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Make Managing Your Child’s Diabetes at School Easier

Make Managing Your Child’s Diabetes at School Easier

Make Managing Your Child's Diabetes at School Easier

Unmanaged diabetes at school may impair a child’s ability to learn by disrupting their attention, memory, processing speed, and perceptual abilities. A kid with diabetes needs help at school to succeed academically and live a healthy lifestyle. Mom & Dad need to be a team with their child’s teachers to ensure a successful school year.

Teaching a Child with Diabetes

Many diabetic children will miss more school than their peers. These absences require understanding on the part of their teachers and schools. Parents can help by making the school aware of their kid’s diabetes as promptly as possible. Make an appointment to talk to the school about its procedures for working with diabetic students.

In addition to instructing their classroom, teachers of students with diabetes are entrusted with paying attention to their student’s health and supplying make-up assignments for absences due to medical reasons. It’s a lot to ask of your child’s teacher, but by working together with a solid plan you can all ensure a successful school year.

Challenges Children With Diabetes Face at School

Knowing your child’s expected challenges and creating a plan to address those will make for an easier year for you, your child, and the school. Here are a few things to watch out for.

Simple school tasks may become complicated. Blood sugar spikes or drops might affect a child’s learning, memory, attention, and behavior. Stress, social activities, and hormones can complicate diabetes management. Parents should discuss their child’s diabetes care with their child and teachers before school events like field trips that might alter blood sugar levels. Also, work with your child to find effective ways to manage stress. Focus on goals like not waiting until the last minute to complete homework assignments or getting enough sleep.

Create a solid plan with your child’s school. Determine who should check your child’s glucose and inject insulin early in the school year. Discuss options for treating low-blood sugar with your child’s doctor, their teacher, and the school nurse. For instance, can your child treat it in class, or should they visit the nurse? Children may do several non-emergency diabetes self-care chores. Situations like age, developmental level, experience, and self-care adherence determine how much your child needs school staff to identify and manage high or low blood sugar. The diabetic health care team, including the certified diabetes educator, can enable self-care for children and families with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Important teaching themes include diabetes, variables that increase and reduce blood sugar, and techniques to address alterations.

Request exceptions to rules when needed. Many schools have rules around eating in the classroom and going to the bathroom for good reason. Multiple trips out of the classroom or constant snacking create distractions and interrupt everyone’s learning. Also, food can create a mess and invite pests, two things most teachers don’t have extra time to manage. Your child with diabetes, however, may need additional trips to the restroom. When their sugar is low, they may also need a snack outside the normal times. Discuss these additional needs with your child’s teacher. Make a plan to ensure your child’s health needs are met without as little disruption as possible.

Few schools have enough resources. No matter how caring your school staff is, they often have finite resources and may not have had a diabetic student in their classroom before. Staff members may have concerns and questions about providing safe and effective diabetes treatment, just like you do. Be patient with them and provide them all the tools and resources possible to help your child stay safe and healthy while in their classroom.

Learning to avoid temptation. While you are with your child, you can enforce limits on sugar and carbs, but while they are at school you’ll have less control. Schools are legally required to provide meal options that fit your child’s medical needs. Review the school lunch menu each day to discuss what options are best for your child to choose or send their lunch. Talk to your child’s doctor or a nutritionist about substitutes for sweets or when your child might be able to enjoy a sweet treat on a limited basis.

Adherence to Treatment. Adolescents present unique challenges for treatment adherence. When teens perceive their insulin pumps as a fashion blunder, it’s challenging to encourage them to comply with their recommended treatment regimen. Make sure your child’s school and teachers know he/she is wearing a insulin pump so it isn’t confused with other electronic devices. Also work with your doctor or nutritionist to help your child understand the importance of their insulin pump. Look for clothes that make disguising the pump easier.

Sickness and Cold Weather. The common cold is a part of growing up. However, a type 1 diabetic’s blood sugar levels may be severely disrupted by even mild illnesses. 

General diabetes challenges for parents

Learning to live with your kid’s illness.  A diabetes diagnosis for a young child is overwhelming for both children and parents. It sometimes comes as a tremendous shock, and parents often feel inadequate in managing their emotions and giving their children essential assistance. So, take a deep breath. And remember to take it one day at a time. Your mindset and emotions set the tone for your kids. Talk to parents of other children who have diabetes. Learn about the illness. You know your child. Use that insight to your advantage. 

