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Disasters Averted

Disasters Averted are stories submitted by our readers and medical editors from direct experience in the field. Do you have a story? If your story is used, we will send you a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Submissions can be anonymous.

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Prevent Disasters By Using CGM

Man, 69 years of age, of Italian descent, “a numbers guy,” has type 2 diabetes, A1C 8.9%, taking a GLP-1 daily, and metformin 1,000mg twice daily. Blood pressure was managed, in target range of ~110-120/70-80, HR 76-82, weight-BMI 25.3. Had been on an SGLT-2, but developed DKA, so he can no longer take SGLT-2’s nor did he want to. Checked fasting glucose some mornings a week but not every day because he did not like to stick his finger. He really didn’t want to deal with his diabetes. Due to his recent illness, he was willing to try something new and different, especially since I told him it’s about numbers and he would not have to regularly stick his fingers.

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When Treating Obesity, Discuss the Holidays — Before, During and After

It’s not unusual for people who have excess weight or obesity to have many barriers to overcome in managing their weight. In my experience, the holiday season can be a big barrier. For much of the world, holidays are associated with food; not just food but an overabundance of food. And for many, the weather is cold at this time of the year, which doesn’t help with being active.

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Always Have a Backup Plan to Be Active

A 60-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes and no serious health complications began an exercise program as part of a research study. It involved doing an hour of moderate aerobic exercise three days per week in a supervised setting (at a local Y). She showed up to all the training sessions, stating about a month into the 12-week training program that she was so happy to be active again, that she felt so much better physically and mentally and felt like she had “found herself” again.

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When Family Members Are HCPs

Male, 68 years of age, type 2 diabetes, Italian, on long-acting insulin and GLP-1. Basal glucose levels are within target as are most post-prandials except every night after dinner. We have talked several times about lowering carbs, which he has done during the daytime, but has difficulty cutting back on dinner meal. We had in the past discussed taking rapid-acting insulin for meals, but he refused. After two weeks, patient sent me his CGM results. Even he started getting concerned about his evening post-prandial levels. Rapid-acting insulin added before dinner and post-prandials are now in target range. He has not once complained about taking the rapid-acting insulin before dinner.

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What Not to Trust

I received a call and glucose numbers from patient who has type 2 diabetes, usually with hyperglycemia, never hypoglycemia. I noticed there was at least a 12-hour span since the last glucose reading. His glucose levels after the over-12-hour lag showed hypoglycemia during the  night when the numbers start showing. His glucose averaged 53 during that time, but it has been running 150 and over, and we have been slowly increasing his insulin.

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Take a Second Look at Surgery Recommendations

Patient is male, 48 years of age, type 2 diabetes with hyperglycemia for eight years, class III obesity,  and very symptomatic GERD. Patient planned to have laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. I asked him why he chose that particular surgery. He said, "Because it's less invasive." I asked if his surgeon told him the sleeve gastrectomy could increase his GERD, and is not as effective for the treatment of type 2 diabetes nor for weight loss as is a bypass. He said, "No, the surgeon just left it to my choice. I said I wanted the sleeve and he was good with that."

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Talk About Aspirin With Your Patients

Male, 69 years of age, coronary artery disease,  two cardiac stents, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, prediabetes, bladder cancer.  His sister is 64 years of age, coronary artery disease, prediabetes, PCOS, elevated cardiac calcium score of >1000, no hyperlipidemia. HO early heart disease, stroke, and early death in family. There have been recent reports in the media speaking of the ASPREE Trial, which reported that taking aspirin daily is not effective for all people, and in some it may be more detrimental due to bleeding risks.

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What Your Patients Don’t Want to Hear

We recently had a new patient, 75 years of age, who has class I obesity and prediabetes, and has had hypothyroidism for over 25 years. She is very active and has purposely lost weight, about 6 pounds. She told me she has had hair loss over the years and has seen a specialist for this, but lately it's been worse. She takes spironolactone, biotin, and zinc for her hair loss. She wanted to know what she could do about her hair. She is taking 150 mcg levothyroxine and 5 mcg liothyronine.

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