Letters to the Editor

Oct 1, 1999

Persistence Helped Me Keep My Meter

Thank you for the excellent article about the HMO Health Net's forcing us to change the meters we use.

After researching meter data, I purchased two One Touch meters, plus the software to download and analyze my data. This move by Health Net would have kept me from using this system. However, my letter-writing campaign to Health Net was successful. My doctor submitted for me a pre-authorization, and I got my One Touch strips covered.

Keep up the good work.

Anne Briley
Livermore, California

Medicare Limits My Meter Choice

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the article about meters, and your shipboard experience.

When I saw the chart on page 26 of the September issue, I was shocked to find my meter the least desirable in terms of reading time and blood sample size. For years I used the Glucometer Elite because it is fast, used less blood than others and I didn't have to wait until the time was up to discover that I had not used enough blood to get the correct reading. It simply would not activate if there was an insufficient amount.

Now that I am on Medicare, my HMO will only cover another brand. I was told that the reason is cheaper strips. But lately I have checked prices and find that all strips are pretty much the same-all outlandishly expensive.

Thanks for letting me blow off steam. As so many have told you, DIABETES HEALTH is definitely the best.

Joan Lewis
Palm Springs, California

Jenny Craig Told Me They Couldn't Help Me

The August story about Jerry Mathers ["Jerry Mathers Leaves It to Weight Loss to Control his Diabetes"] surprised me. He says the Jenny Craig program helped him with his diabetes. I have had diabetes for 12 years, and I went once to Jenny Craig. When they found out that I have diabetes, they told me that they couldn't help me. I was very surprised when I read that they were able to help Jerry Mathers.

Maria Johnson
San Francisco

Editor's Note: We asked representatives at Jenny Craig International to respond:

Jenny Craig continues to offer a unique program for people with type 2 diabetes. Introduced in 1997, this program includes the same materials as our other programs, along with a Diabetes Journal that enables clients to track blood glucose readings and count grams of carbohydrates. With their doctor's approval, people with diabetes can use any of our menus since they meet general diabetes menu planning guidelines and use the American Diabetes Association exchange lists.

Unfortunately, we are unable to enroll people with type 1 diabetes. Generally, they require a higher level of care that a diabetes management team can best provide.

Brian Luscomb
Director of Corporate Communications
Jenny Craig International

Another Case of Diabetes Discrimination On the Job

My heart goes out to Ron Morris, Anne White and the countless others who are cruelly subjected to discrimination in the work place due to having diabetes. Ignorance is the reason why people with diabetes suffer discrimination. People who do not understand diabetes are the biggest offenders. They erroneously think that we simply inject our insulin and go about our business of life. As we all know, this is simply untrue.

I have been disciplined in the workplace due to having diabetes, because I have to eat at certain times, test my blood sugars and have hypoglycemic episodes. I sustained an injury at work and the pain was constant. After the injury, my blood sugars were in the 350 to 600 mg/dl range. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the out-of-control blood sugars and the injury were related. While at the hospital, I went to the diabetes clinic, not to the emergency room. Five days later, I was terminated from the job.

The state Human Relations Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission did not solve anything. Unless the employer swears under oath that you were disciplined for being diabetic, you lose your case.

So, Ron, Anne and the countless others, move on with your lives. You will be better men and women because of it.

James Stehman
Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Insulin Manufacturer Executive Says Thanks

Editor's note: The August issue featured a story on a British insulin maker's fight to legally sell beef-pork insulin here in the United States. The company is CP Pharmaceuticals, and its chief executive officer, Charles Savage, responds here to the story.

Thank you so much for the article you wrote and published in DIABETES HEALTH. It represents, to the letter, what I and CP feel, and have been trying to achieve. Your interpretation of our telephone conversation was 100 percent.

More than that, the article was invaluable in Washington. During our visit I showed it to the FDA officials, who read it, sighed, smiled and immediately stepped up their efforts to assist. Not only I, but all Americans stabilized on animal insulins, have cause to congratulate you on a most accurate, thoughtful and well-presented article. It dispelled many fears and opened many doors.

Charles Savage
CP Pharmaceuticals
Wrexham, England

I Can't Import Animal Insulin Because I Don't Have Health Insurance

I read the article in the August issue about the importation of animal insulin. I am part of an invisible population-medically uninsured type 1 diabetics who find their control to be better on Iletin I than on anything else they've tried.

The article was getting my hopes up, until I got to the sentence that says, "Most important is a letter from a doctor stating your need for animal insulin." I should have known. I can't even get pharmacists to sell me Glucagon, a substance that could save my life (because I have hypoglycemia unawareness), without a prescription. How on earth could I ever hope to convince customs to allow me to import beef insulin?

I can't contact the British company named in the article, because only a World Wide Web address is given. We backwards, computerless folk are left in the dark.

I found that Iletin II (at $40 a vial, compared to maybe $14 for the old Iletin I) had the same slamming on and slacking off effect that Michel Martin described with Humulin. So, I've pretty much given up, started using Humulin and resigned myself to poorer control.

Wade Dowdell
Cordova, California

Celiac Disease Causes Improper Digestion of Gluten, Not Fats

Reading the article entitled "Type 1 Diabetes Associated with Celiac Disease" in the July issue gave me a bad case of celiac indigestion. Most celiacs in the United States are undiagnosed, rather than diagnosed. The article claims that only "one in 10 people who have celiac disease is not diagnosed." The current percentage diagnosed is unknown but likely better than the 10 percent implied.

Marian Rewers of the Daisy Project at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center has found that 5 percent of type 1s have celiac disease, roughly 10 times the rate in the general population. He screened using a reliable antibody blood test.

All who tested positive underwent the gold standard diagnosis of biopsy, and were found to have well-developed intestinal celiac lesions. On a gluten-free diet, all recovered completely. This diet lacks the offending proteins (not fats) of wheat, rye, barley, contaminated oats and their derivatives.

The low diagnosis rate is due to the variety of symptoms. The most common symptom is actually anemia, or other (often isolated) nutritional deficiencies, such as insufficient calcium or B vitamin levels. At diagnosis, some celiacs show weight loss, but many do not. Some have weight gain. Gastrointestinal symptoms can even be absent. Bone loss at diagnosis is common.

Given the doubled risk of cancer for a celiac on a normal diet, and the irregular character of its symptoms, regular antibody screening of type 1s for autoimmune celiac disease is not too much to ask.

Kemp Randolph

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Categories: Blood Glucose, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Insulin, Letters to the Editor, Losing weight, Low Blood Sugar, Type 1 Issues, Type 2 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 4 May 2009

the ADA is good an handling discrimination complaints for diabetics.

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