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Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Help Sniff Out Low Blood Sugar?

Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Help Sniff Out Low Blood Sugar?

Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Help Sniff Out Low Blood Sugar?

For people with diabetes who take insulin, the risk of losing consciousness from low blood sugar is a constant fear. Devices called continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) can alert wearers to dropping levels, but not everyone has access to them. And even among those who do, some prefer a furrier and friendlier alert option: a service dog with special training to alert owners when their blood sugar reaches dangerously low levels.
These dogs are trained in a variety of ways, and although they receive certification, there is no universally accepted test to ensure their competence. Fully trained dogs can cost in the $20,000 range and typically aren't covered by insurance, although some nonprofit organizations can help offset the cost.
But as the popularity of diabetes alert dogs to detect hypoglycemia has increased dramatically, their effectiveness is largely unknown, according to Evan Los, a pediatric endocrinologist at Oregon Health & Science University who has studied their use. "Though dog trainers and dog users are generally enthusiastic," he notes.
Moreover, it's not clear exactly what the dogs may be detecting. Are they actually "smelling" low blood sugar, or are they reacting to typical hypoglycemia symptoms in their owner, such as sweating or shaking?
Two new studies add scent to the trail. One, published in the journal Diabetes Care, suggests that the dogs may be smelling a particular substance in the person's breath that rises as blood sugar falls.
But a second study, presented by Los at the recent meeting of the American Diabetes Association in New Orleans, found that a Continue reading

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Diabetes Isn’t Even That Bad

Diabetes Isn’t Even That Bad

Let me tell you why the statement above is a load of crap. 1. Our bodies are waging war against themselves2. It takes us longer to heal when we get hurt and it takes us longer to recover from illnesses because our immune system is jacked3. We could die at any moment without warning4. Low blood sugars feel like you’re going through drug withdrawals 5. High blood sugars feel like your body is drying out like a raisin 6. Afraid of needles? Well tough! We need to prick our fingers 3+ times a day, and either pierce yourself every 3 days for a pump site change or take 4+ injections everyday7. Our organs are slowly failing8. We have a high chance of going blind9. We could lose our feet and legs10. Insulin is crazy expensive11. Testing strips are crazy expensive12. The constant highs and lows drain us 13. We can’t just eat food right away. We need need to calculate how many grams of carbohydrates are in our food, test our blood sugar, configure in a correction if need be, dose, and by the time we take our first bite; everyone else have already finished14. Doctors are super expensive15. Pumps, Meters and CGMs are really really expensive16. No one ever takes our illness seriously 17. Having children is VERY risky for lady diabetics 18. The constant fear we have when we go to sleep knowing that we might not ever wake up due to low blood sugars at night19. The bruises and scars all over our body from YEARS of injections, site changes and finger pricks20. How our feet and hands are always freezing due to our poor circulation So tell me again how my suffering “isn’t that bad.” Continue reading

Half of Americans have diabetes or a high risk for it — and many of them are unaware

Half of Americans have diabetes or a high risk for it — and many of them are unaware

That’s right. The metabolic condition is about as American as you can get, according to a new national report card on diabetes released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report shows that nearly half of Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for the condition. A good number of these folks haven’t been diagnosed and don’t even realize their predicament.
People with diabetes have too much sugar in their blood. If the disease isn’t controlled, they can wind up with heart disease, nerve damage, kidney problems, eye damage and other serious health problems.
The new report combines data from the CDC, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Indian Health Service and the Census Bureau. Here’s a numerical look at what they reveal about diabetes in America.
30.3 million
The number of people in the U.S. who had diabetes in 2015.
The percentage of the U.S. population that has diabetes. That’s nearly 1 in 10.
1.5 million
The number of newly diagnosed cases of diabetes among U.S. adults in 2015. That works out to 6.7 new cases per 1,000 people.
24%
The percentage of Americans with diabetes who don’t even know they have it. That’s 7.2 million people.
7
Where diabetes ranked on the list of leading causes of death in the U.S. in 2015. Diabetes was listed as a cause of death on 252,806 death certificates that year, including 79,535 that identified diabetes as the primary cause of death.
There were two kinds of diabetes included in the study. Type 1 diabetes (formerly known as juvenile diabetes) occurs when Continue reading

Diabetes and me: how silent killer caught up with NHS chief

Diabetes and me: how silent killer caught up with NHS chief

'I just knew something was wrong with me. For several months I had been becoming increasingly, unusually tired and was needing to go to the toilet five or six times a night. I knew it wasn't overwork or stress but didn't know what it could be. My wife Sarah-Jane thought I was just a bit rundown.
This was towards the end of 2012. However, the travelling involved in being chief executive of the NHS, the birth of my daughter Rosa that November and the fact that I'd just moved house meant I didn't get round to seeing my GP until Christmas Eve, a while after the symptoms appeared.
Pretty much right away my GP said: "It sounds like diabetes to me". He took some blood, put it into a machine and it showed that my blood glucose level was way beyond what it should be. That confirmed that I had type 2 diabetes.
He said: "You're going to the toilet a lot as your kidneys are responding to high levels of sugar in your blood and your body deals with that by urinating it out." I said, 'Can I be cured? Can I get out of this?' But he said, 'No, you've got it for life."
He also explained that the main complications of diabetes are heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation of a lower limb. I knew all that already; I'd given evidence to the public accounts committee about diabetes a few months earlier, ironically. But to hear a doctor saying this to me about me was sobering and very scary.
It was particularly sobering because my father, who'd been a plasterer, died when he was 68 from emphysema and asthma. He spent his last years in a wheelchair. My grandfather, a labourer Continue reading

One in three of world’s adults with diabetes is in China, WHO reports

One in three of world’s adults with diabetes is in China, WHO reports

Nearly one in three adult diabetes sufferers in the world is in China, where there has been an explosion in the numbers affected in the past quarter-century, a new World Health Organisation report shows.
While China accounts for 19 per cent of the world’s population, it had more than 30 per cent of adult diabetes cases in 2014. Of the 422 million adults with the chronic disease, an estimated 129.3 million were in China, the Global Report on Diabetes, published on Wednesday, said.
The prevalence of diabetes in Chinese adults has increased from less than 1 per cent in 1980 to 9.4 per cent in 2014. Globally, the prevalence of diabetes has also increased, but at a slower rate: from 4.7 per cent in 1980 to 8.5 per cent in 2014.
Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body either does not make enough insulin to break down the sugar in foods or uses insulin inefficiently. It can cause early death or serious complications like blindness, stroke, kidney disease, amputation and heart disease.
Part of the increase in the prevalence of the disease both in China and worldwide was down to population growth and ageing, according to Dr Hai-rim Shin, a coordinator for non-communicable diseases and health promotion at the WHO’s regional office for the Western Pacific in Manila.
But Shin said risk factors for diabetes, such as being overweight or obese and being physically inactive, had also increased.
“There has been a significant increase [in the prevalence of diabetes in China] that has occurred during a short period of time, which has been driven largely by unhealthy habits: se Continue reading

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