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

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Basics'

High-deductible Health Insurance Can Be Expensive

September 23rd, 2016 · Comments Off

Every day more people with diabetes sign up for high-deductible health insurance in hopes that they will save money. Because they have low monthly premiums, these plans are increasingly popular.

But instead of being less expensive, they are more costly for most people with diabetes. This is the conclusion of a study that Frank Wharam, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, presented this June at the annual convention of the American Diabetes Association in New Orleans. This is the world’s largest scientific meeting focused on diabetes, and I was in the audience to represent HealthCentral.com.

The proportion of people who have high-deductible health insurance is skyrocketing, partly due to the Affordable Care Act. In 2006, only 10 percent of insured Americans had deductibles of $1,000 or more. But this proportion shot up to 46 percent last year, and Professor Wharam says that it is “likely to explode.”

The way that high-deductible health coverage works is by charging a lower monthly premium than what you would have to pay for a standard plan. But when you use your health care coverage, your out-of-pocket costs are higher.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics, Diabetes Medication, Psychosocial

Why You Aren’t Managing Your Diabetes Better

July 24th, 2016 · Comments Off

With so many new diabetes drugs available, we could be managing our blood glucose a lot better. In the past 10 years alone, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved more than 40 different diabetes treatments. In some clinical trials of these drugs more than half of the participants reduced their A1C level from an average of 8.4 percent to the American Diabetes Association’s suggested goal of 7 percent.

Yet in this decade there has been virtually no change in the overall percentage of people with diabetes in this country who have an A1C level of less than seven. Only about half of us had an A1C below 7 in the most recent study.

I Interview Dr. William Polonsky

These sobering facts formed the basis of a joint presentation in June 2016 by Steven Edelman, MD, and William Polonsky, PhD, in New Orleans at the American Diabetes Association’s annual convention, the largest annual meeting in the world of diabetes professionals. They addressed a crowd of hundreds of medical professionals on “The Efficacy Mirage in Type 2 Diabetes –Why Do Clinical Trial Results Disappear in Real-World Practice?” in a presentation that I had the opportunity to hear.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

The Internet Search Shortcut for Diabetes Data

December 18th, 2015 · 2 Comments

Since you are reading this article on the Internet, you can pride yourself that you can use the world’s largest information technology. But this technology is so new and complex that nobody can claim to fully understand it.

Learning how to search the Internet is such a new skill, the tools have become so sophisticated, and the data is so vast that you have to work at it full-time to master it. I have worked at it every day for more than 20 years in my career of writing about diabetes and I am still learning new tricks. It’s time for me to share some of the best ones.

search

In just two decades knowing how to search the Internet has become an essential learning skill. With more than four billion Web pages, the Internet already contains far more information than the world’s largest physical library, which has about 170 million items including some 14 million books.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

You Probably Don’t Drink Enough

December 17th, 2015 · Comments Off

As we grow older the sensation of thirst frequently declines, a new study show. “Thirst is not a good guide to the need to drink in older people,” writes Lee Hooper, PhD, and other researchers at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Not drinking enough water can lead to disability and even death.

But the standard advice has been to drink only when we are thirsty. Now it seems that this isn’t right for everyone.

fox drinking water

The new study, “Which Frail Older People Are Dehydrated?,” was published recently in The Journal of Gerontology. While only the abstract is free online, Dr. Hooper kindly sent me the full-text. This is the first report that takes into account both a large study group and a large range of health factors. The research took place in 56 residential care homes where the team studied 188 people older than 65.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

Searching the Internet for Diabetes Information

November 16th, 2015 · 3 Comments

When you want to learn anything about diabetes beyond what you read here, the quickest and easiest way is to search the Internet. But the amount of information and misinformation there has grown so immense that the simplest search can seem like an impossible task.

In the past two decades or so, the Internet has become essentially the biggest library ever created. Nobody knows how many websites are out there, partly because that number changes so rapidly, but there are probably about one billion of them with well over four billion web pages.

