Archive for Diabetes Education
People living with diabetes should not wait until temperatures approach 100 to take precautions. According to the National Weather Service, individuals with diabetes should begin taking precautions when the heat index reaches 80 or 90 to avoid heat stroke, sunstroke, and other problems.
Getting plenty of water and avoiding long periods of unprotected exposure to the sun are simple steps that might help.
It is common to protect insulin from temperature extremes, but health care providers or diabetes educators should be asked about the harm that high temperatures can cause to oral medications, glucose monitors, strips and insulin pumps.
People living with diabetes are given a host of numbers in reports from their doctor’s visits. Those numbers are very important, but should be paired with the information that can be gained every day through home monitoring of blood sugar.
Blood sugar testing is very important because it helps you manage your diabetes on a day-to-day basis. Blood sugar numbers help you to understand and take control of your diabetes.
Tools used at home to test and monitor blood sugar levels include blood glucose meters and Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices. Speaking with your doctor or another member of your diabetes treatment team will help you decide which monitoring method is best for you.
When and how many times to test your levels each day will vary from person to person so you should follow the specific testing schedule your physician has established with you. Many schedules may call for once-daily testing while others require two or more testing time that might be before or after meal.
Daily blood sugar levels plus lab reports are just two tools needed to develop a road map to diabetes management success. Knowing those numbers tells you where you are, but goals represent where you would like to be.
A lab report crucial to your goal-setting is your A1C level also known as hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c. The A1C is a common test for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It measures how well diabetes is managed over a period of time instead of just one instance. An A1C reading of 6.5 is the usual indicator of a diabetes diagnosis.
A1C test recommendations
- Every 6 months when you are meeting treatment goals and have stable blood sugars.
- Every 3 months when therapy has changed or if you are not meeting blood sugars targets.
- Used by physician to allow for timely decisions on therapy changes.
- In-home testing may be done with across the counter testing device called A1C Now®. See this at www.a1cnow.com
When setting goals, it is important to strive for noted, but reasonable change. Home testing may be recorded each day, but it might take three to six months to evaluate the big picture and see true progress or regression. Be very patient and don’t expect to drive your averages down or up like the numbers on a scale. Slow and steady not only wins the race, but it also provides a safe playing field for your diabetes treatment plan.
The nation is preparing for the start of the influenza (flu) season and people living with diabetes should make sure their fall plans include getting vaccinated against the flu. The U.S. flu season runs from late November until March. Because of changes in the various strains, last year’s flu shot will not protect you as a new season begins.
The Flu is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses. These viruses are “airborne,” which means they pass through the air and enter the body through the nose or mouth. Each year, the flu is caught by 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population. The flu can be serious or even deadly for elderly people, newborn babies, and people with chronic illnesses like diabetes.
Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and are worse than those of the common cold.
- Body or muscle aches
- Sore throat
Many people confuse catching a cold with the flu. Colds rarely cause fever or headaches. The flu rarely causes an upset stomach. The condition often called the “stomach flu” isn’t influenza at all, but gastroenteritis.
Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu. Complications of the flu can be life-threatening and result in death.
Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections are examples of complications from flu. The flu can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu.
People living with diabetes are at greater risk of developing serious complications from the flu and are at a greater risk of having to be hospitalized after contracting the flu. Because of this increased risk, the flu shot should be considered mandatory for people with diabetes.
If you have diabetes – even if your blood sugars are in good control – and are sick with flu-like illness, you should follow these additional steps:
- Be sure to continue taking your diabetes pills or insulin. Don’t stop taking them even if you can’t eat. Your health care provider may even advise you to take more insulin during sickness.
- Test your blood glucose every four hours, and keep track of the results.
- Drink extra (calorie-free) liquids, and try to eat as you normally would. If you can’t, try to have soft foods and liquids containing the equivalent amount of carbohydrates that you usually consume.
- Weigh yourself every day. Losing weight without trying is a sign of high blood glucose.
- Check your temperature every morning and evening. A fever may be a sign of infection.
Call your health care provider or go to an emergency room if any of the following happen to you:
- You feel too sick to eat normally and are unable to keep down food for more than 6 hours.
- You’re having severe diarrhea.
- You lose 5 pounds or more.
- Your temperature is over 101 degrees F.
- Your blood glucose is lower than 60 mg/dL or remains over 250 mg/dL on 2 checks.
- You have moderate or large amounts of ketones in your urine.
- You’re having trouble breathing.
- You feel sleepy or can’t think clearly.
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control
Diabetes develops in stages and for many, the state of pre-diabetes will be seen before full-onset diabetes is diagnosed. Researchers in Spain set out to prove that eating pistachios every day will not only slow down this progression, but also reduce the risks associated with diabetes.
Two groups of people with pre-diabetes were followed in a recent study. Both groups were on a reduced calorie diet. One group, however, was given 2 ounces of pistachios a day. The pistachio-eating group showed significant drops in blood sugar and marked improvement in insulin and blood sugar processing. This group also had a dramatic drop in inflammation.
