SOURCE: American Diabetes Association

July 17, 2008 10:32 ET

Bob Schieffer: Facing the Nation's Diabetes Crisis

ALEXANDRIA, VA--(Marketwire - July 17, 2008) - Legendary news anchor Bob Schieffer may "face the nation" every Sunday on CBS, but over the last seven years he's also faced something else: diabetes. In an exclusive interview with Diabetes Forecast, the consumer magazine of the American Diabetes Association, Schieffer -- who next month will be publishing a new book, "Bob Schieffer's America" -- shares his thoughts about starting insulin therapy, how his mother has inspired him to speak out about his condition, and his determination to continue working despite his retirement announcement this year.

Although Schieffer hadn't experienced any symptoms, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes seven years ago during a routine check up with his doctor. Initially he managed the disease with diet and exercise. "I took off about 20 pounds. I basically weigh what I weighed in high school," he says. The diagnosis actually helped Schieffer to improve his health, he says: "I think it made me better, because I'm in better shape than I would have been. I've managed to keep my weight down. I feel good."

Recently Schieffer's doctor suggested incorporating insulin into his diabetes management. After a long talk, Schieffer decided it was the right choice. He now takes insulin once a day. "It's really working well... I have to say for people who are worried about whether to switch, it's been so much easier than I thought it would be." With a busy schedule -- especially during an election year -- Schieffer strives to maintain enough routine to manage his diabetes. "But you have to also understand that some days you're going to miss the deadline. Some days you're not going to be able to take your medicine at the same time, and you can't obsess about it."

Schieffer has seen his share of health conditions; he has ulcerative colitis and is a cancer survivor. When his mother got breast cancer, she never told anyone or visited the doctor because her fear held her back. "Had she gone [to the doctor] they might have been able to save her life," says Schieffer. "Being sick is nothing to be ashamed of. That's my message."

Also in the August issue:

Embracing the needle -- Here's a new medical term: psychological insulin resistance, or PIR. This refers to a fear that many people with type 2 diabetes have about going on insulin. It stems from a variety of causes, including misconceptions about insulin, fear of needles, and side effects such as hypoglycemia. And PIR is not limited to patients. Health care professionals often hesitate to prescribe insulin because they assume patients will not use it properly, or they refer to insulin as a last-resort rather than a valuable medication that will help people with diabetes control their disease. Researchers see potential benefit in shifting in the way insulin therapy is presented -- as an inevitability, but not a threat.

In addition, this issue of Diabetes Forecast brings you information about:

-- Fun ways to get exercise without realizing you're working out

-- Recipes for ice cream treats that people with diabetes can enjoy: raspberry floats, chocolate peanut butter pie, and a super banana sundae

-- Cutting-edge research highlights from the American Diabetes Association's 68th Scientific Sessions

Diabetes Forecast has been America's leading diabetes magazine for 60 years. Each full-color issue offers the latest news on diabetes research and treatment. Its mission is to provide information, inspiration, and support to people with diabetes, helping them to live a healthier lifestyle, control their diabetes, and prevent or treat its many complications. The magazine is published monthly by the American Diabetes Association.

The American Diabetes Association is the nation's premier voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. The Association's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association provides services to hundreds of communities across the country. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

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