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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Psychosocial'

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Mindfulness and Meditation for Diabetes Management

July 27th, 2014 · No Comments

Last night my thoughts returned again and again to a missing package. The sender had written me that my order had been delivered, but I hadn’t received it. I tried and tried to suppress that thought and to get back to sleep. Finally, meditation helped.

This was for me a painful example of what psychologists call “thought suppression.” Like many people, I have experienced thought suppression lots of times. But I don’t remember having read about this concept before starting to prepare this article, which reviews a new study of how meditation and mindfulness can help people with diabetes and other long-term conditions.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

LiveBold with Diabetes

July 13th, 2014 · No Comments

If we don’t manage our diabetes, it’s likely to come with complications in its wake. But it’s sure to come with a stigma now.

The stigma of diabetes is that it’s our fault. It blames the victim.

fat (1).jpg
Before (Sitting)

Their theory is that we get diabetes because we’re fat, lazy, and weak-willed. Many people assume that it’s especially because we got fat that we got the disease.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Diabetes Help on the Internet

April 11th, 2014 · No Comments

Recently a fellow passenger asked me what I missed most about home. We were on a small ship and were out of contact with the rest of the world.

I realized that besides missing my friends and my usual food and drink, being able to use the Internet was what I wanted most. In fact, just as my shipmate asked that question, a devastating rainstorm had hit my hometown. I didn’t learn about it until the end of the week, when I could check my email and found messages from several friends.

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Posted in: Basics, Psychosocial

Grateful for Diabetes

December 2nd, 2013 · 4 Comments

Those of us fortunate enough to be Americans have so many things to be grateful for this month, and we will celebrate that gratitude in four weeks. In fact, those of us who have diabetes have a whole month to be thankful for it.

Yesterday, President Obama proclaimed November 2013 to be National Diabetes Month. While this Presidential Proclamation seeks to raise the awareness of everyone about the prevention and management of diabetes, the President didn’t say why the month when we celebrate Thanksgiving is the same month that we recognize diabetes.

But I know that the link between Thanksgiving and diabetes is a strong and positive one. Knowing that we have diabetes can be good for us.

You may think that I’m crazy, but some of us are thankful that we have diabetes. I wish all of us could share this feeling.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Emergency Preparedness for Diabetes

November 24th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Like everyone else, those of us who have diabetes need to prepare for emergencies. But because we have more and different needs, we have to do more than just think about what could go wrong. Sadly, that’s what most people do.

Some people have set aside stores of food and water. But only about 10 percent of American households are prepared for an emergency. Yet climate change and increasing weather extremes are creating more and more emergencies.

The United States experienced an average of 50 natural disasters each year in the previous decade — more than 560 in total — according to the records that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, keeps of “major disaster declarations.” Already in the first three years and 10 months of this decade FEMA declared 280 major disasters, an average of more than 73 per year.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Painless Diabetes

October 3rd, 2013 · 6 Comments

The trouble with diabetes is that it doesn’t hurt. Because it is painless, most people who have diabetes think that they can ignore it. After all, anything that is serious would hurt a lot, right?

Wrong.

The pain comes later with the complications of diabetes that come in its wake, sometimes years later. Some of these complications hurt a whole lot. Think of the continuous pain of diabetic neuropathy, one of the most common complications of diabetes. Or think of the sharp pain when you get a heart attack.

Diabetes is the most insidious disease anyone can get. A dictionary definition of insidious is one that develops “so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent.”

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Weightism and Diabetesism

August 26th, 2013 · 2 Comments

We all know that those of us who have diabetes, particularly when we are also overweight, have serious health problems to manage. And almost all people with diabetes are overweight.

But we often overlook the social problems that accompany these issues. They can be as serious and can make our physical problems even worse, according to provocative new research.

Discrimination is the root cause of these social problems. Although during the past century our country has made — and continues to make — enormous strides to end overt discrimination, covert discrimination still festers in the hearts of many Americans. We are cleaning up our act, but not our hearts.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Reducing the Mental Stress of Diabetes

May 16th, 2013 · No Comments

Having diabetes can be stressful both physically and mentally. We focus most of our attention on reducing our physical stress through medication, diet, and exercise.

We often ignore the tools at our disposal for reducing the mental stress that physical stress usually carries in its wake. The good news is that working with the tools at hand for dealing with mental stress are even easier to apply than those we have for dealing with physical stress. And some of these tools are free.

Earlier, I have written here how one of these tools, meditation, has reduced the mental stress that came with my diabetes diagnosis. Many thousands of other people have also benefited from the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program that Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn started in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It is an eight week course combining meditation and yoga to help us cope with stress, pain, and illness by using moment-to-moment awareness.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

The Best Diabetes Charity

March 11th, 2013 · No Comments

None of the charities that ask us to support them for anything related to diabetes have ever excited me. Until now.
Charity Navigator, the independent and non-profit organization that evaluates America’s charities, includes 37 charities that claim to work for people with diabetes. When my wife Catherine died six years ago, I suggested that our friends could make a contribution in her name to one of these charities. But that was only because at that time we lacked a better alternative.

Now we have a better choice. Insulin for Life USA was incorporated in August 2012, and in November the U.S. Internal Revenue Service gave it 501(c)(3) status that recognizes it as a non-profit charity.  This means that Insulin for Life USA is exempt from paying taxes and that donors to it may deduct their contributions on their federal income tax returns.

While Insulin for Life USA is a newly formed organization, it is a part ofInsulin for Life Australia, which has been helping people with diabetes around the world since 1986. Other IFL-affiliated centers already existed in Austria, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. IFL Australia coordinates the collaborative activities of these centers and continues to start new ones.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Why Diabetes Advocacy Has a Problem

December 19th, 2012 · 1 Comment

If we were in the same room, I’d be willing to bet that you didn’t know that November is National Diabetes Month. Why should you?

This event comes around every year at this time. I know about it only because public relations people write or call me to publicize something or other in connection with it.

Trying to get people to think about diabetes for one month of the year is not my idea of effective advocacy. I think about diabetes a lot more often than that, and I guess that you do too. Even if we thought about diabetes all year long, that would be awareness, not advocacy.

Some organizations that include the word “diabetes” in their names sponsor events that also include the word “cure.” They talk a lot about curing this incurable disease, and they have good reason to talk the talk, while failing to walk the walk.

Here in Colorado you can pay a little extra and get a license plate that says, “JDRF: Improving Lives — Curing Type 1 Diabetes.” If you live in Indiana, your car’s license plate can read, “Stop Diabetes.” Other states offer other license plates to bring more attention to diabetes and the organizations that talk about it.

Talking about curing diabetes raises money and awareness for these organizations to continue. This is fundraising, not advocacy. In fact, none of us who have diabetes are doing any advocacy well.

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Posted in: Psychosocial