Clearing up misunderstandings about diabetes

I write the following to clear up any misunderstanding in the Nov. 17 letter to the editor titled ‘Diverting diabetes epidemic requires intervention of all Albertans’.

While it is vital that we address diabetes prevention through lifestyle changes (nutrition, exercise, and wellness), the public needs to be aware of the fact that there are different kinds of diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes).

I am quite sure that Mr. Cloutier, President and CEO of Canadian Diabetes Association, was addressing the imminent epidemic of Type 2 diabetes in our population. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through the lifestyles changes proposed. Quite often, Type 2 can be treated without the use of insulin injections. Insulin injections would likely be a last resort as lifestyle changes and oral medication would be the initial course of treatment.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that has no cure and to this date, no one knows for sure what causes Type 1. It is important to distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 because there are many children and adults in our population that have Type 1 diabetes and should not be generalized into the category of “diabetes epidemic”. People living with Type 1 diabetes are insulin dependent. They need insulin to live. They are not a burden on our health care system by choice. They did not allow their health to deteriorate to end with a diagnosis of diabetes.

I do agree that any type of diabetes that is mismanaged will result in other serious health complications. It is for this reason that we continue to eat a nutritious diet, exercise, and make sure that our daughter gets her five injections of insulin per day as well as monitoring her blood glucose at least seven times per day. She is the only one in our entire extended families that has Type 1 diabetes. No one knows why this occurred. That is difficult to digest as a parent. We have done everything to make sure our children eat well, exercise, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Again, the realization that there is no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes.

Please print this so that the public can be made aware of the different types of diabetes. Not all types are equal. Not all types are preventable.

Jacqueline Molin

Red Deer