Friday, December 12, 2014

BPA causes high blood pressure

This is only marginally related to diabetes, but because diabetics are thought to have a high risk of heart attack and are often put on medication for conditions like high blood pressure, I thought it was worth mentioning.

BPA in Cans and Plastic Bottles Linked to Quick Rise in Blood Pressure

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

More on wellness plans

The other day I wrote about employer wellness plans crossing the fine line between voluntary and forced.  Today NPR had another article on these wellness plans:

Wellness At Work Often Comes With Strings Attached

This seems to be mostly more of the same.  Any wellness program at all is a slippery slope, because a financial incentive if you do the screening looks just a financial penalty if you don't, when viewed from the other side.

But there was one thing in particular that I thought worthy of noting on my diabetes blog...

Monday, December 8, 2014

The costs of diabetes

NPR ran a story recently about the costs of diabetes.  Every person with diabetes represents a significant financial burden that society has to bear, whether or not you believe in socialized health care.  Currently, treating diabetes costs every American $1,000 a year, whether or not you have the disease.

What Diabetes Costs You, Even If You Don't Have The Disease

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why you shouldn't get the flu shot this year

I don't recall if I've ranted on here about my opinions on flu shots.  I was telling someone recently that they make those things the year before based on what they think the prevailing strain will be, though, and just like Fate wanted to prove me right, there's this headline today:

CDC says flu shots may not be good match for 2014-15 virus

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wellness programs struggle with the definition of voluntary

Does your employer offer a wellness program?  These are a fairly new thing that cropped up with the Affordable Care Act, where the employers can offer financial incentives to participate in a program that monitors your health.  The idea is that healthier people cost less in medical expenses, so some of the savings can be passed on to them.

The catch: Wellness programs are supposed to be entirely voluntary, which means they can't require you to get the health screenings.  And they aren't supposed to penalize you for not doing so.

Friday, November 28, 2014

What, exactly, DOES constitute a vitamin D deficiency?

A few years ago, my doctor's office had me tested for vitamin D.  They were testing everyone, they said -- apparently it had become the thing to do.  My labs showed my vitamin D was over the minimum, but only just barely, so they wanted me to take a supplement.

I ignored that.  I am not a big believer in supplements.

Fast forward to just a few days ago, when I saw a story on NPR about vitamin D... which, ultimately, made me feel very justified for having ignored the ultra-serious recommendation that I needed a supplement.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shopping around for medical prices

An article ran on NPR today about an ingenious service where patients can report how much their medical procedures cost.  This is great, especially for people with conditions like diabetes -- if your insurance only covers so much of your care, you'll want to shop around to get the best price possible.  And some of the costs reported to this website varied quite a bit, illustrating the need to shop around first.

One of the things this site asked for costs on was, apparently, diabetic test strips.  Bought without insurance, these things can cost you around a dollar a pop, making it a very good thing to be able to compare prices online.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The importance of Obamacare

One more post about Obamacare.  Today I saw this incredibly moving account of how Obamacare saved this guy's life.

If you're diabetic and reading this blog, you may know firsthand how rough it was to get health insurance before Obamacare.  Unless you had it through your employer in the form of a group plan, you were basically SOL.  Health insurance companies were legally allowed to discriminate against diabetics by refusing them health insurance otherwise, and so of course they did.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tips for signing up for Obamacare

Open enrollment for Obamacare starts on November 15th, just a couple days away.  This allows you to shop for health insurance if you don't already have a plan through your employer or another source.  NPR ran a great article the other day with tips for anyone shopping for health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act:

5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Obamacare

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Oh look, another cure for diabetes!

I was browsing Facebook tonight, and lo and behold, here's another cure for diabetes!

Cheap Blood Pressure Drug Cures Diabetes In Mice, Human Trials Announced

If I had a nickel for every time they've "cured" diabetes since I was diagnosed, I would... well, I still wouldn't have very much money, because a nickel doesn't buy squat in our day and age.  But the point is, they've discovered lots of cures since my diagnosis, and none of them have amounted to much of anything.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Managing your blood sugar when you're sick

I was really sick this past week, so sick that I feel like I lost several days, if not the entire week.  It was a really bad cold, but it felt much worse than most colds I've ever had.  I suspect I had this enterovirus that has been going around lately, because of the impact it had on my breathing.

