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Archive for Treatment Trends

May
12

Diabetes treatment plan road map to success

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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 change things. 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 best for your unique needs
  • Keep up with your medications and store them right
  • Take your insulin or medications as instructed
  • Monitor and test your blood sugar
  • Keep good records of your reads
  • Share those readings with your doctor or diabetes educator

You have learned 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. Take steps to change your routine if something is not working right.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) urges those wanting the best chances to avoid complications to adopt treatment plans with “tight control.” Tight control is not easy.  Tight diabetes control means keeping your overall blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.

Tight control efforts may keep you healthy and product for many more years, but you might need help getting it done. Diabetes Management & Supplies offers accredited diabetes education services that can make managing diabetes and other conditions an easier task. For more information on care management needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at education@diabetesms.com.

Visit the ADA for more on tight control in diabetes treatment plans

Apr
30

Study: High blood sugar harms brain tissue

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diabetesPeople living with diabetes who keep tight control of blood sugars may be doing a great favor to their brains, according to a study released this week from the University of Pennsylvania. The study found that patients with type 2 diabetes had a higher risk for brain degeneration.

The environment of high blood sugar can not only damage the heart and kidneys, but also may harm the brain in two ways, the researchers concluded. Patients with severe forms of the disease had less brain tissue, based on MRI scans of their brains, than those with milder cases of diabetes — even when those people’s blood pressure was under control through treatment.

For every 10 years a person has diabetes, the brain looks two years older than other people without the disease in the same age range.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has long warned that diabetes increases the risk of stroke. A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is suddenly blocked damaging the brain tissue. Most strokes happen because a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain or neck. A stroke can cause movement problems, pain, numbness and issues with thinking, memory or speaking.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers accredited diabetes education services that can make managing diabetes and other conditions an easier task. For more information on care management needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at education@diabetesms.com.

For more information:

Apr
29

A1C is gauge showing level of diabetes control

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Many tests and statistics become important when one is trying to control blood sugar levels.  The A1C test (or hemoglobin A1c test) is recommended every 3 to 6 months. It tells the doctor and patient the average blood sugar level over the last 2-3 months. It is not the same as the finger stick blood test done at home. Frequent higher blood sugar levels will lead to a higher A1C.

The American Diabetes Association explains that the A1C test gives an idea of how well your diabetes treatment plan is working. In some ways, the A1C test is like a baseball player’s season batting average, it tells you about a person’s overall success. Neither a single day’s blood test results nor a single game’s batting record gives the same big picture.

A normal A1C level for a person without diabetes is 4 o 5.9. Diabetes experts say that a person with diabetes should have an A1C level below 7%, or as low as possible without risking dangerously low blood sugars.

Hemoglobin is a protein that links up with sugars found inside red blood cells. Its job is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all the cells of the body. Glucose enters your red blood cells and links up (or glycates) with molecules of hemoglobin. The more glucose in your blood, the more hemoglobin gets glycated. By measuring the percentage of A1C in the blood, you get an overview of your average blood glucose control for the past few months.

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Why is the A1C test important?

  • Clinical studies show that A1C levels close to normal, lower the risk for complications and lower the cost of care in the long run
  • A decrease of just one percentage point in A1C level can lower the risk for eye disease, kidney disease, nerve damage and heart disease by an average of over 50 percent
  • The doctor uses the A1C level as a guide to adjust medications
  • A high A1C means that a change must take place to reduce the risk for serious damage that may result from diabetes. The needed changes may be in lifestyle (diet, physical activity, weight, etc.), or in medications or both

Just this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave clearance to a new test to gauge A1C. Drug company Abbott announced that its new ARCHITECT Clinical Chemistry Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test – which can aid physicians in diagnosing and monitoring diabetes and identifying people at risk for the disease – has received 510(k) clearance from (FDA).

Abbott adds that more than 25 million Americans are living with diabetes and several million remain undiagnosed. They said they feel that people with diabetes who can understand and manage their condition can prevent or delay health problems, which may lead to longer and healthier lives.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers accredited diabetes education services that can make managing diabetes and other conditions an easier task. For more information on care management needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at education@diabetesms.com.

For more on the new Abbott test, see the company release.

Apr
17

CDC reports drop in diabetes complications

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A focus on preventative care for people with diabetes is being credited with a drop in the occurrence of five major complications commonly associated with the disease. While the number of diabetes cases continues to rise in the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control report complications have declined since 1990.

In the report released this week, the CDC says proactive (prevention) care for adults with diabetes contributed to a 68 percent drop in the risk of having a heart attack and a 64 percent drop in deaths linked to high blood sugar.

The risks of strokes and lower-limb amputations both fell by about one half, researchers found, and there was a 28 percent drop in cases of kidney disease so serious that dialysis or a transplant was required.

