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New Articles for January 2012 - Type 1 Diabetes@about.com

Sunday January 29, 2012

With a new year comes a new batch of articles to help you better manage your diabetes.

I've been trying to add more content of late about family dynamics and diabetes. To that end I've developed two articles specifically for parents with children with type 1. The first addresses the often difficult topic of How to Talk with Your Child About Diabetes. I offer a number of tips on how to manage your child's diabetes without turning it into a nag fest.

The second article for parents concerns the issue of how to help siblings adjust to the diagnosis of diabetes by a brother or sister. With practice, these suggestions can quickly smooth out problems that may start to arise in the first year or so of a type 1 diagnosis.

Anyone old enough to manage their own blood sugar can learn a thing or two from the article entitled, Learning to Handle Diabetes Mistakes. Regardless of how long you've had diabetes, mistakes in management are inevitable. Learn how you can go easy on yourself and still learn from the error.

Want to get a better handle on your food intake? How about losing weight? If so, check out the new article called The Benefits of Keeping a Diabetes Food Journal for ways you can better manage your glucose and your overall health without much effort. There are a couple of great phone apps to check out here as well.

Continuing in my series of articles on health conditions common with diabetes, I've included three more this month. These include: Thyroid disease, Erectile dysfunction, and a lesser known but very serious condition called Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome.

Finally, it is a fact that people with diabetes have more hospital stays over their lifetime than those without diabetes. But as you probably know, hospitals are not always as safe and healthy as they should be. This article on Ways to Stay Safe in the Hospital with Diabetes, will provide some practical tips on making sure your stay is safe and as short as it can be.

I'd love to hear any of your comments about these articles or others that you might like to see developed for this site. Post your comments below.

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Pig islet cells could eventually provide a REAL cure for diabetes

Thursday January 26, 2012

Pigs being raised in germ-free pens in Western Wisconsin may be one of our greatest hopes for an actual cure for diabetes. The University of Minnesota has teamed up with Mayo Clinic to find a cure for diabetes during this decade. They believe that these pigs may hold great promise.

Except for the last 20 years or so, insulin from pigs was routinely used in humans to help control blood glucose. Synthetic, lab-produced insulin has now replaced porcine insulin. But one of the reasons pig insulin was used is because there are remarkable genetic similarities between humans and pigs.

The goal of the project, called Spring Point Project, is to raise pigs that are housed in special pens, which are isolated from human germs. These pigs would then provide an unlimited supply of pancreatic islet cells that could be transplanted into humans. One of the biggest obstacles to islet transplants is the short supply of available human islet cells.

Transplanted porcine islet cells have already been shown to cure diabetes in animals for well over a year. They believe the same results, but enhanced, could be reproduced in humans. The germ-free environment of the pigs housing would minimize the risk of transmitting any detrimental agents to humans who might receive the islet cells.

The researchers say that injection of the pig islet cells in humans could begin within a year but it would probably takes several more years of substantive results before the FDA would grant approval of the porcine islets as an actual treatment for diabetes.

If this research eventually proved safe and effective as a cure for diabetes, but would require retransplantation of new islet cells every five years or so, would you agree to the procedure? Post your comments below.

Learn more about islet cell transplants

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Medtronic’s Remote Diabetes Monitor Approved by FDA

Thursday January 12, 2012

People with type 1 and especially parents of children with type 1 fear nighttime hypoglycemic episodes. To address this concern, Medtronic has developed a remote glucose sensor called mySentry.

The device allows parents and other caregivers to remotely monitor glucose levels and insulin pump status from another room in the house. If any of the built-in indicators in the device, such as low glucose levels, low insulin in pump or weak battery strength, fall to a cautionary level, an alert will be generated to the remote monitor. The mySentry system consists of a monitor with a color screen, a power supply, and an outpost that transmits information. The outpost enables you to receive the signals from up to 50 feet away.

The bedside monitor isn't cheap though. It currently costs around $3000 and only works with Medtronic's MiniMed Paradigm® REAL-Time RevelTM System, a combined insulin pump/continuous glucose monitor unit. But, for some it may be worth the cost; especially those already using the REAL-Time RevelTM System.

If this device were covered under your insurance plan, would you try to obtain one? Post your comments below.

Learn more about continuous glucose monitoring

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December Wrap-Up for Type 1 Diabetes – New Articles

Thursday December 29, 2011

As 2011 comes to a close I highlight the articles I've created this month to help you better manage your diabetes.

