01 Oct Thinking about Type 2 Diabetes
There is semantic chit chat about whether people with Type 2 Diabetes (DT2) who, through lifestyle change arrive at the stage of not requiring medication, are in remission or cured.
I suspect those who have made the change and now reap the reward care little as their eyes, kidneys and feet get a reprieve.
Very few of what we currently call chronic diseases existed a century ago. DT2 in my childhood afflicted adults only and was called Adult Onset Diabetes, but the affliction has had to be renamed due to the ever-decreasing age of people developing it including pre-teens. It’s started to feel “normal” but it is not.
In fact, it is well demonstrated now that such positive DT2 reversal can happen is cause for celebration. But it should be more – it should mean a commitment to help as many of the 250,000 New Zealanders whose lives are currently blighted by this disease.
How might we do that??
First and foremost, we can incentivise our health professionals to target health for their clients, rather than pay them for each ill patient as is the case currently. This will quickly change the focus. Pay doctors to keep or get people healthy.
Secondly, we invest in health coaches to support people to make the needed lifestyle changes – this is much easier to say than it is to do, but it is doable and we have no other credible choice. (We do have the choice of carrying on rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as we sink on the Iceberg of DT2 and other chronic diseases. If we continue with that current approach we condemn increasing numbers to lives of misery and at an escalating $ cost that our country cannot afford.)
Most chronic disease is in the same camp as DT2 though some will undoubtedly have other contributing factors. Even for those people it is probable that lifestyle change will reap significant improvement.
Let’s get on with supporting people in their health journey – especially when they are on a dreaded waiting list!