Blood Sugar Rising

Blood Sugar Rising

Wed, 04/15/2020 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm

Diabetes is a hidden epidemic in America, with a frighteningly rapid rise in the last generation alone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three children born today can expect to develop the disease, and the disease impacts everyone in the country: we are spending more than $325 billion each year on diabetes. Looking behind these statistics is a new two-hour documentary special, Blood Sugar Rising, premiering on WXXI-TV Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at 9 p.m. The program explores the lives of people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in communities across America and showcases the caretakers, physicians and scientists who are working to improve diabetes management and prevention, creating new hope for the future.

Blood Sugar Rising also suggests that one of the most challenging parts of living with diabetes is stigma. Experts in the film are clear that people with other chronic diseases do not face the same “blame and shame” for their conditions, and they suggest that stigmatizing diabetes helps keep the epidemic hidden and makes it harder to support and improve life for the more than 34 million Americans with diabetes today.

In Blood Sugar Rising, we meet individuals with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who received their diagnoses anywhere from infancy to adulthood. They tell stories that are rich with complexity and individuality as they navigate the difficulties, surprises and frustrations associated with the disease. Some of them struggle to secure the care and medicine they need.

Blood Sugar Rising also looks at remarkable innovations in diabetes care, showcasing the revolutionary changes of the last 50 years. New devices and medications, and life-saving surgeries suggest there is hope for a future where diabetes management does not require all-consuming monitoring, day and night, seven days a week. In the series, we meet Ed Damiano, whose son David has Type 1 diabetes. This inspired Ed to create a “bionic” pancreas to automatically regulate the disease so David can safely go off to college and begin to live independently.

The film challenges viewers to look at the environments where we live. In communities of color and in poor, rural areas, we see how social inequities are fueling the growth of diabetes. In the Bronx, for example, residents lack access to healthy foods and are instead surrounded by bodegas filled with sugarrich options for their families. To combat that, Karen Washington, who lost her brother to diabetes, spearheads the building of an urban garden, increasing access to healthier foods and educating school groups and others about the importance of diet to diabetes prevention.