Providing support for the kid while they deal with their feelings. Diabetes is a lifelong disease that requires constant attention. Growing up with diabetes presents unique emotional problems for children because of the complexity of the disease, its possible consequences, and the daily grind of managing the disease. Reach out to counselors or therapists to provide additional mental health support for you and your child. Encourage your child to talk about their feelings on the good days and the bad days.

School presents its own challenges for your child with diabetes as if the disease itself wasn’t hard enough. Together with your child’s teacher, doctor, and school nurse you can create a plan that keeps your child healthy and learning which are both key to a successful school year.

Can Coffee Make You Live Longer?

Can Coffee Make You Live Longer?

You already know that first cup of coffee is like a little burst of sunshine to start your day. As it turns out, a cup of coffee with a splash of cream and sugar, not only brightens your morning, it could give you more mornings to enjoy. 

How Your Morning Cup of Coffee Could Prolong Your Life

We’ve seen lots of studies in recent years that indicate how beneficial a cup of unsweetened coffee is to your health. But a new study revealed that those health benefits persist even when a dash of sugar is added. The British study of more than 171,000 participants found that those who drank 1.5 to 3.5 cups of sweetened coffee per day were still 29% to 31% less likely to die in the next seven years than those who did not drink coffee.

Hold Off on Ordering That Triple Mocha

Noticed that we said cups of coffee with a dash of sugar. Most participants in the study had only a moderate amount of sugar in their cup. Experts recommend no more than one teaspoon of sugar per cup. So while those specialty coffees are delicious…they’re not exactly a cup of health. 

Researchers from the study say the “sweet spot” in the number of cups to drink per day is between 2.5 and 3.5 cups. Anything over four cups increases your risk of early death.

In addition to increasing the lifespan of healthy adults, the study found that coffee lowered the early death risk associated with specific illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

Why Coffee Has Health Benefits

Coffee is filled with thousands of compounds, most of which have not been studied. We know it contains nutrients like B vitamins, potassium, riboflavin, and various anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce our risk of cancer. Additionally, coffee contains chlorogenic acids, which have an anti-clotting effect on blood thus lowering the risk of blood clots.

Coffee also improves our mental sharpness and alertness, which helps us be more aware and make fewer mistakes. As you can see, coffee is beneficial for our bodies and our minds!

Your morning cup isn’t the only way to prolong your life and lower your health risks. An annual health check-up with your primary care provider can also save your life with early detection of life-threatening diseases through routine screenings. Click here to schedule an appointment with your Mantachie Rural Health Care provider.

Diabetes Mythbuster: Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

Diabetes Mythbuster: Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

Can type 2 diabetes be cured? Type 2 diabetes is a common illness, but it’s also commonly misunderstood. One of the most popular myths about diabetes is that type 2 diabetes can be cured. Is this a myth or fact? Let’s find out.

Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

The short answer is no, doctors have yet to discover a cure for type 2 diabetes. You can, however, manage type 2 diabetes, and many patients lead a relatively normal life with the right diet, exercise plan, and medicinal treatment. 

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is an impairment in the way the body produces sugar for energy. It is a metabolic disorder that leads to high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. If left uncontrolled, type 2 diabetes can lead to problems in the nervous, circulatory, and immune systems. 

People can have type 2 diabetes for years before a diagnosis, because symptoms such as fatigue, unexplained weight loss, increased urination, and increased thirst and hunger may not be apparent at first. This is why yearly checkups with your healthcare provider are essential. Your provider performs screenings at these important visits that help them detect signs of diabetes. An earlier diagnosis and treatment lead to better outcomes.

How Can I Have a Healthy Life with Diabetes?

In a ray of positive news, most patients who follow their treatment plan and lifestyle guidelines manage type 2 diabetes without many problems. This includes eating a diabetes-friendly diet and getting at least 20-30 minutes of physical activity or exercise a day, as well as taking medication as prescribed and checking sugar levels regularly. 

Some patients falsely believe that they have cured their type 2 diabetes when their treatment plan works, and their sugar levels return to normal for a while. They may even stop their medication and visits with their diabetes care provider. This is dangerous to anyone with type 2 diabetes because, again, there is no cure, even when your treatment plan is working well. Deviating from your treatment plan will lead to higher sugar levels and a return of symptoms. 

Is it time for a yearly visit with your healthcare provider? Schedule a checkup with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider today here.

