Category Archives: Diabetes

Help for the holidays: 5 tips to keep your diabetes in control


uncooked-turkey-in-potFrom the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The holidays only come once a year, but they last for weeks—from Thanksgiving all the way to New Year’s Day. Temptations go with the season, from treats at work to food-filled family celebrations to edible gifts.

If you have diabetes, you’re already familiar with managing what you eat to keep your blood sugar levels on target. Use these tips for a little extra help staying on track during this most wonderful—and challenging—time of the year.

1. Stick to your plan: Stay on your regular food, activity, and medication schedule as much as possible. Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast, and if you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs like potatoes and bread during the meal. If you slip up, get right back on track at your next meal.

2. Stay in control: It’s easier to do if you:

  • Eat more slowly.
  • Start with soup or vegetables to tame your appetite.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, which can open the gateway to overeating.

3. Fit in favorites: Savor a few special treats you can’t get any other time of year.

4. Stay active: Physical activity can help make up for eating more than usual, and it helps you deal with the stress of the season.

5. Get enough sleep: Too little sleep makes it harder to control your blood sugar, and it makes you hungry.

And keep in mind what the season is really about: celebrating traditions and connecting with the people you care about. When you focus more on family and fun, you’re likely to focus less on food. Plan ahead to enjoy the holiday season and take care of your health while you do.

For more information go to:

CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation

National Diabetes Education Program

Eat Right, Be Active, Stay Healthy

Tips for Safe Travels

CDC Diabetes on Facebook

@CDCDiabetes on Twitter



New health plans offer discounts for diabetes care


Glucometer showing a blood sugar of 105By Michelle Andrews

Talk about targeted. Consumers scrolling through the health plan options on the insurance marketplaces in a few states this fall may come upon plans whose name — Leap Diabetes Plans — leaves no doubt about who should apply.

Offered by Aetna in four regions next year, the gold-level plans are tailored for the needs of people with diabetes.

They feature:

  • $10 copays for the specialists diabetics need such as endocrinologists, ophthalmologists and podiatrists, and offer
  • free blood sugar test strips, glucose monitors and other diabetic supplies, and
  • A care management program with online tools and coaching helps people manage their condition day-to-day.

The plans also offer:

  • Financial incentives, including a $50 gift card for getting an A1c blood test twice a year to measure blood sugar levels and
  • a $25 card for hooking up a glucometer or biometric tracker to the Aetna site.

“It was a good time to design a product that was a little more personalized, as opposed to generic,” says Jeff Brown, vice president of consumer product, network and distribution at Aetna. “We saw diabetes as a compelling need, and a growing need.”

It’s unclear whether the diabetes plans are a good buy for people with diabetes.

Aetna is debuting the diabetes plans next year in four markets: Charlotte, N.C., Phoenix, Ariz., Northern Virginia and southeastern Pennsylvania.

It’s unclear whether the diabetes plans are a good buy for people with diabetes. The cut rates for specialist visits only apply if they’re related to diabetes care, not for other conditions someone may have.

Meanwhile, coverage for medications, which may cost consumers hundreds of dollars every month, is no different in the diabetes plans than in other gold plans. Continue reading


Citing cost to taxpayers, cities and states tackle obesity


ScaleBy Teresa Wiltz

More than 35 percent of Arkansas adults are obese, making it the heaviest state in the nation.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson looked at those numbers and saw two problems: an increased risk of all sorts of health challenges, and an increased burden on taxpayers.

Armed with data about the devastating effects of obesity, Hutchinson, a Republican, last month launched a 10-year plan to combat the problem in his state, from tightening nutritional standards in schools to creating more walkable communities and improving access to affordable, healthy foods.

“I’m a conservative,” Hutchinson said. “I’m concerned about tax dollars as well as good health. There’s a consequence to the taxpayer because of bad health habits.”

Arkansas isn’t the only state to take on obesity this year. Governors in New York, Georgia and Tennessee have all announced plans to combat high rates of obesity among their citizens.

Nationwide, a third of all adults—78 million—are obese, up nearly 50 percent since 1990, according to Health Intelligence, a health data analysis site.

The top 10 heaviest states are in the South and the Midwest, according to a new report by the State of Obesity, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health, an advocacy and research group based in Washington, D.C.sln_obesitytable

Cities and states have a vested interest in tackling the issue. Obesity, defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher, is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and can cause a host of chronic health issues, from diabetes to high blood pressure to cancer.  Continue reading


Diabetes in the US population


Glucometer showing a blood sugar of 105From the National Institutes of Health 

Diabetes is a disorder in how the body uses glucose, a sugar that serves as the body’s fuel. In type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t make insulin, a hormone that triggers cells throughout the body to take up glucose from blood.

