Insulin pumps represent a giant step forwards in diabetes management. Instead of constantly preparing and administering insulin by injection, pumps allows users to fine-tune their insulin delivery. Pumps as a whole and specific pumps in particular have both pros and cons for different types of users, however, so it is vital to read up on what is available.
Most conventional insulin users will mix shorter and longer-acting types of insulin to attempt to get blood sugar control over an entire 24-hour period. This is important because high blood sugar can have serious short and long-term consequences, but is annoying at best. Pumps remove this necessity as they can deliver short-acting insulin constantly. Users trigger a 'bolus' or larger dose based on their carbohydrate intake when they eat and receive a low, calculated dose at all other times.
There are some important points to consider when choosing an insulin pump. One of these is the pump's bolus and basal rate delivery minimum. For patients who are very small (mostly children) or those whose bodies are very sensitive to low doses of insulin, the best insulin pump might be one that can deliver tiny or very precise doses. An example of a pump that can deliver down to 0.025 units per hour is the Medtronic MiniMed Paradigm Real-Time Revel. It can also be set to deliver doses in 0.025 unit increments, allowing incredible precision even with larger doses.
The best insulin pump for a person who requires larger doses might be one with a bigger reservoir. The maximum delivery rate per hour may also be important in these cases. The Accu-Check Spirit offers a 315-unit reservoir but the Real-Time Revel actually offers a higher rate of insulin delivery, at up to 35 units per hour. Some pumps have a maximum hourly rate of all the way down to 16 units.
All modern pumps are computerized. Most of them interact with software on your home computer in order to allow you to maintain logs of blood sugar and other trends. These can provide valuable information for your long-term health that you don't want to miss out on. Some pumps are only available with software that works on certain computers, so be sure to choose a pump with compatible software.
Choosing a pump that interacts directly with a blood glucose monitor allows finer control. Some pumps include a blood Glucose Monitor which can alert patients to rising or falling blood sugars and automatically calculate recovery or catch-up doses. The Real-Time Revel and OmniPod both send an alert when blood sugar is becoming dangerously high and function as simultaneous continuous blood glucose monitors and insulin pumps.
Almost all pumps have some method for disconnecting them in order to bathe or swim. However, a more convenient option may be a model that is waterproof and does not have to be removed. The OmniPod and the OneTouch Ping are both waterproof, the former for up to 25 feet deep for 60 minutes, and the latter for up to 12 feet with no time limit.
Some people are concerned about carrying the pump around, but most pumps are similar in size and weigh 3.5-4.5 ounces. There are some that are smaller, though, all the way down to the 1.8-ounce Dana Diabecare II. Most are about the size of a deck of playing cards and average just over 3 by 2 inches and three-quarters of an inch thick.
For people who really hate the tubing that is standard on all other insulin pumps, there is the OmniPod. This is the first tubing-free insulin pump. The wearable part is a small 'Pod' that attaches directly to the skin with adhesive and inserts a tiny canula to deliver insulin. It requires replacing every 72 hours. The management software is all on a handheld Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) which is used to calibrate the pod, view data and deliver boluses.
FDA-approved but not yet for sale, the Solo Micropump aims to provide an even more functional tubing-free system. It works a lot like the OmniPod but the attachable portion of the system can be repositioned and reused for 90 days. The pod itself also maintains basic information like the user's standard bolus size so that even if the PDM is left somewhere boluses can still be given. However, launch was originally scheduled for 2010 and has been rescheduled twice to late 2012.
Cost is an unfortunate thing to have to consider when dealing with healthcare, however many patients are forced to choose by price. Some insurance companies only cover certain pumps as well. Savvy users can sometimes find deals from certain companies who want them to switch, though.
Living with diabetes isn't easy but modern technology has made it a lot easier. Instead of calculating mixes of insulin and giving multiple daily injections, pumps make it possible for users to stick with one kind of insulin. People can decide what to eat when they like, rather than calculating it based on their current insulin levels. Many pumps have built-in features such as food libraries and continuous glucose monitors that make maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels easier as well. Even the problems of annoying tubing and non-waterproof pumps seem to have been relegated to the past.
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There is a strong correlation between obesity and the onset of type 2 diabetes with its associated insulin resistance. It should be pointed out that in the United States the proportion of the population under 40 that can be clinically defined as obese now exceeds 25%. Many children are obese and are developing type 2 diabetes at an alarming epidemic rate. The dramatic rise in obesity in the US has lead to an equally alarming increase in the percentage of the population who suffer from the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome is a clustering of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk factors, one of which involves insulin resistance characteristic in type 2 diabetes. It should be pointed out that obesity alone does not always lead to insulin resistance as some individuals who are obese do not experience insulin resistance and conversely, some individuals who manifest insulin resistance are not obese.
Is diabetes serious?
Yes. Diabetes is a life-long condition. High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can cause blindness, heart disease, kidney problems, amputations, nerve damage, and erectile dysfunction. Good diabetes care and management can delay or prevent the onset of these complications.
