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Children with type 1 might lie about BG readings.

Today is Friday, July 28th 2017.

The weather here in Fort Myers, FL is partly sunny with high temperatures in the low 90s and a chance of isolated showers. 

I found an interesting article online this week about “Why Children with Type 1 Might Lie About Blood Sugar Readings“.  If you can relate to this situation then believe me you are not alone.

When I was young with type 1, BG tests could only be done at a lab.  You instead would have to do urine tests to estimate BG levels.  The date, time and results of the test were hand written into a little log book.  I can remember being frustrated with the entire process.  Eventually I just stopped doing the tests.  When my mother asked me about the tests results, I would lie and say everything was fine.  I think she knew I wasn’t doing the tests.  Since I was not having any visible problems, she probably thought it was fine to let it go.

Today is a whole new ball game for type 1 given all the technology available to record and monitor BG results.  It could not be easier to see how your child’s BG levels are running.  You also have the A1C to track the 3 month average BG levels.  It’s very important that BOTH parents share the responsibility to see that there child is effectively managing type 1 diabetes.  I wish both my parents had done that for me when I began managing my type 1 diabetes.

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CGM – A tool or just a gadget.

Today is July 17th 2017.  Medtronic

The weather here in Fort Myers, FL is mostly sunny, temps in the low 90s, 82% humidity with a 31% chance of T-storms in the afternoon.

MiniMed 670G

Medtronic has just announced the new MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop system. A true closed loop system is basically an artificial pancreas because insulin delivery is completely automated. Medtronic’s hybrid system uses an external CGM (continuous glucose monitor) to automate delivery of the basal insulin rate but NOT the bolus insulin. According to Medtronic’s trail study, the system demonstrated a 40% decline in the occurrence of hypoglycemia (BG below 50mg/dl).

The above sounds really great but is this a real tool or just a gadget. I define a “gadget” as something that costs more than the value it delivers. One item in the study that made me question the results was the small sample size (124 people). Were these people selected at random or hand picked by Medtronic? If they were hand picked I would expect them to report great results for the trial. My experience with a CGM resulted in many false hypoglycemic warnings. But the study doesn’t say how many false warnings occurred with the 40% decline in hypoglycemia.

The problem with the current CGM devices is they need to be continuously calibrated. You still need to use BG test strip results to calibrate the CGM. The minimum is 1 test every 12 hours but Medtronic says to run at least 4 test per day. I currently use 4 test strips each day to control my insulin pump. The CGM sensors only last 7 days and cost about $100 each. This means you’ll spend an additional $400 every 28 days by using the CGM.

Another issue with a CGM is it needs to be inserted into your body separate from the infusion set. This means more holes in your body that may cause problems. Plus the CGM requires adhesive tape so it stays attached to your body. Removing the tape every week will NOT be a FUN experience.

In my opinion, the CGM is just a gadget that makes managing my diabetes not only more expensive but more difficult as well. Fortunately for the suppliers of CMGs and sensors, there are many people who just love gadgets. They want the pretty screen graphs and don’t care about all the extra effort required to use the device. After all, their health insurance covers most of the cost.

Maybe someday healthcare providers will focus on making healthcare more affordable instead of just more expensive. Keep dreaming! Right?

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What Needs To Happen To Control Healthcare Costs?

Today is July 12th 2017.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUE!

The weather here in Fort Myers, FL is sunny, temps in the low 90s, high humidity with a 20% chance of T-storms in the afternoon.

Everyday I hear both the GOP and democrats in congress talking about what needs to be done to fix all the issues with healthcare. The democrats think that healthcare costs are high because insurance companies want to maximize their profits. Their solution is government run healthcare. They reason that the government doesn’t need to make a profit so the cost of healthcare will go down. But look at all the problems with the current government healthcare programs. Medicare is almost bankrupt. Medicaid fraud is costing tax payers millions if not billions of dollars each year. The VA healthcare system has veterans waiting months for treatments and some of them die while waiting.

The GOP thinks that lowering healthcare insurance premiums will fix all the problems. They reason that more competition in the health insurance markets will bring down insurance costs for everyone. But that approach ignores the real reason for increasing healthcare costs. Many of the providers of healthcare, which includes doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals, believe that when it comes to your health, “COST SHOULD NOT BE A FACTOR”. As a result, they have “treatments” that cost $50k, $75K and over $100K per month. They can charge these prices as long as insurance companies or the government pay the bills. This is why insurance premiums keep increasing and the government raises your taxes.

