The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and other ‘diabetes profiteers’ including Big Food, Big Pharma and the Medical Industry have been writing and sharing articles about the cruelty of diabetes stigma.
I have been a diabetic for 11+ years and NOT ONCE have I felt victimized by ‘diabetic stigma’ … and even if I had, I wouldn’t whine about it. But then again, I found a better way to self-treat diabetes. I maintain truly normal blood sugars and normal weight, all while weaning off all drugs and INSULIN!
Diabetes stigma is real. However …
Much of the blame for the stigma of diabetes lays squarely at the feet of the ADA, Big Food, Big Pharma and the Medical Industry. These entities are at the top of the food chain when it comes to Diabetes Profiteers.
The Impetus For This Post
I attempted to attend an online discussion on “Diabetes Stigma” organized by a lower level diabetes profiteer organization called Diatribe.
The program was being promoted by another diabetes profiteer and Big Pharma company Novo Nordisk.
Imagine that, two diabetes profiteers coddling, cuddling and enabling diabetics, all the while profiting from the pain and suffering they are complicit in.
Here’s the original tweet.
The tweet mentions ‘combating the stigma’ … no one associated with this online virtual event is trying to ‘combat the stigma’. They all want to perpetuate it.
I joined the discussion and posted a couple of messages which were deleted. I questioned why the messages were deleted and then …I was blocked from messaging again, receiving the message. “You have been muted by the organiser”.
Apparently the organizers didn’t want opposing opinions. They only wanted to hear stories of whining, moaning, and groaning about ‘diabetes stigma’ and how hurtful people can be to diabetics.
I used no profanity. I called no one any names, I simply told the truth about the causes of diabetes stigma and provided a solution.
How appropriate today. Those that profit from the pain and suffering of others, stifle or outright delete differing opinions.
Therefore, I decided to write this post.
stigma: a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation. (from dictionary.com).
As I said earlier Diabetes Stigma does exist.
The question is how to reduce the stigma of diabetes.
I know how.
The American Diabetes Association, Big Pharma and the Medical Industry all pay lip service to ‘ending the stigma of diabetes’, just like they claim they want to end diabetes.
In reality, they don’t really want to end diabetes nor the stigma, they want to perpetuate both diabetes and the stigma, creating ‘diabetes victimhood’ and to continue to profit from it.
A major component of diabetes stigma is the economic costs associated with diabetes, but much more than the economic costs are the personal costs.
Cost of Diabetes
Fact: A very small percentage of diabetics maintain truly normal blood sugars. The overwhelming majority of diabetics have elevated blood sugar levels, which causes diabetes complications.
Diabetic complications increase diabetic stigma. Lethargic, sickly, weak and yes, obese diabetics… reinforces and promotes the stigma.
The official report on the direct and indirect costs of diabetes according to an ADA study:
Note: These numbers only include diagnosed diabetics, so actual numbers are much higher.
Direct Medical Costs
$327 billion: Total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2017.
$237 billion was for direct medical costs
$90 billion was in indirect costs including reduced productivity
Looking at these numbers from a different angle:
1 in 4 health dollars goes to people with diagnosed diabetes… that’s staggering.
People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures ~2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.
Wow! That’s more than double the expenditures….
Indirect costs total $90 BILLION dollars, these include:
- increased absenteeism $3.3 billion
- reduced productivity while at work $26.9 billion
- reduced productivity for those not in the labor force $2.3 billion
- inability to work because of disease-related disability $37.5 billion
- lost productivity (premature deaths) attributed to diabetes $19.9 billion
All of the costs above are COMPLETELY preventable.
All of the costs above INCREASE diabetic stigma.
The direct and indirect costs alone are reason enough to create ‘diabetes stigma’ … but it’s a lot worse than that.
Human Cost – A Story
I’ve seen the complications and resulting stigma of diabetes first hand. I’ve been the healthy employee covering for the obese diabetic, I’ve been the obese chronically sick diabetic, and I have been the healthy fit diabetic with a new lease on life.
When I come in contact with an obese, sickly person… I often mention that I am a formerly obese, formerly drug and insulin dependent diabetic. In other words, I often share my story.
So yeah, I have stories. I’ll share just one.
Diabetes Misery = Diabetes Stigma
I worked with an obese diabetic with sores that never seemed to heal. He was always lethargic and more often than not … suffering from a bad cold. His was a ‘classic’ case of an ‘out of control’ diabetic.
Most days he would clock in, walk around in a daze, shuffling his feet. He often reported to his work area late after stopping by the candy machines in the break room.
He spent more time away from his work area than others. On the ‘bad days’ he would go to the cafeteria and sit. His supervisor would send him to the store for his favorite ‘hard’ candy, candy that wasn’t sold in the vending machines. He would leave without clocking out while his co-workers and supervisor would cover for him.