The good news
You can live a long and healthy life by keeping your blood glucose levels in your target range. You can do this by:
1. Eating healthy meals
2. Being physically active regularly
3. Taking diabetes medication, including insulin
Things you should know about insulin
When insulin was first discovered and made available for people with diabetes, there was only one kind of short-acting insulin. This required several injections a day. As time went on, new insulins were developed that lasted longer, requiring fewer injections, but requiring strict attention to timing of meals.
This gives more flexibility in the number and timing of injections, making it easier to maintain target blood glucose levels, based on your lifestyle. One to four injections a day may be suggested to you for optimal control of your blood glucose.
Are there any precautions before changing over to insulin?
Before considering a move to insulin it is worth examining all the option with regard to combination therapy. Diet should be optimised and the benefit of exercise discussed. It is important to be aware of the possibility of weight gain and of the need to maintain weight ‘neutral’ especially if already obese.
If you or someone close to you suffers from diabetes, you know what a life-altering condition it is. Diabetes-the inability of the metabolism to generate the insulin necessary to properly process blood sugar-affects millions of people in the United States alone. If properly diagnosed, diabetes in and by itself is not a fatal condition. However, keeping it under control is essential and that requires proper treatment and constant monitoring. And the more you know about the disease the better your chances of being able to live a normal life with diabetes.
There are three forms of diabetes, two of them chronic and one temporary. The chronic ones are Type 1 diabetes where the body simply does not produce insulin (a hormone that causes cells to store glucose), and Type 2 where tissues and cells are not responding to insulin. Pregnant women may develop so called gestational diabetes where certain hormones cause insulin resistance. Gestational diabetes usually disappears once a baby is born. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes require treatment.
It all sounds pretty simple, but it's not. Even after proper diagnosis, diabetes symptoms and diabetes treatment greatly vary from person to person. With Type 1, insulin injections are almost always required, but dosage varies, and diet and lifestyle can make a big difference. Type 2 can often be managed with dietary changes, exercise and supplements but, again, it varies from person to person. The difference between controlling diabetes properly and letting it go unchecked can be the difference between a normal, healthy life and one with serious complications that can result in deteriorating health and life-threatening conditions.
One thing that can help is being informed. And that doesn't mean just a half-hour consultation with your doctor although that, of course, is mandatory and the start of all treatment. My physician told me to do my own research and educate myself as much as I could. He said knowing about a disease and its various treatment options would allow me to determine what is right for me. He even gave me links to some information websites.
The problem with gathering diabetes information is not that there isn't enough, but that there is so much and in so many different places. That's why it makes sense to seek a website that specializes in diabetes and offers diabetes news, articles, a comprehensive diabetes information directory, and links to important resources. I found one that was easy to navigate and covered all aspects of diabetes, with a directory to over two dozen diabetes-related topics such as exercise, diets, drugs, symptoms, testing, treatments, prevention, blogs, forums and more. The site also contained a large number of original articles by diabetes experts or just people who have learned to live with diabetes and wanted to share their knowledge and experience.
There is a great deal of useful information on diabetes out there, but it doesn't help much if it is scattered all over the web or written in incomprehensible medical jargon. This is why a site dedicated to diabetes and diabetes resources of all kinds makes sense and should be on top of your browser bookmarks.
Bitter melon or Momordica Charantia is a vegetable which grows in tropical areas like East Africa, Asia, South Africa, and the Caribbean. This vegetable is rich in iron, beta carotene, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and other dietary fibers. In many countries, it is also used as an herbal medicine due to its properties that help improve insulin production. Clinical studies show that bitter melon increases the production of beta cells in the pancreas which leads to improvement in the insulin production of the body. It is also believed to be beneficial for the liver and can act as an anti-tumor agent. Because of its health benefits, bitter melon is used by many as an alternative treatment for diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease that is characterized by the presence of high levels of blood glucose and by the secretion of excess glucose in the urine. This ailment develops because of relatively low levels of insulin which leads to irregular carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Diabetic persons feel hungry and thirsty most of the time. In addition, these people get easily tired physically and mentally. They may also suffer from constipation, excessive itchiness around the genital area, and general weakness. Other body parts that are affected by diabetes are the heart, kidney, eyes, blood vessels, and the nerves. In addition to these health effects, diabetes is one of the major causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence among men.
Diabetes causes impotence because it alters the body systems such as the circulatory, nervous, and the endocrine system. The organs in these systems all work in harmony to let blood flow into the penis so erection can take place. Higher levels of glucose caused by diabetes damages the blood vessels and the nerves. Complications in the state of blood vessels may hamper the flow of blood to the penis, hampering erection. In addition, a number of medical studies show that diabetic persons are more likely to have low testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that is responsible enhanced libido, energy, and other reproductive health concerns. Men with type 1 diabetes are more likely to become impotent once they reach 40 years of age.
Many health experts are recommending the use of alternative medicines like better melons for diabetic management. Many studies show that bitter melon is able to reduce the blood sugar levels in the body. Charantin, polypeptide P, and oleonolic acid glcosides are some of the ingredients of bitter melon that are essential in diabetes treatment. Charantin consists of mixtures of natural steroids which are shown to reduce blood sugar levels in the body. Polypeptide P, contains alkaloids that can also promote healthy blood sugar levels. Oleanolic acid glycosides, on the other hand, may prevent the retention of sugar from the intestines. Improvements in these area leads to improved insulin levels in the body
Diabetes can be treated with alternative medicine and adjustments in lifestyles. Many health experts advice diabetic persons to include bitter melon in their diet to reduce their intake of anti-diabetic drugs. This alternative healing method, however, should not be regarded as a stand-alone treatment.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.
