Letters to the Editor
Readers Respond to Scott’s September Column
I was interested to read ADA chief scientific officer Richard Kahn’s comments in Scott King’s September 2005 column, where he asks, “What is the evidence that sugar itself has anything to do with diabetes?” (“Time for a Dialogue”). Has Dr. Kahn forgotten the article in the August 25, 2004, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Sugar Sweetened Beverages, Weight Gain and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Young and Middle Aged Women”?
Sandra Love, MD
Editor’s note: According to the August 25, 2004, JAMA article, researchers concluded that, “Higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a greater magnitude of weight gain and an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes in women, possibly by providing excessive calories and large amounts of rapidly absorbable sugars.”
Regarding your recent concern about the FDA putting labels on soft drinks alerting consumers that soft drinks may cause obesity, I say hogwash! Soft drinks no more cause obesity than guns kill people. The over-consumption of anything, whether it be soft drinks, milk, steak or potatoes, will cause health problems.
Let’s all be accountable for ourselves and not blame something else for obesity. What we put in our mouth directly affects our health, plain and simple.
I have to disagree with you, Scott. You were bewildered regarding the Coca-Cola Company sponsoring a diabetes-related symposium. Why? The Coca-Cola Company, in my opinion, has done a lot to make products for those of us who cannot or do not want to consume large amounts of sugar or carbohydrates. Among other products, Coca-Cola makes Diet Coke and the new Coke Zero. I recently discovered Minute Maid Light drinks (also made by Coca-Cola)—one can has only two carbs!
Besides, one shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth!
Port St. Lucie, Florida
Nicole Nails the Discrimination Issue
I appreciate Nicole Johnson Baker’s article on discrimination and diabetes (“Diabetes and Discrimination: Why Does It Still Exist?”, September 2005).
I have been a diet-controlled type 2 for a few years. I made no secret of that when I went to a local dive shop for scuba lessons.
I had had a complete physical and clearance by my doctor, and the shop received a record of that. They had no problem with my taking the training, and I had no blood glucose problems while completing scuba training through the advanced open-water level.
In January of this year, my A1C suddenly went from 6% to 7.7%, and my doctor placed me on oral medication. Suddenly this became a problem for the dive shop. They decided that my doctor was not a real doctor because she is a DO [doctor of osteopathy], and therefore, her written form and permission to continue to dive following the accepted protocols were null and void. They also decided that I had to have a physical by a “dive doctor,” and in their zeal to exclude me on the basis of being diabetic, they contacted their doctor and without my permission shared what they thought was my complete medical history. This caused their doctor to commit a HIPPA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] violation. As a result, he will not even see or talk to me about diving.
Both Divers Alert Network and PADI [the Professional Association of Diving Instructors] have a dive protocol for diabetic divers. Scuba Schools International also has a protocol. The Chesapeake Bay Dive Shop also has a comment and protocol form on their Web site. They are still preventing me from diving with them or taking any additional training. Your article has given me a new avenue to follow.
By the way, my last A1C was 6.2% and my average BG is 114 mg/dl. I did 10 dives in Aruba in June and had no problems with low blood glucose levels. I was on Amaryl then and am on Actos now. My pre- and post-meal readings range from 90 to 150 mg/dl, and I have lost about 40 pounds since January.
Nicole Johnson Baker’s article on discrimination sounds good, but her experience with the ADA is definitely not like mine.
I am a longtime type 1. I was in a one-car auto accident in April 2005, and I asked the ADA for legal help with the DMV. After contacting them four or five times, the only help I got was their suggestion that I go to the State Bar Association. I have had my license suspended for at least two months, and the ADA couldn’t even tell me whom to contact to dispute or question the medical science behind the regulations involved. In my book, the ADA isn’t worth much.
Syracuse, New York
AADE Conference: Lots of Bling, Little Advice
The exhibits at the recent American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) conference were dazzling, with more structures and hucksters and bling than a World’s Fair. Most of them were promoting their version of the ultimate meter: smaller, faster, lighter, more waterproof, more electrodes, more painless and on and on. The goal of each was the same: a number, your blood glucose level.
Nowhere did I see suggested what might be done with this number. The meter doesn’t tell you whether the number is on its way up or down. It doesn’t tell you what action to take, if any, once you have that number. The best meter in the world only does half the job, and half the job doesn’t represent good diabetes care.
Perhaps the AADE could enlist their exhibitors to promote the equivalent of an “owners manual” of diabetes education as being essential for getting the most from a flashy new meter. Otherwise, it gives them only a number.
Chevy Chase, Maryland
A Letter of Thanks from Lee Iacocca to the Readers of Diabetes Health
Over the last year, you’ve been reading about the Iacocca Foundation and JoinLeeNow, our campaign to raise money for diabetes research. Last month, we reached a significant milestone—we more than passed the halfway mark of our $11 million goal. I wanted to share this news with you and thank the readers of Diabetes Health for everything you have done to support our cause.
When I launched JoinLeeNow in August 2004, I wasn’t sure what would happen. It had been a long time since I went to the public and asked for help. I have been truly humbled by the response. We’ve received thousands of gifts, big and small. People gave what they could and worked to encourage friends and family to help too.
We had a small army of phenomenal volunteers work with us. Two mothers from Connecticut, tired of waiting for a cure, raised $150,000 through a bike ride for this important diabetes research. That was last year. The numbers aren’t in for this year’s “100 Miles for Human Trials” bike ride, but we expect them to reach over $300,000. Volunteers organized book sales, motorcycle rides, golf outings, a ball and a mountain climb. They wrote letters to the editor and contacted their local media to focus attention on diabetes and the JoinLeeNow campaign. Some even asked those they invited to their weddings and other special events to donate to JoinLeeNow in lieu of gifts. All of these gifts and efforts have helped us get closer to our goal of starting the Nathan/Faustman clinical trial.
In 2005, the Chrysler Group became an official sponsor of JoinLeeNow. I’m working right now on a fundraising program that will involve Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealers in our effort. With Chrysler on board, I have never been more confident that we will make our $11 million goal ahead of schedule.
Lastly, I want to remind you why I am doing this. As I am sure you know, diabetes is a disease that families have to face together. Twenty years ago, my wife, Mary, died from diabetic complications. I made her a promise that I would find a cure in my lifetime. For the last twenty years, I have been working and waiting for a breakthrough. It has been difficult, but the promise I made to my wife has kept me going. Anyone with diabetes or who has a loved one with diabetes has shared my frustration.
Now, for the first time, I think we’re close. The clinical trials being conducted by Dr. Nathan and Dr. Faustman are the best chance I’ve seen in my 20 years of supporting diabetes research. I’ve never been more optimistic about the reality of a cure. I can’t promise you that the Nathan/Faustman trial will deliver it, but I can promise you that we won’t know if we don’t give them chance.
I’ve made a personal commitment to raise the funds for the Nathan/Faustman trial. We are well on our way, but we still need help. To find out how you can help or to learn more about JoinLeeNow and the Nathan/Faustman clinical trial, please go to www.JoinLeeNow.org.