Because the Internet is the new digital equivalent of a physical library, consider that the British Library in London is the world’s largest physical library. It has about 170 million items including some 14 million books. And instead of card catalogs that libraries use, the Internet has search engines and links to help you find your away around its vast resources. Although card catalogs index a library’s holdings by author and title and may list one or two subjects, the Internet’s search tools take cross-referencing to a higher dimension.

search

Starting an Internet search is easy. You just enter the name of your search engine of choice in whatever browser you use. You can use one of many different browsers, like Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox. But for search engines, two-thirds of all Internet searches use Google. So if you haven’t used it, you might want to remember its Internet address: google.com

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

Seeking Medically Accurate Videos? An Innovative Diabetes Video Portal

September 27th, 2015 · 2 Comments

When you look for high-quality videos about diabetes health topics, it’s frustrating and often unsuccessful. Yet finding the right information at the right time is critical to staying in control of your health.

A friend of mine with deep ties to the diabetes community, Dr. Dirk Boecker, is developing a new medical video portal: Lucy’s Cabinet — Top Medical Videos. He has brought together experts in the field of diabetes to select the highest-quality videos across a wide spectrum of diabetes topics.

medical videos

Dr. Boecker is inviting us to beta test the portal. I checked out the portal, saw some of my favorite videos there, and even suggested a new category, a passion of mine, as you know — low-carb.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

Fear or Denial about Diabetes

September 25th, 2015 · 4 Comments

When you found out that you have diabetes, you might have been awfully scared. That’s good.

“My numbers are 6.1,” Tina wrote me recently. “Where should I start? I’m so scared!”

scared

Tina has type 2 diabetes, and this may be the most important question she ever asked. So I answered her carefully:

When people get diagnosed with diabetes, Tina, they are either scared or in denial about it. Being scared is better. But even being scared doesn’t help.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

The First Five Questions You Must Ask Your Doctor

August 21st, 2015 · 3 Comments

Did a doctor just tell you that you have diabetes? If so, it was probably during a short appointment. Only if you were awfully lucky, did you find out the most important things that you will have to do to manage it well.

Instead, you were probably in shock, and because of that you probably missed what the doctor told  you. So you’ve got to be prepared for the next appointment, and this is what you need to ask:

When I see a doctor, my first question is, “How much time do we have for this appointment?” Our doctors tend to dominate the time that we have together, so asking this will give put him or her on notice that you have your own questions.

Consider yourself lucky if your appointment is for 20 minutes. I still remember when in 1994 a doctor told me I had diabetes. I didn’t know a thing about it and started to ask him questions. But he cut me off, saying that my appointment was limited to 14 minutes.

doctor

You can read dozens of websites that will list the 10 or more questions for you to ask your doctor. That’s nonsense! You will be lucky to have time to ask more than one of them and get a solid answer. In my experience, your doctor will go on and on in answering your first question, getting into details that you aren’t ready to understand yet.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

The Difference Between Types of Diabetes

January 26th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Many of us who have diabetes worry whether we have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. But particularly for those of us who take insulin, it may not be worth the stress. And for many of us it certainly can’t be diagnosed definitively.

Determining which of these two main types of diabetes we have isn’t easy even for endocrinologists, much less the primary care physicians who most often try to help us manage our diabetes. For some of us, none of the tests can tell us for sure whether we have one type of diabetes or another.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

When Remission Is Better Than a Cure for Diabetes

January 12th, 2015 · 8 Comments

If we had a cure for diabetes, we would be so happy.

No more needles or pills! We wouldn’t have to consider how every tasty morsel we put in our mouths would raise our blood sugar or remember to exercise even when we would rather sit on our easy chairs. We wouldn’t have to do regular fingersticks, despair over our A1C levels, or moan about our BMI. We could relax.


Graphic courtesy of Ginger Viera

When Dr. Frederick Banting isolated insulin in 1922, the world hailed him for discovering the cure for diabetes, awarding him and Professor J.J.R. Macloud the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine.  Life saving for anyone with type 1 diabetes, insulin certainly is, but we all now know that it is no cure.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

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