Oprah Takes on Type 2 Diabetes, the 'Silent Killer'


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  103 comments   :  22,288 Views

Turn on the TV or set your DVR today for a very special episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on the topic of Type 2 diabetes, which Oprah calls "a silent killer."

According to the American Diabetes Association, the disease affects 7.8% of the population (more than 23 million people), and it was the seventh leading cause of death in 2006.

From Harpo Productions:
Today Oprah, Dr. Oz, Bob Greene, Art Smith, Dr. Ian Smith and more reveal the staggering human cost of the growing diabetes and pre-diabetes epidemic on a special episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Before a studio audience comprised entirely of diabetics and their families, Oprah and Dr. Oz reveal the latest facts and figures, share stories of those affected, and hold a no-holds-barred, revealing conversation about risk factors, diet and lifestyle.

Says Winfrey, “Diabetes is a ticking time bomb. It's a silent killer. It’s annihilating the African American community. Literally. It’s killing almost 100 of us every single day in the African-American community.”

Winfrey and Dr. Oz are also joined by fitness guru Bob Greene, who will reveal the hidden sugars lurking in everyday meals and snacks, and diet expert Dr. Ian Smith. Plus, a diagnosis of diabetes became an urgent wake-up call for celebrity chef Art Smith. Now, after losing eighty-five pounds and reversing his diabetes, he offers viewers his tips. As part of the show, Oprah will also announce a special offer that will help every American get their blood sugar tested for free.

Check your local listings for the time the episode will air.

For more information on Type 2 Diabetes, check out SparkPeople's comprehensive Condition Center.

After you watch the show, let's come back here and comment on what we've learned. In the mean time, what do you think should be done to help combat the disease?

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  • 103
    I've read ARTHUR AGATSTON, M.D.'s wonderful book "The South Beach Diet Heart Health" book, and he explains why we get METABOLIC SYNDROME/pre-diabetes/Insulin Resistance and that leads to Type 2 Diabetes, and a person NEEDS to deal with THAT as much as when it is full-blown, since it is doing damage to the body. His book is WELL worth reading.
    - 3/26/2010   9:19:45 PM
  • 102
    I got to see the show & learned a few things- I had a Mom & brother that went blind from diabetes- both had to live on dialysis- brother died at 48(type 1)-didn't take care of himself-couldn't control his eating-Mom died at 80 (type 2)-she did her best at taking care of herself-I'm always learning about it as I have it also(type 2)-Dr is happy with my control of it but I want it better! SP is helping me to get my numbers lower & almost where I want them along with Dr Oz on the Oprah show giving us some pointers. - 2/10/2010   12:55:34 PM
  • BLESSED1953
    Sorry I missed the show. - 2/7/2010   1:35:28 PM
  • 100
    While far from being a posster child for good diabetes health and diet, it's still good that she lends her popularity to the topic. - 2/7/2010   11:47:39 AM
    I think the show was very well done! My dad has type 1 diabetes and has been insulin dependant since he was 3 years old. My grandparents had type 2 as well as some of my relatives. My cousin had health issues growing up and now they know he also was a diabetic type 1. So I know how serious this can be and I know how it is treatable or at least manageable if it is taken seriously. My dad was told he wouldn't live to be 18 then 25 then 30 he is now almost 70. He has had a few health issues with kidneys vision etc. but he took them very serious and they are better. He had prostate cancer a few years ago and that was scary. But he's good. It is when people don't manage it or do things they know they shouldn't be doing is when it becomes a problem. - 2/7/2010   11:25:48 AM
  • 98
    I wish to commend Oprah and Dr Oz for trying to inspire people to eat right, exercise, and find out whether or not they have diabetes. My father and brother have both died within the past 18 months from complications from diabetes. In both cases, they could have controlled it and chose not to. Let's respect our bodies. If we have diabetes, let's do everything we can to control or reverse it. Please. - 2/7/2010   10:55:28 AM
    Dr oz totally missed the boat by saying diabetes is reversible. Saying a disease is reversible implies it is curable and that is not true. First, type 1 is an autoimmune disease with no cure. T1s must take insulin to live. Second, as a type 2, I will always be diabetic. My most recent A1c is 5.4 and my average fasting glucose is right at 100. I keep my blood sugar in control with diet, exercise, and medication. Per Dr Oz I have reversed my disease because my numbers are usually normal. It takes a lot of work and I test multiple times a day to stay in control. But all it takes is ONE high carb meal and my blood sugar goes right up. That is not reversed by any definition. - 2/6/2010   11:41:35 PM
  • 96
    I have an issue with Oprahs show, Although she had medical professionals on the show--there was some considerable mis information regarding Type 1 (which I have had since I was 5).

