Why “Stop Diabetes”?

Stop Diabetes Stop SignThe American Diabetes Association launched the Stop Diabetes® movement during American Diabetes Month (November) 2009. Since then, over 677,728 people have joined this movement to take a stand against this disease, demonstrating that even when it comes to a disease that affects each of us in different ways, we are stronger when we unite against it.

We have received countless questions about why we use the phrase Stop Diabetes, what that means, and why we insist on calling it a “movement” instead of a campaign.

Great questions – so here are a few answers:

You probably know the statistics – 23.6 million children and adults in the United States are living with diabetes, 1.6 million more are diagnosed each year, and 5.6 million of those living with it remain undiagnosed. Chances are that one out of every ten of your friends over the age of 20 has diabetes.

In short, diabetes is everywhere.

So when the American Diabetes Association conducted focus groups to better understand what the general public’s concept of diabetes is, it was no surprise that many people claimed to have some familiarity with the disease.  What was a surprise, however, was that they didn’t think it was a big deal.

Conversations went like this:

“I know about diabetes. My aunt has diabetes.”
“And how is your aunt doing?”
“She’s fine – doing a lot better since her leg was amputated.”

Now, I appreciate a bright outlook on life as much as the next person, but I don’t think that could fit into my definition of “fine” – especially when it comes to a complication that is usually preventable. So that’s why the American Diabetes Association set out to create a movement against diabetes; not just a campaign, but the next big idea to change history.

Gutenberg gave us the printing press, Gandhi gave us nonviolent social change, and Jonas Salk gave us the polio vaccine.  From civil rights to women’s suffrage, history books are filled with movements for change. Stop Diabetes is a call to harness our commitment against this disease and put diabetes in the history books.

So, then – what does Stop Diabetes mean?  Many people had initially thought this to be a prevention message for type 2 diabetes.  Prevention is certainly important, but it’s not called the “Stop your Diabetes” movement. The application of the words “Stop Diabetes” extends so much further than that.

Personally, I’d like people to stop whispering and pointing at “that thing” any time they see my insulin pump.

I’d like them to stop staring when I have to squeeze a drop of blood from the tip of my finger to check my blood glucose in a restaurant, an airport, a movie theater.

I’d like to stop worrying about potential complications every time my blood glucose goes too high or too low.

I’d also like to stop worrying that my sister might suddenly be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes – or that her future children will.

To me, Stop Diabetes addresses all of that. Stop the impact this disease has on my life and on our society as a whole. Stop the worry. Stop the fear. Stop the ignorance. Stop the discrimination. Stop Diabetes.

The goal of the Stop Diabetes movement is to grow to epic proportions, to be bigger than the disease itself. In short, it’s the answer to why the Association does the work that it does.

I hope it’s also the reason you take some sort of action to join the movement: to share, act, learn or give. It is my goal for this blog to share both of these aspects – what the American Diabetes Association is doing and what we hear from you that you’re doing to Stop Diabetes.

Personal stories (both yours and mine) will help us put a face on this disease as we raise our voices, our finger-pricked hands, our memories of loved ones lost, and join in this movement to change the history of diabetes.

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19 Responses to Why “Stop Diabetes”?

  1. Thank you for this post, Dayle. I appreciate that and am looking forward to participating more in the Stop Diabetes initiative. On one hand, I am skeptcal and even taken aback by the message. To me, I see how the “Stop Diabetes” message implies that you can just “flick a switch” to turn off or stop diabetes. It goes to the Type 2 prevention mantra that you’ve described. That bothers me. But I agree that it does go beyond that, and that we’re talking not only about that necessary prevention message but also the misinformation/discrimination/lack of understanding about all Types and the bigger umbrella. That is where I grab on and take hold, because that’s very important to me. But my long-standing issues with the ADA messages remain – even this leading D-organization too often lumps everything together and helps fuel the misconceptions that exist. For example, on the ADA site where stats are cited: “Don’t like these numbers? We don’t either. Join our movement to Stop Diabetes.” This goes to the switch-flicking perception as I’d described above, and as a Type 1 diagnosed so young, it turns me off from wanting to participate and be involved in the ADA at all. But, I’m trying to be open-minded and leave that jaded train of thought behind.

  2. Carol Dixon says:

    Hello, Michael…
    I am a little saddened by your post and want you to know that I appreciate your open-mindedness and willingness to learn more about the ADA and the Stop Diabetes movement. ADA staff is hard at work raising awareness and providing education about ALL types of diabetes, type 1, type 2, and gestational. While the types may require different treatments, the complications are the same. 90-95% of those with diabetes have type 2 so it stands to reason that perhaps it appears that more emphasis is placed on type 2. However, that is not the case at the ADA. There are camps for children with diabetes, check out the research section of our website and see all the research done just on behalf of type 1, and the advocacy work to stop discrimination relates equally to all types of diabetes. It’s sad and unbelievable that the ADA receives calls daily about kids who are discriminated against in school, hence the Safe at School program. While we automatically think that all kids have type 1, we know that type 2 is a serious problem in kids, so that’s another thing to deal with. The ADA also advocates for health insurance, to stop job discrimination, and for Congress to continue diabetes funding, for all types of diabetes.

    If you have not already, check out the website http://www.stopdiabetes.com/type1 and also http://www.diabetes.org. It will show you that the ADA wants to stop all forms of diabetes and stop the complications, ignorance, and discrimination of all types of diabetes. Many people at the ADA also have diabetes and can sympathize.

