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Flu season precautions start in October

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flu-seasonThe Influenza Season should raise caution flags for both adults and children living with diabetes. Persons who are Type 1 or Type 2 are not more likely to catch the flu, but they are at a higher risk of serious flu complications, often resulting in hospitalization and sometimes even death. Complications that can develop from the flu include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections.

The flu also can make chronic health problems, like diabetes, worse. This is because diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight infections. In addition, illness can make it harder to control blood sugar. The illness might raise sugars, but sometimes people don’t feel like eating when they are sick, and this can cause blood sugar levels to fall. So it is important to follow the sick day guidelines  for people with diabetes.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a yearly flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible, but getting vaccinated later is OK. Vaccination should continue throughout the flu season, even in January or later. Some children who have received flu vaccine previously and children who have only received one dose in their lifetime, may need two doses of flu vaccine. A health care provider can advise on how many doses a child should get.

The diabetes educators at Diabetes Management & Supplies can help educate and prepare individuals for the challenges of diabetes. For more information on the DMS diabetes education services, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email

Related: Nasal sprays, FluMist out this year

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Alert: Nasal sprays, FluMist out this year

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Nasal sprays used in the past to prevent the spread of influenza should not be an option for the 2016-17 flu season.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is only recommending the use of injectable influenza vaccines this year.

The category of injectable vaccines includes inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017.

The nasal spray version of the flu vaccine was very popular with parents and pediatricians because many children are afraid of needles. This year, however, the nation’s leading pediatrics group is leaning to the side of caution.

In a policy statement recently released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the group recommended children over six months old receive the flu shot rather than the FluMist vaccine, which federal health officials have recently discovered was not effective in preventing the flu during the past three seasons. About a third of children who are vaccinated against the flu each year receive FluMist.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a yearly flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible, but getting vaccinated later is OK. Vaccination should continue throughout the flu season, even in January or later. Some children who have received flu vaccine previously and children who have only received one dose in their lifetime, may need two doses of flu vaccine. A health care provider can advise on how many doses a child should get.

The diabetes educators at Diabetes Management & Supplies can help educate and prepare individuals for the challenges of diabetes. For more information on the DMS diabetes education services, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email

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5K@ADA brings diabetes awareness to NOLA

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ADA5K3The sights of the last New Orleans ADA@5K held in 2009

The 5K@ADA brings together ADA Scientific Sessions delegates and citizens of New Orleans to emphasize the need for increased physical activity to help prevent diabetes and diabetes complications. This activity gives you the opportunity to raise the public awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle in preventing diabetes. Nearly 1,000 people completed the 5K@ADA last year in Boston. This year, we hope to welcome even more participants, so bring your friends, family and colleagues along for an early morning run or walk through the French Quarter.

Through Novo Nordisk’s continued support of the American Diabetes Association, the 5K@ADA in New Orleans will be free of charge to registered 76th Scientific Sessions attendees and the general public. Help set the pace for changing diabetes by running or walking the 5K@ADA in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle now by registering for the 5K@ADA!

We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!

Event Details:

Location: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, LA
Distance: 5K
Date: Sunday, June 12, 2016
Start time: 6:30 a.m.
Cost: Free
Sponsors: Novo Nordisk

Link to event website
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Like us on Facebook here!
Follow us on Twitter: @5K_ADA
Follow us on Instagram: 5k@ada


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Glucose control key in avoiding kidney damage

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Good blood sugar control today will reduce the risk of damage to kidneys and other organs tomorrow.

kidney_chartThe kidneys filter waste products from your blood and keep fluids in your body balanced. Having diabetes puts you at a greater risk for developing kidney disease also called diabetic nephropathy. This complication is also called diabetic kidney disease. It is a progressive kidney disease caused by damage to the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys that are used to filter waste from the blood.

High blood glucose, sometimes paired with high blood pressure, slowly damages the kidneys. High blood sugar makes the kidneys filter too much blood. All this extra work is hard on the filters. After many years, they start to leak and useful protein is lost in the urine.