How Men Are Affected by Type 2 Diabetes

How Men Are Affected by Type 2 Diabetes

Alright, men, the focus is on you this month! Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common health conditions among men in the United States. In fact, type 2 diabetes is slightly more prevalent in men than women. The CDC reported in 2020 that 15.5% of men in the US have type 2 diabetes compared to 13.2% of women. Many of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar in men and women, but a few symptoms affect only men. Have a look at how men are affected by type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes in Men

In addition to the common symptoms and complications caused by type 2 diabetes, such as neuropathy and vision problems, type 2 can also cause problems for men’s sexual and urological health. These problems include low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, an overactive bladder, or urinary tract infections. 

These issues are more common in men for a few reasons. Diabetes doubles the risk of low testosterone, which can lead to erectile dysfunction. Diabetes also damages the nerves that control the bladder leading to an overactive bladder and UTIs. Urine retention can also occur in men and lead to kidney problems as well as urological issues. Additionally, men with diabetes are at an increased risk for urologic, prostate, and kidney cancers. 

What Men Can Do to Lower Their Risk of Diabetes Complications

Although there is no cure for diabetes, including type 2 diabetes, it can be well-controlled in most patients. Men can reduce their chances of developing complications from diabetes by:

  • Following the treatment plan prescribed by their diabetes care provider
  • Eating a diabetes-friendly diet
  • Getting daily exercise
  • Quitting or avoiding smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Visiting their provider for regular checkups even when they feel fine

Guys, now is a great time to schedule a yearly health checkup with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider. If you have type 2 diabetes, we can also help you manage your treatment. For an appointment or more information, call 662-282-4226

How to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

It’s Vision Month and the perfect time to discuss how to prevent diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye disease is actually a group of complications including glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy. Each of these diseases can lead to vision loss or blindness. Early detection, timely treatment, and careful follow-up may help prevent vision loss.

How Diabetes Causes Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease is caused when uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes leads to damage of the retina’s blood vessels. Damage to these blood vessels can lead to swelling of the macula, the central part of the retina that allows you to see details. 

Damage to the retina caused by diabetes can also lead to bleeding or scarring of the eye, glaucoma (high blood pressure in the eye), and even retinal detachment. Read more about diabetic eye diseases here.

Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

Although diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss around the world, many of these cases can be prevented with proper eye care and diabetic care. In fact, the first step in preventing diabetic vision loss is to control your diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar begins with a proper diet, regular exercise, and checking your blood sugar levels regularly.

Talk with your provider or dietitian about maintaining a diet low in sugar and simple carbs. Cook at home as often as possible using fresh ingredients and avoid consuming too much red meat. Don’t forget to add plenty of veggies to every meal. 

Try to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, even if it’s a simple brisk walk a few days a week. Walks are one of the best and simplest ways to get in aerobic exercise. As always, discuss any new exercise or physical activity with your provider before you begin. 

In addition to taking care of your diabetes, you should also schedule a dilated eye exam at least once a year with your eye care provider. Your provider may want to see you more often depending on your risk of vision problems. Early detection and treatment can save your vision. 

Even patients who are already experiencing vision problems due to diabetes can get help and slow further progression of eye disease. Your eye care provider may be able to perform a laser procedure or refer you to a specialist who can perform the procedure to help stop the progression of eye disease and reduce swelling. 

If you have diabetes, you need a primary eye care provider to assist your diabetes care providers in preventing complications caused by the disease. Your primary care provider can refer you to an eye care specialist if you don’t currently have one. To schedule an appointment with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider, click here.

Diabetes and Heart Health

Diabetes and Heart Health

People with diabetes are twice as likely to experience a heart attack or stroke compared to people without the condition. Today we’re reviewing the facts about diabetes and heart health.

Heart disease is the number one killer of people with diabetes–it’s responsible for two-thirds of deaths in people with type 2 diabetes. Luckily, you can lower your risk of heart disease with proper diet, exercise, and diabetes management with these steps.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

Also known as cardiovascular disease, or CVD, heart disease can lead to a heart attack or even heart failure. Knowing the symptoms of these conditions can save your life. Symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in your:
    • Chest
    • Throat
    • Back
    • Legs
    • Neck
    • Jaw
    • Upper abdomen
    • Arms

Symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Pain, discomfort, tightness, or pressure in the chest
  • A fullness that may feel like indigestion or heartburn
  • Discomfort in one or both of your arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper abdomen.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion, nausea, vomiting
  • Tiredness, fatigue, or lightheadedness

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Quick or irregular heartbeat
  • Coughing with pink-tinged mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of feet and ankles

What you can do to improve your diabetes and heart health

The best way to stay on top of your heart health is to manage your diabetes well. Keep your blood sugar in range as often as possible. Practice a good diet and exercise, take your insulin and medication as prescribed, and attend all doctor’s visits. Seek support from your medical professionals, family, and loved ones and frequently check your A1C, LDL, and blood pressure.

