The Flip Side

The Flip Side

Although not everyone likes to admit it, especially in today’s world where it seems there is no room for compromise and everything has gone to extremes, some good could actually come from the Paula Deen situation. In many respects Ms. Deen is actually much closer to the norm when it comes to a newly diagnosed Type 2 patient. Ms. Deen’s problem was not that the fact she hide she had diabetes for three years, this really is not all the unusual. Or that she continued to promote food that would make a Certified Diabetes Educator cringe, again many patients with type 2 diabetes eat things they shouldn’t. Nor was her problem that she started taking Victoza, based on the pictures we’ve seen of Ms. Deen Victoza she is likely to benefit from the drugs ability to help patients lose weight.

The big issue with Ms. Deen is she looks like a hypocrite who sold her soul and her diabetes to make a few bucks. That she was talking out of both sides of her mouth, on the one hand promoting meals that when eaten regularly lead to obesity and on the other saying she changed her ways only to find her eating cheeseburgers and fries in public. Frankly Diabetic Investor believes Ms. Deen is not the brightest blub on the tree and given her celebrity status really should know better.

Yet if people can get past the fact that this fat hypocrite is a non-compliant type 2 diabetic some good might come of all the attention she is getting. As we noted just yesterday the main stream media really has no idea what a patient with type 2 diabetes goes through each and every day of their lives. They have no idea what it’s like to live with a chronic disease. As Diabetic Investor has been stating for some time diabetes is not your ordinary chronic disease as it requires an unusually high level of patient involvement. We have cited studies that have concluded that patients would actually sacrifice years off their life rather than do all the tasks necessary to properly manage their diabetes.

Quite frankly Ms. Deen is really much closer to the norm than everyone in the diabetes community wishes to acknowledge. The facts are that while we have some truly great drugs and devices, these great drugs and devices are meaningless if the patient doesn’t use them as intended. Just ask any primary care physician, PCP’s treat 80% of the diabetes patient population, and they will tell you just how difficult it is to get type 2’s to perform the minimum amount of diabetes management. It’s equally important to remember that the patient does not live in vacuum and has a life to live; we’ve said it a thousand times and will say it again – the majority of patients want to live their lives WITH their diabetes NOT FOR their diabetes.

This is one reason nearly two-thirds of all patients are not properly controlling their diabetes; diabetes is a 24x7x365 job with no days off. And no matter how hard the patient’s physician tries, the physician cannot be there 24 hours a day telling the patient to take their meds, eat right and get some exercise. While there are many in the diabetes community who believe otherwise, the truth is the patient does bear a level of personal responsibility for managing their diabetes. The issue however gets dicey when they don’t as poorly controlled diabetes leads to devastating and very costly complications. With healthcare costs already out of control the simple fact many of the diabetes zealots are pretty ticked off that these people aren’t taking care of themselves and costing everyone else money. The foolishly believe that since they have been able to control their diabetes, everyone should be able to do it.

Honestly if Ms. Deen wants to chow down on a cheeseburger and fries is that not her choice? Will she not suffer the consequences if she continues to eat like that? Let’s be honest about this folks, nearly every patient with diabetes has eaten things they shouldn’t have or done things that aren’t exactly in line with proper diabetes management. Living with diabetes isn’t easy and in the real world Diabetic Investor can understand why these things happen.

Perhaps the best thing that can come out of this whole situation is that people will gain a better understanding of diabetes, of what a patient goes through each and every day and the importance of becoming educated about diabetes. That diabetes is not a death sentence and people can live a full and productive life with their diabetes.  Those patients with diabetes should not be treated like leapers but as someone who is dealing with a serious, yet manageable chronic disease.

Surprisingly this is a message that should be known by the many companies in the diabetes market but has gotten lost over the years as more of the people in the industry have no connection to diabetes. As these newbies have come in with their fancy spreadsheets and zest for analytics they have not taken the time to actually sit down with some patients and actually LISTEN to what they are saying. Many of these newbies believe that social media is the answer to diabetes that somehow a Facebook page would actually make a difference in a patient’s life.

Yet, Diabetic Investor has yet to meet any form of technology that has experienced a hypoglycemic event, known the feeling of what it’s like to have people staring at you either because your testing your blood sugar or taking an insulin injection. Or what it feels like when someone says their sorry when they learn you have diabetes. Frankly there are reasons many patients with diabetes suffer in silence and don’t want it publicly known they have diabetes.

Although Diabetic Investor still believes Ms. Deen is the wrong spokesperson for diabetes, her situation is far closer to reality than most people are willing to acknowledge.