Letters to the Editor

Aug 1, 2001

Elders Story Sent Wrong Message on How to Eat

As a pump wearer, I look forward to receiving Diabetes Health. However, when looking at the medal-of-honor winners in the July issue ("Wisdom of the Elders," p. 31), the one thing that comes across to me and my clinical staff is that the less you eat the better control you will be in.

I find it kind of offensive that Virginia Bartman says she eats eight corn flakes because if she eats 10 her blood sugars go out of whack. I thought the whole idea for carb counting, diet control,and blood-sugar control was to eat appropriately and not have to starve yourself.

Mr. Swanson, who is on a pump, says he never eats pasta or potatoes. I think that this statement sends out the wrong message to newly diagnosed people with diabetes.

Susan Conrad
Century State Medical Center
Freehold, New Jersey

Thanks for the Tips on Measuring Bolus Rates

You had an explanation in the Q & A section of the January issue of Diabetes Health (p. 44) about bolusing. After conducting the review of my basal rate, as per the article, it was right on target. Thank you so much for such a good magazine.

Cal Broughton
Highland, Illinois

Providing Valuable Information in Context

I have enclosed this letter with my five-year renewal to Diabetes Health. Renewing for five years for the second time in a row indicates that I find Diabetes Health to be the best of the diabetes periodicals aimed at the general diabetes audience.

However, one area of the magazine could be improved. You could provide more context about information and advice. I think that not enough explanation is provided about certain topics when treatment recommendations for diabetes run the gamut from very conservative to mainstream to innovative. All of these treatment methods need to be discussed, but you should clarify where on this continuum the treatment being discussed lies.

For example, Dr. Bernstein pops up in articles and in the Q & A section. Sometimes he gives mainstream advice, but at other times he promotes his own views that lie outside of the mainstream. I think it is important that he voices his views, but I also think it is important to clarify that some of his views are controversial.

The context of the information can be as important to understanding and using it as is the information itself.

Charles Coughran
San Diego, California

Editor’s reply: Thank you for your invaluable comments regarding coverage of medical information in Diabetes Health. We agree that more context could be provided to our readers when reporting on medical treatments, and providing recommendations and advice. We will take your suggestions to heart and determine the best possible way to incorporate this approach into the content of future issues.

Success Switching from Animal to Human Insulin

I have had type 1 diabetes for 35 years and was crushed when Eli Lilly stopped producing Iletin I beef-pork insulin. I had tried human insulin with poor results and many side effects.

I continued to use the beef-pork insulin, as I had bought up a supply of it and used it even after it had expired. I knew this was risky, so I tried taking Iletin II pork insulin about eight months ago. After a few adjustments, I am doing well. I am taking Regular and Lente and find that I need the same amount of the Regular and half of the Lente on the pork insulin.

I hope this information will help those who have similar problems with human insulin.

Marilyn Cucurullo
Dedham, Massachusetts

Acupunture: An Alternative to St. John’s Wort

I would like to add my thoughts to Keith Campbell’s reply to the question about St. John’s Wort in the April issue (p. 43). Yes, it is true that one should be properly diagnosed as being depressed. However, prescription antidepressants don’t work for everyone, not to mention the numerous undesirable side effects that accompany these drugs. Having suffered from depression a good deal in my adult life and having taken numerous antidepressants over the years, as the various drugs have evolved, I have come to believe that drugs are not the answer. As far as St. John’s Wort is concerned, studies have determined that it can be an effective treatment for mild-to-moderate depression, but not for intense depression. I agree that the patient should advise doctors when he or she is taking the herb.

I was on numerous antidepressant drugs, sometimes several at a time, and found that I was still so depressed that I didn’t want to do anything or see anybody, so I consulted an acupuncturist. After three to four weeks of therapy, I felt like a human being for the first time in two years. I loved the Christmas season for the first time in 30 years. Unfortunately, I have been unable to continue acupuncture treatments because I cannot afford them. It’s pretty sad when insurance companies will pay for potentially poisonous drugs that can be ineffective, but refuse to provide coverage for acupuncture. Acupuncture is safe and effective and there are no untoward side effects. Not a week passes that I don’t read yet another study confirming the worth of acupuncture. What can we do to prod insurance companies to provide coverage for this excellent treatment?

