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Archive for April, 2014


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

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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.


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

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


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

For more on the CDC study, visit:


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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Time to requalify for pump supplies

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Untitled-6The first quarter of 2014 is passed and this is a good time of year to restock and stay on a healthy track. Diabetes Management & Supplies is here to help. We will work with you, your insurance and your doctor to ensure you are equipped with the needed supplies. If you are an existing insulin pump user, spring is the annual requalifying period.

Our documentation team is busy updating your file this quarter so we will be ready for your next order when you are due. They will request an updated physician’s order form your doctor along with your current chart notes and a 30 blood glucose log. If you download your pump in their office, that information will be sufficient for the log requirement. Please remember this log must show that pump users test their blood sugars a minimum of four times a day. Your doctor’s chart notes must include that you continue to perform this action in order for you to continue to receive your supplies. The chart notes should also document that you are being seen by the doctor every three months so he or she can oversee your diabetes care with a team of educators, nurses and dieticians.

Please email your blood sugar logs to us at your convenience or fax to (504) 734-7164. Additionally, you may contact one of our documentation representatives for assistance if you should have any questions on this procedure.

When you are ready to place your reorder, please call us at 1-888-738-7929 or send an email to and a DMS representative will contact you promptly.

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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

Visit the ADA for a complete discussion on 10 Diabetes Superfoods


Diabetes drug Actos at heart of record ruling

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A U.S. federal court seated in Lafayette, La., found the makers of the diabetes drug Actos liable in a lawsuit that claims the manufacturer did not do enough to warn users that the drug greatly increased the risk of developing bladder cancer. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd said it would contest $6 billion in punitive damages imposed by the jury in the case claiming that Japan’s largest drugmaker had concealed cancer risks associated with Actos. Eli Lilly and Co, Takeda’s co-defendant in the case, was ordered to pay $3 billion in punitive damages.

In June 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a drug safety update on Actos, which said there was a 40 percent increase in bladder cancer risk in people who used the drug for longer than a year. It required that the cancer risk be added to the medication’s warning label. Actos has been sold since 1999. Actos comes with warnings about various serious side effects, including liver problems and higher risk of broken bones.

For complete article, see Jury hits Takeda, Eli Lilly with $9-billion penalty

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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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Fresh produce has place in diabetes toolkit

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Fruits and vegetables are a valuable part of a healthy diet. The standard for how much produce should be on your plate may be going up again. A study release this week encourages seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day instead of five.

The United Kingdom researchers found that people who eat up to seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day can cut their risk of preventable death by 42 percent. They also concluded and that vegetables may be more important than fruit to overall health.

The findings:

  • The participants ate an average of 3.8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Older, non-smoking women tended to eat more than other demographic groups. Produce consumption was also linked to participants’ body mass indexes; those who ate more fruit and vegetables tended to have a lower BMI.
  • The researchers found that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can be protective against cancer, heart disease and all other causes of death. Eating at least seven servings was best, but each serving increase was associated with a lower risk of death from preventative conditions.

This is also good news for people living with diabetes. One can control blood sugar and take advance of vegetables and fruit. The American Diabetes Association encourages people with diabetes to focus on non-starchy vegetables and don’t hold back.

Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber. Fiber is the part of produce that is hard to digest. Foods high in fiber take longer to digest. This gives a slower effect on blood glucose.


The ADA Recommendations:

  • The best choices are fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and vegetable juices without added sodium
  • If using canned or frozen vegetables, look for ones that say low sodium or no salt added on the label.
  • As a general rule, frozen or canned vegetables in sauces are higher in both fat and sodium.
  • If using canned vegetables with sodium, drain the vegetables and rinse with water. Then cook the rinsed vegetables in fresh water. This will cut back on how much sodium is left on the vegetables.

For more, visit:

CNN: Study: Eat 7 servings of fruit, veggies daily
ADA:  Making healthy food choices: Non-starch vegetables

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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.