    There was some good information on the show however......there was some dis service with inaccurate information. If it opened peoples aware ness that is great. But it is important that they get correct infomation. - 2/6/2010   11:36:02 PM
    I watched the Opra show everday,and really became more educated about diabetes and decided I should be more aware of my own health. I decided to do more research and get tested myself to prevent the silent killer. A big eye opener. - 2/6/2010   7:21:38 PM
  • 94
    Wish I would have known about this show earlier...my mom just found out her numbers are higher than normal and we need to watch for the possibility of diabetes. Now the challenge is to help her change her eating habits. Carbs and sweets are her comfort food. Thanks for all the insightful comments. - 2/6/2010   6:14:00 PM
    This was a great program. I know it may have scared some people, but this is a horrible disease! My doctor tested me and I'm okay, but made my son get the free test even though he is 23 yrs. old and healthy. I applaud Oprah for all the public service information her program distributes, educating so many people who would otherwise be clueless. I, for one, will miss her program when she is gone!
    - 2/6/2010   6:10:14 PM
    For those who did not see the show on Oprah, you can go to Oprah.com Diabetes: America's Silent Killer episode. - 2/6/2010   6:08:35 PM
  • 91
    Glad that the news is getting out there. Many have been thinking that they are healthy just carrying extra weight. Hopefully more people get checked and change their lifestyles. I am trying hard to kep me from becoming a statistic. - 2/6/2010   4:52:40 PM
  • 90
    I think that I am pre-diabetic and have been trying to make all the changes to avoid getting diabetes. Would have liked to have seen this show. - 2/6/2010   12:31:08 PM
  • 89
    I suspect that those that claim type I diabetes can be reversed through diet and exercise are really talking about type II that started in a younger person, since we are seeing more and more type II diabetes in the younger generation these days.
    I agree its time to take charge of our health. I had pre-diabetes, and very high blood pressure (which often go hand in hand). Today, I have neither, just better health..its worth it to let go of the "white death foods" in exchange for healthy alternatives! - 2/6/2010   10:57:47 AM
  • 88
    Sorry missed the show. Does anyone know if it will air again - 2/6/2010   10:29:24 AM
  • 87
    Someone left a comment about the "raw 30" reversing type 1 and 2 diabetes.????.TYPE 1 is NOT reversable..if you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes...you have it for the rest of your life..until there is a cure..........
    My son has Juvenille Diabetes..diagnosed at the age of 8 - 2/6/2010   8:07:23 AM
  • 86
    How sad that many decide to look past what Oprah was trying to do by airing the show. She was trying to wake-up America and see that this is a serious problem that is out of control and will end up getting worse if we don't change some things. Our youth is going to have serious health problems early on and will day much earlier than expected. This is nothing to be taking lightly. I watched the show with my Mom who is a type 2 diabetic because she is not in the best of health and I wanted to jolt her into changing that. How ironic that I was the one jolted instead. I had a few of the symptoms and many risk factors. I decided to go to Walgreens and take the blood glucose test which was 105. They told me to exercise more and watch what I eat including cut out the "white" foods because they do break down into sugar.

