New Book Explains How to ‘Think Like a Pancreas’

I wish “Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes With Insulin” (Marlowe & Co., 2004) had been available in 1993 when I was first diagnosed with type 1.

At the time, I read most of the books about diabetes that were available at the bookstore, but many things remained mysterious to me. Why didn’t my blood glucose come down until a few hours after I took my insulin? What did the glycemic index have to do with my condition? Why did exercise do weird things to my BGs? Why did it feel like I might die of the shakes when my blood glucose reached a so-called normal level (85 mg/dl) for the first time after my diagnosis? Why were so many over-the-counter drugs suddenly off-limits? Was there any difference other than cost between store-brand and brand name lancets?

It took me years to piece together answers to these questions, and many others. I had a wonderful diabetes educator, but there was so much to discuss at each appointment that it wasn’t possible to cover everything.

Author Has Type 1 Diabetes

Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, author of “Think Like a Pancreas,” has had type 1 diabetes since 1985. He has learned from his personal experience and his work as a CDE that patients and healthcare providers alike find many aspects of life with diabetes confusing. Someone needed to demystify life with insulin in plain English. Fortunately, Gary Scheiner took on the challenge and has done an excellent job.

Book Communicates Effectively

Overall, the book communicates very effectively using text, charts, word problems and graphs, and Scheiner uses the best method for conveying the specific types of information. I was particularly impressed that Scheiner provides formulas for determining appropriate insulin dosages (basal and bolus) and explains them thoroughly in the sixth and seventh chapters. Most important, he describes the time-action profiles of all types of insulin available in the United States and how they should work in several possible insulin regimens. When patients can access the same information that is easily available to healthcare providers, we can play a more active role in managing our own diabetes.

Makes an Ideal Gift for Insulin Users

“Think Like a Pancreas” would make an ideal gift for a loved one who is starting insulin therapy. Even those of us who have been taking insulin for years would do well to keep a copy on hand.

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