People living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes can experience kidney complications. Chronic hyperglycemia, excess blood sugar, is the primary cause of the disease. In type 1 diabetes, hyperglycemia starts in the first decades of life and is usually the only recognized cause of nephropathy. With type 2 diabetes, to the contrary, hyperglycemia starts near middle-age, usually when the kidneys have already suffered the long‐term consequences of aging and of other recognized promoters of chronic renal injury such as arterial hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, and smoking.

Early detection of kidney damage is important, but there might not be noticeable symptoms in the early stages. It’s important to have regular urine tests to find kidney damage early because early kidney damage might be reversed.

Later in the progression, swelling in your body is a primary symptom. The feet and legs are key areas where swelling will be seen as kidneys become damaged.

Keeping blood sugar as close to normal as possible is the first step to preventing kidney disease. Control your blood pressure by checking it on a regular basis and following your doctor’s recommendations for acceptable levels. Finally, don’t use tobacco because it narrows your blood vessels including the already tiny ones working deep inside your kidneys.

Educating individuals on best ways to avoid this and other diabetes complications is a goal of self-management courses. If you need help developing a strategy to avoid complications or face other challenges, Diabetes Management & Supplies can assist with diabetes self-management and education services. For more information, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email


Hitting the road: Have pump, CGM will travel!

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one_touch_chartWhether you have already planned a summer vacation or still in the process, incorporate your pump or CGM needs into your travel plans instead of treating your needs as an afterthought or an overwhelming fear. There’s nothing new under the sun and you can also reap the benefits of those who have traveled the vacation path before you.

Flying through the screening process? You don’t have to encounter problems passing through security at an airport. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a helpline number to assist patients with medical conditions who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying. Call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227.

You can obtain a Transportation Security Administration Card to print out and bring with you to notify TSA of your diabetes can be found online.  If you have concerns about wearing an insulin pump or CGMS through scanners, contact the manufacturer of your medical device.

Tips for traveling while wearing an Insulin Pump or CGM

  • Always have Plan B in place in case something goes wrong with your current device, such as carrying syringes or pens to give injections and carrying extra supplies in case you run low.
  • Be sure to carry some form of prescription or letter from your physician that treats you for your diabetes.
  • Carry all of your medicines, such as insulin, and all related supplies in your carry-on baggage. Be sure to place these items in a clear plastic bag that is labeled. It will help to remove this bag from your luggage so that the TSA officials can clearly see what is inside. Also, in case your checked luggage is lost, you will still have your insulin and supplies with you in your carry-on bag.
  • If you wear an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitoring device, it is OK to continue to keep them on as you go through security at airports or terminals. The scanners will not harm these devices in anyway. Please notify the TSA officials as you move through the checkpoints that you are wearing a pump or CGM. Usually, the TSA official will pull you to the side and do a more thorough search of the device, such as swabbing the pump or monitor and/or your hands.

A printed checklist might help elevate stress and keep your plan in your hands, front and center. Medtronic, an industry leader in insulin delivery systems, has a downloadable checklist for traveling with a pump and/or CGM. Click HERE for a copy.

Learning how to handle life’s challenges like traveling and treatment plans is a covered topic in diabetes self-management courses. If you need help developing life and treatment strategies, Diabetes Management & Supplies can assist with diabetes self-management and education services. For more information, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email

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Later flu season shines light on sick-day prep

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flu-seasonAlthough the calendar says the influenza season should be over, cases of the flu are increasing into March 2016 instead of winding down to a close. Avoiding illness is a prime goal, but people living with diabetes should be aware of the special needs presented by sick days caused by the flu and other conditions.

The blood sugar targets for a sick day are the same as other days. A blood sugar reading over 180 mg/Dl is still a high blood sugar. The purpose of a sick day management plan and more vigilant testing has to do with limiting hyperglycemia and dehydration. The goals are to prevent DKA in the Type 1, avoid dehydration of the Type 2 individual and avoid potential hospitalizations for either individual.

A sick day plan should include these elements of good blood sugar control.  Monitoring, meals and medications are key while exercise or physical activity is usually halted during the illness.

The sick individual needs to follow a schedule for monitoring that gives the diabetes care team information to direct the modifications for the patient’s needs. Meals and eating will play an important role as medication will need to be adjusted to match rising or falling blood sugar levels. Medications are to be taken on the usual schedule or may be modified to meet the patient’s needs by the doctor or a member of the healthcare team.