    I've watched my Mom struggle with her disease for many years and swore up and down that would never be me. I was surprised when I went to Walgreens and there was a line of about 50 people before they even started and everyone said they saw it on Oprah. I would never of tested myself if I didn't watch the show and many others probably wouldn't of either. So, in that case, the show did some good, if it got people tested and aware that this is a serious problem we have in our country. I get why some don't like watching her because of all the fad diets she tried, but when you think about that it sounds like many of us as well. She is going through the same thing many of us do up and down on the weight loss roller coaster. Sure she could go pay for a quick fix surgery, but she also knows her problem is much deeper and it will not fix it. Either way the show got people talking about it and others taking action. - 2/6/2010   2:55:09 AM
    I am sorry that I missed the show. Can anyone tell me if it will be shown again in the Los Angeles area? I am diabetic. - 2/6/2010   1:03:58 AM
  • 84
    I know first hand on type 1 that sometimes even when you do things right it doesn't always mean good things happen. My late husband had to have his leg amputated, had several heart attacks and strokes and died at 41! Back in the 70's and 80's they didn't have the great glucometers so relied on the dip sticks in urine until those became available for home use. He shunned sweets and we drank Tab and it was nasty and he still had all the complications that go along with this horrible disease. Now I have a granddaughter who was diagnosed at 5 and every day I pray that the cure we thought we would see in his lifetime will come in hers. People don't take this disease seriously enough be it type 1 or 2. I try to educate all my friends when they get the diagnosis as I can tell them what can happen if they do not keep it in control and they believe me knowing I was married to a diabetic for 22 years and dealt with all his problems. - 2/5/2010   10:55:01 PM
  • 83
    I suspected I was diabetic many years ago when I was thirsty all the time,and my back was itching all the time.Advised my doctor of my suspicion and he had me take an A1C test.I'd never heard of an A1C test before .He told me that the test was more accurate than the regular fasting blood sugar test and that it gives an average of your blood sugars for 3 months and an added bonus was A1Cs don't require fasting!!
    Well,I was diagnosed as border line and my doctor suggested diet and exercise and told me if I smoked to stop.I was in denial then I became angry .I didn't want to deny myself nor restrict my portion sizes .Heck,I was already eating just once a day .He explained to me that the once a day eating and the Cokes were causing my weight gain and starving my body to boot .The only habit I immediately picked up was eating breakfast which helped my mood .Face forward to now and years of unmanaged blood sugars has resulted in my dealing with neuropathy of the feet ,which throws off my balance and I've had a couple of serious falls ,beginning glaucoma,worsened depression,and cognitive challenges .Yet,I won't give up on myself and have just completed classes with a Certified Diabetes Educator.
    My doctor also told me that by the time most people get a diagnosis of diabetes that they've been walking around feeling fine and not knowing their condition for years.

    I would suggest everyone ,especially if there's a high risk factor ,get an A1C and if you're diagnosed have your doctor write a script for nutritional classes thru a Certified Diabetes Educator and if you're given a clean bill of health start eating better.Being diabetic doesn't mean you Can't have sugar it means that you have to watch your portions and count total carbs per meal /snack.Spread out your meals over the course of the day , don't skip meals ,and make better carb choices. - 2/5/2010   8:40:43 PM
  • MAGIC764
    Diabetes is not a lifestyle disease and to see the way this was presented (Dr Oz is not an endocrinologist) is disheartening and frustrating in several ways. See this blog for more information: http://sixuntilme.com/blog2/2010/02
    - 2/5/2010   8:21:31 PM
  • 81
    It was a real eye opener for me. I have a father, both brothers and my sister that are type 2. I'm doing something now before I join them. I’m sure I have already done some damage but I am going to make it right. - 2/5/2010   7:13:04 PM
  • 80
    My brother was recently diagnosed HIV positive... and was devastated. In speaking with his doctor, he was told that diabetes is considered to be more serious than HIV. - 2/5/2010   7:12:51 PM
  • 79
    My father died 11 years ago when he was 71 because of complications of diabetes. That is one of the reasons I decided to get my weight under control. I have been trying year in and year out but I think now I have the proper tools I need to do it. I told my husband that I know I am going to die from something but not from anything I can control. - 2/5/2010   5:17:35 PM
    Oh my goodness......the ignorance is unreal! I am an ER nurse where everyday I see people affected by Diabetes, all colors and racial backgrounds. I myself also did not heed the warning of my doctor and went from being pre-diabetic to full blown type II Diabetes. I could have avoided this by following his directions, but instead didn't quit smoking, change my lifestyle or diet. Now I'm paying for it, however, I refuse to succumb to all the end stage results Diabetes can and will cause. I'm here on SP, trying to exercise more and even involved ny hubby in my effort to lose weight and become more healthy. What kind of healthcare provider can I be if I don't lead by example???? Oh and by the way....sugar isn't the only food group problem with Diabetes! - 2/5/2010   5:10:17 PM
    I watched the show and it was really informative. I think more talk shows should do episodes on diseases and ways to deal with them, treat them, etc. I feel like I came out with a better understanding what diabetes actually does to the bodies organs once present and especially left untreated. It seemed like in my life and others on the program that diabetes has become a little to common..everyone knows someone with it and they appear to be living fairly well. And therefore it is not seen as serious as I think it should be. Losing limbs, blindness..kidney failure, heart problems etc are all possible if people who have diabetes don't manage it well..and if it is not diagnosed early on. - 2/5/2010   3:42:58 PM
    I've not been able to view the Oprah show but I've personal experience with Diabetes (I've lived 95 % of my life as a diabetic) and it does not have to be the death sentence that most believe to be true. My complications are slim to none but at any time that could change and I will deal with it. It is a way of life not a death sentence and if that is the way you look at it then you will survive. To me every day is an adventure and I just continue to get out of bed and see what the day brings. Growing up with diabetes I've not been an angle believe me on that one and I've still got another day to see what I can get into. A positive attitude helps in living with the disease and with losing weight, so don't fear it just learn to live with it and that means a healthy diet and exercise. - 2/5/2010   3:16:19 PM
  • 75
    I think the confusion is that there is such a huge variety in Type 2 cases and difficulties. You have the heredity group that often develop it in young adulthood with not much influence to diet and exercise. One side of my family falls into that group - brittle diabetics with loss of eyesight, dialysis, amputations, etc. Then you have the group that gets it as they age, OR they get it at any age as a result of lifestyle choices - the other side of my family.