Laveda J. Fleming
Holtville, California

Great June Issue!

I have just finished reading the June issue of Diabetes Health. Wow! What a friend you are to the camping world! It is a truly wonderful edition. I am sending a message to all my board members to be sure they read every article.

Zula Waters
Diabetes Camping Association
Lacey’s Spring, Alabama

Spreading the Word in Walnut Creek

This morning a sharp knock on my door alerted me to a big, heavy box full of Diabetes Health issues. Thanks! I spent the last three hours reading the May issue. It has useful information about trimming corns, etc. It also had a lot of colored cartoons—lovely. Nice issue.

I’ll take a lot of copies with me when I go to Kaiser Permanente in a couple days for fasting blood work. I will leave a pretty new copy of the May issue in every single office I pass. All the waiting rooms will have one. So now, if your readership increases dramatically in the Walnut Creek, California area, you can thank me and send me more copies so I can give even more away. I’ll flood Kaiser Walnut Creek with good diabetic information.

Marjorie King
Walnut Creek, California

Tips on Treating Sleep Apnea

First, I want to thank you for the best diabetes magazine. I finally had a sleep test done on May 5, 2001 (after many years of listening to my parents tell me I snore loudly when I go to visit them). I didn’t know there was a medical condition related to this, but I mentioned it to my primary care physician and he recommended that I be tested for sleep apnea. I month later, I got the results back, and found out that I have it.

The good news is that a CPAP (a breathing device) set at 10-cm water positive pressure eliminates sleep apnea. While I was waiting to be notified of my condition, I surfed the net and started learning about sleep apnea. There have been a lot of advances in CPAP machines recently. I’ve learned that a lot of people that have sleep apnea also have diabetes. I would like to see an article in Diabetes Health about sleep apnea. Also, I would like to suggest that anyone with a 17-inch neck or larger be tested for sleep apnea. It is a serious medical condition because you stop breathing several times a night. This disease is mostly prevalent in males, but there are some females that have it. Some Web sites with information on the condition are: www.talkaboutsleep.com, www.cpapman.com, www.cpap-pro.net and www.yahoogroups.com (do a search for CPAP users). If you conduct a search using www.google.com, you will find many more sites and a lot more information.

Bill Eastman
Austin, Texas

Concern About Side Effects of Glucophage

I would like to thank you for your research report on Glucophage in the March 2001 issue of Diabetes Health ("Glucophage Users May Have Low Vitamin B12," p. 11). It is very possible that your summary article saved my husband’s life.

His endocrinologist gave him a prescription for Glucophage as part of his diabetes management program. Within a short period (about a few months) he began having symptoms published by the drug company as being an indication of problems with taking this medicine: shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, etc. None of his doctors recognized these problems as being associated with Glucophage because he did not have lactic acidosis. He was sent to a cardiologist, who treated his condition as a heart problem symptomatically, with adverse results. He got worse.

Then, two weeks ago, he was diagnosed with anemia. He went to a hematologist, who discovered that he lacked vitamin B12 in his system, and that he was dehydrated, probably from the diuretics he was taking for his "heart condition." He was given an emergency blood transfusion and given pills to increase both his iron and vitamin B12 levels. His condition did not improve. A week ago, he read your article and immediately stopped taking Glucophage. His condition improved dramatically! He is now able to retain vitamin B12 and iron, and his treatment for anemia will be shorter than anticipated.

If someone is having heart problems and a cardiologist who is treating the patient symptomatically cannot identify these problems, the person’s vitamin B12 level should be checked. Lack of vitamin B12 can lead to serious health problems. My husband’s deficiency nearly killed him. And, as your article pointed out, it can be easy to treat vitamin B12 deficiency.

Cipra Domnitz
Las Vegas, Nevada

Words of Thanks

As the mom of a beautiful nine-year-old daughter who has type 1 diabetes, I have to tell you I love your magazine! Sonia Cooper from the Children with Diabetes Foundation told me about it online. So I called and got a free issue have been hooked since! Thanks so much for making a magazine that really focuses on type 1 diabetes. I just read the last three issues of your magazine cover to cover and appreciate all the great information. Keep it up!

Anne L. Morris
Nashua, New Hampshire

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Aug 1, 2001

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