person With Diabetes a chance to make their progress permanent. The program focuses on three fundamental elements: Nutrition, Education, and Emotional Support. These can be delivered at various points in someone’s life with diabetes, including diagnosis, annually, after experiencing complications, and during transitions like aging and moving to a care facility, or changing insurances or health care professionals.

DSMEs are typically run by diabetes educators, and the fact is that there are too few diabetes educators out there. So it’s hard to get new DSMEs started. The good news is that many medical plans will cover some or all of the costs of a DSME.

Diabetes Self-Management Programs – The difference between DSMEs and DSMPs (besides that one word) is that the DSMP is typically six weeks, while a DSME program can be ongoing.

DSMPs can also be taught by non-health professionals, including those living with diabetes. They have to follow a strict set of materials developed by the diabetes team at Stanford University, and be trained to run the program. DSMPs have a pretty good track record of success too.
Now, the part that we haven’t discussed yet is that the cost to implement these programs vary. The cost is usually per participant. When you have limited resources, you want to make sure people have a choice; but you also have to get the most bang for your public service buck, so to speak. So while each of these programs have their own merits, they also have their own costs.

If you’d have asked my opinion before I looked into these programs, I would have told you that there’s no way these programs could do any good. But they do. All the more reason why none of us should make decisions without knowing as many of the facts as possible.

I’m learning a whole new alphabet soup of acronyms this year, but I’m glad I am. People deserve to get the assistance they need in living the best life they can. And if I can, I’d like to help them do that.

T2 Series: Mark your calendar.

Hey, did you know that TuDiabetes has a super live interview series? Every week, they’re interviewing someone new, talking about subjects that we all care deeply about.

During the month of October, TuDiabetes’ live events will focus on Type 2 Diabetes, featuring guests who really know what they’re talking about.
Yesterday’s guest was journalist and author Gary Taubes, whose books Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, and Good Calories, Bad Calories (also known as The Diet Delusion in the UK) are widely read. He’s also co-founder of the not-for-profit Nutrition Science Initiative. In addition, he’s recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, and he’s won a boatload of awards for his journalism.

Did you miss this interview? It’s okay. TuDiabetes will be posting a copy of the interview shortly, so you can watch it whenever you want. Isn’t technology great?
On October 7, TuDiabetes welcomes Susan Guzman, co-founder of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. It’s the first non-profit organization devoted to the emotional and behavioral aspects of living with diabetes. By trade, she’s a clinical psychologist specializing in diabetes. Her main focus is on overcoming emotional challenges that interfere with managing your diabetes on a daily basis.

They’re going to be talking about dealing with and overcoming the stigma that people try to lay on Type 2s on a regular basis. This should be a really interesting talk, and I, for one, cannot wait to hear it.
On October 13, Ansley Dalbo will be welcomed to TuDiabetes to talk about DiabetesWhatToKnow, a great resource for Type 2s who are just getting started in their life with diabetes, or are looking for a little more information to help them manage their Type 2 lives better from here on out.
On October 15, noted Type 2 and major advocate Bennet Dunlap will appear, talking about the recent launch of Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, and how each of us can take a hand in carving out a better life for everyone living with diabetes.
And Mike Durbin will be on! The author of My Diabetic Heart will stop by on October 22 to talk about living with Type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure. Shame isn’t a part of his repertoire, and I’m thinking he might have some great advice for you and me too. This one has been already marked on my calendar.
Pretty good lineup, no? Want to be in on the happenings? Good. Here’s what you do:

CLICK HERE for a quick look at the calendar of events. Want to find out more about a topic? Click on the event. Can’t be more simple than that.
Hey, I’m not a Type 2, but I could stand to learn an awful lot about my brothers and sisters who are living with a type that’s not my own. Join TuDiabetes for the innovative T2 Series, and for heaven’s sake, be part of the discussion, learning, and empowerment that comes from being a member at TuDiabetes.

It’s a big world.

As usual, this week’s DSMA chat (9:00 EDT in the USA) got me thinking. Not because of the topic (Advocacy), though it was great and there was lively conversation.

No, what’s really got me thinking is the comments by Beatriz Dominguez. Bea blogs at Cranky Pancreas. In addition, she’s on the DSMA advisory board. Not enough for you? She also hosts DSMA Live en Espanol. She’s also a Type 2 diabetic, and she’s not shy about letting people know when she thinks that Type 2s are not being taken seriously. I like that. And, I have to admit, it made me a little uncomfortable. Take a moment to look at her comments in the transcript (look for @CrankyPancreas). I’ll wait.

Hey, I know how real Type 2 is. My grandfather wound up with Type 2 toward the end of his life. I know that it greatly impacted his final days, though I didn’t understand how much until later (he died 5 years before I was diagnosed with Type 1).

But, if I’m going to be honest, I have to admit to… maybe not taking Type 2 seriously for a long time. Not like I bought into all of the misconceptions out there about Type 2s. More like, I thought I was a lot tougher because I endured with Type 1. Like I had the harder type. What does that do? It adds an unnecessary level of, I don’t know… Elitism? Non-inclusion? Stupidity? Yeah, all of that and more. Hard to admit it, but when I thought about Type 2, that’s what I thought.

Thankfully, I’ve long given up that kind of thinking. But Bea’s comments Wednesday made me think about it again.

So even though you know this, let me say it again: Diabetes sucks, no matter what flavor it is. And every PWD deserves our respect, our support, and our empathy.

It’s a big world, kids. Let’s make some room at the table for everyone.

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