diabetes

Battling the Complications: An Interview with Diabetes Patient Michael Burke (Part II)

Last week, in Part I of this interview, PatientsLikeMe member and blogger Michael Burke shared his sister Linda’s struggle with type 1 diabetes.  Today, we learn about his own type 1 diabetes journey, including his June 2011 kidney transplant as a result of diabetes-induced kidney failure. 1.  What diabetes complications have you faced? Diabetes is a disease that appears to be misunderstood by most people, in that the consequences of the disease can lead to many different complications.  As I mentioned earlier, both Linda and I suffered from diabetic retinopathy…essentially, you can go blind from diabetes.  Another complication is nephropathy, or kidney disease.  For me, this led to kidney failure and the eventual need for a kidney transplant this past June. Heart disease is another major complication.  Personally, I never knew that I had any heart disease until one day my primary care physician sent me for a routine stress test.  During the stress test, the cardiologist felt it necessary to immediately admit me to the hospital and do a cardiac catheterization the next morning.  When he did, he found two blockages in my right coronary artery – one was a 90% blockage and the other was an 85% blockage.  …

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Medication Non-Adherence: The Costs and Complexities

On October 24-25th, PatientsLikeMe attended the 8th Annual Patient Adherence, Communication and Engagement (PACE) Conference in Philadelphia. The event focused on how the healthcare industry can deliver measurable improvements in patient adherence (i.e., taking medications as prescribed by your doctor).  Put simply, how can we help patients like you take the correct dosages at the correct times? Why does this topic merit its own conference? Well, as we learned at PACE, medication non-adherence costs more than $300 billion every year in the US alone. You read that right. And this staggering amount is comprised of more than just hospitalization and emergency room costs. It also includes things like lost employee productivity and the cost for less optimal patient outcomes. Essentially, think of it as $300 billion the US could be saving each year – but currently is spending – in the midst of an economic downturn. Here are some of the other noteworthy takeaways: Of that $300 billion, more than $100 billion is concentrated in four cardio-metabolic disorders: diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease. A key factor in non-adherence is that patients may frequently have an incorrect understanding or an unrealistic expectation from their doctor of what their medications will do for …

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Remembering My Sister Linda: An Interview with Diabetes Patient Michael Burke (Part I)

As we’ve discussed in recent blog posts, November is American Diabetes Month.  To help you learn about diabetes from a patient’s point of view, we interviewed Michael Burke, a PatientsLikeMe member who writes “Life on the T List”, a blog about his life as a diabetic before and after a kidney transplant. But as you’ll soon see, Michael’s life as a diabetic was first influenced by that of another diabetic – his older sister Linda. (He himself was not diagnosed until he was a teenager, more than 10 years after Linda’s diagnosis.)  Below is Michael’s chronicle of her lifelong struggle with type 1 diabetes, and next week we’ll share his own journey, including his June 2011 kidney transplant. Don’t miss this moving story of a family profoundly affected by diabetes. Tell us about your older sister Linda. Where do I begin?  Linda was someone who I looked up to my whole life when we were growing up, and even though she is no longer here, I still look up to her.  Linda was diagnosed with [type 1] diabetes when she was six years old, which made me three when she was diagnosed.  So, to say that I grew up with diabetes …

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Announcing the “Calling All Types” Campaign for Diabetes Awareness

In June, we told you about our new partnership with BBK Worldwide, a pioneer in healthcare communications. Now, we’re excited to report that our first outreach project together is kicking off. In preparation for American Diabetes Month in November, PatientsLikeMe and BBK Worldwide announced today the launch of a new online diabetes health movement entitled “Calling All Types.” This innovative social health initiative encourages people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to share their real-world experiences and help raise awareness of the disease, which affects 25.8 million children and adults in the US (or 8.3% of the population). Are you a diabetes patient? Share your thoughts and stories at CallingAllTypes.com. Within seconds, social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube will pick up and share your words across the Internet. The goal is to create instantaneous viral awareness that will inform the public, including policy makers and health professionals, about the real toll diabetes takes on individuals and families.  (Check out the video below to learn more.) In addition to rallying supporters at CallingAllTypes.com, the campaign is focusing much of its initial awareness-raising efforts in Atlanta, Georgia, where diabetes prevalence exceeds the national average by a full percentage point. …

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Get Healthy for Good: An Interview with Catie Coman of the National Psoriasis Foundation

In August, we recognized Psoriasis Awareness Month on our blog and shared some facts and figures about this autoimmune disease, which affects 7.5 million Americans. One of the statistics we shared is that psoriasis often occurs in conjunction with other serious health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, heart attack and obesity. What these conditions share is that they can often be improved by reaching an ideal body weight. But losing weight – and maintaining it – is easier said than done. That’s why the National Psoriasis Foundation has launched the Healthy for Good campaign. Here’s what Catie Coman, Director of Communications at the National Psoriasis Foundation, tells us about this new online program. 1. What is Healthy for Good, and why should patients join in? Healthy for Good (www.healthyforgood.org) is program designed to help people lose weight, while raising funds for a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. It’s unique in that is uses a public platform and the fundraising tactic of “friends asking friends” to help people reach their goals. Forty percent of people with psoriasis have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and abdominal obesity. By joining Healthy for Good, they’ll get tools …

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Patient Choices: The Deciding Factors

In a recent series on patient choices, we’ve highlighted a lot of the decisions patients like you have to make on a daily basis.  A few weeks ago, David S. Williams kicked off the series with a blog about the treatment and career decisions that patients like you, and his mother, have made.  Kate Brigham then highlighted examples of the social and emotional tradeoffs you make every day.  Last week, we published the results of a recent patient poll where more than 4,000 of you answered questions about the choices you’ve made to tell (or not tell) others about your diagnosis.  (See “Patient Choices: The Shape of Sharing” and “Patient Choices:  How Open Are You Now?“) Today, we continue the series by highlighting examples of the choices patients like you have made in the past twelve months (pulled from 2010 newsletter interviews). Patient Choices About… Being Open “I decided to make my profile public with the hope that something I have experienced, have done, or could say may help someone else along the way. Because my family seems to still live with the stigma of HIV/AIDS and prefer I don’t allow others close to our family to know of my …

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