Why did he go to the store for candy? Because he felt ‘shaky’ and he ‘knew’ from past experience that his blood sugars were low. This was the conclusion he’d reached with this doctor!
By the way, this guy was a ‘raging and out of control’ diabetic… who ate and drank carbs all day long, from sun up to sun down.
The man was a nice, gentle guy. Everyone liked him and many felt sorry for him, which is why his co-workers and direct supervision tried to help and cover for him. I personally liked him and spent a lot of time trying to help him.
I’d been successfully self-treating my diabetes for years at the time I worked with him. I tried helping him many times. He would not listen, he would often tell me that his doctor is ok with his blood sugars.
Once again I was ‘doc-blocked’. That’s when a person I’m trying to help listens to his doctor’s harmful advice. How much pain and suffering have doctors and the medical industry caused?!? … enough is enough!
It reminds me of how thankful I am that I questioned the advice from the medical industry. Rather than just heeding my doctor’s advice… I found a better way.
I tried to explain to him that he should eat a low-carb diet like me and that doing so would help his blood sugars. He would not listen.
I tried to explain to him that he wasn’t really going low. His body was accustomed to chronically high and harmful blood sugars and that he ‘just’ felt ‘low’. He was experiencing a fake-low or fake-hypoglycemia, his blood sugars were far from ‘low’. He would not listen.
He seemed to enjoy wallowing in the mire. Everyday he would complain about his ailments, sores, aches and pains … and every day he did absolutely nothing to change his predicament. He eventually quit his job and the rumor I heard was he was on disability.
By the time he’d quit, his co-workers were tiring of his predicament … and they were tiring of covering for him. Within his circle of friends and co-workers, he’d added greatly to the stigma of diabetes.
When I think about my co-worker’s story above, it makes me sad… and angry. His pain, suffering and misery is totally and completely unnecessary.
Multiply his misery by 100’s of millions of people worldwide… that’s a lot of unnecessary needless pain and suffering from diabetic complications.
While I don’t know exactly how my friend felt, I have a pretty good idea. I too was an obese, chronically sick, miserable wretch. But I didn’t settle for the status quo. I researched and experimented, looking for ways to maximize my life, to maximize living.
I want to add years to my life and more importantly to add LIVING to my years!
Diabetes Profiteers cause much harm by telling people that diabetes is a debilitating disease… that the best they could hope for is to eat the high carb, ADA-style diet, take their insulin or drugs … and to ‘do the best they can’.
Blame for Diabetes Stigma?
Who’s to blame for diabetes complications and therefore diabetes stigma?
There is plenty of blame to go around… including personal responsibility of diabetics, but the bulk of the blame lays at the feet of diabetes profiteers… American Diabetes Association, Big Food, Big Pharma and the Medical Industry.
Blame for ‘diabetes stigma’ lays squarely at their feet because they coddle, cuddle and enable diabetics to:
- maintain elevated non-normal, diabetic blood sugars levels.
- needlessly eat high carb diets causing elevated blood sugars that require diabetic drugs and (more) insulin.
- continue down a health spiral … causing much pain and suffering, and diabetes stigma.
Ending Diabetic Stigma
The economic and personal costs of diabetes is staggering and it’s only going to grow, as will the stigma of diabetes.
How can we stop the stigma?
Chronic levels of elevated blood sugars lead to diabetic complications.
Diabetic complications lead to diabetes stigma.
The solution is very simple, reduce diabetic complications.
How do we reduce diabetic complications?
Do the opposite of the Diabetes Profiteers….
1) Promote, encourage and support diabetics in obtaining and maintaining truly normal blood sugars.
2) Promote, encourage and support diabetics in following a low-carb ‘diabetes diet’, which will make accomplishing truly normal blood sugars exponentially easier.
What are non-diabetic, normal blood sugars? I wrote an entire post on the subject, “Blood Sugar Targets and Why“, but in short, sub 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/l) fasting with the ideal being 83 mg/dl (4.6 mmol/l). I also try to stay below 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/l) throughout the day except for highly intense workouts, which can spike my blood sugars 20-40 points mg/dl (1 -2 mmol/l).
I and thousands of other diabetics know that truly normal blood sugars are the way to live a ‘diabetes complication free life’, which would reduce or end ‘diabetes stigma’, if only the diabetes profiteers cared more about diabetics than their balance sheets.
Over eleven years ago I ‘found a better way’ to self-treat diabetes. I created this blog because I have been muted, blocked, and even threatened by the government. I won’t stop spreading the word.
I love the way I eat, I love the way I play (exercise) and I love the way I live!
I hope you … will join me.
Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
If your blood sugars are elevated and you cannot achieve truly normal blood sugars with diet alone…
BUY MY BOOK! How to Reduce Blood Sugars.