I continue to be convinced that having knowledge about the potential health problems that could occur with type 1 is not bad news. I view it as motivation to practice what we know we can prevent or at least delay the onset of these complications. To that end I've created several articles that address some of these complications.

Over half of adults are currently living with high blood pressure. Having diabetes increases the risk of hypertension. But you can do something about it. This article on diabetes and high blood pressure will tell you what you need to know to keep your blood pressure in check.

Related to high blood pressure is peripheral arterial disease which can affect the blood flow to the legs and feet. Again, there is much you can to do prevent this from becoming a debilitating condition but you must be proactive.

What many people with type 1 don't realize is that high blood sugar can also cause common skin conditions. Virtually all of these conditions erupt due to consistently high blood glucose levels. The key is to manage your glucose to prevent these conditions.

For those up to the challenge, one of the best ways to keep glucose in a healthy range is to practice tight glucose control. This means you go to greater lengths to monitor your blood glucose and manage your insulin therapy in order to keep blood sugar levels in a tighter range.

Two lesser known conditions, Celiac disease and hemochromatosis are also linked to type 1 diabetes. Though they are not household words it is important to know what each of these conditions is about and the symptoms that accompany each.

If you haven't yet heard, the glycemic index is gaining a lot of attention in the diabetes community. My piece, called low glycemic superfoods, tells you what the glycemic index is, how you can use it and gets you started with some superfoods that are low in sugar and high in nutrition.

Finally, an article on what you can learn from reading food labels. Every person who is serious about managing their glucose needs a primer on reading labels with your glucose in mind. This is a quick start guide to that end.

I'd love to hear any of your comments about these articles or others that you might like to see developed for this site. Post your comments below.

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FDA Attempts to Speed Development of Artificial Pancreas

Wednesday December 21, 2011

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued new guidelines toward trying to speed up the development of an effective artificial pancreas device. This is welcome news to people with type 1 diabetes who have been hearing about technological advances toward an artificial pancreas for years but are still waiting for a significant breakthrough.

The new guidelines allow for more flexibility in how clinical trials are conducted along with opening channels of communication between those in academia and those in research to streamline the testing process with fewer regulations to inhibit the pathway to clinical studies. This would include allowing data from clinical studies outside the U.S. to be used in the approval process. Currently, there are 20 FDA approved clinical studies specifically on the artificial pancreas. These new guidelines would hopefully allow many more over a shorter period of time.

The artificial pancreas combines current technologies for continuous blood glucose monitoring and insulin pumps to deliver insulin as needed. The goal is for the device to accurately read the blood sugar and automatically dispense the precise amount of insulin needed to keep the blood sugar in a normal range.

There is still no projected time frame for when an artificial pancreas might become available. There are still several key problems that haven't been solved, which include creating consistently reliable algorithms to deliver insulin in a variety of situations.

Do you think an FDA approved artificial pancreas will become available in the next five years? Why or why not? Post your comments below.

The pros and cons of insulin pump therapy

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Scientists Create First Live Pictures of How Type 1 Diabetes Develops

Tuesday December 13, 2011

Researchers at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology been able to capture the world's first movies that show how T cells attack the pancreatic cells to create type 1 diabetes.

These images provide groundbreaking information about how type 1 develops and reveals new insights into the how the beta cells (the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas) are destroyed. One finding from the movies is that beta cell destruction occurs very slowly over time. This information might lead to new approaches to stop the destruction process and possibly prevent type 1 altogether.

The movies, (which can be viewed by scrolling to the end of the article) show objects resembling ants (immune T cells) that can be seen hunting for scampering about looking for their prey (insulin-producing beta cells), which the T cells mistakenly attack and destroy, eventually leading to type 1 diabetes.

These innovative studies used a two-photon microscope that enables researchers to see into living tissues at a much greater depth than conventional imaging methods. It uses intense pulses of light to monitor the interactions of cells without destroying them.

What are your thoughts about this study and the groundbreaking movies these researchers were able to create? Post your comments below.

What causes type 1 diabetes?

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A1c Test Shown to Be an Unreliable Diagnostic Tool for Kids With Diabetes

Wednesday December 7, 2011

Current recommendations from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) state that the hemoglobin A1c test should be used exclusively for diagnosing diabetes in children. But a recent study shows that the A1c test does not accurately diagnose diabetes in children in a majority of cases. In fact, the A1c failed to diagnose two out of three children in the study who were eventually found to have diabetes.

