Chris Dewald | Insulin pens

The American Diabetes Association states the following: Did you know that two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease and stroke? Make the Link! Diabetes, heart disease and stroke is an initiative of the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology, aimed at increasing awareness of the link between diabetes and heart disease.

The ADA stresses that diabetes management is more than control of blood glucose. People with diabetes must also manage blood pressure and cholesterol and talk to their health provider to learn about other ways to reduce their chance for heart attacks and stroke.

Let’s get some facts first, folks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food you eat. Diabetes occurs when either:
· The pancreas (an organ behind your stomach) produces little insulin or no insulin at all, or,
· The pancreas makes insulin, but the insulin made does not work as it should. This condition is called insulin resistance.

 

What is insulin?

Insulin is a naturally-occurring hormone, produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, that helps the body use glucose for energy.

  

Understanding metabolism

To understand diabetes better, it helps to know more about how the body uses food for energy (a process called metabolism). Your body is made up of millions of cells. To make energy, the cells need food in a very simple form. When you eat or drink, much of your food is broken down into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose (sugar) provides the energy your body needs for daily activities.

The blood and blood vessels are the highways that transport glucose from where it is either taken in (the stomach) or manufactured (in the liver) to the cells where it is used (muscles) or where it is stored (fat). Glucose cannot go into the cells by itself. The pancreas releases a substance called insulin into the blood which serves as the helper, or the “key” that lets glucose into the cells for use as energy. When glucose leaves the bloodstream and enters the cells, the blood glucose level is lowered.

Compare the human body to a car. To start a car, you must turn the key to move the gas to the engine. Without insulin, or the “key,” glucose cannot get into the body’s cells for use as energy. This causes glucose to rise. Too much glucose in the blood is called “high blood sugar” or diabetes.

 

Types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs because the insulin-producing cells (called beta cells) of the pancreas are damaged. People with Type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin, so glucose cannot get into the body’s cells for use as energy. This causes blood glucose to rise. People with Type 1 diabetes MUST use insulin injections to control their blood glucose.

The damage to insulin-producing cells in Type 1 diabetes occurs over a period of years. However, the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes may occur over a period of days to weeks. Type 1 is the most common form of diabetes in people under age 20, but it can occur at any age.

 

Type 2 diabetes

Unlike people with Type 1 diabetes, people with Type 2 diabetes produce insulin. However, the insulin produced is either not enough or doesn’t work properly in the body. When there is not enough insulin or the insulin is not used as it should be, glucose cannot get into the body’s cells for use as energy. This causes blood glucose to rise.

Type 2 diabetes is most common in people who are over age 40 and who are overweight. Some people with Type 2 diabetes can manage it by controlling their weight, watching their diet, and exercising regularly. Others may also need to take an oral glucose-lowering medication or insulin injections.

 

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a high blood glucose level that occurs during pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses, the developing baby has an increased need for glucose. Hormone changes during pregnancy also affect the action of insulin, resulting in high blood glucose levels.

Pregnant women who have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes include those who:
· are over 25 years old
· are above their normal body weight
· have a family history of diabetes, and
· are Hispanic, African-American, Native American, or Asian.

Usually, blood glucose levels return to normal after childbirth. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

That overview was taken from

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/Diabetes_Mellitus/hic_Diabetes_Overview.aspx.  

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Now that we have a little background, here we go. Having a stroke and diabetes is a road we don’t want to travel. Seems I am on that road, and being a man, I do not stop for directions. So let my folly and travels take you so I can be the guinea pig. Before we proceed, this pertains to me and offers just a “doorway” to provide thought. This is what I use “now” and I’ll show you why.

Right now, I am a Type 2 diabetic. A change in my sugar levels spiked since a serious medical condition, which necessitated an operation and took me down a few months ago. Pill form of glucose was not settling me down. My weight is dropping, but it still is not enough. Needles, oh, please, help me! I hate needles, and say what! I have to inject the insulin, and you say where? Yeah, right, and I’m a spider monkey. The doctor then handed me a banana.

Insulin … what do y’all think? Most of us are one-handed from the strokes. How can I get the insulin bottle up, get the needle inserted, view the correct dosage and eliminate air bubbles? Crackling critters there, Ahab! Then I have to refrigerate what? Next to my salad and carrots. Those that know me, that could be what I call “a white lie.” So, the doctor told me to come in and they would train me.

Oh, the dread, until she walked in with this pen-looking item. It was amazing, screw on a very small needle, set the units to be delivered, alcohol rub and you insert. OK, I had the nurse do it first. Then when I did not feel a thing, I gave a mighty sigh. That’s all? Where’s the bottle of jungle juice, where’s the package of syringes? My eyes are bad, how can I see the fluid and numbers on the syringe? All the worry disappeared.

I sat there and thought, I can do this one-handed. Sure enough, I could, and what an ease for those who have one hand that is usable. It’s portable! You can go to bed and have the pen next to you. Yeah, I see those who forget and have to wander to the refrigerator for their next insulin shot. No more.

There is a time limit for the use of my brand pen. Twenty-eight days is the number, but at 15 units a strike, 28 days are gone anyway.

I don’t want to continue with speculation, I love it! Here are some websites that offer these pens

1) http://www.diabetesmonitor.com/pens.htm

2) http://www.lantus.com/solostar/solostar_insulin_pen.aspx

3) http://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/page.aspx?cat=7001&id=7254

These are only a few sites. Now, an insulin pen should not be shared with another person.

1) http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/301/15/1527

2) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/589863 

I hope those who have not had a taste of being a diabetic stay that way. It seems that people who do not move around a lot tend to become so. Please see your family practitioner for all your advice. I hope those who are diabetic and use insulin become more aware of what is available to us.

Thanks, ladies and gentlemen. Go see my video on this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r93OQRbYYr8.

 

– Column by Chris Dewald

 



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