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I received your January 1997 issue of Diabetes Health and enjoyed it tremendously - despite the fact that my doctor recommended I ignore most of what you suggest.
Reevaluating DCCT for Children
I am writing this in response to an article in your January issue: "Can You Afford Not to Know Your HbA1c Reading?" Nowhere in the article did I see mention of the fact that no participant of the DCCT was under 13 and that intensive therapy is not recommended for young children due to the more frequent occurrences of hypoglycemia.
I talk to too many parents of kids that are three to 12 years old who are fanatics about DCCT and give their children five shots a day and numerous blood tests in an effort to keep them under perfect control because they think it is the proper thing to do. This is not recommended and can be dangerous for young children whose brains are not yet fully developed and can be harmed by lows.
I wish that when these articles are published people would include a reminder that this type of intensive treatment is not meant for young children. I think parents sometimes concentrate on the HbA1c too much while unintentionally sacrificing the quality of life of their diabetic child.
Jack Carney, Jr.
Thank you for pointing this out. Please see this next letter for more comments on this controversial subject.
Kudos to Capps
I'm writing to commend Robert Capps on his excellent article in the November/December issue of Diabetes Health entitled "Tight Diabetes Control for Children Raises Controversy." I have researched this topic off and on for two years, but your article was by far the most comprehensive and balanced piece I've read yet. I intend to save it for newly diagnosed parents - and even send it to the pediatric endocrinologist who initially treated my daughter. At the time, his instructions to us were "70-140 mg/dL" and that was it. I wish I had had this article two years ago.
Mr. Capps' article included all the most relevant points, including the relevant research, comments from parents on both sides of the debate, comments from professionals, etc. Not only did the article include all the perspectives, but it made it clear that there is no right answer and that this question is very personal. This allows parents to make an informed decision and feel good about their decision.
President, JDF Hawaii Chapter
Dealing with Diabetes
In your January 1997 "Letters to the Editor" section a Deborah Green wrote about her children having diabetes. She says that she has two children; her oldest son was diagnosed at the age of six, and her daughter at the age of five. In her letter she compares their diagnosis to a death in the family. I am not being rude, but I think it is sad to compare diabetes with death. Death is permanent and uncontrollable - as for diabetes, it can be controlled. I know this for a fact, because I am 27 years old and have lived with type I diabetes since the age of three.
I am currently using one of the Minimed 507 pumps. By using this pump, implementing an exercise program and eating absolutely no sweets (my choice), I have succeeded in lowering my HbA1c from 8.4% to 6.8% in only six weeks. So, therefore, I am proof that if you attempt to control diabetes you can lead a normal life.
It is terrible that her children have diabetes; however, she should be thankful that they do not have MS, AIDS, cancer or some other disease that ultimately ends in death. With her help, and not her pity, her children can live normal lives. This is especially true now that technological advancements have helped people with diabetes drastically improve the quality of their lives.
Get the Accommodations You Need at Work
In the November/December issue you had an article titled "Diabetes Discrimination - Protect Yourself; Learn the Facts" written by Loring Spolter, Esq.
I have been through a lot of employment discrimination in the past. If a person with diabetes is experiencing discrimination, it is essential to get a job evaluation done on the specific position the person is in. A medical doctor would describe the person's medical condition and describe the physical limitations the person has that could affect his or her job. The employer has the responsibility to reasonably accommodate a person that has medical limitations. If this is not done, the employee has the right to file a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee.
The responsibility of the employer to reasonably accommodate an employee with diabetes is one of the provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992. Implementation of this provision could help a lot of people with diabetes deal with management more easily.
Mission Hills, Calif.
Long Life and Happiness
On December 29, 1996, Lucille H. McLouth of Bushell, Illinois passed away at the age of 84. So why is this so important? It is important because Lucille McLouth had had insulin dependent diabetes for 72 years.
Born on September 24, 1912, Lucille was diagnosed with type I diabetes in 1924 at the age of 12. This was only three years after insulin was discovered. Her odds of surviving to adulthood, let alone to the age of 84, were slim to none. In the 1920s there was no such thing as home blood glucose monitoring, manually or with a machine. Up until the 1970s people with insulin-dependent diabetes were still using glass syringes with steel needles. These syringes and needles had to be boiled to be reused.
