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

Entries Tagged as '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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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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Receiving the Diabetes Diagnosis

August 4th, 2014 · No Comments

“Did anybody ever tell you that you have diabetes?”  Since you are reading this, my guess is that somebody gave you this diagnosis.

On February 7, 1994, Dr. Joseph Blum, my primary care physician at the VA Clinic in Santa Barbara, California, broke the news to me with those words. He added that my A1C level was 14.4. Before that nobody had even hinted that I had diabetes.

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I didn’t know enough about diabetes to be shocked, to panic, or go into denial. These the reactions that many people have when they learn that they will have to live with this disease for the rest of their lives.

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A Vitamin D Surprise for People with Diabetes

May 18th, 2014 · No Comments

We have known for a long time that vitamin D is important for our health. Recently scientists discovered that it helps us stave off heart disease and regulate our diabetes. But until now they couldn’t tell us how much vitamin D we need to get each day to help us manage our blood sugar levels.

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The Sunshine Vitamin on the Yellowstone River

Just a week ago I pointed out in my most recent article here, “Best Vitamin D Choices for Diabetes,” that “the experts still haven’t decided on precisely how much vitamin D we need.” They just did.

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Best Vitamin D Choices for Diabetes

May 17th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Scientists and doctors have begun to recognize that almost all of us need to get more vitamin D. Those of us who have diabetes often have very low levels of vitamin D in our systems.

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The experts still haven’t decided on precisely how much vitamin D we need or the best ways to get it. But two massive new studies have shed much needed light, including a finding that the type of vitamin D that doctors usually prescribe doesn’t help at all.

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Sleep More, Weigh Less for Diabetes Control

May 14th, 2014 · No Comments

The twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity might be connected with our increasing sleep deprivation. But how?

A professor at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine and her colleagues determined to find if they might be related. Ruth Patterson, Ph.D., led a unique study that just came out and finally offered some tested answers.

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Diabetes Help on the Internet

April 11th, 2014 · No Comments

Recently a fellow passenger asked me what I missed most about home. We were on a small ship and were out of contact with the rest of the world.

I realized that besides missing my friends and my usual food and drink, being able to use the Internet was what I wanted most. In fact, just as my shipmate asked that question, a devastating rainstorm had hit my hometown. I didn’t learn about it until the end of the week, when I could check my email and found messages from several friends.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics, Psychosocial

Prepare to See Your Diabetes Doctor

March 15th, 2014 · No Comments

When we learn how to manage diabetes without drugs, we rarely need to see an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in diabetes and the rest of the endocrine system.

I haven’t had an appointment with an endocrinologist in more than 10 years. I do have regular checkups that we all need with an opthamologist, a dermatologist, a podiatrist, and a dentist. I also go to my primary care physician at least once a year to get an annual physical examination and to help me manage my other chronic medical condition, hypothyroidism.

Not all of us who have diabetes need to see an endocrinologist, but certainly some of us do. All children with diabetes need a pediatric endocrinologist, and other people will benefit from a referral to an endocrinologist in eight different situations. My friend and colleague at HealthCentral, Dr. William Quick, suggests “When to Go to an Endocrinologist.” He is both an endocrinologist and someone who himself has diabetes.

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Beginning Anew With Diabetes

February 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Each of us has the opportunity every day to begin life anew. But we usually grab that chance only at the beginning of the year. This is the time for resolutions. We make our resolutions in January, but to avoid breaking them in February, we have to accept where we are and know where we want to go.

The key to resolution success is to set our sights low. When we focus on one goal for one resolution, we are much more likely to achieve success than if we adopt the usual scattershot approach. We can concentrate on only a limited number of objectives at one time. That’s why people who meditate generally focus on the breath alone.

Take, for example, the very common resolution of losing weight this year. If we decide that we want to lose a lot of weight, exercise more, stop smoking and drinking, and get along with our mother-in-law, all at the same time, we are setting ourselves up for failure. That’s the main reason studies show that we generally keep on track for one month just 55 percent of the time, and for six months only 40 percent of the time.

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The Top Ten Diabetes Terms

November 5th, 2013 · 4 Comments

This post is a text preview of a slideshow that my associates at HealthCentral will be preparing next week. This is my way of explaining the most important terms that we have to live with non-technically in 65 words or less each.

Insulin Resistance
When you need more insulin than the beta cells of your pancreas can provide, glucose builds up in your blood instead of going into the cells in the rest of your body. This resistance to your own insulin causes high blood glucose, which doctors call hyperglycemia. It can lead to prediabetes, which in turn can lead to diabetes, if you don’t change your lifestyle.

Type 2 Diabetes
When the cells of your body are resistant for several years to the insulin that the beta cells of your pancreas makes, they compensate by making more insulin. Eventually, however, they works so hard that they can’t keep up and begin to die off. That’s when you get type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes. But now, even children are getting it.

Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes), you usually aren’t resistant to the insulin that your beta cells make. Instead, something else, perhaps an infection, kills most of the beta cells so the rest of the cells in your body get little or no insulin that your body makes. To make up for this lack you have to take insulin shots.

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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

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