Diabetes Doesn't Count

Despite the alarming trends reported in The Lancet and the mainstream news media, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of Public Health Awareness, Public Policy, and Public Health Education, it sometimes seems that diabetes is the “adopted stepchild”.

A number of people in this, and other, online diabetes communities have mentioned a virtual exclusion of diabetes under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Many of us feel we would be better served by a middle ground of “needing accommodation for health reasons” that would include most persons with conditions and diseases that can or do occasionally need special treatment during the workday, but which do not need specific full-time accommodations for accessibility.)

The most basic First Aid class the American Red Cross offers is CPR. Unless they have changed, the Basic and Standard First Aid courses train you to recognize wounds, fractures, and drowning, but not anaphylaxis and hypoglycemia – issues that are increasingly common as the number of people with extreme allergies, and with diabetes, increases.

Comcast On Demand has a number of “Discovery Health” entries about common health concerns. The one glaring exception: diabetes. And if you check “Discovery Health” for “experts” and “diets” and “healthy eating”, you’ll find help for weight loss and high cholesterol – but not diabetes.

If so many of us have diabetes, and so many of us are likely to develop diabetes over the course of our lives, shouldn’t First Aid training include information about “the highs and lows” of diabetes? Should not the “diet advice” series include (general) diet advice for people with diabetes?

For as mainstream as diabetes is purported to be, it sure sounds as if it’s being ignored by the same media one would expect to profit from raising awareness of diabetes, and from assisting us, those around us, and those who may eventually join us in avoiding or delaying the onset of clinically-diagnosed (T2) diabetes as well as delaying the onset and severity of complications from any form of diabetes.

While it’s not a complete wasteland out there – there is, for example, dLife on CNBC, and the Discovery Health Channel’s weekly Continuing Medical Education (CME) series (which has included several courses on diabetes) – and even Health Corner TV on Lifetime, which has had a number of diabetes-related segments – when compared to other medical issues, it sometimes seems but a token response to a purported pandemic.

If we expect diabetes to be prevented, confronted, treated, managed – and maybe even one day, cured – we can’t be the forgotten stepchild.

This post has been sitting in my draft box for a while… it seemed a bit incongruous to post during the middle of the ADA conference… but with all the non-diabetes-related posts I’ve run lately, it’s good practice to add in the occasional diabetes-related item :wink: