Tag Archives: dsma

Do you Strip Safely?

Imagine your life depends on knowing a number. Imagine you have the tool to find what the number is, and based on this number you have to follow the rules or you may end up in big trouble—and by trouble I mean death. I’m not joking… this is what people with millions of people with diabetes are dealing with now.

It is sad and scary to learn that there is no proper regulation for the manufacturing of certain types of glucose testing strips, which leads to inaccurate numbers… very inaccurate. If you have diabetes, and you’re on insulin, you may either over-treat or under-treat a rather complicated condition; and don’t forget insulin is a very dangerous drug. Too much, too little… NEVER a good thing.

Imagine you’re the parent of a child with diabetes and you need those numbers to be accurate so you know what is the right thing to do. Imagine you give your child more insulin than what they really need. Or less. Inaccurate readings are every person with diabetes’ nightmare, and that is one of the things we keep hollering about. One would think that after all the hollering we would be heard. But that isn’t the case

According to Strip Safely:

At a recent public meeting the FDA acknowledged that there are some 510(k) cleared blood glucose (BG) meters and strips that do not meet the accuracy standards for which they were approved. There is currently no clear course of action to insure people with diabetes are using blood glucose strips that meet regulatory requirements.

Then you have a person like me, who is not on insulin, and whose doctor recommended to test 2-3 times A WEEK (that’s a story for another day). If I already have a hard time getting an idea of how my diabetes behaves, you can do the math when it comes to a meter that isn’t giving me accurate numbers. The problem is, which one do I trust?

Last month, David Edelman posted a Blood Glucose Meter Accuracy Comparison chart. It isn’t the only one I’ve seen lately. Well known brands of glucose meters are barely making it, and they are well regulated by the FDA. What about those who aren’t? The “cheap” ones that will make you spend more money on complications at the end of the day?

And you must be thinking what you can do about the accuracy issue and ask for stricter regulations from the FDA when it comes to something as vital as adequate blood glucose level readings. Well, YOU GO TELL THEM!

Contact your congress person and make a DEMAND for stricter regulations from the FDA. Diabetes isn’t a joke. Glucose meters aren’t a toy. And we aren’t puppets.

DSMA Live en Español

En un esfuerzo por extender la misión de DSMA con toda la comunidad, hemos decidido ofrecer una versión en Español de nuestro programa de radio DSMA Live para llegar a la comunidad Hispana, no sólo en Estados Unidos, sino alrededor del mundo. Acompáñenos los martes a las 8:00 p.m. CST. Estaré presentando con Cristina Rodríguez de ChicagoNOW. Nuestro primer programa será mañana, 24 de julio. ¡Los esperamos!

What Diabetes Has Done for me

You never look at a chronic condition as something good. After all, diabetes can be such a pain in the you know what. All the things you have to do, all the things you have to take care of, all the things you have to stop doing, all the things you are at risk of… Yes, not fun. But for me, diabetes has also been a blessing in disguise… a big one! Especially now when I need to find some new purpose in my life.

I have mentioned many times that I started advocating for people with diabetes way before my own diagnosis. What I never thought about is that by becoming an advocate, not only I was helping myself to understand and be aware of my diabetes once I got diagnosed, but that eventually, advocacy and activism would become such an important part of my life; the connections I’ve established since I joined the diabetes community have been my lifeline more often than not.

We may not share the same type of diabetes. We may become friends with someone who doesn’t even have diabetes, but who cares about someone else who has it. We may not understand what the other person is talking about sometimes, but we all are there, having each others back, trying to be supportive. And this support is not only when it comes to diabetes, but it’s about knowing we have friends and people we can trust. People who won’t judge, people who will always be happy for the chance to meet, people who will go out of their way to show you they care.

I guess chronic conditions make us aware of how hard life tends to get at times and how many struggles we go through. I’m grateful I was put on this earth to deal with diabetes. It gives me purpose, it gives me something to be passionate about and it has brought many wonderful human beings into my life.