Experts at the Mayo Clinic note that diabetes can cause damage from head to foot. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:

blog_classHeart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis) and high blood pressure. The risk of stroke is two to four times higher for people with diabetes, and the death rate from heart disease is two to four times higher for people with diabetes than for people without the disease, according to the American Heart Association.

Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in the legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Poorly controlled blood sugar can eventually cause you to lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.

Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Eye damage. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.

Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections. Severe damage might require toe, foot or even leg amputation.

Skin and mouth conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections. Gum infections also may be a concern, especially if you have a history of poor dental hygiene.

Osteoporosis. Diabetes may lead to lower than normal bone mineral density, increasing your risk of osteoporosis.

Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. So what connects the two conditions? One theory is that cardiovascular problems caused by diabetes could contribute to dementia by blocking blood flow to the brain or causing strokes. Other possibilities are that too much insulin in the blood leads to brain-damaging inflammation, or lack of insulin in the brain deprives brain cells of glucose.

Hearing problems. Diabetes can also lead to hearing impairment.

The recent good news is dampened by the fact that diabetes is still rising at alarming rates from 1990 to 2010, while the U.S. adult population rose by 27 percent, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes tripled, from 6.5 million to 20.7 million.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers accredited diabetes education services that can make managing diabetes and other conditions an easier task. For more information on care management needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at education@diabetesms.com.

For more on the CDC study, visit:

Apr
04

FDA approval opens door for inhaled insulin

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dreamboat2_inhaleThe latest innovation in diabetes treatment may involve adding another insulin delivery method to the current options of injectable insulin therapies. This week (first of April 2014), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave approval for a form of insulin that would be inhaled instead of injected.

Afrezza® (pronounced uh-FREZZ-uh) is an ultra-rapid-acting insulin taken at mealtime. It is combination product. It consists of an inhaled powder and single use dose cartridges that fit into a small inhaler.

Taken at the start of a meal, Afrezza dissolves and delivers insulin quickly to the blood stream. Peak insulin levels are achieved within 12 to 15 minutes of administration, mimicking the release of mealtime insulin observed in healthy individuals.

An FDA committee said Afrezza, developed by the MannKind Corporation, would be useful in some cases, even if it might not be quite as effective as injected insulin.

Afrezza-from-MannKind“As an inhaled form of insulin, this represents a drug that will serve some patients that are not effectively served by currently available insulin,” Dr. Robert J. Smith, an endocrinologist at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University and the committee’s acting chairman, said after the vote.

The Mannkind group believes Afrezza may be “a promising new therapy for patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as it has been shown in clinical studies to control post meal-time glucose levels, cause less weight gain and have lower risk of hypoglycemia than current standard insulin therapies.”

For more on inhaled insulin, visit:

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Mar
26

Pattern tracking can help control blood sugars

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woman_testingClose monitoring can help you hit your blood sugar targets. Driven by good control, you can avoid complications such as heart disease and eye problems. Use logs and charts to record your blood sugar readings. Over time, you will begin to see patterns. These patterns show your highs and lows. If you have problem times in the day, you will begin to understand how to avoid them.

Your doctor’s office will keep record of your A1C. Those tests will only show the three-month blood sugar average. Your A1C will tell you very little about how your blood sugar varies from day to day. This makes home-monitoring crucial to diabetes management.

Pattern management is a tool to help you make sense of your readings. Several days’ readings will show patterns. If those patterns are outside your targets and goals, you and your doctor can use the readings to make care plan changes.

The next examples show three methods of charting blood sugars.

  1. DMS Weekly Blood Glucose Monitoring Chart. This chart leaves space for a date and a choice of five testing times.
  2. ACCU-CHEK 360 View Tool. This chart is a comprehensive record of meal, medication and health information. Three days’ worth of blocks are filled out and then a visual pattern will be presented.
  3. ACCU-CHEK Testing in Pairs Tool. This simple paper tool helps you see changes in your blood sugar before and after a specific meal, exercise or other event. Use it for 7 days to see how one thing in your daily routine affects your blood sugar.
Mar
19

Insulin pumps give options for glucose control

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As our understanding of diabetes increases, people living with diabetes are being given an expanded tool box of products and devices that can be used for treatment and daily management. Insulin pumps have been used since the 70s so as a category they are not new. They have, however, increased in popularity as the technology associated with them has evolved. Insulin delivery through a pump is popular with people with extremely busy lifestyles and the pumps may provide a more stable, consistent blood sugar control.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA), offers an Insulin Pump 101 for those new to pumping and as an update on the latest features of the new class of insulin pumps. The pump parts and associated terminology are explained.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) isn’t mandatory when using an insulin pump, but CGMs and insulin pumps are being lauded as the “dynamic duo” of blood sugar control. 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 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.

