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Thank You, Diane Abbott, For Speaking Out About Your Diabetes

Thank you, Diane Abbott, for speaking out about your diabetes

Thank you, Diane Abbott, for speaking out about your diabetes

Diane Abbott’s disclosure that she struggled with fluctuating blood sugar levels during the election campaign will chime with many of the 3.6 million people in the UK who, like her, live with diabetes. “During the election campaign, everything went crazy – and the diabetes was out of control, the blood sugar was out of control,” she told the Guardian. She said that doing several interviews one after the other without eating enough food, had left her feeling befuddled.
It’s interesting that two of our highest-profile female politicians, live with diabetes: Theresa May was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2013 and Abbott found that she has the more common type 2 diabetes two years ago. The question is whether the recent media attention will raise awareness, help to uncover the estimated 1 million of us in the UK who have undiagnosed diabetes and improve the treatment of this common and potentially devastating condition.
The campaigning charity Diabetes UK says: “The luck of where you live, what type of diabetes you have or your age can determine the quality of your care. There are key targets for managing diabetes in terms of blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure. Two out of five people with type 2 diabetes meet them – but fewer than one in five people with type 1 diabetes do.”
New technologies to monitor blood glucose levels and track diabetes care, as well as treatment options such as surgery for obesity and insulin pumps, are exciting developments. But provision is patchy and optimal care for all is still a distant dream.
Diabetes sets in when the Continue reading

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DIY diabetes tech 'is keeping us alive'

DIY diabetes tech 'is keeping us alive'

"I was sending a seven-year-old to school with a drug that could kill him," says Alistair Samuelson, whose son George, now nine, has type 1 diabetes.
Frustrated with traditional monitoring and its risks, Mr Samuelson and George have since joined a growing group of T1 sufferers who are building their own solutions to manage their diabetes - even though they come with their own uncertainties.
Traditional monitoring involves taking blood samples from the fingertips several times a day and administering precise injections of insulin to maintain blood sugar levels. However, over the course of an hour they can change dramatically and too much insulin can be fatal.
It works for many - new British Prime Minister Theresa May has talked openly about living with type 1 diabetes since her diagnosis in 2012.
"In basic management terms, it's the same for everybody," she told Diabetes UK in an interview.
"You have to get into a routine where you are regularly doing the testing."
But Mr Samuelson and George are among thousands who have chosen a different approach.
Open Source
They are using Nightscout, an open source platform developed and run by a global community of type 1 diabetics.
Open source means it is freely available for anyone to use and modify - in this case at their own risk.
It's a combination of a commercial product called a Continuing Glucose Monitor (CGM), which provides constant updates, a DIY transmitter and the freely available Nightscout programming code which enables the CGM data to be shared with a cloud data storage area - where it can then be distributed to other de Continue reading

Could Theresa May become the first ever world leader with type 1 diabetes?

Could Theresa May become the first ever world leader with type 1 diabetes?

For the past few days the headlines in the UK, and across the world, have been dominated by the fallout from the UK public vote to leave the European Union. After David Cameron announced his resignation last week, the race to become the Conservative Party’s new leader and by extension the new prime minister has intensified.
One name that has surged towards the top of the list is that of Theresa May.
Theresa May’s career in Parliament
Ms May has been Home Secretary since 2010. She is the longest-serving holder of the prestigious office– one of the great offices of state – for more than 60 years.
Living with type 1 diabetes
In 2013 Theresa was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after doctors originally believed she had type 2 diabetes. During the winter of 2012 May went to her GP who ran a blood test which showed very high blood glucose levels.
Theresa, who has been MP for Maidenhead since 1997, spoke to the Mail on Sunday at the time, saying:
‘[Type 1 diabetes] doesn’t affect how I do the job or what I do. It’s just part of life… so it’s a case of head down and getting on with it.’
Meeting the type 1 diabetes community
Ms May has attended a number of JDRF events, including the 2015 Sugarplum Ball – which raised £620,000 in support of JDRF, and most recently JDRF’s #Type1Catalyst event in the Houses of Parliament.
The Conservative Party will elect a new leader after a leadership election, set for September this year. This new leader will then, almost certainly, become the new prime minister of the UK.
Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK:
Continue reading

Biosimilars Coming to Diabetes Treatments: How, What, Where, and When?

Biosimilars Coming to Diabetes Treatments: How, What, Where, and When?

Congress creates abbreviated licensure pathway for biological products similar to or interchangeable with FDA-approved products.
A biosimilar product is a biologic product that is approved based on demonstrating that it is highly similar to an FDA‐approved biologic product, known as a reference product, and has no clinically meaningful differences in terms of safety and effectiveness from the reference product. Only minor differences in clinically inactive components are allowable in biosimilar products.
Congress, through the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCI Act) of 2009, created an abbreviated licensure pathway for biological products that are demonstrated to be biosimilar to or interchangeable with an FDA-approved biological product. This pathway was established as a way to provide more treatment options, increase access to lifesaving medications, and potentially lower health care costs through competition.
FDA requires biosimilar and interchangeable biological products meet the Agency’s rigorous approval standards. That means patients and health care professionals will be able to rely upon the safety and effectiveness of the biosimilar or interchangeable product, just as they would the reference product.
Prescription medications, especially those for chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease have become a major economic burden. Due to rising diagnosis of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, it is understandable why more cost efficient biosimilar products are being developed. Diabetes biosimilar biologic products such as GLP-1 receptor agoni Continue reading

Are Lifestyle Changes Better Than Diabetes Medications?

Are Lifestyle Changes Better Than Diabetes Medications?

Often, patients come to us feeling guilty about their food choices and lifestyle habits. Though guilt rarely is a helpful emotion, remorseful clients can be wonderful to work with when they’re ready to make significant lifestyle changes. But what should we do when clients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes are so motivated to reverse the course of their disease with diet and exercise that they refuse medications prescribed by their doctors? I know the power of lifestyle changes, and of course, I want to support my patients’ decisions. But I can’t agree with this choice. Here’s why.
While I truly appreciate the desire to avoid medications and their potential side effects, I know that time is of the essence. I understand what insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes do to the body, how the problem is progressive, how insulin resistance likely has occurred for years before the diabetes diagnosis, how it affects multiple systems in the body, harms the heart and blood vessels, and raises the risk for certain types of cancer.
My quick reply to the “What should I do?” question is to use every tool available. Don’t wait. Work toward permanent lifestyle changes now and take your medications now. Though there are possible side effects to taking medications, there also are side effects to not taking medications. People who successfully manage type 2 diabetes from the time of diagnosis are the ones most likely to have good outcomes years down the line.
I advise my clients to combine lifestyle changes and diabetes medications. Only when they’ve made solid lifestyle chang Continue reading

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