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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Dental Infections Are Trouble for Diabetes

December 13th, 2014 · No Comments

If you have a dental infection and diabetes, you can never get your blood sugar stabilized.  I know this from my personal experience and from listening to Richard K. Bernstein, M.D.

Any infection will wreck havoc with our blood sugar management. But dental infections may be some of the most common infections. They can also be insidious, as I know all too well.

The typical dental infection is probably gum disease, which our dentists call periodontal disease. But root canal infections, known as endodontic or endodontal infections, can go undetected even by the best dentists. I know, because my dentist didn’t find mine for about a year.

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Three Surprises in a New Survey of Blood Glucose Meter Satisfaction

December 9th, 2014 · No Comments

A survey that came out this morning shows that an overwhelming proportion of people in this country who use blood glucose meters really like the ones that Bayer makes. But the meters that the other three leading manufacturers make aren’t far behind.

These results surprise me. With all the complaints that I get here about the inaccuracy and lack of precision of our meters I didn’t expect the degree of satisfaction that this survey reported. Either they know something that we don’t or ignorance is bliss.

In any case, meters made by Bayer AG, the German pharmaceutical and chemical company, ranked highest in customer satisfaction in a J.D. Power survey of 2,024 people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. “Bayer ranks highest in satisfaction with a score of 843, performing particularly well in meter performance; ease of use; design; features; and cost of test strips,” J.D. Power says.  Since the survey is calculated on a 1,000 point scale, let’s just say that 84 percent of the users that they surveyed are satisfied with Bayer meters.

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Skipping Breakfast with Diabetes

December 8th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Skipping breakfast, according to the conventional wisdom, is a mistake for people with diabetes who want to lose weight. But this piece of conventional wisdom may be a myth.

Almost all of us who have type 2 diabetes want to lose weight or make sure to keep off the weight we have lost. Twenty years ago when a doctor first told me that I have diabetes, I weighed over 300 pounds. Eight and one-half years ago I brought my weight down to my goal of 156 (a BMI of 19.8), which is what I weigh today. It has never been easy.

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Diabetes and Hypothyroidism: Partners in Ill Health

December 7th, 2014 · No Comments

What’s wrong with you if you have diabetes along with mood fluctuations, if you are anxious, if you often get angry, and if you have a poor memory? Are you just a bad person?

Did you even consider that you might have an underactive thyroid gland? Lots of people have this condition, which doctors call hypothyroidism. And even a greater proportion of people with diabetes have it. I’m one of them.

Few doctors ever check us to see if our thyroid gland is working properly. Even fewer treat it because of inconsistent standards regarding what a healthy thyroid is.


Dr. Kesavadev (right) and Me (Photo by Gopika Krishnan)

But one doctor who runs a large diabetes clinic has been concerned for years about hypothyroidism among his patients. I met him three years ago in San Diego at the Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.  He is Jothydev Kesavadev, M.D., of Jothydev’s Diabetes and Research Center in Trivandrum, India, which is also known as Thiruvananthapuram and is the capital of the state of Kerala located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the country.

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How Often Should People with Diabetes Check Their A1C?

November 17th, 2014 · 2 Comments

A new study concludes that people who have diabetes should check their blood glucose level with A1C tests more often than the experts recommend. But even then the study doesn’t go far enough.

The study looked at more than 400,000 tests by about 80,000 people whose doctors prescribed them between 2008 and 2011. It focused on the relationship between the retest interval and the percentage change in A1C level.

The results of this massive analysis just appeared in the current issue of Diabetes Care. The abstract of the study is free online, and an endocrinologist friend of mine kindly gave me a copy of the full text.

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Snacking with Diabetes

November 16th, 2014 · 4 Comments

A new snack food is now available that is healthy and low carb as well as being tasty. It meets all the criteria that people with diabetes need to consider when we put something in our mouths.

Until now the only good tasting snacks that I knew about were either healthy or low carb, but not both.

