Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing

Marie Youssefirad
Posted 9/4/19

Do you know that type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing nutritional disorder on the planet?

Nearly half of Americans are type 2 diabetics. Yet, for the majority, it is preventable and …

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Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing

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Do you know that type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing nutritional disorder on the planet?

Nearly half of Americans are type 2 diabetics. Yet, for the majority, it is preventable and reversible.

What if you could take a simple blood test that could accurately predict T2 diabetes up to 10 years prior to onset, before irreversible damage has occurred? Would you? I certainly would.

There is a test—the fasting insulin test—that can save your life. It basically costs $55, and can give you and your doctor essential information to use in instituting lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Having this test annually is as essential to good health as having your blood pressure measured at every visit.

Fasting insulin testing, taken after abstaining from food for eight hours, indicates the amount of circulation insulin in the bloodstream. The range of 3–8 ulU/mL is normal. Below 3 may indicate type 1 diabetes or autoimmune disease, and above 8 indicates resistance also known as prediabetes. The body starts to age prematurely, and deteriorate rapidly as the numbers increase.

The fasting insulin test is the gold standard for predicting type 2 diabetes.

By contrast, the fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c tests most commonly prescribed are useful tools for monitoring sugars, but they will only indicate a problem after the disease process has begun. If you have a high amount of insulin circulating, insulin and sugars can be used in a specific calculation, called HOMA-IR, which means “homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance.” By calculating disease risks, fasting insulin testing is essentially a tool for prevention.

Another reason for fasting insulin testing is to avoid the staggering costs of T2 diabetes treatment. Research from the American Diabetes Association reveals that one out of every seven health care dollars spent goes to treat diabetes and its complications. That’s $327 billion dollars annually. Diabetes costs 2.3 times more to treat than other diseases.

The most astounding numbers reveal what we can save by preventing diabetes. The savings for one person can be $150,000 in healthcare costs alone. Personal experience, however, indicates that the savings will be much greater. Just one hospital stay can cost over $250,000. On average, diabetics may have to face many expensive events and procedures that include amputation, vision loss, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure/transplant, and medications. Diabetics also have the highest cancer rates. Saving $1 million over the cost of a lifetime is plausible.

Let’s legislate wellness.

I propose an amendment to Washington state law that will require insurance coverage throughout Washington state and include one fasting insulin blood test annually without any out-of-pocket or copay expenses. This amendment will shift the focus of our efforts from sickness care to wellness care.

Today, research has moved beyond where cigarette science was in 1982 when legislators took action to create the country’s largest and most successful campaign to stop smoking. The time has come to create a similar campaign for type 2 diabetes.

Even as political debates about health care continue, we the people can demand coverage for the proven and sensible fasting insulin test that can save lives and reduce the escalating costs of care associated with the type 2 diabetes pandemic. Please join me in this campaign to change the outcome for the future of all generations. We all deserve a healthy happy life. We need legislation to enable doctors to use this essential tool that can alter the currently grim expectation of increasing diagnoses of type 2 diabetes. The life you save may well be your own.

Contact your legislators to insist upon adoption of this proposed legislative amendment at 800-562- 6000 / 800-653-9993(TTY), and email Representative Steve Tharinger.

(Port Townsend resident Marie Youssefirad is founder/CEO of Empowering Children and Families with evidence-based nutrition to avoid type 2 diabetes, www.fymhs.org. She started the effort in response to the diabetes-related death of her husband.)

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