What our government needs to do is required all healthcare providers make their “treatments” affordable for both people with and also without insurance coverage. They can start with drug companies that have monopolies on certain products that allow them to raise prices on those products 500% or more per year. Next congress can put price limits when a new “treatment” is offered so it will be affordable for everyone.

You can argue that price controls will limit the development of new treatments. But it seems like most new treatments are NOT better but just more expensive than the old treatments. I’ve seen TV commercials advertising a new treatment followed by a commercial from a law firm suing because of complications caused by the same new treatment.

In the end we all need to realize that cost MUST be the PRIMARY factor in providing healthcare. Otherwise the healthcare industry will continue take everything they can get from you, me, insurance companies and the government. What do you say?

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Living in Florida

Today is June 28th, 2017.

The weather here in Fort Myers, Florida is partly cloudy with scattered showers and temperatures in the low 90’s.

Florida coconut palm

For most of my life I lived in western New York state (Rochester). In August 2015 I moved to Fort Myers, Florida. Needless to say the weather in southwest Florida is much different from WNY.  In WNY a cold temperature is anything below 10 degrees F. In SW Florida cold is 60 degrees F or lower. Likewise, hot in WNY is anything above 80 while in Florida it’s 95 and above. So how did I adjust from the WNY climate to the SW Florida climate?

Well in the winter time no adjustment was needed. Winter in SW Florida is like late spring early summer in WNY. But in the summer time (June, July and August) you have both high temperatures and humidity. When I was young, I hated the high summer temperatures and looked forward to the cold winter months. But now that I’m old (where old is defined as over 60) I actually like the high temperatures because it relaxes my muscles and just feels good.

One trick I learned for dealing with the 95+ temperatures is to avoid direct sun light. The shade is usually 10 degrees cooler and the ocean breezes also help to make it feel cooler. Another thing in SW Florida is during the summer months we always get afternoon showers that can lower the temperatures 10 to 20 degrees. The showers usually only last 15 to 30 minutes so you can just sit tight and wait for them to stop.

When I told my friends in WNY that I was moving to Florida to live full time they all laughed. They told me I would really get to hate the high heat and humidity and end up moving back to WNY in a year or two. Well it’s been almost 2 years of living here in SW Florida and no way I’m ever moving back the WNY.

Also Florida has no state income tax, only 6% sales tax and property taxes are about 1/3 of what I was paying in NYS. Very easy to live with. Right?

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Insulin price increase – Why?

Today is June 7th 2017.

The weather here in Fort Myers, FL is overcast with intermittent rain showers and temps in the high 80s.

My experience with NovoLog insulin.

I have been using NovoLog insulin in my pump for about 8 years.  As far as I can determine, there are absolutely no differences or improvements in NovoLog over the last 8 years.  You would think there would have been at least some improvements in the production process that would result in lower prices.  But instead the price has gone from about $100/bottle eight years ago to over $450/bottle today.

The problem with the healthcare system.

Why did this happen?  In my opinion the problem lies with the entire healthcare system which includes doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals.  All three get rich because most are getting paid by insurance companies.  If there was no medical insurance available then all the medical providers would have to make their treatments affordable (at least to some degree) to their patients.

Obviously, if the medical providers are getting rich when insurance companies pay the bills then the providers certainly want more people to have insurance.  In fact they have come up with a system that provides incentives for people to buy health insurance.

My insurance company doesn’t pay $450/bottle for NovoLog insulin.  They have contracts in place which give them lower prices for most medicines and medical procedures.  But, if you don’t have insurance, you’ll have to pay $450/bottle of NovoLog.  Medical providers hope that raising their prices will push more people to get health insurance.  This is really no different from Obamacare charging a tax penalty on those who do not purchase health insurance.

In my opinion, all these price increases just increase the profits for the medical providers by taking more money from the people who can least afford it.  Only our government can fix this problem but unless the members of congress are willing to work together nothing will get done.

A message to all members of congress.

My advice to all members of congress (especially democrats) is STOP investigating Russian interference in our election.  They have been doing this for decades just like we have done to them and many other counties through out the world.  Of course when we do it, we call it “exposing the truth” and NOT interference.   But isn’t “exposing the truth” exactly what the Russians did or possibly someone else when they published Podesta’s and the DNC’s emails?  What do you say?

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“The Cure”

Today is June 5th 2017.  “The cure”

The weather here in Fort Myers, FL is overcast with temps in the high 80’s with high humidity.

Most diabetics have heard the saying The cure is just around the corner.” The first time I heard this was in the year 1968. I guess the “corner” in this case is not in my lifetime. Might be true for someone younger than me but please DON’T hold your breath waiting for “The cure”.