Diabetic Commonsense

Balance and Choice

A Personal Account
Beatrice Reid

Published on IDDT website by kind permission of the late Beatrice Reid

“In most healthcare systems there is no recognition of the capabilities or expertise of the consumer, while the physician frequently regards himself as the only trained member of the physician/patient relationship. Given this scenario, it is natural for the healthcare provider not to consult the patient. Further, diabetes education is often given only to enable the person with diabetes to follow instructions and not to empower him to take decisions. All this gives rise to consumers who are passive, fragile and extremely dependent.

These traditional roles account for the dependency of a lay person and the paternalism of a physician. It creates resentment and frustration when an assertive and knowledgeable lay individual does not behave ‘traditionally’ and questions a healthcare provider …. This traditional relationship often continues within a diabetes organisation, and causes its failure.

People with diabetes and healthcare providers have to dispose of the roles they have played for centuries and start acting as equal partners when they work together in a diabetes association.”

Maria de Alva, President of the Internation Diabetes Federation, who is not a physician but is a consumer – she has diabetes.

Introduction: Enter Dr Lawrence
Balance: Signpost to Success
Juggling the Blue Carbohydrate and Red Insulin Balls
The Great Debate: Natural Animal or Artificial ‘Human’ Insulin?
Conclusion: Commonsense Rules

Health Warning
This little book is intended for ordinary people: diabetic specialists would be well-advised to steer clear of it. My commonsense approach might disturb the medical fraternity, for it will challenge the assumptions of recent practice and expose the folly that can result from behaving towards diabetics as if they were scientific experiments instead of human beings.

The views expressed here are my own, based on a long-term partnership with diabetes. They do not belong to any other individual or organisation.

Diabetic Definitions

Diabetes is present when the sugar (glucose) level in the blood is too high and stays that way. The diabetic is unable to burn carbohydrates properly. This is due to a defect in the pancreas, a gland in the abdomen which produces INSULIN. This hormone is needed to keep blood sugar levels within the normal, healthy range. Diabetes may be present either when no insulin is made or when insulin is made but is not working properly.

Carbohydrates, sugar and starch, produce energy which supplies fuel for the body. They are found in bread, pasta, porridge, rice, potatoes, cakes, biscuits, jam and sweets.

Hypoglycaemia, known to diabetics as HYPO, is abnormally low blood sugar.