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Very well said, and you're right that having a national leader personally impacted by the condition would certainly elevate the stature of diabetes in terms of public priority, but as a community (and a society as a whole) we frankly cannot afford to sit by and wait for that to happen.

Think what might happen if diabetes was represented differently than it is today, without all the smiling, happy people usually pictured in advertisements for glucose meters showing us that diabetes is controllable, but its up to us. We need a public relations campaign to present diabetes as as public enemy #1. Instead, the public perception is people dancing around showing that the FreeStyle blood glucose monitor means "virtually pain-free testing".

My friend Deb Butterfield said it best in an article she wrote called "Perception Vs. Reality" (see http://web.archive.org/web/20050210195046/http://www.insulinfreetimes.org/itimesv600.htm for the original article). She summarized it best when she wrote:

"In order for this disease to be cured, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way diabetes is viewed. We need to close the gap between the perception of diabetes as a controllable condition and the reality that it is one of the world's oldest, deadliest, and most pervasive diseases."

As patients, we must to stop pandering to prevalent perception by becoming far more vocal about the true state of diabetes and diabetes care today. First and foremost, we must stop using the word "control" when the reality is that we only have "control" over a handful of the variables that influence blood glucose levels. We need people to realize that this is a horrible condition and that managing is good for the diabetes industry, but often fails to guarantee many patients that they will avoid all complications, and no study -- not even the DCCT -- proved that they are completely avoidable.

Who should be leading this PR campaign? Ideally, the American Diabetes Association, but I have no hope of that ever happening under the current leadership. But I'll be damned if I allow others to misrepresent this condition in the press, which is why I routinely write to the editors of publications which misrepresent diabetes or engage in what I call "selective disclosure of the truth. I would encourage others to do the same -- if more of us start doing this, perhaps we will make a small dent in the perception gap that now exists.

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