With the US election less than two weeks away you may already have made up your mind about the candidate that will get your vote. (And you arevoting, right?)
If you have a chronic illness like diabetes, one important consideration is how the future president might impact health care in the US. If you're like me, you've probably got a lot of questions about this. To help you make up your mind about this, here's some assigned reading!
Today's Wall Street Journal talks about A Blizzard of Numbers and how these are obscuring the details of the health plans for the two major candidates. Their main point is that some experts have produced the numbers for each health plan option, but these are estimates, not exact figures. The WSJ article also refers to an article from yesterday's New York Times On Health Plans, the Numbers Fly that calls these figures "the roughest of estimates".
The US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, two highly conservative business lobbying groups, have both stated that they believe McCain's health plan to be deeply flawed (my emphasis and likely to increase the number of the uninsured, not lower it.
Finally the National Federation of Independent Business has a nice side-by-side comparison of where McCain and Obama stand on health care.
Remember, your vote does count. If you need more information about voting where you live use this handy site provided by Google.
Update: The New England Journal of medicine published a somewhat related (short) article Three "Inconvenient" Truths about Healthcare. The summary is that our current approach to healthcare needs to be changed for the reasons covered in the article.
Update 2: The Wall Street Journal has an editorial page article on health care choices between the two candidates. According to this, Mr. Obama "would impose new nationwide rules on insurance companies to prohibit "cherry picking," where companies sometimes reject applicants on the basis of pre-existing conditions" while Mr. McCain "believes such regulations are one reason health coverage is so expensive".
My take is that many of us with chronic illnesses would be served extremely badly if we were excluded for coverage of our 'pre-existing' conditions.
Boston to Dublin Marathon for Type 1 diabetes cure
Brian Callahan is a friend of mine from Massachusetts, who's working to cure type 1 diabetes. He tried to talk me into taking part in a marathon in Dublin, Ireland, but I decided it was too much for me - hence my triathlon last month.
Brian, part of his family, and over 11,000 others, will be running the Dublin Marathon on October 27. But he's working to raise funds for Dr. Faustman's research. Please consider supporting his efforts. More details below. (And no, Brian isn't going to bring me back any Irish sausages in exchange for this posting.)
Dear Friends & Family:
On October 27, 2008 my wife Ann Marie, brother Dennis & I will be running the Adidas Dublin Marathon [and my daughter Benna will be running the half-marathon (13.1)]. We will run each step of the 26.2 miles knowing that it is much more difficult for a child with juvenile diabetes (type 1 diabetes) to take insulin shots each day, to count each carbohydrate that she or he eats and to finger prick for blood sugars around the clock than it is to complete a marathon.
Three years ago we ran (along with Ray DeRosas) the 2005 New York City Marathon to raise funds for Dr. Denise Faustman and thanks to your generosity we raised almost $20,000.00. We will again run in honor of daughter/niece Grace Callahan and friends Alex O’Donovan, Jared Darnell, Lian McDonough, Oona Sullivan, Merry Morrison, Reilly White and Nicholas Killoran, all children who have juvenile diabetes.
People with type 1 diabetes require daily injections of insulin and blood glucose monitoring many times a day to try and control their blood sugar levels. High blood sugars levels increases the risk of diabetes complications like blindness, kidney disease and other health issues.
Thanks to donations and support from folks like you Dr. Faustman started a phase 1 human clinical trial on her approach for a diabetes cure. In 2009 she is planning to start phase 2 trials for this possible cure, and that phase will cost about $25 million.
Please consider making a donation to support Dr. Faustman's human clinical trials. There is no dollar amount that is too big or too small. Every penny goes directly to Dr. Faustman's exciting research.
You can sponsor us for any amount in one of two ways.
1. Make out a check to Massachusetts General Hospital and put Dr. Faustman Type 1 research in the memo field. Then send it to me at Brian Callahan, 77 Dover Street, Medford, MA 02155
I know there are lots of demands for your charitable dollars especially in tough economic times so any help you can provide us will be truly appreciated. One way you can help is to forward this email to anyone who may have a diabetic in their family.
Discovery Health is looking for teens and young adults (maybe you?) to share with others what it's like to live with type 1 diabetes.
They'd like you to record a one-minute video that's a message to the next President. Tell them a little about your story and let them know how you'd like diabetes care to be improved. This is a great chance to really inform them as they take office.
If you want to get involved, please work quickly. According to the video entries are due by October 24th, though their web site says November 1st.
The 2nd World Diabetes Day is coming up this November 14th. Manny Hernandez of TuDiabetes and David Edelman of DiabetesDaily have a petition asking Google to create a doodle for November 14th. This would be a great way to get publicity for World Diabetes Day, as the Google home page gets about 30% of the world's internet traffic every day.
A new 12-page report published by Diabetes UK calls diabetes (all types) one of the biggest health challenges for the UK.
This report, Diabetes: beware the silent assassin (PDF) shows that diabetes costs the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK £1 million ($1.72 million) per hour, and causes more deaths that prostate and breast cancer combined.
If this is true for the UK (population 60 million, and 2.3 million with diabetes), you can image the impact in the US, which has five times as many people and about ten times more people with diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious disease with no simple solutions, there may not be all that much we can do in the short term to reduce the impact. Although page seven of the report does have some suggestions for reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In my mind one of the key factors for success in diabetes management is having a good support organization. These days I can't recommend a better place for support than TuDiabetes.com. It's an amazing resource for sharing information and getting help with all types of diabetes-related issues and I wish many more folks with diabetes were benefiting from the site.
It's early October and time to arrange for a flu shot, or a flu 'snort'. That's right, this year more places are providing a nasal-spray flu vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lots of information about influenza (flu). Because I've got two chronic diseases, diabetes and asthma, taking a flu shot is an easy way to reduce my risk of getting the flu. I actually got my shot yesterday at a local pharmacy, I like to get one as early in the flu season as I can. But if you've got school age children you need to think about getting vaccinatios for yourself and the CDC now recommends vaccinations for all children under 19.
For some of us, our employers may be organizing flu vaccinations at work. For the rest of us, you can trek to your doctors office or try one of your local pharmacies. Most pharmacy chains have a store finder page that includes a check box that allows you to search for stores that are offering flu shots or vaccinations, this includes CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid and Osco/Sav-on. In some cases you may have to make an appointment, call ahead and make sure.
So grab a book (so you don't mind waiting), head for the closest place, and take a small step to improve your changes for a healthier winter.
The Diabetes Technology Blog is focused on using technology to live life to the full with diabetes. I review new diabetes technology including: blood glucose monitors; continuous glucose monitors; blood sugar meters; diabetes software and living with diabetes.
I was born in Ireland and now live in the US.
I have had Type 1 diabetes for over 36 years. I struggle with my blood sugar, the same as most people with diabetes.
I wear a Cozmo 1800 insulin pump and a Dexcom SEVEN Plus CGM to track my blood glucose levels.
I'm blessed by God, and every day brings the possibility of a cure.