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How Many Diabetes Educators Can You Fit Into One Convention Center?
August 11, 2008
If you regularly read my postings, you probably realize that I tend to write about a specific topic on a weekly basis. However, this week, my posting will be something of a "mishmash" of three topics—all diabetes-related, however.
I just got back from the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) 35th Annual Meeting, held in Washington, D.C. this past week. Someone told me that about 3,500 educators (nurses, dietitians, physicians, and more) attended. When you get that many people together, you’re bound to learn something, and I did. I wanted to share some pearls of wisdom, tidbits of interest, and interesting facts that I picked up over the last few days.
If things seem a little jumbled, well, it’s because they are. Since you can’t attend more than one session at a time, I picked and chose those sessions that were of most interest and relevance to me. So, here goes:
If used as a diabetes drug, Welchol can be prescribed along with metformin, a sulfonylurea, or with insulin. It’s not meant to be taken by itself. Also, it’s not intended to treat Type 1 diabetes. As with any medication, it comes with a few side effects: It can raise triglyceride (blood fat) levels, so caution should be used if your triglyceride levels are higher than 500 mg/dl. Welchol can also decrease the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), and it shouldn’t be used in people with gastroparesis, other gastrointestinal disorders, or a history of bowel obstruction. Finally, you need to take six tablets every day, so if you’re not a pill-taker, this drug may not be for you.
Also, she mentioned that, in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), a landmark Type 1 diabetes study, 55% of hypoglycemic episodes occurred during sleep. My conclusion is that this means one should occasionally set an alarm at 2 or 3 AM to do a blood glucose check or think about wearing a continuous glucose sensor, especially if your lows tend to occur overnight.
Hypoglycemia and driving don’t mix, so it’s crucial to check your blood glucose before you get in the car, and if you think you’re on the way down, to eat a snack to be on the safe side. By the way, men are more likely than women to drive when they’re low.
A last tidbit of interest: Pediatric endocrinologists are more likely to talk to their patients—meaning adolescents—about the dangers of driving when low than adult endocrinologists.
Chia, also called Salvia hispanica, became popular after being mentioned on Oprah (of course!). These are little seeds that are very high in fiber and can lower insulin levels, post-meal blood glucose levels, and blood pressure.
Salacia works to inhibit an enzyme in the gastrointestinal tract to help lower post-meal glucose levels (much like the drug acarbose [Precose], although actually more potent). So, expect to hear and read more about these two supplements in the near future.
All in all, this conference was another success, and in the future I’ll share more “clinical pearls” that I picked up over the last four days.
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