In type 2 diabetes—the most common type—the body doesn’t make or use insulin well. Both types can lead to heart, kidney, nerve, and eye diseases over time.

Hispanic Americans had the highest prevalence of diabetes at 19-23%, with up to 49% of that undiagnosed. About 21-22% of non-Hispanic black adults had diabetes, with up to 37% undiagnosed.

Non-Hispanic whites had the lowest prevalence of diabetes at 10-11%.

To assess how common diabetes is, researchers at NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) analyzed data collected in CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). NHANES is a periodic survey of a representative sample of the U.S. population.

Recent surveys included blood tests and other measurements. The researchers, led by Drs. Andy Menke and Catherine Cowie, examined data gathered from almost 2,800 people during the 2011-2012 survey cycle. The study was published on September 8, 2015, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Continue reading


More than half of Asian Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed


New statistics also show rising prevalence of diabetes among all groups

From the National Institutes of Health

More than half of Asian Americans and nearly half of Hispanic Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed, according to researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their results were published Sept. 8 in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association

Additionally, prevalence of diabetes for all American adults went up, from nearly 10 percent to over 12 percent between 1988 and 2012.


The graph shows the percentage of the U.S. adult population – both as a whole and by ethnic/racial subgroup – with diabetes (blue bars) and the percentage who have diabetes that has not been diagnosed (green bars), according to findings from researchers supported by the NIH and the CDC and published in the Sept. 8 issue of JAMA.

Diabetes prevalence – how common the condition is – also went up in every age, sex, level of education, income and racial/ethnic subgroup. Continue reading


Back to school with type 1 diabetes – Special event tonight



Special event: Back to School and T1D
Friday, August 21, 2015

JDRF and Seattle Children’s Hospital are hosting an event for patients and families to discuss best practices to successfully manage type 1 diabetes through the next school year.

This event includes a panel of knowledgeable professionals that will address your questions and concerns from a variety of perspectives.

Please RSVP at

Our panel includes:

  • Grace Kim, MD–Pediatric Endocrinologist, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Lindy MacMillan, JD — Attorney with the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Paul Mystkowski, MD–Endocrinologist, Clinical Faculty, University of Washington
  • Cathryn Plummer, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C–Former school nurse and T1D mom

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Main Campus–River Entrance
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

To register, please visit or contact Karine Roettgers or 206.708.2240

JDRF is the largest nonprofit funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in the world. Our goal is to eventually cure and prevent T1D entirely. Along the way to a cure, we seek to deliver an ongoing stream of therapies until we have turned Type One into Type None.


Cost of diabetes drugs often overlooked, but shouldn’t be


GlucometerBy Michelle Andrews

When it comes to treating chronic conditions, diabetes drugs aren’t nearly as sexy as say, Sovaldi, last year’s breakthrough hepatitis C drug that offers a cure for the chronic liver infection at a price approaching six figures.

Yet an estimated 29 million people have diabetes — about 10 times the number of people with hepatitis C — and many of them will take diabetes drugs for the rest of their lives. Cost increases for both old and new drugs alike are forcing many consumers to scramble to pay for them.

“Every week I see patients who can’t afford their drugs.”

“Every week I see patients who can’t afford their drugs,” says Dr. Joel Zonszein, an endocrinologist who’s director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Many people with diabetes take multiple drugs that work in different ways to control their blood sugar. Although some of the top-selling diabetes drugs like metformin are modestly priced generics, new brand-name drugs continue to be introduced that act in different ways.

They may be more effective and have fewer side effects, but it often comes at a price. For the fourth year in a row, spending on diabetes drugs in 2014 was higher on a per member per year basis than it was for any other class of traditional drug, according to the Express Scripts 2014 Drug Trend Report. Less than half of the prescriptions filled for diabetes treatments were generic. Continue reading


Event: Back to school and type 1 diabetes

Teen/College Pre Events

Back to School and T1D

Friday, August 21, 2015 6:00-7:30pm

Join us at Seattle Children’s Hospital to discuss best practices to successfully manage type 1 diabetes through the next school year. This event includes a panel of knowledgeable professionals that will address your questions and concerns from a variety of perspectives.  Please RSVP by August 14.

