First of all, this episode needed a warning. I have been a pretty avid fan of hers. And normally when there is a tough topic, she warns us. The images of an amputee's mangled limbs were fairly gruesome. My oldest was sitting with me and it was difficult for me to watch this. And the title, Diabetes: America's Silent Killer...uh, seriously? C was not in the house at the time, but I can imagine how a little kid with diabetes would feel if they happened to hear that on television! Just had to get those two issues off my chest...
The show itself was about type 2 diabetes. That was plain and simple...well, simple if you know anything about diabetes. But, as we all sadly realize, the general public does NOT know the difference. It was never explained clearly. The tiny bit of information shared regarding type 1 was absolute nonsense in my book. It was Oprah who tried to differentiate between the two at a couple times in the beginning of the episode. But that was it for type 1. The show's title should have been called Diabetes: Type 2 Only.
As far as I am aware, Dr. Oz is a heart surgeon. I know Oprah calls him America's Doctor, but really, his expertise lies in cardiology. How difficult would it have been to get an endocrinologist to be on the show. I nominate the famous doctor, Dr. Francine Kaufman. I mean, really, how hard is it to find a type 1 person living a wonderful, healthy life? I know a bunch of them. And then, there's the part of the population that was completely over-looked in this segment...children. I know CHLA alone (Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles) services over 2,000 type 1 kids. As a family, whose lives are affected 24/7 by diabetes...I felt ignored, alone...again.
So, according to the doctor, these four things are the causes of diabetes: 1. excessive belly fat 2. a sedentary lifestyle 3. a family history 4. smoking. I want so badly for him to see a picture of my 8 year old daughter. She has diabetes...She is definitely not over weight. She is quite active. There is no family history. And, as far as we know, she doesn't smoke. What do you think of that, Dr. Oz? Why was type 1 diabetes so utterly left out of the show?
Worse than ignoring the entire type 1 population was the blatent misinformation that was aired. The following were the statements that bothered me most:
How many times did they refer to diabetes being preventable and/or reversible? I lost track. Even fitness/diet expert, Bob Greene chimed in with his statement that diabetes is preventable. Of course he wanted to plug his book, "The Best-Life Guide to Managing Diabetes & Pre-Diabetes."
Dr. Oz stated that diabetes is "almost always reversible."
Bob Greene claimed the key is cider vinegar. It changes the glycemic index of any food. Why has our endo never told us about this?!
Straight from Dr. Oz: "At the end of the day, the amount of insulin you gotta take depends on how bad your diabetes is."
I know that type 2 diabetes can be controlled through oral meds sometimes and that better diet and exercise can, in fact help a type 2 step away from that diagnosis. But, this show was so disheartening to watch. I know that a lot of the DOC folks are with me on this. I feel so deflated as I write this post. Wasn't it just 3 months ago, during "Diabetes Awareness Month" that we were fired up and trying to dispel the myths surrounding diabetes? I wanted to educate people about it, for my daughter's sake. Today, Oprah's show took awareness 10 giant steps back.
I am truly dissappointed in the irresponsibility of airing that show. I love Oprah. She has a platform like no other. Maybe she will surprise us in her final season, hear our cries and actually cover the reality of diabetes.
The only redeeming value from the show is that of Walgreens' generosity. Tomorrow, you can go into any Walgreens pharmacy and get a blood glucose test...for free. Call 1-800-WALGREENS for one near you!