Friday, March 30, 2012

Type 2's and diabetes education

I am old enough to remember Totie Fields. She had diabetes, and severe heart disease and blood clot problems, lost a leg and died of a pulmonary embolism. Heart and blood vessel disease are a very common cause of death among all diabetics.

Amputation is a great fear. What saddens me is when I see T2s who haven't even had the disease all that long losing limbs. T2 IS a treatable disease, and just as disabling and deadly as T1, but so many people deny that fact. When they say T1 is the BAD diabetes, they don't know what they're talking about, because ALL diabetes is bad. One of my friends with T2, maybe a little younger than me, recently lost a leg to diabetes, and it makes me want to cry because it shouldn't have had to happen.

It may be partly denial (oh, I only have mild diabetes) but it's also partly because the insurance companies don't want to cover diabetes education, which is just as essential for T2's as it is for T1's. My own insurance company granted me a lifetime education benefit of TA-DA! fifty dollars. Which I used up before I even completed my first appointment with a CDE. All I can say is, it's a good thing that I am an independent learner, and found diabetes sites on the internet, and asked a LOT of questions, and read a lot of books and articles (some of which were garbage). But most people don't have the ability or determination to do that, and don't have the background to be able to sort out the good information from the quacky stuff -- they just depend on their doctors, and what the insurance company will cover. T2 is one of the most poorly treated diseases in the world, because controlling ANY kind of diabetes is really thought and knowledge intensive. And requires MUCH support and education. And if insurance won't cover it, or won't cover it adequately, these people are just left to suffer and die.

Maybe if their doctors and CDEs and dietitians had more time to work with them, they would find them much more compliant than has been assumed. And maybe if they were taught to be self-empowered, they could become independent learners and managers of their diabetes and live longer and healthier lives.

1 comment:

  1. You are right Natalie, it is very frustrating to watch some of this stuff that should not happen. It makes me angry with the diagnosis criteria because I know people that got complications before being officially diagnosed.

    My neighbor is a T2 and kept saying she was a "good diabetic" yet had no clue what her A1c was. My brother is T2 and was put on insulin in the hospital but sent home with no information about what he should be doing. That happened to another friend's brother. Stuff like that should not happen in this day and age.