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

Stop Taking Calcium Pills

December 6th, 2015 · 27 Comments

Stop taking calcium even if you have diabetes: It doesn’t work and it has side effects, including heart attacks. This is the blunt message of recent studies of this mineral.

Our doctors have been telling us for years that we need 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. They were wrong, they now admit.

calcium foods

Because of this bad advice more than 60 percent of American women aged 60 or more were taking calcium supplements a few years ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Nevertheless, some researchers wanted us to take even more calcium: “Americans are not meeting current calcium recommendations,” according to a 2007 article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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→ 27 CommentsPosted in: Diabetes Medication

Why Your Blood Glucose Meter Isn’t Accurate

November 30th, 2015 · 10 Comments

The most important tool for most of us who have diabetes is our blood glucose meter. But usually we have no idea how inaccurate they are.

In the United States the organization responsible for setting the standards for meter accuracy is the Food and Drug Administration. This is one of the FDA’s most important roles for people with diabetes because if our blood glucose gets too low we can fall into a coma, and if it goes to high we are more likely to get one or more of the awful complications of uncontrolled diabetes.

But few of us know what the standards are, judging from the messages that people with diabetes send me and what I read on the Internet. For years I have been writing about the need for our meters to be more accurate, but as I explored this key topic in depth I got more and more confused and told my friend Bennet Dunlap that.

see saw

Used with permission of DiabetesMine.com

“The more confused you are the more you understand status quo,” he replied. Bennet is perhaps our leading diabetes advocate and has addressed the FDA directly on this issue. Bennet created Strip Safely and together with another diabetes patient advocate, Christel Marchand Aprigliano, co-founded the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition.

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Should You Use the Control Solution to Check Your Meter?

November 27th, 2015 · 7 Comments

You probably never use the control solution for your blood glucose meter. You can blame your doctor or yourself for this oversight, but the chances are that you never have heard this term before.

sugar solution

Our doctors and other medical professionals rarely discuss using a control solution. It usually doesn’t come with our blood glucose meters. And your local drug store probably doesn’t carry the one that your meter uses.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO),  and the American Diabetes Association all recommend that we often check our meter with its control solution.  Probably every owner’s manual for all of the blood glucose meters on the market has the same message. Something is seriously out of whack here.

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The Three Ways to Diagnose Diabetes

November 25th, 2015 · 12 Comments

For years the usual way that we got diagnosed with diabetes was a fasting plasma glucose test. But there are two other ways that we get the news now.

The newest way is when a doctor told us the results of a glycosylated hemoglobin test, which we usually call simply an A1C test. While a few of us learned that we have diabetes after we had an oral glucose tolerance test, that has always been the least common diagnostic tool for diabetes.

diabetes

The blue circle is the universal symbol for diabetes

The quickest and easiest is clearly the A1C test. But it has several limitations on its accuracy. In fact, none of these three ways that our doctors diagnose diabetes is perfect.

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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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→ 3 CommentsPosted in: Diabetes Basics

A Diabetic Brain is a Grain Brain

November 15th, 2015 · 1 Comment

David Perlmutter’s 2013 book Grain Brain has a prominent place in my diabetes bookshelf. Grain Brain is one of the important books ever. This book that the renowned brain specialist wrote two years ago holds a prominent place on my diabetes bookshelf.

Re-reading it recently reminded me how closely connected that our brain health is to excellent care and treatment of diabetes. The book is about how wheat, carbs, and sugar are destroying our brains. This connection with diabetes is far too close for comfort. These are the same things that raise our blood glucose the most.

grain brain cover

The higher the A1C level we have, the greater is our risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the most dreaded form of dementia. As I wrote here last month at “High Blood Glucose Can Lead to Dementia,” people with type 2 diabetes who had A1C levels of 10.5 percent or higher are 50 percent more likely to get a diagnosis of dementia than those with levels of 6.5 percent or less. In fact, one M.D., Suzanne M. de la Monte, has named Alzheimer’s disease as “Type 3 Diabetes.”

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Blood Glucose Meters from Roche Rank Highest in Survey

November 14th, 2015 · 14 Comments

Of the four companies that dominate the blood glucose meter business in the United States, we are happiest with Roche Diagnostics, according to a new scientific survey. Number two was Abbott Laboratories, third was Bayer, and pulling up last was LifeScan.

meter study

But two of the particular meters that LifeScan makes rank among the three favorite meters. Those few people in the survey who use the OneTouch UltraLink or the OneTouch Vario liked it a lot as did the small sample size of people who rated Bayer’s Contour Next Link.

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Is a Lower A1C Level Better or Worse?

November 13th, 2015 · 14 Comments

It seems logical that the lower our blood glucose levels are the better we will be. Most of us have always assumed that lower blood glucose levels would protect us better from the complications of diabetes. In fact, during the past two decades several studies showed a linear relationship between blood glucose, as measured by A1C levels, and worsened health.

glucose meter

But now, several recent A1C studies have shown a J-shaped relationships, in which at the lower end some bad things happen, at the center things are better, and at the top end things are terrible. While linear relationships are the rule in observational studies, U-shaped and J-shaped curves aren’t uncommon, and some authors lump both of these shapes as U-shaped.

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When You Control Your Diabetes, You Aren’t at Risk for Dementia

October 26th, 2015 · 2 Comments

One of the largest studies of the connection between diabetes and dementia has just confirmed what we have suspected for several years. There isn’t one.

But high blood glucose levels are connected to dementia, according to a new study of 353,214 people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers reported that people with type 2 diabetes who had A1C levels of 10.5 percent or higher were 50 percent more likely to get a diagnosis of dementia than those with levels of 6.5 percent or less. The higher the A1C level the greater the risk of dementia.

Hypoglycemia is also connected with dementia, according to studies. A recent meta-analysis in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism shows a bi-directional relationship between cognitive impairment and hypoglycemia in older people who have diabetes. Another new study, a population-based study in Canada reported in Diabetes Care, found that preexisting vascular disease and severe hypoglycemia were the greatest risk factors for dementia in seniors with diabetes.

Glucose Meter

Aidin Rawshani, M.D., of Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, and his colleagues identified everyone with type 2 diabetes who was registered in the Swedish National Diabetes Registry between 2003 and 2012 and who did not have dementia at enrollment. Their observational study adjusted for factors such as age, gender, and weight.

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NPH Insulin Works Well — If You Mix It Enough

October 25th, 2015 · 1 Comment

The variability from day to day might alarm you if you manage your diabetes with one of the intermediate acting insulins. The problem could be that you aren’t mixing it well enough.

The type of insulin that we call NPH can take one to three hours to start working. But it lasts for 12 to 16 hours.

Its generic name is NPH; Novo Nordisk sells it as Novolin N and Lilly as Humulin N. NPH is also available premixed with short acting insulin.

insulin-syringe

But NPH insulin is itself a mixture, and that’s the problem. Its cloudy part is rich in insulin crystals while its clear part isn’t. Before you inject it, you have to mix these parts.

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