The FreeStyle Libre, A Device For Monitoring Blood Sugar, Is A Pleasure To Use.

The FreeStyle Libre, a device for monitoring blood sugar, is a pleasure to use.

The FreeStyle Libre, a device for monitoring blood sugar, is a pleasure to use.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by FreeStyle Libre.
In the years after I was diagnosed at 24 with Type 1 diabetes, I would sometimes cry when I stopped to study my hands. Back then, the skin of my fingertips was pockmarked by tiny craters, traces of the blood tests I performed seven or more times a day. Though they would heal in time, others would immediately take their place. Merely knowing they were there was dispiriting, a reminder that my disease would always leave its mark on my body in one way or another.
Successfully managing Type 1 diabetes requires almost relentless biomedical self-surveillance . You learn to count carbs, measure insulin doses, and track your glucose levels. Its the last of those thats the most frustrating for many who live with the disease, as the process has traditionally involved pricking your finger with a lancing device and then checking the capillary blood that springs forth. Typically, the process isnt that painful, but it can be messy, and the disposable single-use test strips it requires are often expensive, sometimes costing more than $1 each without insurance. (That may not sound like much, but it adds up if youre using them the recommended 48 times a day.) Perhaps more importantly, the information it reveals is limited, showing you where you stand in the moment but telling you nothing about whether your levels are rising, falling, or holding steady. That can be frustrating when you need it most, since it makes it hard to detect potentially dangerous rapid changes.
More recently, continuous glucose monitors (or CGMs) have begun t Continue reading

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Eli Lilly Raises Insulin Prices While Supporting People With Diabetes

Eli Lilly Raises Insulin Prices While Supporting People With Diabetes

Although I was often called Goldilocks as a child, I never took a liking to the story. The little girl and I both had curly blond hair, but thats where the similarity ended. AboutLittle Red Riding Hood, however, I felt differently. As a child who happily made her way to grandmas all the time, Little Red Riding Hood and I shared a bond. Sure, she had to trek through a forest and all I had to do was cross over a little bayou bridge, but our destination was the same.
I attribute much of my lost childhood innocence to Little Red Riding Hood. Thanks to her story, I learned not only to worry about being gobbled alive or hacked up by a woodcutter, but to fear being tricked. Little Red alerted me to the possibility that in the bed where my loving, somewhat overbearing, tiny, white-haired, toothless grandmother slept, I could also encounter a hairy beast in a bonnet who wanted to eat me rather than feed me. And yesterday when I read that Eli Lilly, pharmaceutical giant, raised the price of their big selling insulins, Humalog and Humilin, by 7.8% just on the heels of a meeting with diabetes advocates to discuss the problem of the high cost of insulin, I couldnt help but think of Little Red Riding Hood and the deceiving wolf.
Exactly no one should be astonished that Lilly has, yet again, hiked the price of insulin. Its just another example of greedy pharma being greedy pharma. The escalation perfectly fits the pattern of insulin drugmakers regular price increases. (Its this pattern that led Senator Bernie Sanders toaskthe Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to i Continue reading

Diabetes Food Tricks and What I Really Eat

Diabetes Food Tricks and What I Really Eat

Diabetes Food Tricks and What I Really Eat
How I learned to make low-carb food tasty, doable, portable, and fun. Plus, cool new diabetes food experiments Ive been testing!
Im used to some quizzical looks at checkout counters, airports, and in restaurants:
Why all the nuts and seeds do you have birds at home?
Wait, you want the burger, but without a bun?
No rice with your Chicken Ka Prow? Can we even serve you?
For those used to eating a typical diet, a low-carb, higher-fat approach to eating can seem strange. But in reality, I find it tasty, filling, and worth any confused looks I see more in-range blood sugars, fewer extreme lows and highs, simpler insulin dosing, and far lower diabetes burden.
Below, youll find a list of foods and recipes I actually eat, taken right from my book, Bright Spots & Landmines ( free PDF here or get it on Amazon for $6). As a bonus for this online version, Ive added links to recipes and specific products. And if youve read the book already, this article starts with some brand new food tricks and experiments Ive been testing out. Bon apptit!
1. Tinkering with chia pudding : I continue to eat chia pudding for breakfast every daybut have been working to solve sticking points for diaTribe readers. Coconut oil is a big one that trips people up, and I was glad to find that shredded unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut chips work great as a substitute. They are also more portable for bringing chia pudding when I travel. Many readers have also shared they add dark chocolate chips, cacao nibs, or chocolate protein powder to bump the flavor Continue reading

Vegetables in a Diabetes Diet: Is Steamed, Roasted, or Sauted Best?

Vegetables in a Diabetes Diet: Is Steamed, Roasted, or Sauted Best?

Vegetables in a Diabetes Diet: Is Steamed, Roasted, or Sauted Best?
Help prevent blood sugar spikes and get the most nutritional bang for your buck with this guide.
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When you're managing diabetes, there are pros and cons involved with each way of cooking veggies.
We all know vegetables are good for us, but when you have diabetes, it can be difficult to know whether certain types are better for your blood sugar, and how preparing a veggie may impact its nutritional value. For example, are roasted sweet potatoes as nutritious as steamed kale, or if you saut your spinach rather than steam it, have you lost some essential nutrients?
While all vegetables are healthy, it might be difficult to understand why some have to be limited or reduced, says Cara Lowenthal, MPH, RD, a certified diabetes educator at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
Why Veggies Should Be in Your Diabetes Diet
Vegetables are an essential part of every diet, but this food group is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes . Nonstarchy vegetables, like spinach, kale, and broccoli, are rich in nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin E, low on the glycemic index , and have lots of fiber, which means munching on them will help you fill up without significantly raising your blood sugar, Lowenthal says.
The fiber that many vegetables pack can also slow down how quickly sugar enters the blood, explains Krista Mathews, a dietitian Continue reading

Patient registry pilot eases diabetes prevention in practice

Patient registry pilot eases diabetes prevention in practice

Patient registry pilot eases diabetes prevention in practice
A pilot patient registry is helping physicians and other clinicians use their electronic health records system to more easily identify patients at risk for type 2 diabetes and refer them to an evidence-based diabetes prevention program (DPP). The pilot aims to bring together all members of the health care team to ensure complete access to detailed patient information for prevention of diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 84 million Americans live with prediabetes. And in Michigan alone, 2.6 million have prediabetesa number that Henry Ford Macomb Hospital is looking to decrease through the pilot program.
Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, located in Clinton Township, Michigan, is part of the Henry Ford Health System and is evaluating the patient registry for its effectiveness in screening, testing and referring patients to a DPP in partnership with the AMA. The registry pilot went live March 15 and is accompanied by a year-long DPP. Patients referred to a DPP can learn about eating healthfully, adding physical activity to their daily routine, managing stress, and staying motivated and overcoming barriers to success.
With a staggering number of Americans living with prediabetes and the vast majority unaware they have the condition, we must continue to ensure more patients have access to, and enroll in, proven lifestyle change programs that have been shown to cut in half participants risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes, AMA President David O. Barbe, MD, MHA, said in a st Continue reading

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