Recording temperature, blood sugar, medication amount and time, fluid and food intake and the presence of ketones are highly important on sick days. This log or report will give insight to the diabetes care team of current health status and allow them to help adjust medication or intake to prevent dehydration or ketoacidosis.

The individual with diabetes or the parent/ care giver of the child with diabetes should be proactive in assessing conditions during an illness. Certain foods, testing equipment and testing supplies need to be handy before a sickness occurs.  The phone number of the doctor or diabetes care team should be readily available.

A log to monitor the sickness over time, glucose meter, lancets, lancing device, test strips, control solution, and a bottle of Ketostix should be included in a sick day management tool kit. The food pantry should contain: broth, both sugar-free and regular Jello, both diet and non-diet soft drinks, both sugar-free and regular popsicles, both thin and creamy soups, regular and sugar free pudding, yogurt, juice and milk.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that across the country, this flu season was significantly less severe than in the last few years, though number of cases have been increasing since early January.

Did you know the CDC tracks the flu like a hurricane? Visit CDC Flu Central for current reports, maps and alerts.

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Goals can pack more punch than resolutions

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The start of each year is a prime time to consider your life, health and ways to improve both. Motivation and method are both key to setting new goals and ending your year with a sense of accomplishment.

Good health is important, but it will not just happen. SMART Goals provide a road map to success because those goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Diabetes is often a numbers game: blood sugar level, A1C, weight, etc. Beyond those faceless figures, one should focus on goals that bolster your diabetes control. “I want to lower my A1C to 7, but ‘why?’”

If you want to accomplish a task, you set a plan, you set deadlines and you take action. Most people are familiar with SMART goals in the workplace, but they also apply to health. For example, let’s say you wanted to an A1C of 7.5, but your level is now 11. It would be unrealistic to say you wanted reduce your A1C to 11 in next month.

It would be more realistic to set up a SMART goal:

  • Specific – I will decrease my average fasting blood sugar by 2 points each week.
  • Measureable – I will keep track of blood sugar levels three times daily so I can track my
    progress towards my goal.
  • Attainable – Is the goal attainable for me? Your diabetes care team should be consulted about ways to reduce your A1C and risk of complications.
  • Realistic – Is the goal realistic for me? Lowering one’s blood sugar is a great goal, but drastic drops can increase changes of hyperglycemia.
  • Timely – I will make an appointment with my care team every three months in 2016 to evaluate my A1C with hopes to start 2017 near 7.5.

Other goals that will impact blood sugar control include getting regular and sufficient exercise, gaining or losing weight, following a diabetes nutrition plan, and being more compliant to medication schedules.

Need help turning your goals into a viable game plan? Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email

The National Diabetes Education Program, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offers an online resource for making a plan for success. Visit Diabetes Health Sense and make your plan today!

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Monitoring: It’s a numbers game you can win!

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Blood sugar levels are tested in your doctor’s office, but that is not enough. Blood sugar changes not only from day to day. It changes from hour to hour. Some people run high in the morning and others at night. Certain foods might cause a spike. A long walk may drop levels too low.

Glucose monitors are machines that measure blood sugar from finger sticks. Continuous glucose monitors are worn on the body. They records several readings a day without finger sticks.

Why test your blood sugar?

  • Tell how well you’re reaching health goals
  • Know how diet and exercise affect blood sugar levels
  • Know how other factors, such as illness or stress, affect blood sugar levels
  • See the effect of diabetes drugs on blood sugar levels
  • Know when blood sugars are too high or low

To get a full picture of your diabetes, you need regular monitoring. Testing often will show problem areas and how your levels react to certain foods. A blood sugar reading might be an early warning sign in sudden illness.

Another method of monitoring blood glucose is Continuous Glucose Monitoring or CGM. A CGM automatically takes several blood sugar readings throughout the day, sends alerts for extreme readings and feeds those levels to the insulin pump. The goal would be blood sugar control that is consistently stable.

The CGM reads blood sugar levels every one to five minutes and shows whether a person’s blood sugar is rising or falling. Combining CGM with insulin pump therapy can provide a method to monitor and manage blood glucose levels. The information obtained can also help to fine-tune the pump settings.

