Sunday, December 21, 2014

Autonomic Neuropathy

Autonomic Neuropathy (AN) is more common among diabetics, and is especially common after 25 years of diabetes. Here are the more common symptoms from the Mayo Clinic:

" Dizziness and fainting upon standing caused by a drop in blood pressure.


Urinary problems, including difficulty starting urination, urinary
incontinence and an inability to completely empty your bladder, which
can lead to urinary tract infections.


Sexual difficulties, including problems achieving or maintaining an
erection (erectile dysfunction) or ejaculation problems in men, and
vaginal dryness and difficulties with arousal and orgasm in women.

Difficulty digesting food, due to abnormal digestive function and slow
emptying of the stomach (gastroparesis). This can cause a feeling of
fullness after eating little, loss of appetite, diarrhea,
constipation, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, difficulty
swallowing and heartburn.

Sweating abnormalities, such as excessive or decreased sweating, which
affects the ability to regulate body temperature.
Sluggish pupil reaction, making it difficult to adjust from light to
dark and causing problems with driving at night.

Exercise intolerance, which may occur if your heart rate remains
unchanged instead of appropriately increasing and decreasing in
response to your activity level."

My neurologist diagnosed my AN in 2010 after I had mentioned extreme dizziness in the AM, and my occasionally falling down. My BP was dropping as much as 40 points when standing up in the morning. Cutting my BP med to half doses has helped, but my BP is still irregular in the morning. I have four of the symptoms listed, and they are gradually becoming more pronounced. Gastroparesis is one of the symptoms, but I do not have that problem at the present time. I hope I never do


Do you have AN, or do you think you do? Feel free to discuss your symptoms, and how you are dealing with them.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autonomic-neuropathy/basics/definition/con-20029053

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Dexcom and the Artificial Pancreas

I keep reading on the Facebook Dexcom group page about the Dexcom sensors failing, or equipment needing replacement. Can you imagine what would happen if, a few years from now, you were wearing an Artificial Pancreas (AP) and a false reading from the Dexcom component in the AP occurred? You could get insulin from the AP when you were not actually high, or glucagon when you were not actually low. The AP is going to depend on the Dexcom numbers to know when to give you insulin or glucagon. All it would take is one bad number from the Dexcom to give you an overdose of insulin or glucagon, and send you to the ER with a very serious situation. This is a major concern of mine!!!
This discussion is drawing a lot of replies on my Facebook page, and I am told that I should not criticize a device that will not be available until a few years from now. I don't mean to imply that the AP will not be accurate, I am concerned for the people who do not have the good luck with the Dexcom that is currently used. They may not have much better luck with the G6 sensor that is now being developed, although it is supposed to be much better than the current sensor. The G6 is awaiting testing and FDA approval. It will be wonderful if the G6 sensor is so accurate that we can trust the AP when it materializes.
Actually, my concern is for my friends. Medicare will not cover a CGM, so I am sure they will not cover an AP either. I will probably never get to use the updated Dexcom or the AP.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Man Makes Insulin For His Wife

This is a very wonderful story from the Diabetes Health magazine. A man in China extracted insulin from animals to keep his type 1 wife and many other people alive. during war time. The lady is still alive today, and she lectures and helps others.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bolus Calculators and Artificial Pancreas

I have not used a bolus calculator, but my insulin pump will give me a recommended bolus for meals and snacks when I input my BG level and the number of carbs I will be eating. My BG level is determined from my glucose meter, and there are discrepancies there. If the meter gives me a number that is 20 or more points higher/lower than my true BG, then the amount of insulin I use is more/less than I need. This results in my post meal BG being high or low. It can even lead to hypoglycemia. The lack of meter accuracy is the problem here. It does not usually happen, but it does at least once each day. If I test my BG twice before taking my insulin, I can see numbers that are significantly different. If meters were more accurate, and consistent, my BG after meals would be more stable. Inaccuracy with glucose meters can be a major problem.
I am very much concerned about the artificial pancreas (AP) that will be available in the future. I have read that the Dexcom CGM will determine the BG level, and based on that, glucagon or insulin will be administered to correct high and low BG numbers. Many online friends are saying that the Dexcom numbers are sometimes faulty. The amount of glucagon for a low Dexcom number, or the amount of insulin for a high Dexcom number, could result in hyperglycemia, or hypoglycemia, accordingly. I will not be using the AP for that reason. Inaccuracy with glucose meters and CGMs can be a major problem. I hope that the accuracy will eventually improve so that these problems will be minimized.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Diabetes Complications

Do you know the more common diabetes related complications? This link gives a list of some of them, but not all possible complications are included. Do you know some that are not in the list?
I have experienced frozen shoulders, carpal tunnel, ulnar nerve damage, gout, arthritis, and other problems. These are minor when compared to the ones mentioned in the link. How about YOU?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Best Age For Diabetes Diagnosis?

Is it better to be diagnosed when very young, or later on in life? Experiencing a normal life for as long as possible seems desirable, but then being diagnosed at a later time would seem so devastating while attempting to change so many things, and give up a comfortable routine. Being diagnosed while very young means that a non diabetic life is very short, or even nonexistent. It is easier for a very young person or child to accept since there is not so much of an established pre diagnosis routine to give up. It does seem cruel, however, for a young individual to never experience living without diabetes, before being diagnosed.
I was diagnosed in 1945, a few days after my 6'th birthday. I have only a few glimpses of my life before that time. The doctors back then gave no advice except to not eat sugar. My parents never gave me anything with sugar, and at that age that was ok. My mom made me desserts sweetened with saccharin, and I was pleased with that. Life was much the same as for a non diabetic. In 1988 I learned that carbs had a lot to do with good diabetes management, and in the mid 1990s I started counting carbs with basal and bolus control. That was much more difficult than my previous 45 years. I started eating very small portions of foods with fast acting carbs, and I missed the way I had previously eaten. I sacrificed the way I wanted to eat, to have much better control. My A1c dropped from the teens to the high 5's. Now I am T1D for 69 years, and I have no serious complications. I do not know why I didn't have terrible complications during my first 45 years when I had very high blood sugar. I feel that it was best for me to be diagnosed while young. There were so many young type 1 diabetics long ago who did not survive because the knowledge of how to survive was not so well known. Something protected me, and I am lucky to be alive and healthy now.
Being diagnosed in more modern times is very different. The devices I did not have and the proper way of eating are now available, but there are so many restrictions that I did not experience. It is my feeling that in modern times a child has a harder time adjusting than I did. The diabetes management is much better, and the chance of having a longer and healthier life is much improved. The knowledge that now exists, however, is so thorough, and there is so much to learn, especially for a child. I had a short list, and adjustment was easier, but children today have a very long list and adjustment is not so easy.
So, what do YOU think about this? I hope I will get some replies here. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Young and the Diabetic

The Young and The Diabetic

"An increasing number of people in their 20s and 30s are getting diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, who need not necessarily be obese, say experts."

http://www.dnaindia.com/health/report-the-young-the-diabetic-2037486