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

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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Comments OffPosted in: Diabetes Basics

Give Thanks This Year for Your Diabetes

December 11th, 2015 · 1 Comment

During this holiday season, when most of us in the Western world have too much to eat, I encourage you to give thanks for the abundance we can enjoy even while we suffer from diabetes. Consider, if you will, what diabetes and gratitude have in common?

Actually, they share two important things. First, they share the month of November every year, and second, all of us who have diabetes have much for which we can give special thanks.

diabetes month

By presidential proclamation November 2015 is “National Diabetes Month.” On October 30, President Obama called on all of us to “raise diabetes awareness and help prevent, treat, and manage the disease.”

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→ 1 CommentPosted in: Psychosocial

Do You Get All the Fiber You Need?

December 9th, 2015 · 9 Comments

Few Americans get all the fiber the experts tell us we need to eat. If you follow a very low-carb diet, following their advice is much more difficult. Grain, beans, nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables are the only sources of dietary fiber in our food, but when we go low-carb, we eat little if any grain or beans.

But it’s likely that the experts are wrong.


The National Academic of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) recommends that adult men and women 50 and younger get 38 and 25 grams of fiber and that older men and women get 30 and 21 grams respectively. That’s not easy for anyone and just about impossible on a very low-carb diet.

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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

“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.


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.


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:

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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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