Letters to the Editor

August 1993

Aug 1, 1993

Vitamin Crazy

The first issue I received had an ad for Polymem in it. I started using Polymem on an opening in my right foot and within four weeks it closed in. Both my husband and I are diabetics, and we are kind of vitamin crazy. Vitamin B6 is supposed to have an effect on lessening diabetic neuropathy and it has diminished a whole lot the severe tingling and burning in my feet.

Shirley Comer
Hamilton, OH

[Editor: Has anyone else tried vitamin B6? If so, please send us your opinions and experiences.]

Don't Stop the Presses!

Keep these papers coming. Best information I've found yet on diabetes. Better than the three magazines I'm getting and all the books in the library. My husband is also diabetic, thanks for sending me a sample issue.

E. Razinha
Floral City, FL

A New Subscriber

First of all, I wish to thank you for sending me a free copy of your April 1993 newspaper. It is truly the first publication in which I have received so much information and advice supplied in your "Letters to the Editor," and I am enclosing a request for the November 1992 issue so that I may read the article "How to Lower Your Blood Sugar," as well as my subscription.

I'm looking forward to reading future issues.

Glinda Walsh
Brigantine, NJ

About Those Brown Spots

Jim Scamardo wrote to "Questions to our Medical Board" about brownish colored pigments on his legs and ankles (May 1993). Among the 57 complications of diabetes are several dermatological problems.

Two of them might cause the problem described:

1. Tinea (or pityriasis) Versicolor is a common skin disease, due to the fungus malassezia furfur. It is characterized by fawn-colored, scaling macules or patches.

2. Xanthoma Diabeticorum is a skin disease marked by the formation of reddish, solid patches, larger than those of Xanthoma (which has small, flat yellow plaques; deposits of lipoids). The patches sometimes have a yellow spot at the top.

Mr. Scamardo might want to check these possibilities with his physician.

Joan Hoover
Chevy Chase, MD

Feeling Better About Reactions

I'm so happy to say that because of something that I read in a DIABETES HEALTH issue, I feel much better about insulin reactions. I've had about four extremely serious reactions. If it wasn't for my family I wouldn't be here today. I found out how UltraLente insulin works and talked to my doctor about it. He prescribed it to me and ever since I've been using it I haven't had the early morning insulin reactions. I would like to thank everyone at DIABETES HEALTH for all the helpful information. Keep up the great work!

Hilda L. Rosa
Brooklyn, NY

[Editor: It's always wonderful to have a positive effect on someone's life, it reminds us of the real reason we put out this newspaper. When we got your letter, we made copies of it and hung them up around the office (in fact, I'm looking at one now). We've always said that information is the key to self-care, and self-care is an essential part of diabetes therapy.]

Problems with Health Quiz

I am a 25 year type-I diabetic who took the Diabetes Health Quiz in your May issue of DIABETES HEALTH. My Hemoglobin A1c levels have been in the 5-6% range for the last four years. My blood fats are in the normal range and my blood pressure is 90/60. So it was interesting to score 185 on the Health Quiz.

Here are the problems I see with the quiz-I will focus on certain questions.

2. One can be worried or anxious about things that have nothing to do with diabetes.

6. If one is doing a lot of exercise, it is almost inevitable to develop low blood sugar, which is not a problem when monitored and responded to.

11. If one is "not worried at all," they are probably in denial. Some worry here is healthy.

12. Does this question relate specifically to diabetes? If so, it should be stated.

14. I have been depressed in the last month, totally unrelated to diabetes and depression has no impact on blood glucose or monitoring.

17. Again, one can be worried or fearful about the future with no impact on blood glucose or healthy lifestyle behaviors.

23. I would think most complying diabetics have to make schedule adjustments-if someone did what they wanted when they wanted I imagine compliance would suffer.

24. One could have an uninteresting month and still do the healthy behaviors for diabetic compliance.

The same kind of comments for questions 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 38-i.e.: feeling states should not be related to compliance behaviors.

In summary, I found some major flaws with this questionaire. I am a behavioral compliance expert professionally, and have worked with many patients trying to adhere to difficult treatment regimens. Diabetes is certainly one of the most complex regimens. I believe most people have to learn to keep practicing the behavior even when they are depressed, worried, anxious, fearful, or in crisis, because that is all part of normal life.

