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

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 · 8 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 · 12 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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A Diet for Managing the Most Common Condition of Diabetes

October 7th, 2014 · No Comments

Almost all of us who have diabetes have to deal with other medical problems too. But none of these conditions affects more of us than obesity and the problems that come with it.

More than 85 percent of adults with diabetes were overweight in the U.S. government’s Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. And 54.8 percent of the adults with diabetes were obese.

That’s why a study that a journal of the American College of Physicians will publish tomorrow is so important to us even though it specifically excluded people with diabetes. The study also excluded anyone who had heart or kidney disease, but it did include 119 men and women with a body mass index of 30 to 45.

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Are These 3 Ice Creams Diabetes-Friendly to You?

October 6th, 2014 · No Comments

With the heat of summer the body often yearns for the cooling sensation of ice cream. This year for the first time since I learned two decades ago that I have diabetes I succumbed to the temptation.

But until now I have refrained from writing about ice cream so as not to lead anyone too far down the slippery slope of gluttony, also known as pigging out. Few of us can limit our indulgence to 1/2 cup or less in a sitting. I can’t.

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Interval Training Cuts Diabetes Blood Sugar

October 5th, 2014 · No Comments

When it comes to our walking speed, moderation doesn’t seem to be the best policy.

Those of us who have diabetes can manage our blood sugar levels better when we alternate between slow and fast walking, according to a new study. When we walk at a constant pace, we don’t get the reduced blood sugar benefit of our physical activity.

The conclusions of the study fly in the face of the usual recommendations that people with type 2 diabetes should avoid high-intensity exercise out of concern that we might get hurt and because we just aren’t likely to take this advice. Yet, the new study doesn’t show that we get any better blood sugar control unless we do interval training.

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Mindfulness and Meditation May Help Lower Your A1C

October 4th, 2014 · No Comments

More and more studies show that mindfulness and meditation are helping people to manage stress. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working with veterans who have some of the most severe problems, and they seem to be in the lead in making use of these tools.

But not until now have mindfulness and meditation been studied specifically with veterans who have diabetes. A preliminary study just reported at the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators presented some dramatic results that should be applicable to anyone who has diabetes.

Previous studies of four forms of mindfulness and meditation showed that they have helped veterans deal with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can occur after a traumatic event like war, assault, or disaster. While mindfulness and meditation are essential components of Buddhism and Hinduism, mainstream Western culture has now absorbed them. A pilot study of loving-kindness meditation produced promising — and moving — results. Mantram meditation, yoga, and transcendental meditation each have helped groups of veterans to manage PTSD.

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