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Moving on with Progress?


13 May 2009

Moving on with Progress?

What is the one aspect of diabetes that can be counted on for progression? Population. Numbers.
The chart I compiled above (click to enlarge) reflects both the nature of diabetes as a public concern in a handful of countries as well as representing the geographical nature of my life over the past 15 years. Today, I live in Hong Kong, but I also lived in London (as well as other European cities) and New York. I am a Type 1 who in the recent past and today represents one of those numbers in each location. I was curious about the different aspects of diabetes in America, Europe and Asia. The commonality of the data and percentages are surprising. In the Type 2 column, the numbers easily showcase that Asia, who has adopted a more modern, sedentary lifestyle – rich in high-fat sugary foods –
is feeling the effect of the Type 2 surge. But there are also other important generalities that are often forgotten in the PR blitz that pervades everyday news. Google news alerts spell it out pretty clear day after day....diabetes costs, pharma profits, community awareness, dieting, dietary and more diet fads, theories and studies! Where are the numbers going? What do they mean? How large does the diabetes population have to grow?

1. The chart displays the well-known disparity between Type 1 population numbers (small) to Type 2 population numbers (huge). It has been known scientifically that Northern Europeans have a higher incidence of Type 1 which may account for the UK’s higher percentage. And the
thrifty gene hypothesis upholds higher numbers in places like Asia, and Latin America. (It does not account for the undiagnosed which would increase populations by at least a third).
2. It reflects how an insulin pump, which “provides the closest match available today to the way a body would normally deliver insulin… and results in better diabetes control...”
(Joslin) is accepted but not fully put into practice. I would argue this therapy is best for insulin dependent Type 2’s as well.
3. It demonstrates the need for better
diabetes morbidity data since the numbers above don’t account for diabetes as the underlying cause in death when heart disease, or kidney failure do...
4. The numbers beg the question why global/political commitments to screening, care and research are sub-standard.


Blogger Scott said...

Welcome back! Interesting observations. As a public health issue, it's often ignored until it becomes a public health problem, at which point, it is far more challenging to deal with.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Sandra Miller said...


Seeing your comment in my email box was a wonderful surprise. So glad you are back and blogging!

(And thanks too for the lovely comment. :-)

I agree with you about the winter... though it's not helping though that Wisconsin is currently ranked second in the number of confirmed swine flu cases here in the states...

5:52 PM  

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