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Archive for Understanding Diabetes

May
16

Self-Management services help fine tune skills

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bigstock-friendly-african-american-medi-49942391Sometimes we think that what we are doing to manage our diabetes is enough, but our blood glucose numbers don’t reflect that. There are health care professionals who specialize in diabetes who can help you figure out what you need to do to better manage your diabetes.

This brings to mind a patient who worked with the educators at the DMS Diabetes Self-Management Education center.

“Sam” was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 13. That was more than 20 years ago. At the time of diagnosis, he went through a rigorous two-week education program where he learned about carbohydrate counting and meal planning, blood sugar testing, and how to inject and adjust insulin.

Even though he had been educated a while back and thought he was doing fine, in reality he had forgotten some things that could help him better manage his diabetes. He also was not aware of some of the most recent information regarding the treatment of diabetes.

His A1C level (the three-month average of blood sugar test) has dropped to a normal level and he is feeling better. Just like Sam, working with diabetes educators can help you get back on track and insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid have benefits that cover this service.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers accredited diabetes education services that can make managing all forms of diabetes easier tasks. The program is accredited by American Association of Diabetes Educator’s Diabetes Education Accreditation Program (DEAP). This accreditation means that it meets the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management. The program focuses on the AADE7™ Self-Care Behaviors which are:

  • Healthy eating
  • Being active
  • Monitoring
  • Taking medication
  • Problem solving
  • Healthy coping
  • Reducing risks

Certified diabetes educators teach patient’s either individually and/or in small group settings. Our registered dietitians also provide medical nutrition therapy for those in need of additional and disease-specific nutritional counseling. 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.

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May
15

Researchers look for Type 1 longevity secrets

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Many people who have lived with Type 1 diabetes for 50 years never expected to see their senior years. The tides are changing, however, and it is becoming increasingly common among people with Type 1 diabetes to live much longer than expected.

A Canadian study is underway to find out the secrets to long life with Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes. “We are now seeing that people with Type 1 diabetes can live for a lot longer than we had initially thought,” says Dr. Bruce Perkins, an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto who is heading the national study.

The Diabetes Management & Supplies Learning Center explains that while the cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. These conditions occur 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.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers accredited diabetes education services that can make managing all forms of diabetes easier tasks. 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.

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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

May
08

Knowing health numbers, labs aid control

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Diabetes will affect a variety of areas in the body and staying in control means staying abreast of the facts and stats of your specific health. Below is a listing of recommended exams, tests and vaccinations for people living with diabetes. Understanding the importance of all of these items is crucial to reducing the risks associated with diabetes.

Many tests and statistics become important like the A1C. 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.

Prolonged high blood sugars will damage organs and body systems making numbers like blood pressure and weight a part of your overall health picture.

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.

Recommended at every visit:

  • Blood pressure
  • Weight
  • Brief Foot Inspection.

Recommended lab tests:

  • A1C
  • Microalbuminuria
  • Blood cholesterol
  • Eye Exams
  • Foot Exams
  • Dental Exams
  • Recommended Vaccinations – Flu shot
  • Pneumococcal Vaccination

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 DMS Learning Center for more detail: Recommended Diabetes Exams and Tests

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May
02

Self-Management an important tool for success

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An important tool to controlling diabetes is proper education and training.  People with diabetes or those at risk for developing diabetes must obtain the knowledge and learn the skills necessary to manage the disease.  This will lead to a healthier life and help to avoid complications of uncontrolled diabetes.

DEAP_logo-300x162The DMS Diabetes education program is accredited by American Association of Diabetes Educator’s Diabetes Education Accreditation Program (DEAP). This accreditation means that it meets the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management. The program focuses on the AADE7™ Self-Care Behaviors which are:

  • Healthy eating
  • Being active
  • Monitoring
  • Taking medication
  • Problem solving
  • Healthy coping
  • Reducing risks

Certified diabetes educators teach patient’s either individually and/or in small group settings. Our registered dietitians also provide medical nutrition therapy for those in need of additional and disease-specific nutritional counseling.

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.

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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
15

Diabetes mysteries revealed on mountain top

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An experiment conducted literally at the “top of the world” may shed new light on factors and conditions that cause type 2 diabetes. A team of British researchers have concluded that low oxygen levels may lead to insulin resistance, a forerunner to diabetes. Insulin resistance occurs when cells in the body fail to respond to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

A spike in insulin resistance indicators happened when the climbers were exposed to low oxygen levels at high altitudes for six to eight weeks. These changes were linked with increased blood levels of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, according to the study released this week in the journal PLOS One.

Scientists were able to observe things in healthy people at high altitudes that normally are only seen in obese people at sea level. Mount Everest is the Earth’s highest mountain. It is located in the Mahalangur range of the Himalayas on the border of Tibet and Nepal.

See complete article, Clues to type 2 diabetes discovered on Mount Everest at MSN Healthy Living

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Apr
08

Diabetes Superfoods can come to the rescue

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Diabetes involves metabolism, but this doesn’t mean food is the enemy of people living with diabetes. Good food is in your prescription for health and and proper nutrition plays a role in getting and maintaining blood sugar control.

Some foods are better than others in helping to reach diabetes control. The American Diabetes Association has identified the top 10 diabetes superfoods in an effort to encourage individual steps for staying healthy.  These foods have glycemic impact and are rich in the key nutrients we often miss out on in our current eating habits. Those key nutrients include calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, C and E.

Here are your 10 Diabetes Superfoods

  • Beans
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Citrus Fruit
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts
  • Fat-free Milk and Yogurt

strawberries-and-yogurt-sauceCheck out these easy-to-follow recipes for ideas on using the Diabetes Superfoods

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 a complete discussion on 10 Diabetes Superfoods

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.