Trick or Treats
Come October, I immediately start thinking about Halloween and trick-or-treating with my children. I always allow myself a few chocolates—if I can get them away from my kids as we go door to door. “May I have a piece?” I ask them, sweetly. “Sure, Dad,” they say, as they let me rummage through their bulging goody bags. I choose a piece of plain chocolate, like a mini Hershey bar, or one with nuts, but I stay away from anything with caramel in it. Depending on how much I eat, I will need two to five extra units of fast-acting insulin this night.
After reading the good news (see “Insulin Sensitivity Promoted by Dark Chocolate”), I’ll reach for a piece of dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate actually improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood pressure.
It’s a little strange to be thinking about Halloween while writing this column in August. I just returned from the annual American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) conference in Washington, D.C. Twenty-five thousand diabetes educators read this magazine, and many of you were there to continue your education.
CDE Finds Laughs and Teaching Aids on Our Web Site
At the AADE, I had a great talk with Ozie Williams, RD, RN, CDE. She looks for cartoons on our Web site and uses them to teach her patients about testing, exercise, medication and diet. She also prints them on the backs of postcards and mails them to her patients when they miss a class. Ozie goes the extra mile to motivate her patients.
Happy New Symlin User
Janet Foss, RN, CDE, who has taken insulin for 41 years, dropped by our booth to tell us that she has lost 15 pounds in three weeks since starting the new injectable hormone Symlin. We announced this new drug in our June 2005 issue. It is injected before meals, and it helps to improve blood glucose levels while reducing appetite and weight. Janet tells us that she loves it but says it’s pricey.
Supplement for Better Glucose Levels
Many companies attended the AADE to promote their vitamin and mineral supplements. For years we have reported on the benefits of magnesium and chromium picolinate. Now there are several firms marketing these two supplements to the diabetic market ( www.slow-mag.com, www.magox.com, www.diachrome.com). When blood glucose levels go up, the body loses an excess of these minerals in the urine. Low levels of either one lead to poor diabetes control.
R. Keith Campbell, RPh, CDE, a professor in the pharmacy department at Washington State University, takes a Diachrome capsule each day. He recommends 400 milligrams of magnesium daily.
Two Popular Insulins Being Discontinued
We recently received some news that Eli Lilly Co. has stopped production of Ultralente and Lente insulins. The current inventory should last until the end of the year.
Ten years ago the natural animal insulins we had used for 70 years were withdrawn. “Human insulin is better,” we were told. Now the “human” insulins are being withdrawn in favor of the new designer insulins. While studies have shown that these new insulins are effective, there is no long-term data available on them yet.
Jean Cutler, RD, CDE, wrote to me recently, saying, “Ultralente is a wonderful basal insulin. At about $30 a bottle, it is a great alternative to Lantus, at about $70 a bottle. I know that the insulins I use are ‘old school,’ but they work well for me.”
Type 1, 31 years (and counting)
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