The study tested 254 overweight children using both fasting and non-fasting testing methods. The participants that used the A1c for diagnostic purposes were compared with children in the study that were diagnosed with a 12-hour fasting test. The fasting test proved much more reliable in correctly diagnosing the children with diabetes.

Due to the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, many children are currently at risk of developing diabetes and should be screened. Researchers fear that if the current ADA recommendations for using the A1c test are strictly followed, many of the children with diabetes might not be correctly diagnosed.

The fasting glucose test, while more accurate, poses a number of challenges. What do you see as the potential problems associated with screening kids using a 12-hour fasting glucose test? Post your comments below.

Making sense of your A1c test results.

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November Wrap-Up for Type 1 Diabetes – New Articles

Tuesday November 29, 2011

This month I've develop a broad range of articles that would address a number of needs of people with type 1 diabetes.

As you know, diabetes is not one of those conditions you are diagnosed with and forget about. It requires a lot of daily mindfulness about your blood sugar fluctuations. This is common knowledge. But what isn't as well known are the diabetes-related lab tests and exams you should have performed as part of your management routine. In this article, I discuss six important diabetes test and lab exams you should have on a regular basis.

One of those exams that deserves special attention is foot care, which is especially important for people with diabetes and the focus of this article.

Is your blood glucose meter accurate? You may be surprised to learn that your meter is not as precise as you might think. Learn the difference between whole blood test results and plasma test results.

With the new year fast approaching and many health-related resolutions to follow, I've created two articles on exercise. The first is a diabetes pre-workout checklist to help you keep your blood sugar in check while you exercise. The second exercise article helps you better understand why your blood sugar tends to go low after you exercise and can continue to go long after you stop.

Though it is never enjoyable reading about the possible health complications that can arise from diabetes, it is vital that you be educated about the risks and use that knowledge to manage your diabetes well. Diabetic retinopathy is a common condition that will eventually affect most people with diabetes. But with early diagnosis and proper care it doesn't need to steal your vision.

Gastroparesis, which is a form of nerve damage to the stomach is not talked about much but experienced by a significant number of people with diabetes.

Finally, an article on how kidney disease can develop and what to watch out for as early signs that your kidneys might be weakening.

I'd love to hear any of your comments about these articles or others that you might like to see developed for this site. Post your comments below.

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Iglucose Wireless Glucose Meter Gets FDA Approval

Wednesday November 23, 2011

As a follow-up to a technology blog I wrote wrote about a year ago, Positive ID Corporation has now received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its wireless glucose management product called iglucose.

This is how it works. You take your blood sugar with a glucose meter that supports the technology. Once you place the meter in accompanying cradle, it automatically transmits your glucose reading to a diabetes management Web portal. No downloading, dialing, computer or software is needed. At the portal you can track your glucose levels and even permit access to your data to family members and your diabetes healthcare team. The data is transmitted via cellular networks and does not require a data plan.

Glucose meters that currently support the technology of the iglucose include Johnson & Johnson's LifeScan OneTouch and Nipro Diagnostic's True products. PositiveID is actively seeking additional partners. The company is targeting iglucose to health insurers and home health providers.

Does this technology appeal to you? If so, what do you find most appealing? If not, why does it not appeal to you? Post your comments below.

Your Guide Finding the Glucose Meter That is Right for You

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Testing Glucose From Your Tears ?– It May Become an Alternative to Blood Tests

Wednesday November 16, 2011

A sensor has been developed by researchers at the University of Michigan that can detect glucose in a person's tears. A collaborative effort to advance this technology is being pursued by other researchers as well. Researchers at Mayo Clinic are attempting to create a sensor that you touch to the white part of your eye for five seconds for a glucose reading.

While poking the white part of your eye several times a day may not sound like an appealing alternative to pricking your finger, it would be less invasive and require no blood.

The main problem researchers are encountering in developing this technology is the low concentration of glucose in the tears as compared to blood. This means that scientists have to find the correct ratio of blood glucose to that typically found in the fluid of the eye to get a consistently accurate result. This would mean that each person with a tear glucose meter would have to calibrate their tear sensors on the meter to their blood glucose levels in order to get a correct reading.

The technology has a significant way to go before it would be available for purchase. Thus far it has only been used on animals.

If this technology were proven to be as accurate as blood glucose testing and was affordable, would you be willing to switch to this type of testing for your blood sugar? Post your comments below.

Your Guide to Finding the Glucose Meter That is Right for You

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