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

The Vitamin D Window

May 18th, 2009 · 7 Comments

When he examined the young lifeguard, he saw that almost every square inch of her body was well tanned. She had been wearing practically nothing when she worked at the beach.

Neil Binkley, M.D., told me about his patient because she had the highest physiologic level of vitamin D in her system of anyone he ever saw. Her level was 80 ng/ml.

I had to look up the word “physiologic” to make sure what Dr. Binkley meant. Physiologic in the sense that he’s using it is “something that is normal, neither due to anything pathologic nor significant in terms of causing illness,” according to a medical dictionary.
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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

Power of Prevention

May 14th, 2009 · 3 Comments

The annual convention of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists — those medical specialists who treat diabetes — is underway in Houston. I’m covering the event for The Health Central Network.

The convention took over the George R. Brown Convention Center in the downtown of America’s fourth largest city. The convention center is so big that after Hurricane Katrina 7,000 refugees lived here.

In the mob of today’s convention you might imagine my surprise that the first person I made eye contact with asked if I was David Mendosa. The person who asked was Sarah Senn, who I had sent several photos for an article that she wrote about me. But we had never previously met in person.
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Posted in: People With Diabetes

Diabetes Drug Dangers

April 19th, 2009 · 8 Comments

A single research report that found risks in one of the medications that we take to control our diabetes would warrant our attention. But when three separate studies find serious side effects from all our major drugs, the time is right for us to reconsider how we control our blood glucose levels.

Most of us think of our diabetes drugs, diet, and exercise as the three basic ways we do that. But drugs come first. Maybe they should come last, at least for all of us with type 2 diabetes, who unlike type 1s have a choice.

Since March 10, studies have called into question the side effects of metformin, the glitazones, insulin, and the sulfonylureas.
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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

Affordable Medical Care

April 12th, 2009 · No Comments

Few of us can afford the insane cost of health care without health insurance. But in this sinking economy more and more of us have lost that safety net.

The good news is that some strands of the net remain in place. I’m lucky to be old enough to hang on to the biggest one, Medicare.

In November when I had to spend one night in the local hospital, they billed my insurance $2,310 for the room. But that was a minor part of the $11,518 bill. And it didn’t include bills from two doctors.

Because of the deal that my insurance company cut with the hospital, that was a lot less than the room rate and other hospital charges they would have billed me as an uninsured patient. Is that unfair or what! I was lucky that my co-pay was only $450.
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Posted in: Psychosocial

Comparing Insulins for Type 2s

April 5th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Some of our doctors don’t help us when they use insulin as a threat: “Unless you reduce your blood glucose, I am going to have to put you on insulin.”

So it’s no surprise that many of us who have type 2 diabetes think we have failed when our doctors prescribe it. This comes from thinking of injecting insulin as a last resort.

It isn’t. More and more of us are now starting to take insulin as soon as our doctors have diagnosed our type 2 diabetes. Probably half of the men in my diabetes support group started taking insulin as a first choice.
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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

Breaking the Diabetes-Alzheimer’s Connection

January 5th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Researchers finally know why people with diabetes are more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. That alone would be big news. The huge news is that we now know what we have to do to break the link.

Did you miss the growing number of reports in the past few years about how those of us who have diabetes are more likely to get Alzheimer’s as we age? I can understand, because until last year I ignored the evidence myself. We have enough on our plate already without worrying about a possible complication many years down the road that until now nobody knew how to prevent anyway.
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Posted in: Diabetes Complications

Who Can You Trust?

November 24th, 2008 · 1 Comment

We can’t completely trust anything, anyone, or any organization. Nowhere is this more true than for our health.

Yet we have to decide. Doing nothing is impossible.

A correspondent that I know only as “drscll” prompted these reflections. He or she asked if we could trust even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The question startled me at first, because if any part of our government is trustworthy, I’ve always thought that it was the CDC. Staffed by a dedicated group of people, many of whom put their lives on the line to control epidemics, the CDC deals in facts, not opinions or recommendations.
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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

Treating Kidney Disease

November 5th, 2008 · No Comments

When we have healthy kidneys, little or no protein appears in the urine. But protein in the urine — technically called proteinuria — is an early sign that our diabetes has damaged the kidney’s filters. It’s a strong risk factor for kidney failure where the only treatment is dialysis.

A progression from diabetes to proteinuria to kidney failure is anything but inevitable. Each step can be a heads up for change.

Now, new studies show that a drug commonly used to treat problems of circulation can also decrease proteinuria. The drug is pentoxifylline, sold under the brand names of Pentoxil and Trental.
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Posted in: Diabetes Complications

Cutting the Cost of Diabetes Care

October 15th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Seeing your doctor probably costs a lot more than you think. Even if you have health insurance with a minimal co-pay, that’s not the half of it.

If you need to see your endocrinologist every quarter, these costs can really add up. You need to factor in the cost of travel, which can include meals out and even overnight accommodations, particularly if you live a long way from the doctor’s office. If your child is the one with diabetes, one or both parents will need to take off from work.

Until Kevin McMahon, the president and CEO of Diabetech in Dallas, told me about a new online cost calculator I hadn’t realized what a financial burden these doctor visits could be. Kevin just told me about this neat way to help you determine the cost of these visits.
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Posted in: Diabetes Basics

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