"Diabetes has become the greatest public health crisis of the next quarter century." This according the American Diabetes Association, via their newest Facebook page for 2010 American Diabetes Alert Day, today.
The campaign is meant to sound a bell across the nation as a wake-up call on this incredibly prevalent, expensive, and potentially devastating disease. You can look up local Diabetes Alert Day events here.
To be clear, the campaign is all about type 2 and pre-diabetes, as the slogans "What will you do to Stop Diabetes?" and "Know your risk" don't speak to those of us already diagnosed with type 1 or LADA diabetes.
Still, every year I like to remind you, Dear Readers, that we all know someone (probably lots of folks) who are blissfully unaware that they're one of the estimated 57 million Americans at risk for type 2 diabetes — and that they could take steps to avoid it if they knew what to do, and were motivated.
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With the passing of the Healthcare Bill this past weekend, this ought to be a happy day for all of us facing diabetes. The ADA has issued a statement celebrating the fact that this bill will do away with barriers to health insurance coverage for PWDs:
"With the passage of health reform 'just because you have diabetes' will no longer be a lawful excuse to deny coverage, to charge exorbitant rates, or to take away care just when a person with diabetes needs it most. It gives all Americans with diabetes a fighting chance at controlling this devastating disease before they face blindness, amputation, heart disease, and kidney failure."
I hope to God the ADA is right. I have my doubts... Because as Gary Oftedahl,
Chief Knowledge Officer at the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, mentioned in a phone call yesterday: "This is really insurance reform, not healthcare reform — we may not be paying for the right kind of care."
The ever-cynical Diabetic Investor David Kliff adds: "The bill fails to address some fundamental problems with the healthcare system such as improving outcomes, preventive care and patient education. The passage of this bill is about one thing and one thing only; money... The fact is helping the millions of patients with diabetes and pre-diabetes will take more than just money, it will take a fundamental shift in how patients are treated and educated."
I for one would like to see the ADA become part of that fundamental shift, rather than simply pushing patients to "make a difference" by donating to their organization, or becoming a fan of their Facebook pages.
Meanwhile, I have nothing against encouraging you all to encourage friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members who might be at risk for type 2 diabetes to take the risk test today:
According to the ADA, diabetes claims the lives of 200 people every 24 hours (!), so anything we can do to help 'sound the bell' is definitely worthwhile.