The Spanish study used pistachios, but previous studies and research has found that eating nuts can lead to lower risk of heart disease and drops in cholesterol.
The Diabetes Management & Supplies Web Learning Center includes resources related to pre-diabetes and other forms of diabetes. It explains that pre-diabetes was once called borderline diabetes. A person is pre-diabetic when their fasting blood sugar is between 100 and120. A pre-diabetes diagnosis is also given with an A1c test result between 5.6-6.5%. As its name suggests, left unchecked, pre-diabetes develops into type 2 diabetes.
These higher than normal blood sugars are the result of insulin resistance, a medical term to describe the circumstances of the pancreas producing insulin to lower blood sugar, but the body resisting it. High blood sugar is the result.
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The technology to test and manage blood sugar results from smartphones took a big step this week. The Philosys group received 501K approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Gmate SMART Blood Glucose Monitoring System.
The Gmate SMART meter is not much bigger than a quarter. It connects to the headphone jack on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. It will use a free app to deliver blood glucose test results, without the use of an adapter or Bluetooth device.
The Gmate system will offer features such as goal setting, graphing, and the ability to email or text blood glucose test results directly to members of a diabetes care team.
Philosys is based in South Korea. Sales senior vice-president Mike Tickle said the company continues its efforts to be a technology leader for the diabetes mobile monitoring arena.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests talking to your doctor about whether you should be checking your blood glucose. People that may benefit from checking blood glucose include those:
- Taking insulin
- That are pregnant
- Having a hard time controlling blood glucose levels
- Having low blood glucose levels
- Having low blood glucose levels without the usual warning signs
- Have ketones from high blood glucose levels
The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) lists Monitoring among its seven self-care behaviors for people living with diabetes. The actions are often seen as goals ensuring improvement and the best control of blood sugar levels.
The following video shows how the device is used and some of its features.
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Carbohydrates, when broken down, turn into sugar. Too many carbs at one time can cause your blood sugar to go too high. The amount of carbs that you should eat at one meal depends on the individual. Contact a diabetes educator or a dietician for a customized meal plan.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a simple principle that explains all carbohydrates are created equal: A carb is a carb is a carb! It is important to understand that sucrose (table sugar) and other sugars do not create a more harmful effect on blood sugar and they are not absorbed more rapidly than starches. The totalamount of carbohydrates eaten will have more of an effect on blood sugar levels than the source of the carbohydrate.
A healthy eating regimen doesn’t just help control blood sugar. It also can have a positive effect on other conditions like obesity, hypertension and heart disease.
Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific nutrition needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The start of each new school year is full of to-do and shopping lists. Parents of children with type 1 diabetes top their lists with steps to avoid blood sugar highs and lows and ways to properly train their children to use glucose testing devices or insulin pumps. These parents aren’t following the crowd. What they must do may only affect one child in the school, but it is critically important.
The Safe at School initiative, started by the American Diabetes Association, has stepped forward to provide the extra direction and resources to help both children and caregivers affected by type 1 diabetes.
Safe at School helps families develop written plans to manage diabetes at school and ways to tackle the challenges that arise on both academic and medical fronts. Legal assistance is given to make sure each child’s needs are being met in school. Advocacy efforts on the state and national level help encourage legislation and public policy that aids children living with diabetes.
One example of Safe at School policy victories is Louisiana Senate Bill 759. Signed into law in two years ago, it allowed school employees to volunteer and be trained to help children with diabetes in school.
For more updates from around the country, visit Safe at School Updates on the ADA Web site.
The term “insulin” is easily associated with diabetes. While many people may consider it to be only a diabetes drug, it is a natural substance produced by the body. The pancreas is a small organ that creates insulin. The cells in the body need blood glucose (sugar) from carbohydrates for energy, but blood sugar can’t go directly into the cells without some help.
Enter insulin – the key that unlocks the cell door.
When you eat, blood sugar rises as the food provides a new stream of energy. The beta cells in the pancreas get a signal to release insulin into the blood. Insulin then attaches to the cells and allows the sugar to be absorbed and used for fuel.
Insulin is important to keep balance in the bloodstream. It keeps blood sugar levels from getting too high, preventing a condition called hyperglycemia. If also keeps blood sugar levels from being too low, preventing a condition called hypoglycemia.
In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin so they will need to take insulin injections to keep blood glucose levels under control. People with type 2 diabetes also can use injected insulin to control blood sugar. Insulin is often used with pills to treat type 2 diabetes.
The latest treatment trend involved inhaled insulin. First, insulin is made into a powder form. The tiny particles of insulin would then be put inside of an inhaler similar to that used by people with asthma. The fine powder is then inhaled into lungs and eventually is released into the bloodstream. This process is still being perfected, but you can read more in our earlier blog item: FDA approval opens door for inhaled insulin.
The diabetes educators at Diabetes Management & Supplies can help take the guess-work out of your medication and treatment plan. For more information on insulin delivery or training needs, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.