September 25, 2020  (Web Review)

Blood Sugar Rising

120 min. DVD, $24.99. 3.5*

Reviewer rating: 3.5/4

Opening statistics stating that 100 million persons in the U.S. suffer from diabetes or have a pre-diabetes condition, a disease that can maim or kill, might surprise many viewers. This accessible program personalizes the disease by profiling various persons dealing with Diabetes 1 or 2: Monteil, a 36-year-old San Francisco musician who is facing possible amputation of his big toe due to a severe fungus infection and Nicole who, diagnosed at age 17, is undergoing kidney dialysis three times a week and dealing with serious eye problems that could lead to blindness. The program also travels to Appalachian region of Ohio to follow a community health worker as she attempts to help  locals eat healthier. In the Bronx, a local community garden worker discusses lack of fresh vegetables and fruits and other nutritionally good choices in low income neighborhoods.

In addition to the profiled individuals, we hear from scientists, physicians, journalists, and other experts explaining various facets of the disease, such as potential causes (“genes load the gun and the environment pulls the trigger”), concerns, symptoms, and treatments. A history of insulin is also presented through vintage footage and photographs. The debate over the high cost of insulin is tackled through the experiences of one family whose 26-year-old son died after hiding the fact from his parents that he was unable to afford insulin priced at $1,300 per prescription. The personal stories and expert commentary add immediacy and interest to a complicated and sometimes misunderstood disease that is predicted to affect one half of the U.S. population by 2025. Highly Recommended. Aud: C, P. (S. Beauregard)