Despite the odds against her, Lucille McLouth was a survivor. She became financially self-reliant. She never had children of her own, but did outlive three husbands who provided her with many step-children, step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.
The point I am trying to make is that the odds of surviving diabetes and of living a productive life with the disease today far exceed those of the 1920s. With today's advances in medicine people with diabetes, especially those who have been recently diagnosed, can and should look forward to a healthy, productive and long life.
Therefore, if you have diabetes or know someone who does and you ever get frightened, wonder about the future or feel like you want to give up - remember Lucille McLouth. Let her long life be an inspiration. She beat the odds and you can too.
Robert W. Stevens
West Bend, Wis.
Don't Disrobe, Inject Through Your Clothes
The letter from Leo Hutter, of Florence, Ore., "Injecting Through Your Clothes - Don't Get Caught With Your Pants Down" really cracked me up. I've been injecting through blue jeans and shirt sleeves and all around my waistline for years.
I also have the blood stains to prove it. My wife disapproves of the practice so now it is pretty much confined to my old blue jeans (which are actually black and don't show stains).
I have never had a problem with infection. (By the way, alcohol is not an effective disinfectant.)
My motivation for injecting through my clothes is for those situations when I don't want to disrobe or inject in public, i.e., at a stop light, in a restaurant, on the train, behind someone's desk or even at a pumpers' meeting.
San Diego, Calif.
My son is now 3-1/2 years old and is in good control for a child his age (thanks to the Joslin Clinic affiliate in Indianapolis). As a mom of a very young child with diabetes, I would like to see a space in your magazine devoted to the special challenges I, and I'm sure other parents, face.
My situations are unique in that along with everyday challenges like temper tantrums, lack of verbal skills and so on, there is the added stress of fingersticks and injections. I would love to know how other parents handle their sometimes-defiant youngsters.
I would also like to comment on your NIH article in February's edition. Michael Barton reported JDF Governmental Relations Director Bill Schmidt said, "Diabetes doesn't have a good visual." Perhaps a commercial showing a child in the midst of an insulin reaction would jolt the public, making them realize that diabetes IS a problem. Keeping track of every morsel your child eats, being afraid to send him to school for the first time and even wondering if he'll be safe from dangerous lows while he's sleeping is not a normal way of life. A cure needs to be found and diabetes needs as much attention as any other life-threatening illness.
In the article "NIH: Funding for Diabetes - Is it Enough?" (February 1997) the comments on Research!America's role and mission are misstated. Research!America is not a public relations firm nor is it a lobbying group. Research!America is a national not-for-profit, membership-supported, public education and advocacy alliance. Its mission is to make medical research a much higher national priority. Our efforts focus on public education and monitoring public opinion. We will not and have not lobbied Congress!
Keri J. Sperry
Director of Communications
On page eight in your February issue, it says the recommended daily allowance for vitamin E is 100 mg. I checked with our local health food store, and they said it is in IU doses, not mg. Is that true?
Vitamin E has been shown to decrease the glycolization of proteins, help counteract heart disease and possibly help prevent colon cancer. Adults can take up to 800 mg per day of vitamin E.
Unfortunately, the health food store clerk was confused about his/her information. An international unit (IU) is the exact same measurement as a milligram (mg) - there is no difference.
-Advisory Board Member R. Keith Campbell, RPh, CDE
Look Into the Crystal Ball
I have been receiving Diabetes Health for approximately a year-and-a-half. Thus far, the news, stories, technology and event updates, etc. are great. I also receive other diabetes-related newspapers, books, e-mail and clips. They all keep me informed, but I like Diabetes Health the best.
My son was diagnosed with diabetes seven years ago. Since then I have heard and read about all the new methods of controlling diabetes. I also have been hearing about work to find a cure.
Recently I have read a few good pieces about people who have had diabetes for 30 years or more. They too have heard and read about all the measures for controlling their condition and steps toward a cure. But, it's 1997 and the cure doesn't seem to be right around the corner just yet.
I am tired of hearing about all the sad stories, support groups, machines and methods of control. I want to read about what is going on to find a cure for this disease.
Can you please provide the latest, up-to-date information on the research for a cure? What is next? Where will we be in five years?
Thank you for your support. Please see this month's front page articles on islet cell research and NIH-funded research for more information on the search for a cure.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.