Nancy Jacobs, LCSW
Mill Valley, CA

[Editor: We've passed you letter on to Dr. Hammond, the guest author of the health quiz. Thanks for your thorough response.]

Solution for Tender Fingertips

As a newly diagnosed diabetic, one of the major concerns is the discoloration on my fingertips, caused by the bruises from the frequent pricking to obtain blood samples.

This is of particular concern to me, since I am a Professional Speaker and Motivator and my hands are my "Propellers."

I have identified a wonderful solution which I would like to share with the readers of DIABETES HEALTH. I place 10 drops of Tea Tree oil in my bath water and massage my finger tips afterwards with aloe vera gel from the plant that I grow in my window box.

This works like a charm-I hope others will benefit from the tip.

Laura B. Lyons
Road Town, Tortola
British Virgin Islands

[Editor: Thanks for the tip, we'll try it as soon as we find some Tea Tree oil. Does anyone know where to get some Tea Tree oil? Does anyone know what a Tea Tree is?]

Neuropathy Sufferer

In the May issue, three people wrote about neuropathy. I am a type 2 brittle diabetic and I suffer painful neuropathy in my legs and feet. Without pain pills, I would not be able to walk. Regarding Cindy Wilson, who wrote from Clinton, MA, who said she is having pain in her stomach; I have also had pain in my stomach. The doctor could not find anything wrong, even when I complain (as I have for the past year). He doesn't seem to know what to do about my legs, feet, or stomach, so I will be looking forward to your article.

June Sandelin
Tehama, CA

What's New with New Insulin?

My daughter is 46 years old and has been a diabetic since the age of 9.

In your May, 1993 issue (front page), it states that Eli Lilly is testing a new insulin. It claims that glucose levels are normal within a half hour after eating. My daughter was elated in reading this.

We would appreciate it if you could furnish us with more precise and specific information, if available, on this new insulin, or direct us to where we can get more data.

We love your publication and look forward to getting it each month.

Sal Vitale
McKees Rocks, PA

[Editor: This new insulin is still experimental, and cannot be purchased. Eli Lilly has not revealed a list of the testing sites to DIABETES HEALTH. Ask the diabetes specialist/endocrinologist in your area to help you find a testing site.]


Diabetes & Discrimination

I think DIABETES HEALTH is one of the greatest things to come along in a long while. Real down to earth, diabetic to diabetic talk. I liked it so well I took it down to our support group meeting. The response was "let me have that address." I suppose you've heard from a number of our people by now. I hope you stay around for a long while. I have two questions.

1) Syringe disposal (especially when traveling).

Manufacturers, hospitals, and/or other health care facilities already have safe disposal arrangements in place. Why can't they accept used syringes? Should they (that way they won't wash up on beaches)?

2) Discrimination.

We travel alot. I have taken insulin in places such as Oslo train stations, Frankfurt, Reykjavik, etc. I've never had any problem (of course, I always find somewhat of a little corner). But in one town I was almost thrown out and told I could not do it except in the men's room. That is revolting. Just picture it (men going in and out, the smell). What do you say?

Thanks for a good paper-keep up the good work.

Mike Loizeaux
Roscoe, NY

[Editor: 1) Syringes are hazardous

waste, and I guess hospitals already have enough. But I agree with you-the hospital should take them. It's a big problem when they are disposed of improperly and garbage collectors get stuck.

2) We have to continue to fight discrimination! Taking an injection requires skill and precision and should be respected.]

Diverse, yet pertinent

Thanks for a great source of information about diabetes.

I have been a subscriber for about six months and am impressed with the diversity of data you present. It would be most useful if you could organize the newspaper by topics or, better still, have a running summary of research categorized by topics with references.

In managing one's health care, pertinent information that might be of use is usually buried in past issues or other sources. Finding that right mix of elements for better control is one of experimentation; we are all unique. Sometimes educators, dietitians, and the physician can miss an important element that can help the individual patient better manage their condition. Having a continually updated database would be a great resource for those who are actively managing their disorder as a basis for discussion with their health care team.

Lamar Henderson
Bethesda, MD

[Editor: Thanks for your suggestion, we are working on it.]

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