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From Princeton, New Jersey, USA:

Just as I'm getting adjusted to my son's recent type 1 diagnosis and just as I'm becoming confident he won't end up as a blind invalid in a wheelchair because his first two A1cs were both 5.7, I read the following from the JDRF:

"Insulin, however, is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation."

I thought insulin and tight control WILL prevent these devastating complications. The JDRF is making it sound as if eventually, everyone will succumb to the devastation. I'm upset all over again. What am I supposed to believe?


Sorry that you have received the JDRF headlines; this is a longstanding problem with trying to raise awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and the need to increase funding for research for cures and treatments of diabetes and related problems. Both of you are correct. Tight control decreases short- and also long-term complications of diabetes, but since current treatment methods are only an approximation of how the pancreas normally works, there are always times when high sugars occur. So, damage is not 100% preventable even with tight control. For the person with diabetes or the parent of someone with diabetes, this is still the best that can be achieved at the moment and still worth the burden of frequent blood glucose testing, meal planning, carbohydrate counting, multi dose insulin regimens, insulin pumps, etc.

From a fundraising standpoint, the JDRF must also make such statements since many people falsely believe that insulin "cures" diabetes. Insulin is only a treatment and an approximation of what needs to be done on a minute-to-minute basis. The JDRF must make everyone aware that diabetes is only treated with insulin and not cured. The same for the ADA and the IDF, of course.

So, take heart and keep working at it. We have better insulins, better meters, better understanding of options for you and your child and even better pumps with continuous monitoring on the horizon.


Original posting 27 Sep 2006
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