The American Heart Association offers these tools to help you understand the importance of monitoring and staying as healthy as possible:

  • Diabetes-Friendly Recipes. Recipes to satisfy cravings – sweet, savory or somewhere in between.
  • My Diabetes Health Assessment. Having type 2 diabetes greatly increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Learn your 10-year risk and ways you can lower it.
  • Diabetes Quiz. Take this short quiz to learn the facts about diabetes.

The diabetes educators at Diabetes Management & Supplies can help take the guess-work out of your monitoring needs. For more information on specific monitoring or insulin delivery needs, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

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Insulin pumps and Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices work best when insertion sites and parts and accessories are changed as recommended. Resolving to make “a healthier you” in 2016 can start with a good understanding of your device and its disposal parts and ensuring you are always equipped with adequate supplies.

infusionInsertion site management refers to choosing the best locations on your body to place insertion sets and sensors, but it also involves the frequency in which the site is changed and new supplies are put in place.

John Wright, Diabetes Management & Supplies Director of Sales, wears an insulin pump and stresses that site management can affect the level of blood sugar control. “It is most important with insulin pumps as the infusion set is infusing insulin,” he explains.  “The CGM, however, doesn’t affect the blood glucose as much if the patient wears it for longer.”

Insulin pump wearers will experience poorer blood sugar control when a site has been used too long before rotation.

It is recommended that CGM sensors be changed every six to seven days, but infusion sets should be changed every two to three days. For the best site locations and interval times, consult your doctor.

Infusion set placement should avoid the following areas:

  • Into the 2-inch (5.0 cm) area around your belly button
  • Where your body naturally bends a great deal
  • In areas where clothing might cause irritation (for example your beltline)
  • Where you have scarred or hardened tissue or stretch marks

cartridge_web-(1)Insulin pump use will require supplies that include insertion sets, reservoirs, tubing, cartridge caps, batteries, dressings and adhesives. This list varies depending on the individual users and the brand of pump.

CGM devices will require supplies that include sensors, receivers, transmitters and batteries.

To ensure the best results, keep an eye on your supplies on hand and always place reorders enough in advance that you don’t run out of supplies or over use your insertion sites. Click HERE for our efficient reorder form or call 1-888-738-7929 to place an order by phone.


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Holiday season may host seasonal depression

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The holiday season may help bring attention to a rarely-discussed diabetes symptom: depression. Whether emphasized by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or just noticed in contrast to the festive season, depression may be one sign of diabetes or a flag that one’s diabetes is not in good control.

The American Diabetes Association explains that people with diabetes are at a greater risk to depression and the complications of poorly controlled blood sugars are very similar to the symptoms of depression.

Spotting depression in yourself or someone you love is an important step to countering depressions effects. The signs include:

  • Loss of pleasure: You no longer take interest in doing things you used to enjoy.
  • Change in sleep patterns: You have trouble falling asleep, you wake often during the night, or you want to sleep more than usual, including during the day.
  • Early to rise: You wake up earlier than usual and cannot to get back to sleep.
  • Change in appetite: You eat more or less than you used to, resulting in a quick weight gain or weight loss.
  • Trouble concentrating: You can’t watch a TV program or read an article because other thoughts or feelings get in the way.
  • Loss of energy: You feel tired all the time.
  • Nervousness: You always feel so anxious you can’t sit still.
  • Guilt: You feel you “never do anything right” and worry that you are a burden to others.
  • Morning sadness: You feel worse in the morning than you do the rest of the day.
  • Suicidal thoughts: You feel you want to die or are thinking about ways to hurt yourself.

You should contact your doctor if you see any three of these signs. Taking action can affect both your mental and physical well-being.

Visit the ADA for more on the link between diabetes and depression.

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Ordering Supplies and Equipment

A diabetes treatment plan is very important. Make sure you know how things should work. Carefully following any medication orders and instructions is vital to your plan's success. Make sure you don't run out of supplies just as you refill prescriptions so you don't run out of medication.

Here are some ways you can let us help you reorder supplies:

At Diabetes Management & Supplies, we value the part we play on your treatment plan team and realize that winning is promoting good health.