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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa
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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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A Christmas Gift to People with Diabetes from Polymer

February 15th, 2014 · No Comments

The best way that we have to check our A1C level will live after all. In September I reported here in “The Key Diabetes Test Bites the Dust” that Bayer Diabetes Care would stop making the A1CNow device at the end of this year.


At that time I asked a Bayer spokesperson whom I had known for years if Bayer might sell the facility that makes the A1CNow device to another company. “Our business plans are confidential,” she replied.

But yesterday, December 23, Polymer Technology Systems Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana, announced that “it has acquired the A1CNow family of products from Bayer Diabetes Care.” The announcement was a brief, six-paragraph press release to PR Newswire, and I have not been able to reach anyone at Polymer.

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Twin Diabetes Highs: Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar

February 14th, 2014 · No Comments

In December, a panel of experts released new guidelines regarding when people over 60 should take drugs to reduce their blood pressure. But the guidelines for those of us with diabetes remain the same.

The panel of 17 academics reported its findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, after reviewing data from the last five years. The full text of its report, “2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults,” is free online. It concluded that people over 60 need to keep their blood pressure below 150/90, rather than the 140/90 level previously recommended.

The guideline for people with diabetes remains at 140/90, meaning a systolic blood pressure of no more than 140 and a diastolic pressure of less than 90. The systolic pressure reflects the pressure on our blood vessels when our hearts contract, while the diastolic number reflects the pressure when our heart relaxes between beats.

This is actually less stringent than some experts had previously recommended. Many doctors tell those of us with diabetes to keep our blood pressure at a level no higher than 120/80.  And if we don’t, they will tell us to take our medicine, usually angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).

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The Dawn Phenomenon: A Diabetes Puzzle Solved

February 13th, 2014 · 13 Comments

The dawn phenomenon is one of the most disturbing challenges for those of us who have diabetes. Many of us wonder about the puzzle of why our blood sugar level spontaneously rises during the last hours of sleep each night.

This has also mystified our doctors and medical researchers, so much that they have published at least 187 articles in the professional literature during the past three decades since the first study of the subject appeared. But four new studies by European researchers just published in American professional journals have shown a bright light that clarifies the major questions we have had about the dawn phenomenon. We now know who gets it, how bad it is, how much it impacts our A1C levels, and how to prevent it.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes you are likely to have the dawn phenomenon. However, dawn levels among people who don’t have diabetes rise only slightly, if at all, “because they secrete insulin to prevent it,” according Francesca Porcellati, MD, and her associates at Italy’s University of Perugia. Their study, “Thirty Years of Research on the Dawn Phenomenon: Lessons to Optimize Blood Glucose Control in Diabetes,” appears in the December 2013 issue of Diabetes Care, a professional journal of the American Diabetes Association. The full-text of this study is free online.

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A Great New Meter System for Diabetes Blood Sugar Tracking

February 12th, 2014 · No Comments

The OneTouch Verio Sync may be the best blood glucose meter for people with diabetes. But before you rush out to buy one as a Christmas present for yourself or for a loved one, please note one problem. It’s not yet for sale.

The Verio Sync Paired with an iPhone

LifeScan Inc., the company that is making it, tells me that they expect their new meter to become available in January, February, or March of next year. LifeScan sells more blood glucose meters in this country than any other company, and the Verio Sync will join their three other current OneTouch meters. They are the OneTouch Verio IQ, the OneTouch Ultra Mini, and the OneTouch Ultra 2 (LifeScan also developed the OneTouch UltraLink, which works with a Medtronic insulin pump, and the OneTouch Ping meter remote that works with the Animas insulin pump).

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Will the Diabetes Sentry Prevent Hypos?

December 27th, 2013 · No Comments

I wish that I could give you an unqualified endorsement of the new Diabetes Sentry. It is the only noninvasive device currently on the market for the detection of hypoglycemia symptoms. Worn like a wristwatch, it is simple and easy to use.

It can detect the two most common symptoms of hypoglycemia, a blood sugar level that can be dangerously low and which many people with diabetes call a hypo. The common symptoms are a drop in skin temperature and an increase in perspiration. When a Diabetes Sentry detects one of these symptoms, it sounds an audible alarm.

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Marvelous Macadamias for Diabetes

December 23rd, 2013 · 2 Comments

If all that you demand of what you eat is that it is healthy and tastes good, macadamia nuts are a wonderful choice for those of us who have diabetes. But no food is perfect.

Unlike all other nuts, eating macadamia nuts won’t wreck your ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats, which are both polyunsaturated fats. The absolute amount of polyunsaturated fats in even a large amount of macadamias is so low that relative amount need not be a concern. As long as we get a ratio of 1:1 or even twice as much omega 6 and omega 3 in our total diet we are doing fine. We can do that by eliminated from our diet soybean, corn, canola, and cottonseed oils and by eating fatty fish like salmon or sardines or mackerel or by taking fish oil or krill oil capsules.

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Diabetes without Drugs

December 15th, 2013 · 12 Comments

If you have type 2 diabetes, you can manage it well without any drugs — without any oral medications and without insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will always have to take insulin injections, but you can likely use less than you do now.

To manage diabetes well means keeping your blood sugar level down in the same range as that of people who don’t have diabetes. The way we check this level is the A1C (sometimes called glycated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c). This test tells you what your average blood sugar level was during the previous two or three months by using a drop of blood about as small as that you use on your regular fingerstick tests that tells you what your level is right then.

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Drinking and Diabetes Don’t Mix

December 8th, 2013 · 8 Comments

Compared with some other stuff we put in our mouths, the trouble with alcohol might not seem to be a big deal for most of us who have diabetes. We all know, of course, that even a little alcohol can mean big trouble for those of us who can’t handle alcohol in moderation.

More than 30 percent of adult Americans have “experienced alcohol use disorders during their lifetimes,” according to a 2007 study in JAMA Psychiatry. That study also found that 17.8 percent have alcohol abuse problems and that 12.5 are alcohol dependent.

Our genes are responsible for about half of the risk for alcoholism, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The other half is our environment, which includes our friends.

If you were sure from your experience that you can handle a little alcohol and if you were a middle-aged or older man who didn’t have diabetes, a little alcohol might actually be good for you. That’s because the response of some people to different amounts of alcohol seems to be quite unusual. It’s not something that could be plotted on a straight line. Researchers call it a U-shaped or J-shaped curve, where among middle-aged and older men, abstinence seems to be a little worse than moderate consumption, while heavy consumption is much worse.

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Grateful for Diabetes

December 2nd, 2013 · 4 Comments

Those of us fortunate enough to be Americans have so many things to be grateful for this month, and we will celebrate that gratitude in four weeks. In fact, those of us who have diabetes have a whole month to be thankful for it.

Yesterday, President Obama proclaimed November 2013 to be National Diabetes Month. While this Presidential Proclamation seeks to raise the awareness of everyone about the prevention and management of diabetes, the President didn’t say why the month when we celebrate Thanksgiving is the same month that we recognize diabetes.

But I know that the link between Thanksgiving and diabetes is a strong and positive one. Knowing that we have diabetes can be good for us.

You may think that I’m crazy, but some of us are thankful that we have diabetes. I wish all of us could share this feeling.

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