Category Archives: Diabetes wisdom

Assessing Information from Health Professionals: How I do it.

Melinda Seed

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?

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Beyond Normalising Mental Healthcare in Diabetes

The psychosocial aspect of diabetes is a bit like the weather everyone’s always talking, but nobody does a thing about it. Such was my view preceding DX2 Melbourne where I was one of a cast of thousands participating in a webcast about mental health and diabetes.

The consensus view (I think it was unanimous) was that psychosocial care should be normalised as part of diabetes healthcare. I agree 100% with this. I recommend Renza’s post at Diabetogenic about the webinar and particularly the importance of ending the stigma around mental health.  Frank of Type 1 Writes was also on the panel and has written insightfully about this topic too.  The focus of the panel discussion was on seeking help at times of distress but I’d like to take things one step further than this and talk about

Prevention!

It is my contention that not only does standard diabetes care fail to heed prevention strategies for psychosocial distress but it actually causes or exacerbates mental health issues in people with t1 diabetes. Continue reading

There’s No One Size Fits All

Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes

I recently came across a health/medical article that expressed concern about the level of variation in paediatric diabetes treatment between different paediatric endocrinologists.  I thought the assumption that there was one best practice approach interesting especially in light of the statement, Continue reading

The A1c, More Than Just a Number

Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes

I was one of the many pwd who was stunned back in 2015 when the UK’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued its Guidelines for Type 1 Diabetes in Adults. These guidelines recommended a “target” HBA1c of less than 6.5%.  The previous target was 7.5%

What I found stunning was that so few people managed to achieve an a1c of 7.5% or less and yet here they were setting an even lower target. For the record -the UK National Diabetes Audit showed that 29% of adults with type 1 recorded an a1c <7.5% (or 58mmol in the new measure) in 2015/16 AND fewer than one in fifteen (i.e. less than 10% of pwd) recorded an a1c of less than 6.5%.

It makes you wonder what exactly is the point of setting this number, what does it mean and is it sensible to set a target that appears cannot be achieved by 90% of people.

The anxiety is real for many! (Thanks to Type 1 Diabetes Memes)

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Finding Your Diabetes Sweet Spot

Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes
Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes

Is there such a thing as enough in diabetes management?

Your A1c is too high, you get it lower and your weight increases, you exercise more but the resultant highs and lows lead to an increased A1c. I know of people who’ve been told their a1c is too low, they’re at risk of hypo unawareness. You change your diet and you get more lows and for no known reason your lipid profile becomes crap and so on and so forth.

At this point I go one of two ways. Continue reading

Fear Tactics & Psychological Harm

Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes
Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes

It’s Day 2 of Diabetes Blog week and we’ve been asked to talk about the other half of diabetes, the psychological side of diabetes. There’s already been some great posts from a personal perspective about this, for example, Georgie’s blog at Lazy Pancreas or Tim’s blog. For the full list click here.

I’d like to talk about the psychological harm some diabetes organisations are imposing on the very people they’re supposed to be helping-those with diabetes.

We’ve all seen those ads based on fear, the horror stories of complications and the frightening statistics telling us to avoid or “manage” diabetes. Frank blogged about this last week, Type 1 Writes.

So what’s the problem, shouldn’t people avoid diabetes and/or avoid complications? Well yes, and if doing either of those things was as simple as giving up smoking then the campaigns might be justifiable BUT it’s not that simple and that’s where the problems start.  You see, if you get a terrifying message and yet you have little power to change the situation that gives rise to the terrifying consequences then you are likely to act in a negative way.

So if you have type 1 diabetes there’s nothing that can be done to reverse it and despite even the most diligent efforts and best technology it isn’t possible to entirely normalise blood sugars. In these circumstances the research supports that these fear-based messages cause people to engage in negative or health-defeating behavior. See for example, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678850/ , and Goldenberg J.L., Arndt J. The implications of death for health: A terror management health model for behavioral health promotion. Psychological Review. 2008;115(4):1032–1053.

So these fear messages have a negative effect on people with diabetes. It appears that diabetes organisations such as DiabetesNSW who have recently been unapologetically tweeting mortality statistics without any context or background either ignore this or they Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 8.50.36 PMare quite happy to cause harm to the people they’re supposed to represent in hopes that they are having a positive impact on those who are at risk of diabetes.

Is this ethical? Are you happy to be a member of, or have your tax dollars support such behaviour?  I always thought the first principle of intervening in health was “do no harm”. Guess they’ve abandoned that notion. Shame.

The Dangers of NOT Using Dr Google

Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes
Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes

Heard lots of discouraging things about the danger of health information on the net? What about the dangers of NOT doing so?

The lovely “Endocrine Witch” posted this picture that had been doing the rounds on her Facebook feed. She has blogged about why she took on her colleagues to say she found the note offensive, thanks Iris, proof that many doctors are embracing  21st century technology!

Endowitch

I can imagine that it’s irritating when a patient comes to you convinced that they’ve got bubonic plague or smallpox, but you need to deal with it, it’s part of the job and whether it’s the internet or Dr Smith’s medical encyclopedia people always have and always will self-diagnose. Continue reading

Beyond Diabetes 101

Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes
Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes

I’ve been thinking about diabetes education for what one diabetes educator calls “veterans”. It’s a topic that’s come up a few times on this blog and I’ve seen it raised recently in the twittersphere. What we’re talking about is not so much diabetes 101 but a PhD. in kicking diabetes butt. Continue reading