What you and your medical provider do and discuss during your appointments matters. At every visit, be sure that your blood pressure is checked and discuss your blood sugar meter readings. Check your weight and talk about your diet as well as changes in your lifestyle work, or emotions, and be honest about your physical activity levels. Discuss all medications and have your feet checked. If you smoke, ask for help quitting and ask if you should begin an aspirin regimen to lower your risk of a heart attack. 

In addition to these steps at every visit, you should also have your A1C checked every three to six months. Once a year, get a dilated eye exam, a flu shot, and a complete foot exam. Have your cholesterol levels checked at least every five years or more often if your levels are not on target. 

For more information about heart disease and diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association here.

5 Keys to Managing Your Diabetes During the Holidays

5 Keys to Managing Your Diabetes During the Holidays

Christmas carols, family gatherings, plus delicious food combine for a Christmas season to remember. That last element — all the delicious food– trips up patients with diabetes every holiday season. Not only can foods rich in sugar sabotage your diabetes management but eating meals during odd times may also interfere in your efforts to control your sugar. We’ve compiled a few tips to make managing your diabetes during the holidays easier than ever.

Start Here: Your Diabetes Educator

Before the holidays schedule an appointment with your diabetes educator to discuss how you expect the holidays to look, what challenges you may face, and how you can create a plan to manage your diabetes during the holidays. Erica Witcher on our staff is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietitian. If you don’t already have a diabetes educator on your medical team, make an appointment with Erica today. Patients at Mantachie Rural Health Care may meet with Erica during their regular appointments for no extra charge.

Don’t Skip Meals

A big dinner scheduled for 4 p.m. tempts all of us to skip lunch and mid-afternoon snacks. After all, we don’t want to be so full we’re not hungry for the big spread. Skipping meals, however, can make managing your blood sugar even more difficult. Go ahead and eat your usual breakfast and lunch, or if a late lunch is the big meal, plan to eat something during your normal dinner time. Managing your meal schedule keeps your sugar levels in check so you’re not experiencing highs and lows that can ruin your holiday.

Try the Green Stuff, It’s Delicious

Carbohydrates reign supreme during Christmas celebrations. From the cornbread dressing and cranberry jelly to pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes, it’s a sugar bug’s dream come true. You don’t have to avoid all the sugar during every gathering this holiday season, but do balance your plate with low-carb foods as well. Salad, broccoli, and spinach add color, flavor, and balance to your meal. Plus these foods keep you full longer so you’ll be less likely to swoop back through for another helping of Uncle Joe’s famous chocolate cobbler. It’s all part of managing your diabetes during the holidays.

Sample instead of Splurge

Your sister-in-law’s delicious dressing may only grace the table twice a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. You don’t have to miss out because you have diabetes, but you should pay attention to portions and how many items you sample. Try one or two tablespoons of those carb-heavy foods then add some protein and non-starchy vegetables to your plate. Instead of filling your dessert plate with a full serving of everything, choose one dessert and savor every bite by eating it slowly.

Stretch Your Legs

Work parties. School parties. Friend parties. Family parties. It seems like every day in December has a party attached to it. Don’t forget your gym party — by party we mean your regular trips to the gym or walking track. It’s easy to let exercise slide during the holidays. There’s a reason January is the hottest month for new fitness subscriptions every year. Part of sticking to your regular schedule means continuing your normal workout routines throughout the week. You can even add some movement to all those events you have scheduled. Take a walk around the neighborhood or have a dance-off after dinner.

For more help, request an appointment with our Certified Diabetes Educator.

American Diabetes Association Celebrate Removal of Medicare Requirement that Delayed Access to CGMs

The American Diabetes Association and diabetes patients across the country are celebrating a recent change to a Medicare requirement that delayed access to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) for many patients with diabetes. Before July 18, 2021, Medicare patients with diabetes had to stick their fingers at least four times a day to qualify for coverage for a CGM. This requirement prevented many patients who could benefit from a CGM from access to the technology. 

Advocate teams for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) worked closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove the finger-stick requirement. The ADA has championed the removal of this requirement for many years. Considering one in five Medicare beneficiaries also have diabetes, the removal of this barrier makes a considerable difference for the community of patients with diabetes.

What is a Continuous Glucose Monitor?

A continuous glucose monitor delivers real-time, “dynamic” information about blood sugar levels to patients with diabetes. This technology has led to better management of diabetes and overall improved health outcomes. 