    Take care, Michael.

  3. Kerri. says:

    The ADA getting involved in social media? This is a campaign I can definitely get behind. Welcome to the diabetes blogosphere, ADA!

  4. the post is helpful believe me it is there always room for more education or as we call it retooling because things are always changing and theres always changes in our lives and how we take care of our bodies i am still striving to do better my wife is a diabetic as well she is classified as both type 1 and type 2
    i dont quite understand that but we are dilligent about taking our meds and keeping our health i just wanna say it is nice to be able to have a place to go to for support help and education when we need it keep up the good work

  5. I’m glad to see the ADA getting more involved with social media. It opens a very necessary channel of communication, which will hopefully benefit everyone involved. It also helps us get to know some of the people behind the ADA, and helps us see that there are great people working to help people living with diabetes.

    Thank you!

  6. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of diabetes awareness Dayle, I am for any message, campaign, movement that will further education and awareness to this disease. More often than not the diabetes message is getting clearly drawn along type lines and this is a deterrent to all of us as diabetics. The organizations that represent us, namely the ADA, JDRF have to work together as well as a united front because of the old adage of a house divided.
    This month the NFL is wearing pink in honor of Susan G Komen, and Breast cancer awareness, the NFL is an organization that reaches the masses, I have yet to see Diabetes awareness highlighted in this manner and many are asking why?

  7. willie willis says:

    I don’t know who is reading this now but my name is Willie. I am 62 years old. Why do I tell you this? I was a healthy man most of my life yet diabetes still caught up with me. When our host says “Stop Diabetes” I can not see immediately the true meaning of the slogan. However, if our communities can just stop the ignorance of diabetes it could be a significant step forward. In may ignorance I became ill so suddenly I was rush to the “ER” of the hospitalafter what was intened as a routine doctor’s visit. I did not go home for three days. After that humbling ordeal I have been out to reinvent all my habits surrounding how to live healthy. One needs proper sleep, diet and exercise. I also am working on eliminating much of the stress I was edureing before my education into this crippling illness. I take it serious now and I would like to be a part of the stop diabetes company if I can. Life teaches up lessons and I am still in that process.

  8. Janet Walters says:

    I am a 63 year old woman who was just recently diagnosed with 2. My understanding, from what doctors, nurse practitioners and dieticians are telling me, is that diabetes cannot be cured. That is what “stopped” means to me. It means “cure” so the name of this campaign kind of escapes me. (I am somewhere between the anger and denial stages of this grief.)

    • Dora says:

      Hi Janet,

      I am very sorry about your diabetes. I was first diagnosed as a type 2, on medication in November 2004 (age 44). I also went in the denial stage. I honestly believe I stayed in the denial stage until May 2009. In May 2009 I had a diabetic attack. I then went to stage 1, on insulin 4 times a day. Between 2004 and 2009 I gained a lot of weight. May 2009 I weighted 250 pounds and my blood sugar reading was 600. I almost lost my eye sight with the diabetic attack. I then became determine I am going to fight diabetes. November 2009 my doctor took me off my insulin. I had won a great deal of the battle. I had lost 100 pounds, my eye sight was on the way back.

      Today, October 19, 2010 (age 50), I feel like a new woman. I excercise daily, watch what I eat, drink gallons of water a day and my blood sugars on a daily basis are no higher than 110. I am also working on my Graduate degree. My biggest mistake was allowing myself to go into the denial stage. I should have made myself realize from the beginning life is not over, it was just beginning. I now look at being a pre-diabetic in a new light. Even though I hate being a diabetic, this disease has made me a healthier woman. I no longer eat fatty foods, sugar items, salt, or drink milk products. Even though I am 50 years old, people guesses my age at 35 to 40 years old. A great milk substitute is Almond Breeze. It comes in regular, vanilla and chocolate. I buy the unsweetened type.

      My advice to you is to accept now being a diabetic and get on the highway to becoming a healthier person. Get adjusted to your new lifestyle now, not 4 or 5 years from now as I did. We only live once, and I am determined my “once” is going to be a excellent and healthy one.

      Best of luck!!!!

      Dora

  9. Bill & Evelyn Mulholland says:

    Actually a question. What are upper limits and lower limits (blood count Evelyn does each morning) that are considered “good, or normal? My bride has been diagnosed as Diabetic and really does not know what the desired levels are. Appreciate the website. Cant be cured? Surely that’s not true. Bill

  10. Marissa says:

    Thanks Dayle. I HAD to read this! :)

  11. Jason says:

    My glucose monitor and insulin pump have been a tool and huge opportunity for me to share information on diabetes with the public. I make it a point not to hide my disease. You never know who is watching you and what influence for the better you could have on them. Be Proud!

  12. Jamie says:

    Great post. I think the stat that surprises most people is the number of undiagnosed cases of diabetes are still out there. Drawing more attention to those cases may be one of the biggest first steps in stopping diabetes.

  13. Justin says:

    Thank you so much ADA. As a newly diagnosed diabetic i was relieved of all of my fear when i found this website. AND i am so thankful that they are going top be reaching out more. Thank you again

  14. geo desoto says:

    i’ve been living with diabetes for over 10 yrs.now for the last 2yrs. i have been on insulin.my doctor resently put me victoza and its been working ok and i lost a little weight.
    i also walk every day for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. a day and keeps my sugar down.

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