I’m not sure there’s any real resolution to this problem. I just couldn’t help pointing out how astounded I am to discover how many people are out there living with diabetes who have so little idea what they’re up against. What you don’t know CAN hurt you.
On the new community, I hear again and again from people who don’t know whether they have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Either their doctor isn’t sure, or said doctor hasn’t explained the difference to them (mostly general practitioners, I hope and assume). I hear from parents whose children were recently diagnosed with Type 1, but who don’t know that it is an autoimmune disease, or even what that means.
I hear from people upset that their oral meds and dieting attempts just aren’t working — “my sugars are always 170 or over and I’m not feeling well” — but whose sole purpose in writing to me is to ask how they can “avoid going on shots” (?!)
Clearly, people aren’t getting enough education about diabetes and the damage it can cause, let alone the best ways to treat it. And when I say “people,” I mean people with diabetes!
Here we are, approaching November, which is designated American National Diabetes Month, with the aim to raise awareness of this disease because “the public doesn’t seem to grasp the gravity of the situation.” And I’m thinking “Hell, the patients aren’t grasping it either! Why don’t we start with them?” But where do we start? Doctors and healthcare professionals need to do a better job of informing patients. Still, we can’t lay it ALL in their laps.
For those who are active online, there are SO MANY great resources. But what about the multiples of patients out there who are less active online and less inclined to find this stuff?
The only thing that comes to mind right now is the idea of dropping leaflets or information packets from airplanes, like the Allies did over Germany in World War II. You go out to get your morning paper, and find your Diabetes Info Packet on the driveway. “Got Diabetes? Open Immediately.”