A recent article of Diabetes Forecasts gave an overview of how one man and his health team determined the best combination for him. See CGMs and Insulin Pumps 2013: Is this dynamic duo the right choice for you?

tslim_front_high_angled_view_02The diabetes educators at Diabetes Management & Supplies can help you decide if pump therapy is right for you and help take the fear out of using an insulin pump.

They can also provide insulin pump training on all major insulin pumps. Working with your doctor, the educators can also help pumpers improve their control by helping them fine tune pump settings and avoid fluctuations in blood glucose as well as other pump and infusion site issues.

In addition to pump therapy, our educators can also teach people with diabetes how to use a CGM. For more information on specific monitoring or insulin delivery needs, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

Also see: Survey offers insight on pump therapy

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Mar
19

Survey offers insight on pump therapy

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profile_survey_0Blood sugar control is not “one-size-fits-all,” so a variety of products and supplies are available to help each person find a perfect fit when it comes to medication and monitoring. Diabetes Management & Supplies offers a survey tool that can assist in helping to determine what tools and products are best for you.

As our understanding of diabetes increases, people living with diabetes are being given an expanded tool box of products and devices that can be used for treatment and daily management. Insulin pumps have been used since the 70s so as a category they are not new. They have, however, increased in popularity as the technology associated with them has evolved. Insulin delivery through a pump is popular with people with extremely busy lifestyles and the pumps may provide a more stable, consistent blood sugar control.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA), offers an Insulin Pump 101 for those new to pumping and as an update on the latest features of the new class of insulin pumps. The pump parts and associated terminology are explained.

insulinpump_bearContinuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) isn’t mandatory when using an insulin pump, but CGMs and insulin pumps are being lauded as the “dynamic duo” of blood sugar control. 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 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.

Visit the Diabetes Management & Supplies Products section or click on the box above to take the brief survey to learn more about options for monitoring and medication delivery.

Aug
27

Ketoacidosis serious threat in type 1 diabetes

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Even if blood sugar levels are consistently in safe ranges, a spike to levels greater than 250 may signal a serious condition for adults and children with type 1 diabetes. Elaine Blackwood, Diabetes Management & Supplies diabetes educator, urges an increased understanding of diabetic ketoacidosis and what should be done when it is encountered.

ketosis_articleParticipants at a recent American Diabetes Association meeting were warned that, while stable in recent years, the number of U.S. children with diabetic ketoacidosis (one in three) signals a need for increased awareness and action.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication. It is more common in adults and children with type 1 diabetes, but it can occur in those with type 2 diabetes under certain circumstances. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies that can cause dangerous complications.

“I try to encourage all my patients with type 1 diabetes to have ketone urine testing strips on hand in case their blood glucose goes over 250 (some physicians recommend 300),” Blackwood said. “I also encourage them to talk with their health care provider on treatment should the ketones show positive.”

DKA may be the first symptom of undiagnosed diabetes, but it may also occur in people with a long-standing diagnosis as a result of a variety of causes, such as intercurrent illness (one disease you get while battling another) or poor compliance with insulin therapy.

DKA Symptom

  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Deep gasping breathing
  • Confusion
  • Coma (in rare, severe cases)

DKA is diagnosed with blood and urine tests; it is distinguished from other, rarer forms of ketoacidosis by the presence of high blood sugar levels. Treatment involves intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, insulin to suppress the production of ketone bodies, treatment for any underlying causes such as infections, and close observation to prevent and identify complications.

For more on diabetic ketoacidosis from the ADA conference, visit, Family Practice News: Ketoacidosis rates remain troubling in juvenile type 1 diabetes

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Jun
22

Sharing testing info arms patient, doctors

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doctor_glucoseYou may have often heard the saying “knowledge is power,” but it can be more than just a slogan in your efforts to achieve and maintain good blood sugar control. A recent study reveals more positive results when patients bring their blood sugar measuring device and the reading logs to regular doctor’s appointments.

A report given at a meeting of endocrinology specialists showed that only 30 percent of diabetes patients bring their blood sugar readings to visits, but those who did experienced large A1C improvements as compared to those who left the readings at home.

If you are living with diabetes, you may use a variety or combination of methods to obtain a snapshot into your blood sugar control. These include finger-stick blood sugar monitors and continuous glucose monitoring devices also called CGMs.

The DMS products section contains an extensive catalog of the industry’s top products and supplies including all major insulin pumps, blood sugar testing supplies and continuous glucose monitoring devices.

Product lines available include Tandem, Medtronic, Animas, Roche, Insulet, Smiths Medical and Dexcom. Visit our full product directory at www.diabetesms/products and call 1-888-738-7929 for customer service or to inquire about our education and support services.

For more on why your stack of test results may improve your control, read the complete article at Healio.com, an endocrinology journal.

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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.