How Newly Qualified Patients Get Coverage

Newly qualified individuals with diabetes now only need to undergo a simple, no-finger-stick approval process to get coverage for a CGM. Out-of-pocket costs depend on a variety of factors including the type of Medicare plan you have and where you choose to purchase your CGM. Talk with your healthcare provider and Medicare representative to find out what if any out-of-pocket costs you may incur. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care is thrilled about new access to coverage for this groundbreaking and life-changing technology. If you are a patient with diabetes and would like to learn more about getting coverage for a CGM, contact us today to schedule a time to talk with your provider. 

FDA Approves Generic Swap for Brand Name Insulin

Good news came at the end of July 2021 for diabetic patients who are struggling to afford insulin. On July 28, 2021, FDA regulators took action to make a cheaper, near-duplicate of brand-name insulin more accessible. 

This approval could save diabetic patients and health plans millions each year. It could also encourage drug companies to create more biosimilar meds. Biosimilar is the term used for medicines that are near-duplicates of a brand-name drug. Diabetic patients who want to swap to the generic form of insulin must ask their provider to either specifically prescribe the biosimilar or okay a substitution for the brand-name insulin.

FDA approval for the new generic insulin came after the administration agreed that Viatris’ Semglee is interchangeable with Lantus, a fast-acting brand-name insulin. The generic Semglee was launched in the summer of 2020 after Mylan, N.V. merged with another company to form Viatris in December 2019. 

Why Generic Insulin Hasn’t Been Widely Available in the US

Research from health data company, IQVIA, projects that US savings from increasing the use of biosimilars will top $100 billion by 2024. So why aren’t more generic biosimilars already available in the US? Red tape, lengthy patents, and pushback from brand-name drug companies are mostly to blame for the limited sales of biosimilars. 

Despite delays, 29 biosimilars have been approved by the FDA including biosimilars for brand-name cancer and immune disorder drugs. Only 20 of those 29 are actually sold here at this time. 

What You Can Do to Help Increase Biosimilar Sales

As a patient, you have more power to enact change than you might think. If you are a diabetic patient using Lantus simply ask your prescriber to swap your medicine for the generic Semglee. The more patients who switch to the generic form, the more likely it is that other drug companies will begin offering more generic versions of costly brand-name meds.

The approval of Semglee as a swap for the brand-name insulin could change the lives of many diabetic patients who are not taking the proper amount of insulin they need each day in order to preserve their costly medicine. The cost of Semglee compared to the brand-name Lantus is less than half. Semglee will run around $150-$190 without insurance for a month’s supply while Lantus runs between $340-$520 a month. 

Are you a diabetic patient struggling to afford your insulin? Your Mantachie Rural Health Care provider can help by swapping your brand-name medicine for the new generic form. For more information or to request an appointment, click here.

Gastroparesis and Diabetes

Gastroparesis, or gastric emptying, is a serious medical condition affecting the digestive system. It is characterized by the delayed emptying of food contents in the stomach.  Gastroparesis and diabetes are often connected.

Gastroparesis occurs when the stomach nerves are damaged or stop working. The vagus nerve controls the movement of food through the digestive tract. Diabetes can damage this nerve if blood glucose levels remain too high for a long period of time. 

Symptoms of gastroparesis include:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting undigested food
  • Feeling full when you haven’t eaten much
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Erratic blood glucose levels
  • Poor appetite
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Stomach wall spasms

Gastroparesis symptoms may be mild or severe depending on the patient.

Complications from gastroparesis can be severe and even dangerous. Bacterial overgrowth can occur from the fermentation of food leftover in the stomach. Hardened, solid masses of food known as bezoars can also develop and cause nausea, vomiting, and obstructions in the digestive system. Bezoars become dangerous when they block food from passing through the small intestine.

When food finally passes into the small intestine, blood glucose levels rise. Erratic blood glucose levels caused by gastroparesis can make diabetes worse. 

What You Can Do to Treat Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a chronic illness that cannot be cured. In most cases, however, it can be controlled through proper treatment. The primary goal for treating diabetes-related gastroparesis is to regain control of blood glucose levels. Treatments for gastroparesis include insulin, oral meds, and changes in diet. Severe cases may require a feeding tube and intravenous feeding.

Diabetics with gastroparesis may need to take insulin more often to help control blood glucose levels. Your provider may advise you to take insulin before you eat a meal instead of after. You may also need to check your insulin levels more often. 

Are you concerned about gastroparesis symptoms? It’s time to talk with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider about your concerns and find out what’s next. Click here to request a visit now. 


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