I grew up with a diabetic grandfather. He was always heavy, exercised little, and sneaked snacks like ice cream when he thought my grandmother wasn't looking. And he didn't manage his condition well, at all. I can remember three separate car accidents caused by his blackouts. For the longest time, this was my picture of a diabetic. However, recently, my aunt was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Here was a woman who had ostensibly done everything "right" -- stayed slender, ate right, stayed active. At any rate, the point of this personal story has been to explain that I had a lot of confusion about diabetes -- who got it, how to control it, and so forth. I wanted to know more because now I know this condition runs on both sides of my family.
This book provided just the right level of information for me. Since I'm not a diabetic, I didn't need a 1000-page manual about controlling diabetes. However, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes and want a little more information (what do all those blood tests mean? what's the difference between type 1 and type 2? what are the options for treatment? what can/should diabetics eat? what is the life expectancy of a diabetic individual? what can one person do to affect his or her outcomes after diagnosis?), this book is a great starting point. The book is short and easy to read and provides a mixture of scientific information and personal stories/anecdotes.
One thing I appreciate is that the author has consulted with medical professionals as he wrote this book, and that he urges a dialogue with one's doctor. This is not a manual advising someone to go it alone! I thought the historical information regarding early treatments, the isolation of insulin, blood sugar testing, and even syringe sterilization and sharpening was interesting, as well. We've certainly come a long way.
Another thing I thought was excellent was the discussion (throughout the book) of various symptoms associated with both high and low blood glucose levels. These can vary from person to person, of course. But by reading this book and seeing what others experience, if you are a diabetic, you might begin to notice signs in your own body of blood sugar dips and spikes. Early recognition of the signs of a problem can and will lead to action such as taking insulin or consuming sugar, as appropriate. This will minimize the disruptions to your daily life caused by your condition. Although modern medicine has greatly improved blood sugar control, knowing your body and its responses will ultimately lead to fewer slip-ups.
At times, the language in this book was a little informal (for example, analogies like "throw a monkey wrench" into something pop up now and again). However, in a way, that added to the readability of the book. You sort of feel like you're just having a conversation with a regular guy. For some people, that is going to make this book a lot more approachable than a technical treatise would. (I also wish the editors had inserted a few more commas for clarity, although I never had trouble understanding the author's intent.)
In the end, there are a lot of things a diabetic person has to consider in order to manage his or her condition. This book answered many of my questions and I am now much better equipped to understand what my recently-diagnosed aunt is going through.
Review copy provided by the author.