If you drive about an hour each way to work like I do you probably have developed some kind of formula for how you get to work. And if you are anything like me you have seen people do some scary things while you drive. People texting, ladies putting on makeup (sorry I haven’t seen a single man do this yet…but I am only 54), men shaving, doing crossword puzzles and looking at maps…(Hello Google Maps). A few years back a woman got pulled over for flossing her teeth while she was speeding at over 70 miles an hour in the UK. I don’t know how she was holding on to her wheel if she flosses like I do (using two hands), maybe she was using floss holders…
I have been doing my commute for about 20 years now and I do have a routine. I usually try to have a cup of low carb cereal (dry of course) and wash it down with 32 ounces of water. And for the longest time I would listen to the radio, and with XM I could listen to sports talk radio or the news…that’s how I could stay up with the world. Once or twice a month I would listen to an informative CD about some aspect of dentistry. Not a bad use of time, or so I thought.
But recently, thanks to a purchase of an iPhone (thank you Verizon for welcoming this technology) I have discovered Audible books. In the last 2 months I have listened to 3 books and all of them helped me focus better on my life. The first book was called “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, the second was “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield and the third was “Talent is Overrated” by Geoff Colvin.
It is the fourth book that is right up my alley and it is called “The Blood Sugar Solution” by Dr. Mark Hyman. Over the last few years I have developed a thirst for knowledge about health care prevention. Dr. Hyman is very passionate about the prevention of what he calls diabesity, a combination of diabetes and obesity. He, along with several health care providers, are trying to sound the alarm of the perils of this deadly combination of health issues and the huge cost both of lives and money that the world (not just the US) faces. In 25 years, from 1983 to 2008 the number of reported diabetics in the world went from 35 million to 240 million, a 7 fold increase. But in the three years after that there were 110 million more cases added to the rolls. His point is that governments should be looking to see why the numbers are increasing not just trying to figure out via big drug companies how to medicate.
Unfortunately there are big powers that are out there that don’t want to help. I have already mentioned how invested big drug companies are because they are trying to come up with different ways to combat diabetes. I remember about 15 years ago a golfing buddy gave me an article to read about investing…and it was about companies that work on drugs for diabetes. The article called diabetes the perfect investment disease….rarely fatal but it needs constant monitoring and drugs….for the life of the patient. But there is another big player in the cause of diabetes and it is the food industry. All the sugar in our food (and in particular liquid sugar: soda, sports drinks, energy drinks etc) is a major contributing factor. It is changing how our body works and now people who are not obese are at higher risk of diabetes as well, particularly people in the far east…the change to the westernized diet started to take a toll, just ask the Chinese who now have an epidemic as well. Up until a decade or so ago diabetes was a rare diagnosis in China but now it is estimated that almost 1 in 10 Chinese adults has it. WOW!
So let’s go back to what Dr. Hyman is really saying. You can’t call diabetes hereditary when you see the astronomical increase in cases being diagnosed. There has to be a strong environmental aspect to it and we have to learn to control it to stop this epidemic.
This is really not much different than I have been saying about dentistry. As a dentist my job is to put myself out of business. Simply said, there is not a child born in the United States today that should ever have a cavity or gum disease (which by the way is a contributory factor to diabetes). All it takes is education (I give our country a D here) and parental control (I won’t even venture to give a grade). I mean, do you really have money to spend on diseases that can be prevented. And on a larger scale, do our governments have the money to spend on treating a disease that by all estimates costs over 1 out of every 10 dollars spent in health care (and probably a lot more if you add all the other medical issues diabetes brings up).
After almost 20 years of commuting 2 hours a day I have found a way to make the most out of that time…to further educate myself as to what I can do to better the health of my patients and those I care about. I call that time well spent.