Today is World Diabetes Day

UnknownHelp make the blue symbol used and recognized

If you’re new to diabetes, or the diabetes online community, November 14th is World Diabetes Day. Nov. 14 is the birthday of Frederick Banting who helped discover life-saving insulin. 

World Diabetes Day was established by the United Nations to raise awareness of diabetes and increase funding for its prevention and treatment. We actually have the little nation of Bangladesh to thank for pushing through this resolution.

Today the World Diabetes Day campaign is led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Take a look at some of the great things going on and ways you can get involved.Today in many places around the world structures, and people, will be lit in blue to draw attention to the round blue symbol you see here. Like breast cancer’s pink ribbon, IDF is leading an effort to get all diabetes organizations to adopt the blue symbol.   

IDF just released in its Diabetes Atlas the latest global diabetes statistics: 

• One adult in ten will have diabetes by 2030 

• Currently 366 million people have diabetes, that will rise to 552 million people in 2030. That means 3 new people will be diagnosed every 10 seconds

• 183 million people are still undiagnosed

• 78,000 children develop type 1 diabetes each year 

So today wear blue to be part of the movement and so that we can all be a little less blue as we help diabetes get the attention it deserves.

Saturday is World Diabetes Day

UnknownGlobal symbol for diabetes

This Saturday, November 14th, is World Diabetes Day (WDD). The day people around the world will mark in various ways to involve the local community, engage the media, and raise awareness of key diabetes issues among decision-makers and the public. In 2008 over 1.2 billion people were reached through campaign messages.


One of the most stirring and public displays of WDD will be the 1107 monuments lit in blue around the world, from Sydney to San Francisco, from New York City’s Empire State Building and United Nations building to the Obelisque in Paris.


November 14th marks the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting. Born November 14, 1891, Dr. Banting, along with Dr. Charles Best, discovered life-saving insulin in 1921 in Canada. 


Learn more about World Diabetes Day and how you can get involved. As a simple show of support, think of doing something “blue” this Saturday like lighting a blue candle in your home or workplace or wearing a WDD pinThe blue represents the sky and the circle unity across the globe in this effort. The icon also represents support for the United National Resolution on diabetes which was led by the International Diabetes Federation.


As for me, I’ll be in Springfield, Pennsylvania addressing 75 fellow PWDs and nurses about healthy diabetes habits proudly wearing my pin. You can be sure I’m going to ask how many people know what it stands for. And everyone will by time I leave.

Revving up for Diabetes Day, November 14

L1030211Learn and Do on Diabetes Day

This is my last post for a few weeks and so I wanted to leave you with some interesting things to check out and do while I’m gone. And, remind you to come back the end of this month to hear about where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. Meanwhile,  as we rev up to November’s Diabetes Month, here are some great ways to start your learning curve now.


1. Check out World Diabetes Day, the new web site Manny Hernandez, founder of TuDiabetesand David Edelman, co-founder with his wife of Diabetes Daily, have created. The site brings greater awareness to diabetes in general and things you can do to be a part of diabetes day, November 14, and spread the word. You’ll find lots of news and lots to read, including blogsfrom an assortment of bloggers, including three from me that will show up throughout the month. 


2. If you’re new to my blog or come sporadically, you might want to read some past posts. Most are timeless since you may have noticed I tend to write about the emotional experience of living with diabetes and how to reframe diabetes, using it as a catalyst to create more health and happiness. 


3. You can listen to my recent podcast on the Diabetes PowerShow. A lively discussion between me and the show’s four passionate hosts about diabetes myths and the emotional resilience needed to live with diabetes, and how to create it. Also available on iTunes.


4. Do your homework, but I promise I won’t collect it. Pay attention over this next month to what you do well in your diabetes care and appreciate your efforts in some tangible way, whether buying yourself a little something or just giving yourself a pat on the back. Also, pay attention to what you could do better and figure out one simple step you are willing and able to take that will help you do better. Take it, look for improvement and write down your improvement. Then go back and buy yourself a little something or give yourself a pat on the back to commend your efforts. 


I’ll see you in late October after I return from the International Diabetes Federation conference in Montreal. Hopefully I’ll be a little more educated and so will you.

My hat’s off to the diabetes sales reps I meet


This post comes late in the day on what is today World Diabetes Day, the one day during the year the whole world tries to raise awareness about diabetes. I have just returned from giving an educational diabetes presentation in Burlington VT. 

I often think I gain more than I give–I receive the heartfelt appreciation of patients whom I speak to and equal appreciation from the true soldiers in the field, the diabetes educators and  nurse practitioners. Perhaps it will surprise you to know I also receive great appreciation from the pharmaceutical sales reps of Sanofi-Aventis, the sponsor of the A1C Champions program I deliver and the manufacturer of Lantus and Apidra insulins. 

It is one of the reps job’s to sell the program to their accounts, the doctors, nurses and educators they service, and it is a win/win. Patients learn how to better care for their diabetes, get inspired and motivated by hearing about it from a fellow patient who knows the experience of living with diabetes, and when they begin to take better care of themselves it can involve using insulin, which benefits Sanofi-Aventis.  But all the reps I have met are incredibly caring people who want to help patients.