I don't know about other diabetics, but my blood sugars run crazy high when I'm sick.  Of course this is probably dependent on your type of insulin regimen.  I'm on Lantus, a fairly stable 24-hour insulin, and only take short-acting insulin when I eat, so if I skip meals it's no big deal.  Someone who takes a long-acting insulin with peaks and valleys will probably crash if they don't eat when they are supposed to.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"New" news on diet and losing weight

It's not actually a new idea that fat in foods isn't what makes people gain weight, but today NPR ran an article about the newest study to find this out.  The study compared dieters who cut fat versus dieters who cut carbs, and found those with the higher-fat, lower-carb diets actually lost more weight -- 12 pounds versus 4 pounds -- than those who ate higher-carb, lower-fat diets.

Cutting Back On Carbs, Not Fat, May Lead To More Weight Loss

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sign a petition to get Medicare to cover CGMs

It's been a while since I was on a continuous glucose monitor -- I've done a couple of studies through my doctor's office where I had to wear them.  They were life-changing for a diabetic, to say the least.

So when I saw this petition the other day, asking for Medicare to cover continuous glucose monitors, I signed it immediately.  I fully believe that a CGM can make a huge difference in a diabetic's overall health by helping them to better control their blood sugar.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Which came first, the high blood sugar or feeling ill?

Over the weekend I felt very sick.  My blood sugar was suddenly, inexplicably very high -- over 600 -- Friday night, and was still higher than it should have been Saturday night.  I felt awful, and canceled my plans for Sunday morning, sleeping most of the day Sunday instead.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Miss Idaho has type 1 diabetes -- and isn't afraid to show off her insulin pump!

I was thrilled to see the NPR story on Thursday about Miss Idaho, who competed in the Miss Idaho pageant with her insulin pump visible to the world.

I've always taken my shots in plain sight of everyone, despite the responses of some people who seem to think I would be embarrassed to do so, or that it's something private.  I've never agreed with either attitude, so it's encouraging to me to see a beautiful young woman, a cultural icon like this, helping to change society's opinion about such things.  I hope a lot of girls, teens, and women with type 1 diabetes are encouraged to be less ashamed or embarrassed by their condition because of Sierra Sandison.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Big results from small changes

I've been amazed lately how small changes have produced big results in my control.

About six weeks ago, a major change in my personal life caused me to change my eating habits quite a bit.  I used to eat large dinners all the time, and I found that my blood sugars were often high in the evening and the following morning.  All of that is changing now, though.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Diabetes and transparency: Can kids handle seeing diabetics check their blood sugar and take shots?

As a nanny and a babysitter, I constantly deal with the issue of whether to let kids see me taking care of my diabetes: checking my blood sugar and taking injections.

I feel like this is a touchy issue for a lot of parents, but I could be wrong about that, as I have found some parents to be much more accepting of it than I had expected.  The family I nanny for part-time is totally okay with me checking my blood sugar and taking shots in front of the kids, and has been since the very beginning (I've been taking care of those kids for two and a half years now).

Monday, May 12, 2014

When doctors question cholesterol guidelines

Long-time readers of this blog know that I have some very definite opinions on how our medical industry treats cholesterol -- or rather, over-treats it.  I feel very strongly that statins are prescribed far too aggressively -- and, even scarier, doctors are getting more aggressive about it all the time.

It's bad enough that some doctors are even questioning the newest cholesterol treatment guidelines.  I didn't even realize that there were new guidelines, but apparently they are so aggressive that they would have half of all adults over 40 on statins.  The thought is preposterous and infuriating to me.  And of course, what do you want to bet the drug companies have some kind of influence in this matter?  It wouldn't make sense otherwise, especially since statins aren't really effective in lowering the risk of heart attack in people who don't have heart disease, regardless of cholesterol levels.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Young children and type 1 diabetes

When I was leaving the doctor's office today for my quarterly checkup, I saw a young boy in the hall, maybe four years old, with both of his parents trying to get him to let them check his blood sugar.  One of them had a wicked-looking lancet device in their hand, as long as a pencil, which probably wasn't helping the poor kid's anxiety any.  In any case, it made me think of what it must be like to deal with type 1 diabetes as a small child -- or as the small child's parents.

These parents were clearly having a hard time dealing with it -- or the kid was -- as I could hear him crying softly, "But it's gonna hurt, like last time!"  Poor kid.  I suspect he had just been diagnosed.