1. Nuts and seeds — particularly almonds — deserve their reputation of being healthy. That’s especially true if they are organic so that they aren’t loaded with pesticides and herbicides. But carbs will always spike our blood sugar levels and nobody can tell me that any nuts or seeds are low carb.

In fact, the best tasting nuts that I know about are cashews, particularly when they are roasted and salted, but they are really high in carbs. I still eat a few of them once in a while, and I eat even more almonds. Nuts and seeds make the best trail and trip food because they don’t need refrigeration and don’t squash in a pack.

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Drink Camel Milk for Diabetes Control

November 9th, 2014 · 10 Comments

Camel milk has a great taste. But that’s not why Americans are beginning to drink it.

People with diabetes are drinking it to help us reduce our blood sugar and to reduce the amount of insulin we have to take. Camel milk is one of those rare functional foods that helps us manage our diabetes better.

Camel milk recently became available in the United States. Two years ago the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of camel milk here. This year Desert Farms in Santa Monica, California, became the first camel milk wholesaler in the U.S. It is now on the shelves of natural food stores in California, including 40 Whole Foods Markets in the northern part of that state. By the end of this month Whole Foods will have it in its frozen food cases at 32 stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Utah.

Whole Foods only carries pasteurized camel milk, but since raw camel’s milk is legal in California, another retailer in that state, Lassen’s, sells both raw and pasteurized camel milk in its 10 stores. Desert Farms will also ship it to your door.

I have drunk both raw and pasteurized camel milk from Desert Farms. It tastes to me essentially the same as 2 percent milk from cows, which has a similar fat content. Camel milk, whether raw or pasteurized, has 4.5 grams of total fat per 8 ounces, while 2 percent cow’s milk has 5 grams in the same serving size.

Camels are rare in the United States, which is the main reason why camel milk is considerably more expensive than cow’s milk. There are 18,000 cows for every camel in the United States, the Desert Farms website says.

We have only 3,000 to 5,000 camels here, according to two different estimates. And many of them work in circuses or live in zoos. Almost one-third of the estimated 19,000,000 camels in the world live in Somalia, where camel milk is readily available, along with Sudan, Kenya, India, and Saudi Arabia. When the U.S. Agency for International Development sent me to Somalia in 1963, I didn’t drink any camel milk, although I saw thousands of camels herded by Somali nomads and brought back an authentic pair of wooden camel bells.


Between Hargeisa and Arabsyio, Somalia, December 1963

The founder of Desert Farms, Walid Abdul-Wahab, came to this country from his native Saudi Arabia. But most of the camel ranchers he works with are Amish and Mennonite people in the Midwest.

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Easy and Accurate Diabetes Monitoring at Home Is Available

October 26th, 2014 · 14 Comments

The A1CNow device is the easiest and most accurate way for those of us who have diabetes to check our key blood glucose level at home. But it still has spotty availability.

Chex Diagnostics, formerly known at Polymer Technology Systems, started shipping it six months ago after the company had purchased the A1CNow business from Bayer Diabetes Care last year. But many pharmacies don’t have it yet.

The good news, however, is that we can get it for less than ever before.

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Diabetes Testing That Is Even More Gentle

October 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Three months ago I reviewed Genteel’s new “gentle lancing instrument” here at “Gentle Testing for Diabetes.” The company claims right on the box that it gives us “blood testing without pain!”

In all my experience with the device this is no exaggeration. It has improved the quality of my life and that of other people with diabetes who test their blood sugar.

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Pros and Cons of Injectable Diabetes Drugs

October 9th, 2014 · No Comments

Most diabetes drugs cause us to gain weight. But those in the rather new class of drugs called GLP-1 inhibitors actually lead to weight loss.

People with type 2 diabetes take these drugs by injection. Insulin, the drug that people with type 1 have to inject to manage their diabetes, is notorious for leading to weight gain.

Clinical trial studies show that people with diabetes who take one of these new GLP-1 drugs generally loose weight. I know that they help us lose weight because I lost so much weight myself when my doctor switched me from the older drugs.

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