Our Diabetic Wish List
Five things that can benefit the diabetes community
Reprinted with permission from Close Concerns
When we were young, we used to wish for sugar-free ice cream sundaes and no-carb chocolate bars. Now that we're older, well . . . we still wish for sugar-free ice cream sundaes and no-carb chocolate bars, but we also wish for healing, understanding, and grace.
There is must be a happy medium, so here is our list – wishes that are ambitious and transformative, but also achievable.
#1: An FDA that welcomes patient input and makes rules for therapy reasonable - please sign our petition at www.HealTheFDA.org and help the FDA help innovation. The FDA is the gatekeeper for all new drugs and devices, and while most patients don't follow the agency closely, patients are ultimately the ones who benefit or suffer from the FDA's decisions. The agency needs to better recognize what patient needs actually are and put them at the center of its mission.
#2: Technology made even easier: pumps that are smaller, continuous monitors that are easier to use, software that easily graphs our blood glucose numbers, blood glucose meters that are more accurate and more powerful. We understand that there is no perfect technology, but the progress in this area over the past 10 years has been stunning – in some ways, redefining diabetes as an information management disease. But making these tools easier would be a huge benefit.
#3: Prescription drugs that prompt fewer side effects and that can be taken simply - once a day, once a week, once a month, once a year. New classes of type 2 drugs have significantly broadened patient options, but in many cases, their side effects limit their use. If patients won't take the drugs, they won't do much good. Fewer side effects would increase acceptance. As we understand it, only 50% of most diabetes prescriptions are taken – that's far too low.
#4: More time with our diabetes educators and doctors, and legislation that would cover their time so it's more than a labor of love. Eighteen percent of endocrinology fellowship spots in 2009 are going unfilled – that is a disaster as it means that 18% more doctors could be trained – if anyone wanted the jobs. Half of the endocrinology fellowship positions are taken by those who were born abroad, raising the risk that the U.S. will lose these doctors once they are trained. We recognize that education – CDE's, doctors, nutritionists, etc. – is the most important variable for good outcomes, but education takes time, and time is money, and that's a problem. Our health care system needs to recognize the imperative of education and compensate it accordingly.
#5: A highly visible spokesperson who raises awareness of the diabetes pandemic as a national and global threat to our well-being. Polio was cured in part because President Franklin Roosevelt, who had the disease, mobilized support, funded research, and made it a priority. Diabetes doesn't necessarily need an advocate in the White House, but surely it needs someone – who commands respect and has access to the airwaves – to make the case that the disease is having devastating economic and social consequences in America.
By Kelly Close and James S. Hirsch. They are editors at diaTribe (diaTribe.us), an online newsletter about new products and research for people with intensively managed diabetes and co-sponsors of www.HealTheFDA.org.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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