Could you be this woman’s husband?
This week I will attend the World Diabetes Summit in Columbus. Leading researchers in the field of diabetes will be presenting their findings. The new data is extensive and exciting.
The medical research that has been developed in the past 40 years on diabetes is amazing. When I started studying dietetics there were few medications and the treatment options were limited. Back in the 1980’s very insightful medical researchers embarked on a study on diabetes. The statistics that evolved from these trials changed the lives of those dealing with this disease forever.
Consider the woman in the back row of one of my recent lectures. As I talked about the stabilization of daily blood sugars and the integration of diet, medication, exercise and stress relief, her head bobbed up and down in agreement. Her arms were folded, and she had an “I told you so” look on her face. I tried to ignore her, but she continued to stare at me.
She avoided me during the break, but as I continued my talk, her focus was riveted on every word and action. I went on to discuss the conclusions of the research. In the past, the complications of diabetes were a death sentence and diet became a negative four letter word because it restricted a person’s eating freedom. Research has proven than improved meal planning and new medications can change all of that.
At my talk I discussed the complications of diabetes. With stable blood sugars blindness related to diabetes can be decreased by more than 80 percent. Heart disease can be considerably reduced; the risk of kidney problems was cut in half. Amputations related to poor wound healing and nerve damage can also be decreased. Good blood sugar control is the key to preventing serious health problems in diabetes.
The woman so intent on listening to me bowed her head and soon afterward shot up her hand to ask a question. She blurted, “How do you know so much about my husband?” I gave her a questioning look and she continued. “I’ve been trying to tell him everything that you just told me for years and he just won’t listen to me. It’s too late for him, he’s got everything that you just talked about but I’m not ready for him to die. Will you come home with me?”
November is National Diabetes Month. Nov. 14 is World Diabetes Day. I am sure that many wives would like to take a dietitian or a certified diabetes educator home with them to care for their spouse. This month is a good time to begin to learn more about this disease together.
Diabetes does not have a one size fits all treatment for everyone. It is a silent disease that sneaks up on a person without individual treatment. Don’t believe the myths and data from the past. Take time to learn more. The life that is affected may be your own.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330–684-4776.