    The confusion is that these are two distinct groups of people with the same labeled disease. Mainstream america (including many doctors) assume if you have Type 2 that you are a fat lazy slob who sits around and drinks soda and eats cookies all day. My grandmother was an RN who worked all the time, grew organically most of her foods and ate meat sparingly (which she was raised to do and most of her family eats this way).

    Please be compassionate when you see/hear about this disorder and remember that - a label cannot tell you how or why, it only tells you what someone has.

    OH - PS - I think you can probably find the show on her website or on hulu or something. - 2/5/2010   3:00:25 PM
  • 74
    Apparently, not enough is being done otherwise there wouldn't be as large number of people being killed as result of diabetes. - 2/5/2010   2:37:40 PM
  • 73
    I was inspired by the documentary "Raw in 30", in which reversed and cured a group of people of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Folks eat a raw natural diet, then cooked food is added in the final week of the program. I saw the film on public television.

    Also the book by Norman Cousins "There is a Cure for Diabetes".

    I'll check out Oprah's show, just curious! My mom and many relatives have had diabetes. - 2/5/2010   1:23:23 PM
  • 72
    I don't know what the amputation rate is for diabetics but I do personally know four people who have/had type 1 diabetes and either had one or two legs amputated: my aunt, who is currently in a nursing home; my husband's uncle and grandfather, both deceased, and a co-worker's mother, whom I had just met 3 months before she had to have her leg amputated. Sadly, she too passed away within weeks of the surgery, due to complications from the diabetes. While it's true that heredity plays a major factor in whether we will develop diabetes, the disease is quickly becoming a problem for many Americans because of our lifestyle habits. I don't want to shoot the messenger for bringing bad news, nor criticize the messenger for delivering inaccurate or incomplete news. Too many of us ignore bad news so that we can keep doing what we're doing because it makes us happy, when we should start to do something different because it will make us healthier. My glucose levels and cholesterol levels are great; my blood pressure is a work in progress. If I bury my head in the sand on this or diabetes, which is prevalent in my family, I will be more than foolish. - 2/5/2010   12:30:47 PM
    I do not and would not watch Oprah under any circumstances. Not interested in anything she has to say.

