The Future of Diabetes Management

“I imagine being diagnosed as an adult would be harder because you remember life without it.”

“Yeah.” I nodded at the woman to my left, mother to an 11-year-old with Type 1 diabetes (T1D).

We were both first-timers to the JDRF TypeOneNational 2015 DC Research Summit yesterday. While many parents of children with diabetes attended the day-long event, I was among some of the adults who had been managing this disease for years.

I’m about to celebrate my sixth anniversary with this disease, one year closer to a decade. It’s hard to believe I’ve been managing the disease this long – it’s even harder to believe that I have many years to go. But like speaker Tom Brobson, national director of research investment opportunities at JDRF, reminded us, if we had all been diagnosed one hundred years ago, we wouldn’t have survived a month.

I’d like to believe on the starvation diet I would have lasted a little longer, but he was right about one thing – we’ve come a long way technology-wise. And for that I am thankful. William Tamborlane, chief of pediatric endocrinology at Yale University and deputy director of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, familiarized us with the “blue brick,” the first insulin pump device introduced in 1979. It would take another 20 years before the insulin pump would actually take off.

And Jessica Roth, senior director of health policy at JDRF, reminded us of the importance of advocacy. It’s not enough to have all these research advances such as ViaCyte, Smart Insulin, and the artificial pancreas without the ability for people living with this disease to have access to these treatments. It still pains me that Medicare refuses to cover the continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system for those over 65. Continue reading

Diabetes Knows When I’m Stressed

This past week has been one of the most stressful weeks for my physical and mental health probably since I completed grad school a few years ago. It didn’t help that it was preceded by hormonal blues and a delayed website launch. Among other things, my work life overpowered the rest of my life, making my ability to sustain personal goals nearly impossible.

And maybe it’s my own fault for putting too much on my plate personally? But I did this so that I would have a life outside of work and so that I could be happy. But my inability to have that personal life because of work obligations made me extremely unhappy and not the most joyous person to be around.

What was worse is that when I left the office on Friday, that stress left with me. I couldn’t get it out of my head and my dreams, and my roommate could tell you that when I was hounding the vacuum cleaner on Saturday, cussing up a storm because I couldn’t unlock the filter mechanism, my irritability and frustration had reached a devastating point.

I ended up breaking part of the vacuum when I slammed it against the kitchen counter. This didn’t surprise me. This is why I had a stress ball that I used to throw against my dorm room in college when I felt particularly overwhelmed. But not since I had broken up with my ex more than six months ago did I feel this overwhelming feeling of frustration and anxiousness that no amount of cleaning or running could alleviate.  Continue reading

Memory Loss

A correlation between long-term high blood sugars and memory loss?

A new study from Germany looks at the effects of diabetes on the hippocampus. The verdict: maintain a healthy diet and exercise to regulate blood sugars and keep a healthy brain.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but what about those who feel less able to control their blood sugars?

When something goes wrong with the body’s ability to regulate glucose levels in the blood, the brain is not able work as well as it should, says Keith Fargo of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Almost makes me wonder what kind of impact those hypoglycemic seizures really had. Will I forever be paying for one lapse in judgment, for overestimating my insulin to carb ratio and suffering a concussion as a result? I hope not, and the neurologist didn’t notice any changes in brain function, but who’s to say that won’t change down the line.

Researchers noticed that the size of the hippocampus was smaller for those participants with higher blood sugars. Continue reading