What I think about the ADA

ADA stands for the American Diabetes Association. The ADA is the organization behind www.diabetes.org.

I see the ADA as a big behemoth organization. It is big, huge and does some good work. Active in the org are doctors on the board who deal with diabetic patients day in and day out. The organization wields a lot of power and does great work for advocacy and influencing the American political system. I respect them for the kinds of litigation they have taken on. It is good to know that there is one place where you can go with issues about your disease if you need to. They also do an OK job of educating folks about the disease.

What I do not like about the organization is the fact that their philosophy about carbs etc does not jive with my living. I find the ADA a lot more biased towards handling Type1 diabetes. For Type2 the message seems to be that you have to go on medication and progressively move towards an insulin regimen. I disagree with that attitude and feel that it is possible to manage your type2 diabetes with diet and exercise. Much harder than taking a pill, but something that requires stronger self monitoring.

I also do not like the diabetic education by certified diabetes educators that is given out under the auspices of this organization. Telling that I can eat two carbs with each meal is not something that works for me, but their education does not seem to stress that. I feel like there are changes that need to be made.

I am happy with facets of the organization and would hate for those to change. But other things need to change and the organization needs to step up and start changing them. I definitely feel a lack of understanding towards self controlling Type2 diabetics. Not sure what they can do, but I feel left out sometimes.


Scott said…
Its interesting that you find the ADA a lot more biased towards handling type 1 diabetes. My own perspective differs. As an organization, the ADA routinely likes to tout all the progress being made towards a cure for type 1 while simultaneously marginalizing the needs of the type 1 audience by recommending they keep the same name in spite of unrelated etiologies. The ADA could clarify the issue by formally renaming type 1 diabetes as "immune-mediated diabetes", but instead have created even more confusion by calling giving it a type number instead of a name based on etiology.

As a type 1 patient myself, I am tired of explaining the differences between type 1 and type 2 because the ADA has effectively created confusion with the more common type 2 diabetes rather than clarifying the distinction. We can thank the gurus at the ADA for creating this confusion with their 2003 "Report of the Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus" recommendations to the international diabetes community. (published in the ADA's "Diabetes Care" publication; 26:S5-S20, 2003)

Most type 1 patients seem to believe that the ADA has shifted most of its resources towards the growing type 2 epidemic while leaving the needs of type 1 almost exlusively with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but its interesting how the perspectives of both the type 1 and type 2 audiences seem further apart today than they did 30 years ago!
Funny - I am a type 1 and I feel that the ADA is all about T2s! So no one is happy with them. Look they are failling - their advice is not in any way helping to lessen diabetic complications, educate about the differences between T1 and T2 and a "cure" - what is that?
Lori Rode said…
I agree almost 100% with anil. The ADA does not present all possible successful methods of responding to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. They are not among the first resources to which I would steer a newly diagnosed person, or a person struggling with control.

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