June 9, 2009

Sotomayor pick reveals diabetes myths

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor's diabetes has shown many people still harbor outdated myths about the disease, medical experts say.

Soon after it was revealed Sotomayor suffered from diabetes, suggestions emerged that it would hamper her performance on the court, but doctors say misconceptions about what diabetes sufferers can or can't do abound, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The diabetes myths range from fears that Sotomayor may be too sickly to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court to worries that she may be taking too many medications to keep a clear head, the newspaper said.

I think the reaction to Sotomayor says diabetes is still a mystery to most people, said endocrinologist Robert Rizza, executive dean for research at the Mayo Clinic. They think, 'I don't know what this disease is, but I know it's not good,' adding that misconceptions may stem from the 1960s when thick insulin needles and glucose testing at hospitals was the norm.

People aren't aware of the strides that have been made in diabetes care and how, with appropriate monitoring, lifestyle and treatment, people with diabetes can live very healthy lives, Richard Furlanetto, former scientific director for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, told USA Today.