Paula Deen, a celebrity Southern chef known for her unrestrained love of butter and sugar, is no stranger to the media. She received a flurry of bad press recently when she revealed that she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years earlier. Shortly thereafter, she became a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk's Victoza. Following these developments, some critics said that she was a poor role model.
As I celebrate my birthday this month, I also recognize the anniversary of my diabetes. If it were a person, it would be legally old enough to move out. Oh, how I wish it would! I was diagnosed at eighteen years old with type 1 diabetes, so this makes eighteen long years that the two of us have been living together. I have so many mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I feel stronger and more certain of my decisions with diabetes than ever before. On the other hand, I feel pretty depressed that it's been so long and that, no matter how I try to push away the thought, complications could be looming around the bend.
When diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I was eighteen years old, scared, and confused. Although bone thin, I was older than the usual juvenile diabetic, so the doctor didn't know if I had type 1 or type 2 diabetes. At first, the doctor gave me pills to lower my blood sugar. I avoided carbohydrates and threw myself into exercise, then watched helplessly as the numbers on my blood sugar meter continued to rise.
Dr. Jonathan Beach is a 35-year-old emergency medicine physician who has had type 1 diabetes for 31 years. He owns and operates Urgicare, a wellness center that includes The Northeast Center for Diabetes Care and Education in Plattsburgh, New York, an isolated rural community that has few other resources for diabetes. This is his story of his life with diabetes and his professional experience with the insulin pump.
Phil Southerland's autobiography is an inspirational coming-of-age memoir about a type 1 baby who wasn't supposed to live. But his doctor's dismal prediction didn't take into consideration his mother's indefatigable determination that her baby would thrive no matter what, and Phil's own fierce drive to conquer every single challenge he encountered, including his diabetes. It's an engrossing book, a sports adventure story with a medical subplot and a roster of dynamic characters, the most dynamic of whom is Phil himself. If we could harness his energy, our dependence on foreign oil would be a thing of the past.
Italian and Greek researchers conducting a meta-analysis* of the diets of more than 500,000 people have concluded that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that are common precursors to type 2 diabetes. Those factors include overweight or obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and high "bad" cholesterol. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruit, vegetables, whole grain foods, and low-fat dairy products. Proteins include fish, legumes, poultry, tree nuts, and mono-unsaturated fatty acids from olive oil. Alcohol intake is moderate and almost always in conjunction with meals. Red meat is only an occasional menu item. The scientists looked at 50 studies that involved more than 500,000 people, then extrapolated the effects of a Mediterranean diet from them. Although the meta-analysis pointed to the usefulness of the Mediterranean diet in fending off metabolic syndrome, its authors said that their conclusion is tentative, given the need for more research on the topic. The study was published in the March 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. * A meta-analysis looks at a number of similar studies and tries to derive new and useful results from them by detecting common patterns among them.
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