April 9, 2011

Just Diagnosed And In A Panic? – Part 1

Some people put their entire fist through the panic panel while others throw a pity party and will milk it for all they can as the world is so unjust. Go ahead, I'll wait for you to calm down. You are not ready to read this.

I read this all the time on several of the diabetes forums which I follow. Even then some are unwilling to believe what the doctor told them and don't understand that we have all been in this situation. They claim we could not possibly understand how distraught they are. Yes, we do!!!

Some say they are mourning the carbohydrates they have had to give up. Many feel that it is only sugar they have to give up, but are they in for a surprise! This blog is primarily for those with Type 2 diabetes, but others can gain some information.

The doctors in the U.S. can be very subtle about how they say things and at times I wonder if they don't want to even mention diabetes, to say nothing about diagnosing it. They like to say “watch your food intake, your sugar was a little high” as they usher you out the door. Now just what does that mean? This is when you need to stop and look the doctor squarely in the eye and ask for an explanation. Did I? Unfortunately, no, and I paid the price and needed to go on insulin within a few months after being diagnosed officially. It is no wonder that many patients feel very lost in the beginning with diabetes.

If they do tell you that you have diabetes, some doctors will not refer you to a dietitian, nutritionist, or certified diabetes educator (CDE). If they are in a largely rural area, they may not have these available. Other doctors may have had less than positive experiences and so will not work with them. As a patient, I have had experiences that have been very positive with these supporting occupations, and a few that left me wondering if they even have heard about diabetes. Some are prone to contradicting the doctor and undermining the good he may have done.

While you are waiting to have meetings or classes, I recommend that you stop by the blog site of Alan Shanley. He has some excellent information about what to eat while you are waiting for your meter. If you do not have access to the dietitians, or CDE's, then Alan has three other excellent blogs; for getting started, testing, and reviewing and adjusting. While meters can deviate up to 20 percent, what you are looking for is trends and how different foods affect your body. Learn to trust your meter and use it. Alan also has an excellent blog on painless pricks to assist you in testing and care of your hands.

Those of us in the USA may have limitations imposed upon us by Medicare and our medical insurance companies if we are on oral medications. Some still decide it is worth the out-of-pocket expense to learn how our bodies react to different foods, being our own science experiment. Much of the time the doctors, educators, dietitians, or nutritionists will supply you with a meter, it is the test strips that will cost money.

Rather than run this into pages and pages, I would refer you to some books and websites so that you may read them at your leisure. I have a blog on books here, and another with some websites here. There are many more, but this will get you started and hopefully enthused that you can do something to manage this chronic disease called diabetes. If your local library does not have copies of any of the books, obtain them at your local bookstore, or order them online at a source you trust and try to obtain the latest edition.

More in my next blog about medications and home remedies. Part 1 of 3.  To read Part 2 and part 3 of this blog click on the links.

April 7, 2011

Diabetes Bariatric Surgery – Is It Effective?

Why are bariatric surgeons becoming so active in the diabetes field? Quite simply, primary care physicians and endocrinologists have abdicated their position. Sound a little dire? It might, but considering that these doctors are not rising to the challenge of taking care of and getting people out of the moderate to mildly obese categories. The bariatric surgeons are stepping in to the void to increase the thickness of their wallets and retirement plans.

As long as no one is explaining the side-effects and hyping the benefits, these surgeons will be happy to fatten their wallets and retirement accounts at the expense of other doctors, patients, and medical insurance companies. Is there a need for this surgery? While I don't like to say so, yes, there is a need. For those individuals that have tried and failed, e.g., exhausted with honest efforts other ways to reduce weight, and are among the morbidly obese, then the surgery is probably the only route available to them for weight reduction and possible management of diabetes.

Am I opposed to bariatric surgery. YES, except for the case above, I think the bariatric surgeons are into the vanity game for many people. I am thankful that the American Heart Association has taken a position in this and I can agree with their position. Read the article about this here.

The fees for bariatric surgery are steep and unless you have exceptional medical insurance, you may need to pay a healthy part of the bill. A discussion of medical insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid can be found here. Be sure to study this carefully.

An article by the Mayo Clinic is here. This is one of the better discussions about the different types of bariatric surgery and does list most of the risks involved with the surgery and even some risks by type of surgery. If you are seriously considering bariatric surgery, please read this article in its entirety. The consequences of not following exactly the plan and lifestyle changes can be very costly and even deadly. Most medical insurance companies require that you complete a training period and know each and every risk in detail. Some vary in length, but six weeks seems to be a minimum.

Some surgeons may try to get you past the insurance requirements fearing that you will want to back out of the surgery. So even with this, I strongly urge you to do your homework and know what you will be facing beforehand. Bariatric surgery is not for everyone so don't feel that you can slide past the requirements for lifestyle changes as they are mandatory and you will have problems if you ignore them. These lifestyle changes are permanent for the rest of your life which many people cannot accept and this gets them into serious problems.

If you think I am being overly dramatic, use your search engine and do some checking on your own. Also read my blog here about bariatric surgery possibly masking diabetes. Do not think it is the absolute cure the bariatric surgeons want you to believe. There are news articles almost weekly now hyping bariatric surgery and all refuse to discuss the serious risks. Even though I have an agenda against this surgery, I hope that I have pointed you in the right direction to arrive at an informed decision.

April 4, 2011

Summer Increases Risks for People With Diabetes

This is so important. Articles are starting to appear about the dangers for those of us in the northern hemisphere that have diabetes. A lot of the normal sources are dusting off the prior years blogs, articles, and press releases to put out the word. All this is done for a good reason – many people forget lessons learned in prior years and there are new people that have been diagnosed and don't know the dangers.

It is easy to understand why this came out of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. It is getting much warmer there now, but it will soon spread north to the rest of the northern hemisphere. The tips given are important and need to be heeded.

Because many people new to diabetes are not aware of the dangers, any advice about the dangers of heat and dehydration is good for people with diabetes (please read about heat stroke in my six blogs starting here). Also people need to protect their testing equipment (meters and strips) from the extreme heat and not store them in direct sunlight as this will make them useless. Also included is the medications (pills and/or insulin) that should be stored in cool packs (Frio packs) and not left in direct exposure to the sun. Frio packs can be found through many sources – just use your search engine and enter “Frio packs”.

I encourage you to read some of my previous blogs which can be found here about summer heat and taking care of yourself. Planning for the spring and summer heat and dangers can save you time and prevent lost money when you have to replace equipment, testing supplies and medications accidentally left in the direct sunlight or a vehicle out in the sun.

I also encourage you to read this article from the Mayo Clinic, Arizona.