Type 1 & 2: Halloween’s Blood Sugars Trick or Treats

Come October, I immediately start thinking about Halloween and trick-or-treating with my children. I always allow myself a few chocolates—if I can get them away from my kids as we go door to door. “May I have a piece?” I ask them, sweetly. “Sure, Dad,” they say, as they let me rummage through theirbulging goody bags. I choose a piece of plain chocolate, like a mini Hershey bar, or one with nuts, but I stay away from anything with caramelin it. Depending on how much I eat, I will need two to five extra units of fast-acting insulin this night.

After reading the good news (see “Insulin Sensitivity Promoted by Dark Chocolate”), I’ll reach for a piece of dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate actually improves insulin sensitivityand lowers blood pressure.

It’s a little strange to be thinking about Halloween while writing this column in August. I just returned from the annual American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) conference in Washington, D.C. Twenty-fivethousand diabetes educators read this magazine, and many of you were there to continue your education.

CDE Finds Laughs and Teaching Aids on Our Web Site

At the AADE, I had a great talk with Ozie Williams, RD, RN, CDE. She looks for cartoons on our Web site and uses them to teach her patients abouttesting, exercise, medication and diet. She also prints them on the backs of postcards and mails them to her patients when they miss a class. Oziegoes the extra mile to motivate her patients.

Happy New Symlin User

Janet Foss, RN, CDE, who has taken insulin for41 years, dropped by our booth to tell us thatshe has lost 15 pounds in three weeks sincestarting the new injectable hormone Symlin.We announced this new drug in our June 2005issue. It is injected before meals, and it helps toimprove blood glucose levels while reducingappetite and weight. Janet tells us that she lovesit but says it’s pricey.

Supplement for Better Glucose Levels

Many companies attended the AADE to promotetheir vitamin and mineral supplements. For yearswe have reported on the benefits of magnesiumand chromium picolinate. Now there are severalfirms marketing these two supplements to thediabetic market (www.slow-mag.com, www.magox.com, www.diachrome.com). When bloodglucose levels go up, the body loses an excess ofthese minerals in the urine. Low levels of eitherone lead to poor diabetes control.

R. Keith Campbell, RPh, CDE, a professor in thepharmacy department at Washington StateUniversity, takes a Diachrome capsule each day.He recommends 400 milligrams of magnesiumdaily.

Two Popular Insulins Being Discontinued

We recently received some news that Eli Lilly Co.has stopped production of Ultralente and Lenteinsulins. The current inventory should last untilthe end of the year.

Ten years ago the natural animal insulins wehad used for 70 years were withdrawn. “Humaninsulin is better,” we were told. Now the “human”insulins are being withdrawn in favor of the newdesigner insulins. While studies have shown thatthese new insulins are effective, there is no long-termdata available on them yet.

Jean Cutler, RD, CDE, wrote to me recently,saying, “Ultralente is a wonderful basal insulin.At about $30 a bottle, it is a great alternative toLantus, at about $70 a bottle. I know that theinsulins I use are ‘old school,’ but they work wellfor me.”

Scott King
Type 1, 31 years (and counting)

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