Coffee reduces risk of diabetes
Research suggests that people who drink coffee are less likely to get type 2 diabetes. It isn't known whether the caffeine or some other ingredient in coffee is responsible for its protective effects.
The researchers wanted to see whether there is a link between diabetes and drinking coffee and green, black, and oolong tea. Participants completed a detailed questionnaire about their health, lifestyle habits, and how much coffee and tea they drank. The questionnaire was repeated at the end of the 5-year follow-up period.
When other factors were accounted for, researchers found that the more green tea and coffee participants drank, the less likely they were to get diabetes. People who drank six cups or more of green tea or three or more cups of coffee each day were about one-third less likely to get diabetes. The link was stronger in women than in men. No pattern was seen with black or oolong tea. (see Diabetes Symptoms)
Vitamin D and Calcium May Lower the Risk for Type 2 Diabetes in Women
A lack of vitamin D and calcium may be linked to getting type 2 diabetes. More than 80,000 women who took part in the Nurses' Health Study. Over the course of 20 years, over 4,800 women developed type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that a combined intake of over 1,200 milligrams of calcium and over 800 units of vitamin D was linked with a 33% lower risk for type 2 diabetes (as compared to women who took much smaller amounts of calcium and vitamin D). The results show that consuming higher amounts of vitamin D and calcium help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes in women.
Diabetes is a disorder characterized by hyperglycemia or elevated blood glucose (blood sugar). Our bodies function best at a certain level of sugar in the bloodstream. If the amount of sugar in our blood runs too high or too low, then we typically feel bad. Diabetes is the name of the condition where the blood sugar level consistently runs too high. Diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder.
Sixteen million Americans have diabetes, yet many are not aware of it. African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans have a higher rate of developing diabetes during their lifetime. Diabetes has potential long term complications that can affect the kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels and nerves. A number of pages on this web site are devoted to the prevention and treatment of the complications of diabetes. (see Diabetes Symptoms)
In diagnosing diabetes, physicians primarily depend upon the results of specific glucose tests. However, test results are just part of the information that goes into the diagnosis of diabetes. Doctors also take into account your physical exam, presence or absence of symptoms, and medical history. Some people who are significantly ill will have transient problems with elevated blood sugars which will then return to normal after the illness has resolved. Also, some medications may alter your blood glucose levels (most commonly steroids and certain diuretics (water pills)).
The TWO main tests used to measure the presence of blood sugar problems are:
1. Direct measurement of glucose levels in the blood during an overnight fast
2. Measurement of the body's ability to appropriately handle the excess sugar presented after drinking a high glucose drink.
Self Testing Methods
Regular self-testing of your blood sugar tells you how well your combination of diet, exercise, and medication are working. Tests are usually done before meals and at bedtime. More frequent testing may be needed when you are sick or under stress.
A device called a Glucometer can provide an exact blood sugar reading. There are different types of devices. Usually, you prick your finger with a small needle called a lancet, which gives you a tiny drop of blood. You place the blood on a test strip, and put the strip into the device. Results are available within 30 to 45 seconds.
A health care provider or diabetes educator will help set up an appropriate testing schedule for you. You will also be taught how to respond to different ranges of glucose values obtained when you self-test.
The results of the test can be used to adjust meals, activity, or medications to keep blood sugar levels in an appropriate range. Testing provides valuable information for the health care provider and identifies high and low blood sugar levels before serious problems develop. Accurate record keeping of test results will help you and your health care provide plan how to best control your diabetes. There are 20.8 million children and adults in the US with diabetes, and nearly one-third of them (or 6.2 million people) do not know it!
Study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition findings are that assessing a meal using the glycemic index, which lists the quality of carbohydrates contained in many common foods, appears to be a good way to predict the effect a meal will have on blood sugar levels,this is important information for diabetes patients.
Dr. Thomas M. S. Wolever, of the University of Toronto and colleagues examined whether overall carbohydrate content and glycemic index of individual foods, as given in published tables, determined the effects of a realistic mixed meal on the blood sugar in normal subjects.
The team measured the responses to six test meals in 16 subjects in Sydney and eight meals in 10 subjects in Toronto, and then pooled the results. The meals varied in amount of calories, protein, fat, available carbohydrates and glycemic index score.
The blood sugar and insulin responses to the Sydney test meals varied over a 3-fold range. For the Toronto test meals, the blood sugar responses varied over a 2.4-fold range.
The team found no correlation between the blood sugar levels and fat or protein content of the test meal, but there was a significant correlation with carbohydrate content and glycemic index alone, which accounted for 88 percent of the variation in the blood sugar response.
This findings show that the glycemic index works and diabetes patients can use glycemic index diets but should be monitored and use thier prscribed theraphy.