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Letter from the Editor: More CDC Data, LTC Caregiver and Patient Education, and the Latest Diabetes Management Apps

The CDC just released new data in their 2011 fact sheet which got overlooked in most journals. They now estimate that 26.9% of all patients over 65 have diabetes. This is almost 11 million patients and many of them of them have had diabetes for less than 5 years. There are about 150,000 Americans turning 65 each month (approximately 38,000 of them with diabetes) and by 2020, there will be over 75 million Americans over 65 and 22 million will have diabetes. Another report shows that currently about 7% of all Americans over 65 reside in long term care or assisted living facilities, and that number will continue to grow. There will be more patients with diabetes in LTC’s than with any other disease state.

During a recent survey conducted by some of my interns, we found that many caregivers in these facilities had never received basic education on diabetes care or medications for patient care. Even fewer of these caregivers had a clear understanding of glucose goals or dietary guidelines.

We also found that very few of the patients had been to a diabetes class. The patients often had never been referred by their clinician or could not afford to attend the class. I think this is an area that we can make great strides in. Currently there are at least four pharmaceutical companies that provide general education for your patients at no charge. Some of them require your patient to be on their products but I know that one program, “Journey for Control” (sponsored by Merck), has no requirement. In addition, many diabetes supply companies have “no obligation classes” that teach general education to your patients.

Do your patients a favor and either invite them to attend a program at your office or find out where you can send them for a free class in your area. If you want to find a location in your area please click here to e-mail me.

Speaking of senior citizens, my father escaped the cold and is visiting us in Florida. He is here with his internet equipped phone, Bluetooth, and LCD TV. This made me realize that many of our older patients, who never had a TV as a kid, have embraced new technology readily. To this end, our current intern, Janine Manning has reviewed some IPhone and Android apps for managing diabetes and has a review for you. Click here to read Handheld Applications for Diabetes Management.

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Many of you have helped patients avert diabetes disasters and we can all learn from them. (See our Safety and Error Prevention Topic page for a complete list.) If you have a “disaster averted” then send it in and if we use it in our Diabetes Clinical Mastery Series you will receive a Visa Gift Card worth $50.00. So far, we’ve sent out almost $1,000 worth of Gift Cards! Click here to let us know the details. (You can use your name or remain anonymous if you prefer.)

Announcements:

dLife.com: February 27, 7PM ET on CNBC

Topics: dLife demystifies different types of insulin, from animal to analog. Plus, an extreme diabetes makeover, and a slow cooker favorite from the dLife kitchen. Sundays on CNBC at 7 PM ET, 6 PM CT, and 4 PM PT. Catch up on dLife.com.

TCOYD Conference and Health Fair, Honolulu, Hawaii, March 5, 2011

The TCOYD team will be in Honolulu this March with Special Sam Choy, Hawaii’s Cooking Ambassador, and Bo Irvine, “Hawaiian King of Comedy.” Event includes: state-of-the-art technologies and advances in diabetes care; afternoon workshops; and physical activities for everyone.

Please answer this week’s poll (in the right-hand column): How do your patients log their blood sugar levels?

View last week’s poll results.

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We can make a difference!
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Check out this week’s “Test Your Diabetes Knowledge” question!

Dave Joffe, Editor-in-chief