Advice to Newly Diagnosed Patients

Wego Health National Blog Posting  MonthI am participating in Wego Health’s National Health Blog Post Month. Today I decided to use one of the bonus prompts – “Advice to Newly Diagnosed Patients”

I would tell newly diagnosed patients to get involved in the diabetes online community (DOC). You can learn a lot by talking to other people. I have seen a lot of newly diagnosed patients come to a message board and talk about something going on with their diabetes. They will say that their doctor never heard of that before when it is something very common with diabetics. One big misconception with diabetes is when someone is honeymooning – their body starts producing more insulin for a short period of time. That is pretty common, but sadly, a lot of doctors out there don’t seem to realize that or even know the term.

Spinning Head ManA doctor only has a short amount of time to spend with you and there are a lot of little things you might not realize. Things that a lot of us take for granted that they think “everyone” knows, a newly diagnosed person won’t necessarily know that. In one of the groups I belong to, there was a grandmother that read someone’s comment and asked a question. Her daughter had been told to throw her grandchild’s insulin pens away after 30 days. They did not realize that meant the pen they were using and they literally threw away the whole box of pens! She said the child was only using a small amount of insulin so they were literally throwing 4 unused pens away each month.

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Advice to New Doctors and Nurses

Wego Health National Blog Posting MonthI am participating in Wego Health’s National Health Blog Post Month. Today I decided to use one of the bonus prompts – “Advice to New Doctors and Nurses”

Where do I start! First, I would like to say that diabetes is a very complex disease. It is not as simple as “eat this and everything will be fine.” So many different things have an impact on our blood sugar besides food. Just because your patient has high blood sugar, please don’t “assume” that they ate something that they shouldn’t have.

Guy juggling booksSadly, a lot of diabetics have never had good diabetes education. I hate to say this, but the same is true for medical personnel. Just because a patient comes in and has had diabetes for awhile doesn’t mean that they know the proper things that they should be doing. I would recommend everyone dealing with diabetes read Using Insulin by John Walsh, Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner and The Diabetes Solution by Richard K. Bernstein, MD. Those three books will help you get an understanding of the proper way to treat blood sugar.

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Percentage of Non Compliant Diabetic Type 1 Patients 2011

Kelly Booth blog stats non compliant searchI looked at the stats to my blog this morning and saw the search term, “percentage of non compliant diabetic type 1 patients 2011.” Well, if you listen to Wendell Fowler, then I guess 120% of us are! Seriously though, I hate that term. I wrote a previous article about the term noncompliant and called it an evil word.

If you are a patient trying to figure out if you are in the minority of those dubbed noncompliant, no, you are not alone. My question to you is, is it that you just don’t care or is it that you just don’t know what to do? Although I know there are people that don’t care, I do believe that the majority of the people dubbed noncompliant just don’t know what to do and get little help from their doctors.

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Basal Testing

Basal testing is one of those things that you are not going to learn from a doctor.  I first learned how to do it because of reading message boards.  It seems like some people think it is only for pumpers, but it is beneficial for people on MDI to do also.  I did it when I was on Levemir and by doing basal testing, I knew that I had my levels set correctly.  More importantly, I knew that Levemir was starting to wear off at 7 hours for me, so taking it twice a day would not work.  I never did basal testing when I was using Lantus, and even though I am very glad that I switched to Levemir, I do have to wonder if I could have gotten Lantus to work better by having better basal rates.

I believe that having your basal rates set correctly is a very important piece of being able to be in good control.  It is like having a good foundation for your house.  You can build a nice big, well constructed house, but if you put it on a faulty foundation, it will come tumbling down.  If your basal rates are not set correctly, your carb ratios or correction rates won’t work either.

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Managing Blood Sugar With Gastroparesis

In the fall of 2003, I had a gastric emptying test done to confirm that I had gastroparesis.  Gastroparesis is delayed stomach emptying due to nerve damage in the stomach.  The results did not come as a surprise to either my doctor or myself because I had tests done prior to the gastric emptying test that showed I had food in my stomach even though I had not eaten in over 12 hours.  What did come as a surprise to me was the lack of understanding/knowledge by doctors in managing blood sugar for someone with gastroparesis.

With gastroparesis, blood sugar can bounce all over the place because if your insulin hits before your food starts to digest, your blood sugar drops.  You never know when your food is going to start to digest and chances are, you don’t have insulin in your system to cover it when it does.  Even though doctors knew I had gastroparesis, I was still treated as though I must be doing something to cause my blood sugar to bounce all over the place.  Once when a doctor was criticizing me, I said, “tell me what to do, I will do it” and I was met with blank stares.  I was in the hospital for a week, and as usual, my blood sugar was bouncing all over the place.  My last day there, the doctor told me that my blood sugar baffled him.  I said “welcome to my world.”  Although he did not help me, he was the first doctor to actually believe me that I was not causing it since he was controlling both my insulin and diet.

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