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

Entries Tagged as '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

Suppose Your Husband Has Diabetes

December 11th, 2012 · 2 Comments

When someone has diabetes, the whole family can help. If your child has diabetes, you have to take at least some responsibility for managing his or her diabetes.

But if your husband has diabetes, you can’t treat him like a child. He has to take responsibility himself before you can do anything to help.

Please notice that I write “husband,” not spouse. In the past 17 years that I have been writing about diabetes hundreds of wives have asked me how they can get their husband to manage his diabetes. I don’t remember any husband who was equally concerned with helping a wife, but I may have forgotten some of them.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Empathy in Patient-Centered Medicine

October 27th, 2012 · 5 Comments

When I moved to Colorado in 2004, one of my problems was finding a whole new set of doctors. In addition to a primary care physician, I had to find an ophthalmologist, a dermatologist, a podiatrist, a chiropractor, a dentist, and other specialists for passing problems. I didn’t even try to find an endocrinologist here. I can remember at least 20 doctors who treated me in the past eight years.

Ever since I began to manage my diabetes I have been extraordinarily healthy. So that’s not why I am so familiar with doctor’s offices. All of us who have diabetes need a primary care physician and some of these specialists. The main reason why I kept changing doctors was because I didn’t like a lot of them.

Finally, I like all of them who I go to now. I even count two of them, my primary care physician and my chiropractor, as personal friends. My current medical team consists of six essential doctors.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Our Children will Rebel against Diabetes

September 20th, 2012 · No Comments

Young people in America today are getting type 2 diabetes much younger than their parents ever did. The media is ringing its collective hands over concern that this terrible trend will continue.

Even the good, gray New York Times is worried. “Obesity and the form of diabetes linked to it are taking an even worse toll on America’s youths than medical experts had realized,” Denise Grady, a Times science reporter, wrote earlier this year. In the 1990s doctors began to notice an “alarming increase” in type 2 diabetes among children, especially among those from poorer families.

When I began to write about diabetes in the mid-1990s we had a good reason for calling what we now call type 2 diabetes “adult-onset diabetes.” When a doctor told me in 1994 that I had it, I was 59, which was then the typical age of diagnosis. Now even children  as young as 5 get type 2.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Punishing Noncompliance

June 25th, 2012 · 2 Comments

In America our doctors and nutritionists talk about their noncompliant patients who have diabetes. In Hungary they are beginning to do something about those people.

You know when your medical advisors think you aren’t doing your best to manage your diabetes. Every time you go to their office they’ll tell you that your blood sugar level is too high. Or even when your level is fine, they’ll tell you that you are eating wrong.

They might give you a dirty look or two. They might tell you to shape up. But they won’t tell you to ship out.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Magnesium: The Magical Mineral

June 19th, 2012 · 1 Comment

We have know for years that many people with diabetes have too little magnesium in their bodies. So why don’t all of us take supplements of this magical mineral?

Everyone seem to recommend magnesium, mostly to reduce the insulin resistance and hence help counteract diabetes. But how much magnesium we have in our bodies is almost impossible to test, because most of it resides in our bones and very little in our blood, according to Dr. Barkat Charania in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He practiced orthopedic surgery for more than 30 years, now blogs at Dr. Barkat Charania, and helped me research this article.

Since our blood levels of magnesium don’t tell us if we have enough, researchers have reported few human studies, he told me. Still, he brought to my attention 41 studies of magnesium, most of them in relation to diabetes.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act

February 10th, 2012 · No Comments

A smile can make you happy. Particularly if it’s your own smile. Your smile can also cheer up someone else, at least for a little while.

I also maintain that happiness can make us healthier. For those of us who struggle every day with our diabetes, staying happy goes a long way to help us manage it.

So, smiling can make us healthier. While the world has long known this, in our daily lives most of us usually fail to act on it.
Everyone from Nat King Cole to Thich Nhat Hanh has encouraged us to smile more. Nat King Cole, one of the greatest jazz pianists and baritones of the 1940s and 1950s, was the first to sing “Smile,” which was the instrumental theme for the 1936 Charlie Chaplin movie “Modern Times.”
One of my personal guides, Thich Nhat Hahn, is a Buddhist monk who was born in Vietnam and is peace activist who now lives in France. At many times and in many places he has talked and written about the importance of smiling.

“If in our daily life we can smile,” he writes, “if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.”

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Posted in: Psychosocial

A Passion for Diabetes

February 6th, 2012 · 1 Comment

If someone you care for has lost his or her enthusiasm, you can give the gift of inspiration this holiday season. And it’s free.

We all need a passion as a reason to live. Mine is a passion for diabetes. More precisely, I have a passion for helping people with diabetes.

My passion rebounds to help me as much as it does the people I try to help manage this terrible disease. Trying to set an example for others who have diabetes means that I have to walk the walk.

That’s because it leads me to get the exercise I need through my secondary passion to hike out in nature. In turn, a third-level passion for photography gets me out on the trail.

It’s also because my passion has led me to eat a very low-carb diet that helps keep off the pounds and thereby keep my A1C in the low normal range. A few years ago I weighed 312 pounds, exactly twice what I weigh today. My A1C ranges from 5.0 to 5.2.

I hope that you and your loved ones also find a way to help others while you are helping yourself. Any time when you teach or mentor other people much of the reward comes back to you.

Now, you can give yourself and your friends an e-book that is all about passion — including mine. Jenny Pavich and Jannick Kjaer have just published “The Passionate Life: 16 Stories of People Who Dared to Risk.” This is a collection of interviews with 16 people who ranged in age from 20 to 75. I was the 75-year-old when they interviewed me, although I am now a year older. You can read their interview with me on pages 86-90. A bonus (so to speak) is three photographs that other people took of me, including one taken before I controlled my weight and my diabetes. This is one ugly photo!

To read “The Passionate Life” you do not need to have an e-book reader or spend any money. It is a PDF at http://www.juliossol.com/books that you can download and read on your computer or print out and send out to others by email. Jenny and Jannick are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, and they encourage us to share their work.

A street urchin in Guatamala named Julio inspired them with his love and generosity. Julio triggered something in Jenny and Jannick. You can continue to pass on his gift when you pay it forward.

This is a mirror of one of my articles that was originally published on Health Central.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

Mind over Health

December 12th, 2011 · 1 Comment

“A sound mind in a sound body,” was something my father regularly emphasized to me. My father and I understood that this Latin aphorism, originally “Mens sana in corpore sano,” means that only a healthy body can produce or sustain a healthy mind.

Many years later I still think what my father taught me is true. Like many people who manage their diabetes, I now have both a healthy body and a healthy mind.

Before I learned in 1994 that I have diabetes, I paid little attention to my health. I learned the hard way that I have to get off my butt and outside for the exercise that we all need. After my wake-up call, I took control of what I ate, turned away from the Standard American Diet, and lost a lot of weight.

One result is that I am happier and have a better memory than ever. Even though I recently celebrated my 76th birthday, my mind seems to function as well as it did years ago, if not better.

But we can also understand “A sound mind in a sound body” the other way around. Only a healthy mind can produce a healthy body.

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Posted in: Psychosocial

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