    BYW, my dad has Type II and is not overweight, never has been, hasn't smoked in 50 years, walks 3 miles a day, gardens, takes care of my mother, and is 87 years old. Go, figure! - 2/5/2010   12:18:46 PM
  • 70
    i watched the show because i love Oprah and Dr.oz. i think we need to cut out the fried foods, the processed food s and go back to growing gardens and cooking at home - 2/5/2010   12:06:14 PM
  • 69
    I watched the show, there was lots of information and lots of visual aids. The most important thing the show generated is discussion, education, prevention, and this is the success. If one person is saved, their eyes open to this silent desease, the show was a huge succcess. As an overwiegh individual with a mother with diabetes, I have to do everything to lower my risks with diet, exercise and medical appointments that include bloodwork and monitoring. Thank you Oprah & Dr Oz, you are a great messenger to us all - 2/5/2010   12:04:40 PM
  • 68
    Sorry missed it too would have love to have seen it - 2/5/2010   12:00:09 PM
  • 67
    I'm with NEWKATH2010. I saw many promo for this episiode and when I found , I decided not to watch. God, all the over sensationalism. Oprah knows how to hype.
    I have Type 2 diabetes on both sides of my family. I have know many others with diabetes. I have never know anyone who had to have soemthing amputated. So I wonder what the amputataion rate is?
    I had a co-worker, a size 4, regular execerise (walked daily) and made me envious of her healthy eating. Guess, what? She found out she was diabetic.
    So NEWKATH2010, rigth - it's not always a "life style" disease.
    Glad I didn't watch because I would be fuming too.
    As for all the psoters about American's and thheir diets - you're right. As a nation we are not healthy eaters. But not all unhealthy eaters get diabetes.
    And OUBACHE, I too have had MAJOR reception problems since I switch to digital! I have rescan every week and somethings every other day. Epecailly after power outages, thunder storms. Ugh with digital! - 2/5/2010   12:00:07 PM
  • 66
    Sorry - missed the show - 2/5/2010   11:40:57 AM
  • 65
    I watched the show last night with Oprah and Dr. Oz. I am still fuming. Dr. Oz is supposed to be an authority on all things medical, and yet there he was, spouting misinformation about such an important topic. I have had type 2 diabetes for more than 12 years, so my education on this subject is personal.

    Type 1 diabetes in NOT a situation where the body doesn't produce "enough" insulin. In type 1, the body doesn't produce insulin. Period. And type 2 diabetes in NOT simply a lifestyle problem. Genetics also plays a huge part, and do certain drugs. In my case, prednisone started my diabetes and then worsened it the next time I had to use the steroid for breathing problems.

    To say that type 2 diabetes is caused by lifestyle only is a huge insult to people who do their best to be healthy and still have to deal with this deadly enemy. We have enough to deal with without having the prejudice of "experts" like Dr. Oz trying to make us feel even worse. - 2/5/2010   11:16:09 AM
  • 64
    IMHO, we Americans need to stop eating so much processed foods and get back to basics: whole foods (i.e., consume foods that don't come from a box and don't resemble their original form), everything in moderation (portion control), and move a lot more! - 2/5/2010   10:33:37 AM
  • 63
    I have family memebers who suffer from diabetes. I too was on the border of having it if I didnt get healthy & lose the weight.
    - 2/5/2010   10:08:31 AM
  • 62
    delete - 2/5/2010   9:14:43 AM
  • 61
    It was a wonderful show with lots of good information even if you're not a diabetic. My husband is diabetic and he watched it and learned a lot. I love Dr. Oz he's always right on. - 2/5/2010   8:54:57 AM
  • 60
    I didn't get to watch the show, but I need to make a point here based on some information in some postings and something in this article - you CAN be diabetic and still have a good A1c number. The real test is whether or not you can pass a glucose tolerance test. I can't pass the glucose tolerance test and end up rather ill when I take one, but my A1c stays in check because I work at it. I am still considered diabetic (type II) and still overweight, but I also eat well, spreading my food out throughout the day and eating fruits, veggies, grains and low-fat/lean proteins. - 2/5/2010   8:30:38 AM
  • 59
    Thanks to everything switching from analog to digital, we can no longer receive network tv at our rural home and I can no longer watch Oprah. Does anyone know if this show might be made available on videotape or DVD or broadcast over the internet? - 2/5/2010   8:12:42 AM
  • JEANNIE5148
    Was an awesome show, really made me open up my eyes and see what as really there. To start doing something about it. Change one thing a day. - 2/5/2010   7:58:39 AM
  • 57
    Too bad the notification came on Friday morning for a show that aired Thursday.
    Maybe someone from SparkPeople will provide a link so that we watch it on the internet. - 2/5/2010   6:51:03 AM
  • 56
    This program made me not want to eat sugar ever again. I have heard so much about Diabetes, read about it but to actually watch these men speak and watch all they showed sure was a wake up call. - 2/5/2010   5:33:07 AM
  • 55
    I don't get the Oprah show overseas. - 2/5/2010   2:58:25 AM
  • 54
    Thanks for posting this info and the air times. - 2/5/2010   12:26:57 AM

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