Our panel includes:

  • Lindy MacMillan, JD — Attorney with the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Paul Mystkowski, MD–Endocrinologist, Clinical Faculty, University of Washington
  • Cathryn Plummer, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C–Former school nurse and T1D mom
Seattle Children’s Hospital, Main Campus–River Entrance
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
To register, please visit or contact Karine Roettgers kroettgers@jdrf or 206.708.2240

Diabetes testing in symptomless adults may not lower risk of death | Reuters


GlucometerExpanding diabetes screening in adults to catch the disease early does not appear to keep people from dying of cardiovascular causes, according to a report designed to help shape U.S. treatment guidelines.

Earlier detection did seem to slow the progression of so-called prediabetes to full-blown diabetes, but it had no impact on the risk of death from heart or blood vessel disease 10 years later, researchers found when they analyzed studies conducted from 2007 to 2014.

via Diabetes testing in symptomless adults may not lower risk of death | Reuters.


More choices now available for managing your diabetes


There are many options available allowing patients with diabetes to monitor and manage their glucose levels. The continuous glucose monitor (CGM) shown here includes a glucose level sensor and transmitter, a data receiver which displays the patient’s glucose levels, and an insulin delivery system. 

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 4.22.48 PM

FDA Consumer Update

Do you have diabetes? Do you notice that your blood glucose (sugar) levels rise or fall quickly? Has your doctor prescribed insulin to treat your diabetes? Are you comfortable with using a medical device?

If you answered yes to all of those questions, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and insulin pumps are tools that you and your health care professional might consider to assist you in achieving stable blood sugar levels.

Continue reading


Campaign targets health threats posed by sugar


SugarScience_Web_Ads_300x250By Lisa Aliferis
KHN and the Washington Post

Dean Schillinger is a primary-care physician at San Francisco General Hospital. He first came to the city in 1990 at the peak of the AIDS epidemic. “At that point, one out of every two patients we admitted was a young man dying of AIDS,” he says.

Today, that same ward is filled with diabetes patients.

“I feel like we are with diabetes where we were in 1990 with the AIDS epidemic,” Schillinger said. “The ward is overwhelmed with diabetes — they’re getting their limbs amputated, they’re on dialysis. And these are young people. They are suffering the ravages of diabetes in the prime of their lives. We’re at the point where we need a public health response to it.”

Schillinger and other researchers at the University of California at San Francisco are setting up a project called Sugar Science, to spell out the health dangers of too much added sugar in our diets.

The project aimed at consumers includes a user-friendly Web site and materials such as television commercials that public health officials can use for outreach. Health departments from San Francisco to New York City have agreed to participate.

Photo: Courtesy of Lauri Andler, Phantom under Creative Commons License.
Continue reading


Only half of US adults being screened for diabetes


GlucometerBy Sharyn Alden
Health Behavior News Service

A study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that only half of adults in the U.S. were screened for diabetes within the last three years, less than what is recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

As the rates of obesity have increased, so does the incidence of type 2 diabetes, which also increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Up to one-third of people with diabetes are undiagnosed, note the researchers. Continue reading


Rise in US diabetes rates slow – CDC


From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Glucometer showing a blood sugar of 105New CDC data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, suggest that after decades of continued growth in cases of diagnosed diabetes, the rate of increase may be slowing from year to year.

The study, “Prevalence and Incidence in Trends for Diagnosed Diabetes Among Adults Aged 20 to 79 Years, United States, 1980–2012,” was published today.

“Our findings suggest that, after decades of continued growth in the prevalence and incidence of diagnosed diabetes, the diabetes epidemic may be beginning to slow for the first time,” said Linda Geiss, a chief epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation and lead author of the study.

What This Means:

  • About 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year. For the first time, this study shows that number is not getting bigger every year, as in years past, but the numbers are still alarmingly high.
  • These data suggest a change in momentum, a turning of the tides. Now is not the time to let up. Although this news inspires hope, there is still much work to be done.
  • The rate of increase may be slowing from year to year, but diabetes is an urgent public health epidemic, affecting more than 29 million Americans.
  • Although overall growth rates of diagnosed diabetes seem to be slowing, the rate of increase of new cases continues to rise among some groups including:
    • Non-Hispanic blacks.
    • Hispanic men and women, and
    •  People with less than a high school education.

“While this news is encouraging, our work is more important now than ever,” says Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “These evolving trends show we’re moving in the right direction, but millions of people are still diagnosed with diabetes yearly. We need to fortify our efforts to see a real, sustained decrease in new cases of diagnosed diabetes.”

What You Can Do:

Reducing new cases of diabetes is unlikely without continuing to reduce obesity, improve diet, and reduce sedentary lifestyle in the U.S. population, and particularly in those at high risk of developing diabetes. Long-term lifestyle change programs—like the CDC-managed National Diabetes Prevention Program—can help those at high risk of developing the disease.