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Archive for August, 2013


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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A1C helps show diabetes control, progression

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a1cThe A1C is a blood test. It measures how much glucose is stuck to a protein (called hemoglobin) inside the red blood cells. It is good to have an A1C test every 3 months if your blood sugar is not under control. If your blood sugar is in control, then you should have the A1C test done every 6 months.

An A1C test result is reported as a percentage. It can also be reported as a number called an “Estimated Average Glucose,” or eAG. Your healthcare provider will help you set your target goal. Many people aim for an A1C lower than 7 percent. This is an eAG of less than 154 mg/dL, but this varies with some patients.

Your goal will depend on your age, general health and other factors.

Keeping tight control on blood sugar levels will reduce the risk of developing complications like heart, kidney, eye and nerve problems. Certain risk factors increase damage to the large blood vessels in the heart, brain, legs and feet. These include:

  • High blood sugar
  • High blood fats
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Being overweight
  • Family history of heart disease

DMS also offers insulin pump training and accredited diabetes education services. For more information on specific insulin pump needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at

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Education, interventions help control diabetes

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Diabetes is just one chronic disease, but it represents a huge threat to the physical and economic vitality of our state and carries a huge price tag which includes shortened lifespan for sufferers and skyrocketing healthcare spending. Whether you are working to control your diabetes or would like to prevent diabetes, the motivation may be the same: ensuring a long, healthy life.

DEAP_logoUnlike many diseases, diabetes carries the ability to spark or worsen other diseases like heart disease and stroke. It also provides an umbrella for catastrophic complications including blindness, renal failure and limb amputations.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators is just one organization committed to improving the lives of people living with diabetes. AADE believes that behavior change can be most effectively achieved using the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors™ framework. The seven self-care behaviors are healthy eating, being active, monitoring, taking medication, problem solving, reducing risks and healthy coping.

Diabetes Management & Supplies conducts the “I’m In Control” program. This diabetes education intervention has received the AADE’s accreditation as well as the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval, the highest ranking possible, making it one of a select few national diabetes companies with this unique distinction.

The classes offer a unique learning experience that includes:

  • Starts with one-hour personal assessment of patient needs and health conditions
  • Provides live, hands-on classroom instruction
  • Telephonic and one-on-one instruction options
  • Follow-up intervention tracks outcomes and ensures patient is meeting their goals
  • Encourages positive lifestyle intervention including healthy eating and increased physical activity

DMS also offers insulin pump training and accredited diabetes education services. For more information on specific insulin pump needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at

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Changes affect insulin pumpers, test strips

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cgm_200Ongoing changes in the way insurance companies cover the costs of durable medical equipment (DME) may affect how insulin pump patients get diabetes testing supplies. Getting and using the correct testing strip, in particular, is important to the operation of insulin pumps. The needed strips may still be covered by insurance, but the new rules may assign a higher copay to these supplies or change where and how strips can be purchased.

A drug copay is the patient’s share of the cost of a drug or DME. The remaining cost is paid by the health plan or insurance company.

Periodically, insurance companies make revisions to their prescription drug programs that may involve excluding certain drugs/DME or shifting items between tiers (i.e. from a lower copay to a higher copay, or vice versa). These changes are often in response to the availability of lower cost alternatives, such as generic or over-the-counter drugs, or a change in the pricing contract with manufacturers.

Most insurance plans have “tiered copayment levels.” With tiered copays, each drug or needed item is in one of several levels. And there’s a different copayment for each level.

For example:

  • Tier-one prescription items may include low-cost generics
  • Tier-two prescription items may include higher-cost generics and lower-cost brand drugs/DME
  • Tier-three prescription items may include higher-cost brand drugs/DME
  • Tier-four prescription drugs may include much higher-cost medications – such as some cancer drugs – and instead of a copay, you may pay a percentage of the actual cost of the drug or item

Diabetes Management & Supplies is aware of these changes, and our staff stands ready to assist our insulin pump customers in making sure they continue to get the most appropriate strips for their insulin pumps. If you are having difficulty navigating these changes or if you have questions about the use of your pump or its accessories, call our Insulin Pump Info Line at 1-888-738-7929.

DMS offers a wide range of insulin pumps and accessories. Visit our Product Directory to view available devices and supplies.

DMS also offers insulin pump training and accredited diabetes education services. For more information on specific insulin pump needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at

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Eating Wright: Cook your way to good control

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john_close_ingredientsHealthy eating and nutritional support are valuable assets for people living with diabetes. Chef John Wright of Diabetes Management & Supplies uses both his culinary knowledge and his personal experience with type 1 diabetes to provide meal-planning support and cooking demonstrations.

In a recent cooking demo, Chef Wright prepared a Breakfast Burrito while DMS dietician Ellen Smith, RD, LDN, explained the nutritional value of the meal and how participants can incorporate the dish in a healthy eating plan. The breakfast dish features two very lean protein sources  – shrimp and eggs – as well as vitamin-rich bell peppers and whole wheat tortillas.

See slideshow below and full recipe and nutritional values: Breakfast Burrito.

Chef Wright, the DMS marketing and sales director, uses an insulin pump to help control his blood sugar and has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 20 years. Follow Eating Wright through the following online features:

Live cooking demonstrations with nutritional support:

  • 1st and 3rd Thursdays – Humana Guidance Center, Veterans Boulevard, Suite 2B, Metairie, LA, 70005
  • (504) 219-6616
  • 3rd Wednesdays August-December – Diabetes Management & Supplies, #10 Commerce Court, New Orleans, LA 70123 (504) 734-7165

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DMS 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.

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Breakfast Burrito

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Breakfast Burrito


1 egg, scrambled

3-4 shrimp, sautéed

2 tablespoons white onion, sautéed

2 tablespoons red bell pepper, sautéed

1/8  cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

1 small wheat tortilla

1 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper


Cook onion and bell pepper in olive oil until tender.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to pan and cook until pink.  Set aside.  Scramble egg in non stick skillet and set aside.  Take wheat tortilla and fill bottom half with shrimp, onion, bell pepper and eggs.  Top with pepper jack cheese and roll up.  Serve with salsa or sour cream.

Makes one serving

Nutritional value: Calories – 412 calories; Carbohydrate – 29.33 g; Fiber – 3.6 g; Sugar – 1.04 g; Protein -  16.86 g; Fat – 26.71 g; Cholesterol – 39.7 g; Saturated Fat – 7.33 g; Sodium – 434.11 g

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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.