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on August 11, 2015
This book gives a comprehensive overview of how care delivery for diabetes has changed over the years while providing real patient and provider testimonials. I would recommend this to anyone who knows someone with diabetes, is in the health field, or is looking to design better solutions for the millions living with this disease.
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on March 25, 2007
I LOVED this book! I have had type 1 diabetes for 24 years and I am very well managed and complication free. This book was interesting and informative in so many ways... the history of diabetes treatment; the hurdles and challenges of treatment & research given today's healthcare system, pharmaceutical industry, rewards systems and cultural landscape; and a first person perspective of a knowledgeable long time diabetic. You may not agree with everything Hirsch has to say, but this is a GREAT read nonetheless.
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on November 20, 2015
It had some major points that I'd forgotten about. I think every new diabetic should read and keep to go over.
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on February 20, 2007
This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the emotional and economic issues of diabetes. It is far more complex than the last "educational"/fund-raising blurb you received. Mr. Hirsch describes the economics, politics and promises of research from a patient and parent perspective. He is an informed voice in the wlderness of vested interests of a multi-billion dollar industry. Read this book to feel empowered and inspired!
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on January 9, 2011
Cheating Destiny is an excellent book in many ways, blending science, history, and psychology into a cohesive page-turner. The historical information presented is gripping and fascinating. Yet the author, James Hirsch, makes many errors along the way that lessen the impact of his narrative. First, America's biggest epidemic is Type 2 diabetes, a different disease altogether than Type 1 diabetes, which is the disease that Mr. Hirsch, his son, and his brother Dr. Irl Hirsch have. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are different diseases, not different forms of one disease, and the two diseases have different genetics, causes, treatments, and potential cures. There simply is not an epidemic of Type 1 diabetes, so for Mr. Hirsch to imply that his living with (Type 1) diabetes is part of America's biggest epidemic (Type 2 diabetes) is false and misleading. The largest error that Mr. Hirsch makes is that he repeatedly emphasizes that Type 1 diabetes primarily affects children ("These are the signs of type 1 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in juveniles and treated with insulin", page 2), which is not correct according to the CDC. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most current information on the prevalence and incidence of Type 1 diabetes comes from Diabetes in America, Chapter 3, "Prevalence and Incidence of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes" (Diabetes in America, Second Edition, 1995). That source states that children (<20 years of age) represent only 44% of new cases of Type 1 diabetes per year, with 56% being adults; and furthermore that CDC source states that there is an unknown number of adults identified as having Type 2 diabetes who have slowly progressive Type 1 diabetes. In summary, of those new onset Type 1 diabetics who are correctly diagnosed, 56% are adults, and an unknown number of new onset Type 1 diabetics have been misdiagnosed as having Type 2 diabetes. Sadly, by perpetuating the myth that Type 1 diabetes is a childhood disease, as Mr. Hirsch does, many adults with new-onset Type 1 diabetes are misdiagnosed as having Type 2 diabetes and receive incorrect treatment (life-saving insulin is withheld from them), and this has even resulted in deaths. If the misdiagnosed adult-onset Type 1 diabetics (10% of all cases of "Type 2" diabetes) are correctly included in the statistics for Type 1 diabetes, then Type 2 constitutes about 75-85% of all cases of diabetes, not the 90% that Mr. Hirsch claims (page 15).

Overall, I would actually recommend this book, especially for people who have had Type 1 diabetes for some time, but caution readers that Mr. Hirsch plays fast and loose with some facts.
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VINE VOICEon January 2, 2007
Let me start by saying that if you're new to diabetes, this book is probably not for you.

Mostly this is because of the book's coverage of the recent history of diabetes treatment and all of the shortcomings. In the early part of the 20th century the hope of insulin followed by the realization of the complications caused by living with elevated blood sugars.

Hirsch has a lot to say about what's gone wrong in the past and in the present day. This includes the lack of coverage for proper diabetes care and the ongoing promise of 'a cure' in the near term. And he also has some eye-opening statistics about the cost of diabetes care and complications.

But readers might also be dismayed by the immediate future for diabetes. The author covers some of the research that's happening towards such a cure, without being unrealistic about the likelihood that positive results will occur any time soon (my personal bet is that we won't see anything significant before 2015).

I just wish that he had laid out a plan for how things might be made better. I know that in the end this would just be one person's opinion, but having a chapter entitled something like "Effectively Dealing with Diabetes until We See a Cure", where he made specific proposals such as how healthcare and research dollars might be best spent, would have made this a much more worthwhile read.

My one hope is that if enough people read this book they might start to talk with their legislators. Then maybe diabetes care and research might be handled in a way that would improve the quality of life for those with the disease now, and would yield significant health care savings for all of us along the way.
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on May 7, 2016
"Cheating Destiny" is recommended for anyone who wants to prevent or understand Diabetes Mellitus. Of this disease, you learn some history, symptoms and about the pioneers in the treatment of diabetes. You also learn how the disease is managed with medical doctors and self-care. You don't need to have diabetes to enjoy reading this book; It is an excellent book for the history buff, too. Highly recommended!
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on May 20, 2007
I've had Type I diabetes since age 3 and I'm now 54.

The fact that I'm still alive is a testament to the improvements in treatment of the specific type of diabetes I have. Having said that, the incredibly bad training and lack of understanding of most medical professionals is downright frightening. With my years of experience, I know when a medical professional is clueless and can find one who does have knowledge and experience. What scares me are those parents and patients who don't understand and end up being treated by the uninformed or misinformed. Mr. Hirsch gets it right on that count and that is what I consider the key point of an effective treatment plan...start with the very best professionals you can find. Do NOT settle for wannabes with degrees that mean less than nothing! Find physicians who have the disease themselves and are active in research and have well trained, experienced staffs. If your physician gets excited and starts praising you for your 5.0 A1c...and does NOT warn you about the neurological damage to the brain from excessive lows, it's time to find a new endocrinologist.

My last two endos are both type I's who teach at major medical schools. My primary care physicians communicate with the endos and coordinate my treatment...effectively.

Be proactive and research your medical caregivers.

Kudos to Mr. Hirsch for a book that states the truths of diabetes care in our time!
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on January 9, 2007
I agree with those who thought this was a really good book. I've read Bernstein's book as well. I'm not sure why someone would think this is a book on diabetes treatment. It's a personal account with some historical, scientific stuff thrown in. Personally, I found it really fascinating and kind of comforting. As a diabetic, I've known that we really are on our own with only other diabetics to relate to. I think this author relays this well.

As for Bernstein, I'm actually following a lot of his advice, and, yes, I have seen improvement. But keep in mind, Bernstein's approach is rigorous and one of extreme denial of food, and extreme rigidity and control. His approach remains controversial. Not everyone can live like that. Part of the human existence is enjoying life, and food is a very important part of that. I can't imagine expecting a child to adhere to Bernstein's rigorous program.

Do read this book if you are a diabetic. It is not a manual for treating diabetes.
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on January 8, 2007
My experience reading Hirsch's book was quite different. I couldn't put it down. I found his style of writing and presentation interesting, and believe he played devil's advocate with Dr. Bernstein's recommendations. A common theme throughout his book from Joslen to Bernstein to various diabetics interviewed, is that many people who manage their diabetes well eat low-carb, exercise, and maintain tight control. I found his message empowering as he encouraged diabetics to educate themselves and not rely passively on their physician's to help them. I was shocked to learn how little training physicians receive on treating diabetes (2 hours?), and how the powers that be aren't too interested in finding a cure due to vested interests. In terms of the physician who cared and couldn't make a living, that's where my profession is at in regard to insurance companies.
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