Letters to the Editor
Bucking the System
There are now two states that mandate insurance coverage of blood glucose testing strips: Massachusetts and New York. Diabetics need to contact their state representatives and ask for similar legislation in their respective states. Contact your local ADA affiliate to see if any initiative has been mounted in your area.
Also, I'd like to suggest a much cheaper alternative to the glucose tabs or jelly remedy for hypoglycemia: Smarties. These are candies you can get in any number of supermarkets. The first ingredient is dextrose, so they work just as fast as the gels or tablets. The difference is price! A large bag of Smarties costs a little over a dollar. There's a nutritional breakdown on the back of the package, so you can work out the calories-and-carbs figures. Since they contain nothing but easily-assimilated glucose, Smarties don't raise one's BG beyond what is needed to treat the hypoglycemia.
I don't work for or own stock in the company that makes Smarties; I'm just a happy customer who thinks most "diabetic" items cost too much!
I was very surprised to learn that aspirin and Lopressor are on the list of drugs which will lower blood sugar. I am wondering now whether this is one of the reasons that my BGs are so close to normal. It would sure explain a lot, particularly why they remain low even when I do something 'stupid' with food.
Vitamin E and Leg Cramps
I am a 50-year-old insulin-dependent type 2. About a year ago I began having terrible leg cramps, most often at night but sometimes during the day. My doctor checked my potassium level, and it was fine. She suggested I wear leg warmers to bed and use a hot water bottle (not too hot) to keep my circulation up. It helped some.
I started reading about leg cramps in medical and natural health journals and found that vitamin E kept coming up. I started taking 400 units of vitamin E daily and after about three weeks, the leg cramps stopped. A few weeks later I became lazy about taking the vitamin E and the leg cramps returned. Once it happened while I was driving my car-my legs and one hand cramped. It was a terrifying experience. Now I always take the vitamin E, 400 units every morning. I have had no more problems.
Enzymes Are Amazing
I have type 2 diabetes and have been taking a 250 mg Tolazamide pill two to three times a day for over ten years. My blood sugar levels were very poorly controlled-generally over 150, even in the morning before eating. I recently started taking pancreatic enzymes which can be purchased without prescription at any health food store. Pancreatic enzymes are simply digestive aids. I take a pill after every meal.
For me, the results have been truly amazing. My blood sugar is now under 100 every morning. My levels rise after a meal but quickly return to normal after a couple of hours. I eat whatever I want-including starches and sweets. I still take my Tolazamide pills, but with the enzymes my blood sugar levels are now well controlled and in the normal range.
I can't thank you enough for putting out DIABETES HEALTH. I'm retired and it's the only paper I still take. It's my Bible. I read and re-read it, and love Scott's columns.
His November column about his kids made me chuckle since I have a 2 1/2 year old great-granddaughter myself. I also have carpal tunnel syndrome, and feel as if I have been dying by inches. Scott's December column about his CTS scared me a little, but it also made me feel so much better. It gave me hope.
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I had nothing. I couldn't find anything to help me anywhere. It was just, "you've got diabetes, that's it." I don't know what I'd do without DIABETES HEALTH.
San Francisco, Calif.
A Tip For Active Insulin Users
Realizing that tight control with multiple injections may be viewed by some as inconvenient, I would like to pass along a tip. I have learned over the years that many insulin-dependent diabetics do not realize a vial or cartridge of insulin does not require refrigeration as long as it is not exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures and is used within a reasonable length of time. I have been insulin-dependent for 24 years and picked up this tip from an ADA Forecast sometime during my first year with the disease. Too, it takes the sting out of the injection and reduces the number of bruises or knots one may experience. This could be most helpful to children.
I recently attended a Job Discrimination Sensitizing Seminar where one of the attendees felt that people with diabetes shouldn't be hired for stressful situations (name one that isn't). He had read that stress releases glucose into the blood, and since it would go to the brain, it might affect the person's ability to perform/think correctly. He felt it would beunfair to the company and to the co-workers who would deal with the stressful situation. However, he had no factual evidence upon which to base his claims; only what he had read in newspapers and magazines. You are damned if you tell and possibly damned if you don't tell.
Lewis J. Sunderland
Diabetic Shoulder-Can Anyone Help?
I appreciated Scott King's excellent article on carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Being insulin-dependent for nine years, I understand his feelings. Although I do not have CTS, I have a similar problem, diabetic shoulder. That is where the shoulder gets stiff and painful to move. The stiffness and pain may go down to the fingers on up the shoulder to the neck. I have seen the doctor, received cortisone shots and am currently seeing a physical therapist. As a last resort, surgery will be done on the nerves in my shoulder.
I have looked in every medical journal I can get a hold of but none mention anything about diabetic shoulder. I do not know where to look anymore. Any information anyone can give me would be very appreciated.
Anna M. Hain
Honesty Is the Best Policy
If you "lie" or fail to answer questions about your health correctly on an employment application, you can be dismissed and the company will not have to worry about ADA violations. It is best to let a company hire you with its eyes open.
Giving incorrect information on insurance applications can cause your policy to be voided and null regardless of premiums paid.
Thanks, DIABETES HEALTH
Keep up the good work. As a diabetes nurse educator, a clinical (medical) social worker, and type I diabetic, I look forward to every edition and am always educated. Thanks for all of your hard work.
Redondo Beach, Calif.