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David's Book Rack

Current books on diabetes reviewed by David Mendosa

Last Update: January 16, 2001

Current books on diabetes reviewed David Mendosa

Taking Control of Your By Diabetes
By Steven V. Edelman, M.D.
Caddo, Oklahoma: Professional Communications Inc.
February 2000
272 pages
Soft cover
ISBN: 1-884735-58-4

You Can Assume That He Lived

Until now, the phrase "Taking Control of Your DiabetesTM" meant Steven V. Edelman's non-profit educational and motivational conferences and health fairs. Since September 1995 he has offered them at convention centers across the United States.

Now, "Taking Control of Your Diabetes" also means Dr. Edelman's book, which condenses the lessons of his conferences. But the book goes well beyond the syllabus that conference participants receive. "Some very small sections of what I wrote in the book may be in the syllabus in some form, e.g. the Diabetes Warranty program," Dr. Edelman says. "But the syllabus is just a composite of handouts from the various speakers."

What I like best about his book is the human face Dr. Edelman puts on the disease. Often that face is his, as he draws from his own experience. There was the time before Dr. Edelman, who has type 1 diabetes, became a doctor and a new nurse gave him a large injection of insulin. His doctor had written 15U for 15 units. The nurse had read it as 150. You can assume that he lived; read the book to find out how.

Steve Was "Doing Fine"
Another time when he was not yet a doctor, he doubted his doctor, who always told him he was "doing fine." Before an appointment with that doctor, he ate five donuts, and then he tested at home and at the office. He knew his blood sugar level was sky high, but still his doctor told him, "Steve, you are doing fine." That was the last he saw of that doctor.

These stories help explain why Dr. Edelman has become a leading patient advocate for the empowerment of people with diabetes. He is an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and is affiliated with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Diego. He also serves as chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of

As a physician who himself has diabetes, Dr. Edelman knows both the need to be responsible and how hard it is. The poor control that he had as a young man had a lot to do with the diabetic complications he has now—proliferative diabetic retinopathy, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and neuropathy.

Don't Try to Dry Lab It
One of the best stories about responsibility in the book is what he calls "dry labbing it." Many children (but also adults) dry lab their logbook with falsely normal or nearly normal glucose levels, he says. When Dr. Edelman mentions dry labbing at his conferences, a large majority of the participants laugh in a way that indicates they have done it themselves.

It's not that those people who dry lab their results are bad, Dr. Edelman says. Dry labbing, he says is a sign of the emotional barriers that need to be broken down in a good doctor-patient relationship.

Part of the solution lies in the attitude of the physician, Dr. Edelman says. There is little that someone with diabetes can do to help the physician. But you can help yourself. One of the best ways to start would be to devour this book. It consists of 22 chapters by different experts. Dr. Edelman wrote 10 of the most interesting chapters. "I write just like I speak, so I will not be winning any Pulitzer Prizes," he tells me. "But I have tried to educate and motivate people with my personal experience and cases and a little humor. Diabetes education can be dry at times, and I hope my book is a little different."

It certainly is. 

Related Links:
Taking Control of Your Diabetes

This article appeared originally on the, which is no longer on-line.

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