The Diabetes Community and the ongoing debate about carbs…

I recently wrote an article for Diabetes Health about a high carb, low GI diet. The story included a profile of Riva Greenberg, a fellow type 1 diabetic and writer who follows this type of eating plan. The story was posted last week and after reading the comments, I am flumoxed. I don’t understand why so many people get so fired up and aggressive whenever they see the words: “carbohydrate and diabetes.” Part of the reason the editor wanted me to write this article was in response to a previous article that had generated a stream of negative attacks on Diabetes Health and Hope Warshaw, a CDE and the author of the story.

So I guess I should have known what I was getting into, but still…..why the aggression? why the attacks? I’m fine if people disagree with what I write, but find a constructive way to do it that allows for continued conversation, not a slam dunk, dead end insult. When it comes to carbs, those (who comment anyway) are very passionate and very vocal. And as a woman who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 26 years now, I feel like the debate is about more than carbohydrates.

I think it’s an ongoing struggle to eat well and maintain normal levels of blood glucose for all of us, and somehow, talking about how we achieve this and what we put in our mouths becomes very personal very quickly. It’s like once we find what works for us, we don’t want anyone messing with it or suggesting a different approach.

It’s my opinion that there is no “right” way to live well with diabetes, and what works for me (moderate carb intake), may not work for someone else. But I’m not going to attack someone verbally when they choose to follow a different diet. We all share the challenges of diabetes, but that’s about it. We are not a melting pot of diabetics.

I think the community of diabetes would be a lot stronger if we supported one another instead of going on the attack when we hear something we don’t like. Let’s use this passion in a positive way and push for continued funding for diabetes research, or cheaper test strips or better insurance coverage. The more voices we bring to the conversation, the more interesting the story becomes.

‘Confidence Gap’

As a woman with diabetes how confident do you feel?

A recent survey conducted by MicroMass Communications based on findings from 828 women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes found that:

“Our research shows that women with diabetes have far more confidence in their ability to take their medications than they have in their ability to make basic lifestyle changes. As a result, healthcare providers should be providing education and support programs that help build that confidence so that women can learn how to make the lifestyle changes necessary to successfully manage their diabetes,” says Andi Kravitz Weiss, MPH. Weiss refers to this discrepancy as “The Confidence Gap.”

I spoke to Weiss about the study (and will include our conversation in my upcoming book-A Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes), and she said that many of the women in the survey who were under 45 years old reported being ‘too busy to take good care of themselves.’ She realized that in order to close this confidence gap, women with diabetes need to give themselves permission to take care of themselves, to sometimes put their needs first.

After a long week with Christmas and family, I took Weiss’ advice on Friday morning. Our babysitter arrived and instead of running errands: returning gifts and grocery shopping, I drove out to my parent’s empty house and went for a run. It was an unusually warm, sunny day and it felt fabulous. I ran along the road that borders the intracoastal waterway and stole glimpses of the creek and felt the breeze in my hair. I returned to my parent’s house and sat on their deck and looked out at the sparkly water as I stretched my legs. It felt blissfully indulgent and it allowed me to return home to my children and the messy house and prepare for a visit with the in-laws with CONFIDENCE 🙂



“Recession Weighs Heavily on People with Diabetes”

(From Diabetes Health) The economic recession has hammered people with diabetes, according to a new survey. Many say that their health has been harmed by the crisis, and more expect their health to suffer in the future. What’s more, most don’t expect the government‘s health reform bill to improve their situation.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Knowledge Networks conducted the study, which asked more than 1,500 people about their health. People with diabetes weren’t the only group included; those with heart disease and cancer were also surveyed.

The results paint a bleak picture of life today for people with diabetes:

— Nearly two in five (39 percent) say that tough times have made their health worse.

— Nearly one in two (48 percent) say that they expect problems in the future.

— About a third (34 percent) say that costs related to their disease have drained their savings accounts.

For some, the financial picture is even grimmer. More than a quarter (26 percent) have taken on credit card debt to pay for treatment. Nine percent have had to declare bankruptcy because of medical costs.

I have to say all this is depressing research is spot on. I for one have stopped using the pumo (omnipod) because of the cost and have gone back to MDI. I also have been forced to cut down on the number of times I test each day because our insurance recently decided to decrease the amount of boxes they will cover. It’s flat out depressing and frustrating and I wish I could see a silver lining on the horizon but I just don’t. This disease is very expensive, even more so if you want to try and maintain good management.



Diabetes Alert Dogs

My latest article in Diabetes Health:

Tarra Robinson was afraid that she was going to lose her job. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 18 months old, Tarra had recently developed hypoglycemic unawareness, which  affects about 17% of type 1 diabetics. Tarra was passing out at work, and once she even crashed her car when her blood sugar dropped unexpectedly. She went on a pump and tried a CGM, but nothing seemed to help. She was still having frequent, dangerous lows. Read more…