This summer will give me the chance to meet new d-peeps, see old friends again, work on an awesome project for the Hispanic community with the fantastic DSMA. And that is exactly what I need now. I’m making lemonade! 😉

Help is all around

Last night’s DSMA chat on twitter was about dealing with other chronic conditions related or not to diabetes. At the end of the hour everyone was talking about depression and how difficult it makes to manage any condition that requires us to care about ourselves and keep some kind of discipline. The biggest question was if we thought mental treatment should be required for people who have to live with a chronic disease like diabetes. And this is what I think…

While I don’t think mental help should be required for people who have diabetes (and other chronic conditions), it should be greatly encouraged by health professionals. I understand that not everyone wants to be open about depression because it’s so stigmatized, but in my personal case I thank my endocrinologist for making treating my depression a priority. Let’s go back to November and we can see a big 8.6 A1C result because I was in such a rut I just didn’t have the will to live. Forward to now, after I listened to my doctor and went to seek for help (again… because my depression is recurrent) and my A1C last week was 6.4.

We all need motivation to accomplish things in life. Now add to that the fact that you have to live and deal with an illness every single day… you tend to fall off the wagon quite often (at least I do). Imagine all your motivation just goes down the drain and it’s so much more than just a bad day. Weeks pass and you don’t feel better, your whole body aches, all you want to do is crawl on the floor and you feel like you simply don’t belong. Imagine the impact that kind of episode can have in the management of a condition like diabetes that requires so much discipline?

I for one I’m glad I listen to my doctor. And I’m glad that my psychiatrist told me my antidepressants are just another medication for diabetes. I’m glad that I started doing something for myself because now I have the energy and the motivation to do what I’m supposed to do every single day. And the most important thing is that I have a clear head to understand that I don’t have to be perfect to take care of myself.

So if you’re dealing with depression, please share it with someone who can shed some light so you’re not so lost in the dark. More often than not other people will tell you they’re going through the same thing. If you are capable of being outspoken about depression and chronic diseases, then speak out loud for other people to understand they’re not alone. And if your doctor recommends you to look for help, just do it… you’ll be grateful.

Help with Depression

The DSMA Blog Carnival this month is about what can we do to help stop depression from hitting our community during the winter months.

Believe me, it’s not easy battle.  Depression can undermine even your most minimal efforts to keep your diabetes in check. You lose motivation, you lose self-esteem, you stop caring. With that comes not checking your blood sugars, not eating well, not taking your medications and consequently you can end up like me, with an A1C of 8.6% — How did I get there? I don’t care. What I care about is the fact that I did what I was advised to do and I’m here waiting for my latest A1C result, which I’m convinced will be much better.

So, what can we do to help?

  • Listen. Actually, ask! In my opinion, when you’re in a community where you get to know people well, you can tell when something is out of place. There are keywords that we can learn to identify to realize someone is having a hard time with depression. So yes, don’t be afraid to ask someone if they’re doing OK. Most of the time just having someone who cares is enough to makes us do something about our condition.
  • Remind the people in your community of all the good things they do and how much you admire them. I can tell you for a fact that when depression hits, it’s very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is there. And just a few kind words can help you see it a little bit better.
  • Tell people it is OK to ask for help and advise them to do so. I believe in doctors, I believe in psychologists, I believe that sometimes medication can at least help you bounce back so you can take the reins of your life and do what will eventually get you on the right track.
  • Don’t dismiss people’s feelings and don’t think that it’s just a matter of forgetting about it and do stuff. Depression means you’re so out of motivation than when someone tells you to just get up and get going feels like a huge slap in the face. Ask how can you help, and react lovingly. Most of the time we know what to do, we just don’t know how to. Offer your advice with compassion.
  • Just be there. Support, comfort… that’s what we need. No pity, no validation of negative feelings, just a kind word to remind us there is a way out.