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Archive for Diabetes Education

Apr
06

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 education@diabetesms.com.

Mar
23

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 education@diabetesms.com.

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Mar
10

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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Feb
09

Goals can pack more punch than resolutions

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SMART-goals

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 education@diabetesms.com.

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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Feb
01

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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Dec
18

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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Nov
02

Diabetes: A proactive, informed approach

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Diabetes Wordcloud Glowing
This month (November) is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time set aside to education and inspire those living with a form of diabetes and those who can take steps to reduce their risk of the preventable conditions associated with diabetes.

Diabetes is not a single disease. It is group of similar conditions that fall into the same category because the symptoms and effects on the body may be similar. The most common types of diabetes in our presence society are Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes. Understanding what they have in common, how they differ and the associated risk factors is crucial to raising awareness and encouraging prevention, when possible.

insulin-pump-for-childrenType 1 Diabetes accounts for only 5 – 10 percent of all cases, and used to be called juvenile diabetes. Three-quarters of people who develop type 1 are under the age of 18, and most others are under 40 years old, but older adults develop it as well.

The cause of Type 1 Diabetes is unknown. Most experts believe it is an autoimmune disorder, which is a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. With Type 1 Diabetes, an infection or some other trigger causes the body to destroy the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.

This condition can be passed down through families. In fact, in most cases of Type 1 Diabetes, people inherit risk factors from both parents. Such factors appear to be more common in whites, who have the highest rate of type 1 diabetes.

The pathway to developing Type 1 Diabetes can take years. In studies that followed relatives of people with Type 1 Diabetes, researchers found that relatives who later developed diabetes had certain auto-antibodies in their blood for years.

bigstock-Progress-In-Glucose-Level-Bloo-2485554Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 – 95 percent of all cases. It used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but, unfortunately, both children and adults develop this kind of diabetes. Many people think of it as the kind of diabetes that does not require insulin. However, about half of people with type 2 diabetes will eventually need insulin. This is because the pancreas produces less and less insulin over time, so it must be injected to meet the body’s needs.

The causes of Type 2 Diabetes are not completely understood, but it almost always starts with insulin resistance. So what contributes to this insulin resistance? Here are some of the most common risk factors:

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Growing older – your risk increases as you age
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Lack of exercise
  • Member of a high-risk ethnic group, such as:
    • African American
    • Asian American or Pacific Islander
    • Hispanic American
    • Native American
    • Overweight or obese

Gestational Diabetes is diabetes that develops while you are pregnant. Gestational diabetes is still diabetes, which means your blood sugar levels are abnormally high. That excess sugar crosses the placenta and can make your baby grow too large and lead to problems with your pregnancy and delivery.

The causes of Gestational Diabetes have not been determined, but the many hormonal changes during pregnancy contribute to what is called insulin resistance – which is your body not using the insulin that your pancreas produces.

For more on these forms of diabetes, visit the Diabetes Management & Supplies Learning Center.

Oct
01

Stay equipped for diabetes treatment plan

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a1c_meal
A diabetes treatment plan is your strategy to stay on top of your health. Monitoring your blood sugar, tracking and taking drugs are crucial. The directions are given, but they must be carried out to improve your condition. You may have many medical professionals, but you complete the team.

Here are some things you can do to take charge of your health:

  • Follow healthy meal plans that are best for your unique needs
  • Keep up with your medications and store them correctly
  • Take your insulin or other medications as instructed
  • Monitor and test your blood sugar as directed
  • Keep good records of your blood sugar readings
  • Share those readings with your doctor or diabetes educator

You may have learned already the basics about drugs and testing. Now is a good time to ask specific questions about your treatment plan. Make sure you know how things should work. Carefully following any medication orders and instructions is vital to your plan’s success. This is where we can help. Make sure you don’t run out of supplies just as you refill prescriptions so you don’t run out of medication. Learn more: Diabetes treatment plan a road map to success.

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

  • Call us at 1-888-738-7929
  • Email customerservice@diabetesms.com
  • Click to fill out an Order Form

We value the part we play on your treatment plan team and realize that winning is good health.

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Aug
27

Planning key when school, diabetes mix

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Attending school or getting a child with diabetes ready for school presents an added challenge. School supplies and pencils and pens are joined by diabetes testing supplies, needles or insulin pens. Proper planning and measures, however, can counter the anxiety and stress.

A parent of a child with diabetes should first contact the school and connect with the school nurse. A health plan specific to the child should be carefully crafted with providers or a diabetes care team. The child must be properly educated to safely attend school and the school must be prepared and educated on the exact needs of any child living with diabetes.

The Joslin Diabetes Center makes some basic points to cover with school and diabetes mix:

  • Know the school’s policies
  • Create a plan specific for each person
  • Provide the school with a container of supplies
  • Investigate the cafeteria and menu plans
  • Select a means for disposal of sharps
  • Have a plan for field trips and special events

Students who qualify for services under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), should have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is the document that sets out what the school is going to do to meet the child’s individual educational needs. There are a lot of specific rules about developing an IEP, reviewing it, and what it must contain. Because IEPs are so detailed and have specific requirements, school districts often use their own form. Although students with diabetes who qualify for services under IDEA are also covered by Section 504, there is no need to write two separate plans. Diabetes provisions should be included in the IEP.

The term “504 Plan” refers to a plan developed to meet the requirements of a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (commonly referred to as “Section 504”).

A 504 Plan sets out the actions the school will take to make sure the student with diabetes is medically safe, has the same access to education as other children, and is treated fairly. It is a tool that can be used to make sure that students, parents/guardians, and school staff understand their responsibilities and to minimize misunderstandings.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that every student with diabetes have a Section 504 Plan or other written accommodations plan in place.

Students leaving for college should also take steps to prepare for the new demands of college life and the continued health needs of living with diabetes.

For more, visit: Back to School with Diabetes | The Basics or Written Care Plans for School

May
22

Heat and insulin: Know the facts, plan ahead

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Extreme temperatures can affect insulin and make it unsafe or less effective in controlling blood sugar. The rules have changed from previous times when insulin used to control diabetes was beef or pork insulin. Unopened insulin is stored in the refrigerator and once opened the various types of insulin can be stored at or near room temperature for a little less than a month. Please consult your packaging for exact temperatures and storage length for your prescription.

The original pork and beef insulin formulations were supposed to be kept cold all the time. Those cold insulin injections create a sting so the move to being able to keep the newer human insulin at room temperature was a big step in the comfort of people taking daily shots.

The American Diabetes Association offers these tips for storing insulin:

  • Do not store your insulin near extreme heat or extreme cold.
  • Never store insulin in the freezer, direct sunlight, or in the glove compartment of a car.
  • Check the expiration date before using, and don’t use any insulin beyond its expiration date.
  • Examine the bottle closely to make sure the insulin looks normal before you draw the insulin into the syringe.
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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.