by Debbie Wunder
From the Editor: Debbie Wunder is the newly-elected president of the Diabetes Action Network. She believes that everything we do is serious business, but sometimes we forget how important some of our divisions can be. Here is what she says:
Diabetes is unquestionably one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, its only competition being age-related diseases of the eye. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and perhaps this is a good time for us to take stock of our role in helping blind people. With good information, we can lessen our chances of getting the disease. If your doctor tells you that your blood sugar is a little high and that you are classified as a prediabetic, don’t shrug it off and decide you have more serious problems to worry about. If you can avoid getting the disease, your chances of developing heart trouble are decreased, and your chances of living longer are increased.
If you already have the disease, careful management can spare you many of the debilitating consequences that can spring from it. Far too many blind people with diabetes don’t know that they can perform the frequent blood tests that are required to manage it. Too few of us understand that new technology can now help us avoid the finger sticks that were once a part of diabetes management, that this new technology is generically referred to as continuous glucose monitoring, and that there are several devices on the market that blind people can read with the assistance of a smartphone.
This division of the National Federation of the Blind has committed itself to being more visible and active. This will include frequent contributions to the Braille Monitor, monthly seminars open to all using the Zoom platform, and encouraging even more participation on our Diabetes Action Network listserv.
All of the programs we run in the National Federation of the Blind are important in helping us live the lives we want, but the work of the Diabetes Action Network may well determine how long that life is. We need your help in building and strengthening the division so that in turn it can help build and strengthen our Federation. Good diabetes management both extends life and the quality of that life. The information we dispense may be the determining factor in whether people can continue to read Braille, travel independently by using the feeling in their feet, and stop the amputations which all too frequently occur when good diabetic care is not observed.
If you have an interest in learning more about the work of our division or becoming part of it, please write to me. My address is [email protected]. You can subscribe to our listserv by going to nfbnet.org, join or drop NFBNet mailing lists, and click on the link that says Diabetes Talk. You can also sign up as a member by sending dues of ten dollars to Treasurer Joy Stigile. You can do this by check payable to the Diabetes Action Network in the amount of $10 and mail it to 19831 Friar Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367. You can use Apple Pay using the phone number 818-419-5331 or through PayPal using the email address [email protected]. Regardless of how you pay, please note that you are paying dues for the division.
Do something that is both in your self-interest and beneficial to others. Learn about diabetes, how blind people can manage it, and how all of us, working together, can create a healthier America.