So, it seems appropriate this day to share with you an email sent to the organization I do this program through from a Sanofi-Aventis rep about the program I delivered Tuesday in Jersey City, NJ. 

Dear Management Team,

…Today we had an A1C Champion presentation by Riva Greenberg a Type 1 diabetic patient. Riva talked to more than 30 patients and shared with them how easy it is for her to manage her diabetes despite the fact that she takes multiple shots a day, more than 7 (including testing) and yet she has a very fulfilling live. 

We witnessed the increased interest in patients from the last time we supported a similar event by the overwhelming number of patients at today’s presentation, as well as the amount of patients who had one-on-one questions for Riva after her presentation. 

It was very inspiring to me to hear some of the comments she made to encourage patients to take better control of their illness. She also shared with me that ATTITUDE is so important when a patient is diagnosed with diabetes. She added that it becomes a whole different issue when a patient realizes that it is only in “their hands” whether they’ll be present in their children’s future or avoid complications. She said that the change in attitude can come from a simple way of seeing things, switching from a “have to do it” to a “choose to do it” mind frame about their diabetes tasks.  Thanks Riva for all the changes you inspired TODAY!!

Best regards,

Priscila Alvarez, Sanofi-aventis

So today I speak for those much maligned pharma reps whom most people think are only in it for the money. Most I have met are in it because someone close to them had diabetes. Today on World Diabetes Day, I applaud them.

Nov. 14 – Diabetes day. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have one?


As you may know, November is Diabetes Month, and today is Diabetes Day. In New York City the day kicks off in front of the United Nations and the Empire State Building will be lit in blue, our now officially established diabetes color. As much as I love that we now have our own month and day, I’m thinking wouldn’t it be nicer if we didn’t need one?

I said this yesterday to Scott King, publisher of DiabetesHealth magazine, which I’ll have my first article in in December’s issue. I bumped into Scott, totally unexpectedly, at Novo Nordisk’s block-long exhibit in Union Square yesterday. Divabetics also had a tent there with stylists and fun-fetching ways to access diabetes information.

Scott’s good fortune bumping into his columnist (me) by surprise, led to an impromptu interview, which I expect will surface on DiabetesHealth’s web TVsometime soon. We chatted about the state of diabetes, my new opinionated column, my new upcoming book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes(soon to appear here), and some things off the record.

Here’s one bold concept we chatted about. Why aren’t we incentivizing staying well? Really and truly. What if we put our energy into keeping people well, rather than letting them get sick. In ancient China village doctors were compensated not to cure the sick but to keep people well. Imagine doctors here getting paid for keeping people well and your health insurance going down if youkept yourself well. In China when people were sick doctors’ pay was cut and if patients fell ill the doctor had to treat them for free.

No wonder you see flocks of Chinese people, like graceful birds, contorting in odd configurations in the park. They’re doing Tai Chi or Chi gong — practices that keep the body’s vital breath and energy robust and circulating.

Can you imagine health care practitioners getting paid to keep people healthy? The first thing I envision is a lot more lively people running around, and smiling. The majority of seniors would be slimmer and wouldn’t automatically get the illnesses we associate with aging; their bodies would never have deteriorated to that point. Hmmm…focusing on wellness rather than unwellness. Now wouldn’t that just screw with our health insurance companies something awful!

Since doctors get paid to treat sick people there’s little incentive in keeping people well. We’ve all read about how physicians make more money doing surgeries and so surgeries get scheduled like a Macy’s one day sale – pack ‘em in. How did it happen that our focus became treating the sick rather than keeping people well, anyway?

If you saw Michael Moore’s film Sicko, he’ll tell you one of the first health insurance companies realized they could make big bucks by letting people get ill and then treating them. And President Nixon thought that was kind of a cool idea too.

I’m not saying pharmaceutical companies aren’t necessary or that there aren’t new medications that are saving and prolonging lives. I do think you can earn a profit and do good work at the same time. And I’m certainly not saying that we shouldn’t treat the sick. After all, type 1 diabetes is not preventable. Or is it?

If we began from the premise of keeping people well by exercising, eating properly, keeping our environment clean, minimizing stress to our body and psyche through cultivating different societal values, maybe we wouldn’t even get diabetes. Maybe we wouldn’t get the viruses or traumas that scientists now think cause type 1, and maybe the genetic predisposition most people who get type 2 carry, well maybe those genes would lay dormant and not switch on. And, of course healthier eating and exercise could almost wipe out type 2 diabetes. Maybe some of that pharma money apportioned for research and development could be dispersed to creating the infrastructure that would help us prevent disease.

It would just be nice if we started from the premise that we should keep ourselves healthy rather than take drugs and have operations to deal with all the unhealthful food on our grocery shelves rife with life-decimating, farm-bill approved trans fats and high fructose corn syrup, 60-80 hour work weeks with no time to move our body or refresh our minds, and the expectation that we will get ill as we age.

But, alas, until that day, I’ll have to settle for Diabetes Day. So if you’re in New York, go out, get informed and be counted. If you’re in Tokyo, go stroll past Tokyo tower, my friend there told me it’s lit in blue too. See what’s doing in your community this month. It’s the best way we have right now to make diabetes visible, learn even more and help others on their diabetes journey.