All Are Welcome to BGH’s Diabetes Day

You most likely know someone with diabetes. It might be a friend, a child, a sibling a parent or, of course, it might be you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that there are 30.3 million people in the U.S. with diabetes. That’s 9.4 percent of the population of which 23.8 percent are currently undiagnosed.

If you’re interested in knowing more about risks and treatments, Bonner General Health is hosting Diabetes Day next Monday, November 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Health Services Building (423 N. Third Avenue). This event is open to the public, whether diabetic or not, and will feature health screenings and information pertinent to your health.

Screenings will include blood glucose and blood pressure tests, eye acuity exam, height/weight measurement, Hgb A1C test, meter checks, mouth and gum exams, urine protein screen plus others. The BGH diabetes education team will be on hand to give you information about diabetes management, medications and, my personal favorite, smoking cessation.

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, although type 1 typically appears during childhood or adolescence. The signs and symptoms are similar for both: increased thirst, frequent urination, bedwetting in children who previously didn’t wet the bed at night; extreme hunger, unintended weight loss, irritability and other mood changes, fatigue and weakness and blurred vision.

So, let’s say you have your suspicions that you might have diabetes but are afraid to have it confirmed. Well, that’s not a good idea. A better plan is to attend this open house.

If you know you have diabetes, or are living with someone who does, you won’t want to miss seeing the new, innovative methods and devices now available. Vendors will be on hand to explain their wares and wherefores.

For instance, Audrey Buck, RD, CDE (registered dietician and certified diabetes educator) at Bonner Gen sent me a note about the latest insulin pump that adjusts insulin based on sensor glucose readings.

“It is amazing and the first of its kind,” Buck said. It was just recently approved by the FDA with a lot of fanfare in the diabetes community. The American Diabetes Association, in one publication, referred to this device as an artificial pancreas, but Buck said that they prefer to call it a closed loop system.

The FDA explains how it works: “The Medronic MiniMed 670G System consists of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that measures the user’s glucose levels for up to seven days, and insulin pump that delivers insulin to the user and a glucose meter used to calibrate the CGM.

“The MiniMed 670G System is able to decrease or stop insulin delivery when it detects the user’s glucose is low, or increase the insulin delivery when the system detects the user’s glucose level is high with no input from the user.”

I asked Buck if this device is uncomfortable. “Discomfort?” she replied. “Diabetes is uncomfortable. When a person is on injections they usually have three to four finger sticks or more a day for blood sugars and often four shots. With a pump/sensor you have one poke every three days for the insulin infusion and one poke every seven days for the sensor. You still have to do two to three finger sticks a day for calibration, but way fewer pokes when you’re on this system.”

I then asked how it might change one’s eating habits. She said that the 670G works to prevent lows, so a patient wouldn’t have to treat as many.

“If a patient with diabetes treats a low with a juice box (60 calories) a couple of times a day, that’s a twelve pound weight gain in a year. People are just humans. There is no diabetic diet. You can have good blood sugars even if your diet isn’t great. The important thing is that controlled blood sugars reduce complications.”

To see this device, and to learn a lot more about diabetes management, come see us next Monday. You’ll be glad you did. I promise you.

Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at 264-4029 or kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.