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Archive for Diabetes Education

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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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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May
22

Follow precautions to keep summer fun, safe

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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.

Visit WebMD for more on preparing or summer with diabetes

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Jan
20

This is a test: Best repeated tomorrow!

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0127-accu-chek-aviva-meterPeople 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.

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Jan
20

NoYo#: Know Your Numbers to reach goals

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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.

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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.

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Oct
23

Vaccination best precaution in avoiding the flu

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flu-seasonThe 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
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • 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.

Also see:

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Oct
23

Sick-day guidelines for people with diabetes

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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.

Also see Take Charge of Your Diabetes: Taking Care of Yourself When You Are Sick

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control

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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.