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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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Try Living Like Your Patients

When I was studying to become a CDE, the students in our class who did not have diabetes were given the assignment to live as though we did have insulin-requiring diabetes for a period of time. It was very helpful. At that time, we did not have continuous glucose monitors (CGM), but we did have insulin, vials and syringes (not sure about the pens but I don’t recall those), glucose monitors, and other supplies. We gave ourselves normal saline as if it were insulin, checked our glucose at least four times/day, carb counted, and everything else required to manage our "diabetes" daily. One incident that stands out to me was a friend faking having a hypoglycemia event while waiting for her food at a restaurant. It was quite an eye-opening period of time for all of us.

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Warn, Teach, and Revisit Metformin

If this happens in my practice, I’m sure it likely happens with your patients too. So many of our patients take metformin. They may be new to using metformin or have been taking it for many years. Either way it’s not unusual to have untoward GI side effects from taking it. They may have done fine taking it for years, so they don’t even think about it being their metformin.

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What Can Happen When Patients Take Diabetes Holidays

Man, 36 years of age, type 2 diabetes, obesity class II, fatty liver, was taking metformin 1,000mg twice daily, and lower dose of SGLT-2. A1C was elevated 9% due to steroids; had been in the 6-7% range. Came in for 3-month follow up — A1C 9.9%, glucose 359, urine positive for glucose and for ketones, gained 19 pounds since last office visit, B/P 126/78-HR 78 and regular. The patient reports he took a "holiday" from everything during the holidays. He ate and drank anything and everything he wanted, including alcohol, and stopped his medications. He complained of  increased hunger and thirst. Very thirsty.

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Confusing Insulins Still A Common Mistake

I have a patient who has type 2 diabetes. He was started on long-acting insulin 8 months ago. Before adding the insulin, he was taking a daily GLP-1. He had experienced diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) while on a SGLT-2, and did not tolerate metformin due to GI side effects. Therefore, these …

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Talk About Leftovers!

As we know, the holidays are very tough for many of our patients who have diabetes and/or obesity. They may have made some changes -- big changes -- in their eating habits, only to get in trouble over the long holiday season, then have a very difficult time getting back on track. The long holiday season can be a disaster to their health. I have found that for most, having leftovers at home wreaks havoc.

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PCOS: Motivate Young Women to Make Changes

Young woman, 15 years of age, presented with class II obesity (BMI 37), irregular periods, hirsutism, and continuing to gain weight. Her first visit was with her mother. We met and discussed the possibility of her having polycystic ovarian syndrome because of her symptoms. We confirmed with labs.

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Culture: Think About It

Man, 32 years of age, of Asian Indian descent, family history of type 2 diabetes, BMI-28,  blood pressure 142/84, WC-92cm visited for annual physical. Although the patient has not at this time been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the numbers and history were revealing that he is at increased risk. Not just because of his family history but also his BMI and WC. We discussed the importance of this person’s weight with him. In discussing this, we talked about making some changes in his meal plan and increasing his activity.

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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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