Diabetes Voice

Diabetes Voice is the quarterly magazine of IDF. It covers the latest developments in diabetes care, education, prevention, research, health policy and economics, as well as themes related to living with diabetes. Diabetes Voice goes to the heart of issues that are crucial to all those who can further the promotion of diabetes care, prevention, and a cure worldwide.

Editor-in-Chief: Dr Douglas Villarroel (Bolivia)
Editor: Elizabeth Snouffer (USA)

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Issue: September 2016
Section: Diabetes views

Welcome from new Editor-in-Chief

Hello and welcome to Diabetes Voice. It is a great pleasure to introduce myself as the new Editor-in-Chief.

On behalf of the Diabetes Voice Editorial team, I would like to express warmest thanks to Professor Rhys Williams who served as an exceptional Editor-in-Chief for a total of six years. His diligence and ingenuity helped establish Diabetes Voice as a solid publication in the field of diabetes.

I graduated from Medical school in Bolivia, and trained as an endocrinologist in Mexico. For more than a decade I was suffering from chronic kidney disease and 22 years ago, I had a kidney transplant.

Being a specialist in diabetes has allowed me not only to take care of the health of people with diabetes but, what is even more important, to be part of their lives, to share their hopes and anguish, to give reassurance and support.

My years of living with kidney disease and the impact of my kidney transplant were transforming experiences. Being so close to death yet overcoming the threat and surviving with a donated kidney has been a great gift. This experience has allowed me as a physician and as a person to have more sensitivity towards human pain and a better understanding of what it means to live with a chronic disease.

Importance of Diabetes Education

Today it is undeniably clear that diabetes complications and disease progression can be delayed and often prevented with improvements in managing blood glucose, blood pressure, and lipids. People with diabetes, especially with the aid of self-management education, can empower themselves to make wise choices for healthy living throughout the day, everyday. When this happens, outcomes, costs, and quality of life can improve.

History tells us that battles of humanity against disease have been decisively won only with the proper knowledge and awareness among people. It is therefore very important that all levels of our society contribute to change the impact of diabetes.

Diabetes is unlike other diseases, where medication alone can often times successfully treat it. There are so many other components to diabetes such as: the diabetes disease process, nutritional management, physical activity, medications, glucose monitoring, and psychosocial adjustment. Diabetes education not only provides knowledge and awareness on diabetes, it also gives the people with diabetes the power to better manage it, and hope for a healthy life.

We need to increase awareness on the importance of diabetes education because it is a benefit many people with diabetes, especially in developed countries, have access to but do not take advantage of for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, there is a growing need to develop more effective educational programmes in many of the low-income and lower middle-income countries.

This issue of Diabetes Voice

The September 2016 issue is a fine example of the complexities of diabetes management and how diabetes education and care are key to a better, healthier life.

In The future of type 1 diabetes care we have a contribution in the form of an “expert opinion” by Dr. Andrew Drexler about access to care for adults living with type 1 diabetes. Dr. Drexler believes the shortage of endocrinologists specialising in the care of adults with type 1 diabetes is becoming a crisis and will only get worse in the decades ahead. He offers insight and solutions which will be, we hope, the start of a broader discussion in the diabetes community on this particular issue.

The Diabetes Association of Bangladesh has contributed a country report on their progress, entitled Diabetes care model in a lower middle-income country. It is a fine example of a successful national diabetes education programme, and shows great evidence of its role in enhancing diabetes care in the country.

With small numbers of endocrinologists in certain geographic areas, especially in developing countries and lower middle-income economies, many children with type 1 diabetes have to travel long distances to receive diabetes care. This places a hardship on families and the alternatives may not be ideal for achieving the best outcomes for diabetes health. This problem is discussed in the article Type 1 diabetes paediatric care challenge in Bolivia.

There is a strong association between diabetes and depression, but Lawrence Fisher, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco tells us (Expert Interview: Diabetes distress: a real and normal part of diabetes) that symptoms of depression in people with diabetes can be significantly reduced through interventions for “diabetes distress,” suggesting that much of what is being labelled as depression may not be a co-morbid psychiatric disorder after all, but rather a reaction to living with a stressful, complex disease that is often difficult to manage.

In the article, #WeAreNotWaiting: type 1 diabetes community leads innovation for optimal freedom, Timothy Omer discusses the limitations of type 1 diabetes care technology, the industry's lack of data sharing and how a new global group of health hackers like himself are creating home grown diabetes systems for better blood glucose results.

Lydia Makaroff and Linda Hill (Early detection and timely treatment can prevent or delay diabetic retinopathy) discuss the importance of screening for eye disease because diabetic retinopathy is avoidable and diabetic related blindness can be delayed. Unfortunately, even today, the awareness of diabetic retinopathy “remains uneven and low.” Learn more about key action points in the new educational guide, “Diabetes Eye Health: A guide for health professionals”, co-developed by The Fred Hollows Foundation and IDF in collaboration with a group of medical and educational experts.

Wrapping the issue up, we have people living with diabetes tell us where they go for the best information about diabetes. (Where I find the best information about living with diabetes) The feedback has been interesting.

Douglas Villarroel
Editor-in-Chief, Diabetes Voice

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