September 24, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

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Diabetophobia or fear of diabetes.

What exactly is a phobia?

From dictionary.com:

“a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.”

Perhaps something occurred in your life that stuck in your subconscious mind that triggers a fear of diabetes.

So what is fear?

Again, from dictionary.com:

“a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”

There are many facets to the diabetophobia. It can include fear of becoming a diabetic. Fear of hypoglycemia. Fear of needles. Fear of diabetic complications.

It often includes denial.

Denial is my personal favorite. And hey, if you are reading this…I am probably preaching to the choir.

You probably have the numbers memorized, right?

But for everyone else here they are again from the CDC press release dated June 24, 2008.

Diabetes now affects nearly 24 million people in the United States, an increase of more than 3 million in approximately two years, according to new 2007 prevalence data estimates released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means that nearly 8 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes.

In addition to the 24 million with diabetes, another 57 million people are estimated to have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts people at increased risk for diabetes. Among people with diabetes, those who do not know they have the disease decreased from 30 percent to 25 percent over a two-year period.

How do you deal with diabetophobia?

The best way to diffuse fear is with knowledge.

Knowledge brings not only the tools to deal with fear but also a calm acceptance that you will be able to handle your future.

A few months ago I shared a simple risk test to assess your risk for diabetes from the American Diabetes Association. Turns out ADA offers an even more in-depth risk assessment called Diabetes PHD.

“Diabetes PHD (Personal Health Decisions) is a powerful new risk assessment tool. It can be used to explore the effects of a wide variety of health care interventions, including losing weight, stopping smoking, and taking certain medications.”

Another personal favorite assessment tool that I love and hate is RealAge.

“Your RealAge is the biological age of your body, based on how well you’ve maintained it.”

If you suffer from diabetophobia you’re probably already having some anxiety.

Relax. You aren’t alone.

I took the simple diabetes risk test and faced the scary realization that I need to make some changes. I haven’t had the courage to take the PHD yet.. I will, I promise. I will.

And RealAge. Haven’t done that in a few years. A little nervous here.

See what I mean about denial? I told you, you weren’t alone.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief from her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, explains the stages which apply to any life changing event. The stages are not simply about death, but reflect the loss of life as you know it. A diagnosis of diabetes or pre diabetes is a life changing event.

1. Denial–refusal, either conscious or unconscious to accept the facts

2. Anger–at self or others

3. Bargaining–compromising with others or a faith system

4. Depression–a period of sadness, fear and regret

5. Acceptance–dealing with the facts

The important thing is not how you move through the stages, but that you continue forward momentum. That momentum is individual, bringing you to a place of coping and to a place of re-evaluation.

Right now I’m transitioning through a few of these stages as I realize I am a pre diabetic (family history, borderline gestational diabetes, weight struggles). I realize knowledge gives me the tools to do something about this and I am trying, albeit struggling, to make the necessary changes in my life.

What about you?

Where are you? What facets of diabetophobia are you dealing with?

Where are you in the grieving process?

More importantly how will you obtain the knowledge needed to overcome diabetophobia?

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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