September 13, 2012

What happens if Diabetes hits home in Amish Country?


My curiosity was piqued when TLC aired their show “Breaking Amish” last Sunday. We have different pathologies that cause diabetes. You may think that Type 2 diabetes is probably less of a concern in a whole food, active community like the Amish.  This is true. But what about insulin-dependent diabetes? What about refrigerators?

A study was published in Diabetes Care in 2000 about the susceptibility of Type 2 diabetes among the Old Order Amish (OOA). The Old Order Amish (OOA) are a genetically well-defined closed Caucasian founder population.

The study found that Type 2 diabetes in the Amish population has similar physical characteristics to a non-Amish population, although the prevalence in the Amish community is lower than that of the non-Amish population. The existence of Type  2 diabetes among Amish is clustered in families.

Type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune cause of diabetes, is the type that requires insulin (the kind that has to be refrigerated for preservation), blood glucose meters (an electronic device), and possibly a pump. What is a T1D to do? I was not the only person thinking this, as mentioned in a blog post about a year ago.

Clearly PubMed listings and blogs couldn’t answer the question so I took it straight to the horse’s mouth: 1-800-PA-DUTCH. Cindy graciously gave me a brief summary on the lifestyle of Amish and Mennonite community insofar as their medical needs. In the case of a person with Type 1 diabetes, they do have the storage allotment for refrigerated insulin. They do visit doctors for the medical intervention necessary.

Another thing Cindy told me was that the TLC portrayal of the Amish and Mennonite community in “Breaking Amish” was off-base. She said the show is incorrect in their depiction of the people they choose to feature. The Amish lifestyle is a little more horse and buggy whereas the Mennonite lifestyle is indiscernible from everybody else. They drive cars. They use electricity.

After all – it is a dash of heritage with a pinch of flair!

Visit Your Diabetes Health for more resources about health.
  • Maximillianfloyd

    Question is are there any Amish that even have type 1 diabetes? Since they drink raw milk and not the pasteurized and homogenized crap us English drink. Several studies have linked milk to the cause of type 1 diabetes, causing an autoimmune reaction that kills the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. So does raw milk cause type 1????????

    Many women with breast cancer have cured their cancer just by only switching from pasteurized milk to raw milk, some Amish have even cured cancer by increasing raw milk intake!!!!! Raw milk is alkalizing to the body whereas pasteurized milk is acid forming.

  • Dylan

    I have type 1 diabetics here’s ca little info you can’t prevent it doesn’t matter what you eat you will just get it if you eat a lot of fat foods u will probably get type 2 but type 1 we don’t know how we get it there’s no cure if all are power went out us type 1 diabetics are f***ed