Examining the stats.

Working for a diabetes pharmaceutical company has it’s distinct advantages for me. My disease, something that I live with every day, is THE relevant topic of interest at my workplace. It’s all we talk about and study. My company has entire research teams to stay on top of diabetes trends and the diabetes marketplace (yes, that’s what it’s called in this industry…makes me think of a shopping mall where you can select different flavors of diabetes…). Having diabetes at my company gives me more street cred, and makes me a subject matter expert on T1 by default.

But there are times where things hit a little too close to home. Like the the PowerPoint I watched yesterday during a brand planning meeting. The slides listed statistic after depressing statistic about people with diabetes – mortality rates, rates of complications, cost to the US health care system – basically all the crap we don’t like to think about. What really sucks is when you’re examining a pie chart about one of these ugly subjects and realize you’re exactly the demographic up on the screen. “People with Type 1 for longer than 10 years” or “People with mild retinopathy.” No one likes to be part of the pie chart that’s describing people doing poorly. And because it’s well known at my company that I have diabetes, I have to wonder if the other people in the room thinking “poor Lexie, she falls right in to that category of otherwise faceless numbers we’re all crunching for the sake of business.”

I guess if they are thinking that, (which by the way I don’t think many, if any, of them are) then it’s time to flip those pie charts. Because for every “20% of poorly controlled people with diabetes who are getting {insert horrible complication/scary stat here}”, there’s 80% of people that don’t have said horrible thing. And that’s our goal with diabetes – stay on the other side of those statistics.

People often say to me that I’m a model diabetes patient (and those are people who clearly don’t read this blog or look at my CGM for an average day, with more peaks and valleys than the Rockies). They see me test six times a day, wear a pump and a CGM, and eat healthy). What they don’t take in to account for my “model behavior” is the fact that I’m lucky enough to have insurance, access to good doctors, a job with great benefits, an income to purchase state of the art technology, and the mental faculties and education to understand diabetes management. The fact that I have good control is not an accident, and it is not simply because I’m trying harder than the next guy. It might be that the next guy doesn’t have a lot of the help that I do.

With diabetes the saying “when you know better, you do better,” often comes in to play. You have to be taught that having an A1c under 7% is a good goal for long-term diabetes health before you know to strive for that.  You have to understand how to read nutrition labels in order to make an educated choice about you food. I have to wonder how many of those statistics would be different if there was an amount of education about diabetes proportionate to the number of people who actually have this disease. Start with education, and we can all do better.

 

 

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Comments

I love that this post ends in education! because that is all we need!!

I feel like it’s my job as a mom to empower my daughter to have good lifelong healthy habits so she’s in the 80%.

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