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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Experts

One of the most difficult things about incurable conditions, like type 2 diabetes, and how to treat them is the variety of opinions available to us. The major diabetes authorities disagree over treatment, medications, diet, causes, and the right targets to aim for. Sometimes the differences are trivial, but at other times they can be very significant. It gets even more confusing when you get to the differences between those authorities and the pro-active patients out there in the real world struggling to beat this thing.

In the 6 1/2 years since I was diagnosed with diabetes I've asked many experts many questions. Most gave excellent answers. But some didn't answer at all; some ignored my questions and only gave answers to the questions I hadn't asked but that they wanted to answer; and some gave me answers that were more like orders and made my condition worse. Most of the latter group were dieticians.

Asking experts is excellent advice. Believing experts as though they are infallibly beyond question is not.

To learn in any field, ask many experts, not one. When you do that you will find confusion, because they won't all agree. It is up to you to read and learn enough to be able to assess the worth of their advice and decide which expert's advice to trust and which to discard, and also to pass all the advice that you get through the filter of your own common sense.

Remember that not all experts have to have letters after their name; experience and expertise can make an expert. A relevant example that comes to mind is Gretchen Becker, a "Patient Expert" who I learned a lot from myself. Another would be David Mendosa, or Jennifer of "test, test, test" fame, or Jenny Ruhl; and many others.

My most important point is one that I repeat to every newly diagnosed diabetic.

Never forget that the person who will be most affected by poor advice from any source will be you – not me, not your doctor, but you. In my opinion, more than nearly any other condition, the success of management of diabetes depends on the diabetic. So, while medics can advise and prescribe – it’s your decisions and your actions that will decide your future.

Cheers, Alan
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter.

1 comment:

cheryl said...

i found your blog october 23rd of this year when i got my diagnosis... i don't know if i commented back then but i wanted to return and let you know your advice was so helpful... THANK YOU!