Imagine being gathered around the Christmas tree and and unwrapping a startling visual reminder of diabetes complications. Well this is what some British diabetes organisation is suggesting people with diabetes might like to find in their Christmas stocking.
The National Health Service of the UK (NHS)? They run all health services in the UK and are government owned & controlled, surely they would be credible?
Here’s an offering from one part of the NHS posted on 17th November 2017. It looks like an ad sponsored by Big Food. Imagine the outcry if Coca-Cola DID run an ad like this! This is misleading and just plain WRONG. Potatoes contain carbs but it is not simple sugar and the metabolic and nutritional impact is WAY different from that of Coke or orange juice (which looks surprisingly low in sugar in that pic to me). This tweet-a picture of a display the diabetes nurses of the NHS took to a local shopping centre is so wrong, so potentially damaging and so misleading, I am beyond words.(Just kidding I can nearly always find the words to rant.)
Despite initially defending the tweet for quite some time, the West Suffolk NHS did delete it but I’m just leaving it here for the next time somebody starts dissing people with diabetes sharing health information on line.* Get your own houses in order first!
*West Suffolk NHS are by no means the only “credible” organisation disseminating misleading information. Health information is complex and doesn’t lend itself well to sound bytes and tweets. The sooner public health promotion officers realise this the better.
In the interests of balance, here is a useful infographic produced by people with diabetes. Note it doesn’t promote branded products, includes quantities and is relevant to the season at hand-Thanksgiving and Christmas are particularly times when you eat foods out of the ordinary, so a quick guide to carbs is helpful. Kudos to the people at Beyond Type 1.
So it was Thursday morning, my pump reservoir was empty but when I went to refill it, I found the button I needed to press wasn’t working. I pressed harder, I gave it a little break and put it in a cool place. Alas no, my very out of warranty pump had finally let me down.
Inspired by some of the anxiety I have witnessed at health conferences/talks recently around filtering health information, I thought I might turn the tables a bit. Sure we all know we need to evaluate health information on line but what about the health information we receive in consulting rooms/surgeries or hospitals. We all know it’s out there from missed opportunities to diagnose t1 diabetes (sometimes leading to death), to hospitals omitting insulin to not knowing cortisone injections will cause insulin resistance. All this and more happens every day in the offices, consulting rooms and hospitals. How to protect yourself?
Time and again I find myself nodding at conferences or lectures when I hear a “patient’s” story of how the internet has or does make a huge difference to their quality of life/management of a medical condition or disease and its treatments. So it was again as I listened to e-patient Dave who told his story of engagement with the healthcare system following his diagnosis with stage 4 renal cancer.
Dave’s basic request “let patients help” seems unassuming enough and his definition of ’empowerment’ also seems like a modest aspiration. Continue reading →
Patient-centred care is a bit of a buzzword and a few sessions at #ADSADEA were devoted to it. There’s no definition of the term but it seems to refer to individual health practitioners listening to and responding to patient’s concerns during consultations. That’s all good and well but is that all there is to patient-centred care? It got me wondering about what the health care system would be like if it was run by people with diabetes instead of the government/doctor/bureacracy mash up we see today.
Before I attended ADS-ADEA’s Annual Scientific Meeting I did a little survey of what people with diabetes were most interested in hearing about at conferences. As the survey was largely completed by my friends in the D world, it is unsurprising that they were almost entirely type 1s and most had had diabetes for at least 20 years. The topics of most interest were new technology, research with only a few more saying stuff that was relevant to life with D now as opposed to the cure and psychosocial issues. Many people also said the main benefit to them of attending D conferences was the opportunity to socialise with other people with diabetes.
So here’s my best effort at rounding up the categories of most interest from ADS-ADEA 2017:
Do you hear any sensible person saying things like
“Don’t look at any television news/read the newspapers or news magazines because they’re full of false information and negativity.” or
“I never go to parties or social gatherings because they’re full of negative people or somebody might say something that’s untrue to me.”
No? Funny that neither do I. Of course the simple and obvious answer to comments like that is to choose your media source and/or your social events more carefully and be discerning about what news or information you view as credible. Continue reading →