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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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Don’t Blame All Symptoms on Glucose Levels

A woman, 72 years of age, type 2 diabetes, obesity, taking metformin, GLP1, ARB, and antidepressant (SSRI). Lost 20% total body weight in the past year. Recently complaining of dizziness and weakness. Glucose levels in the 60’s at home, at which time had symptoms of hypoglycemia. Glucose-lowering medications (metformin and GLP-1) were stopped. Continued to complain of dizziness and weakness especially in the morning.

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The New To-Do For Travel

A patient with diabetes gets her meds, prescribed by a nurse practitioner, from a national chain pharmacy in New York. She was planning travel to Hawaii. Patient did not refill her meds at home in New York before leaving for her travel in Hawaii because it was too early. Insurance would not pay until closer to the refill date. She thought she could wait until the time insurance would cover, go to a location where she was traveling and pick it up there. She’d done that during her travels in the past. It did not work in Hawaii.

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Don’t Look, Don’t Know

Woman, 55 years of age, type 2 diabetes for 15 years. When first diagnosed, did all she could to learn everything about managing her diabetes. She even went to two complete diabetes education courses. The second she paid for on her own. In time, she started checking less, ate more and more unfriendly diabetes foods, and due to a chronic ankle problem, became more and more inactive. After losing her insurance, she then stopped taking her medications and checking her glucose, until she noticed bloody drainage on her clothes from rashes several places on her body.

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When Pills Are Hard to Swallow, Find Alternatives

Woman, 67 years of age, newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes with an A1C of 7.8%. Met with PCP who prescribed metformin ER and referred patient for diabetes education. Patient made some dietary and physical activity changes at first, but upon return visit her A1C was 8.5%. She reported she did not take the metformin. “I can’t swallow big pills. The bottle said not to crush or break the tablets. They were just too big to swallow. So then I just gave up on everything.”

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Diabetes Information Best Shared By Patients and HCPs Alike

Woman, 58 years of age, history of PCOS, prediabetes, strong family history of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. This patient lives a healthy lifestyle, including a lower carb meal plan, is very active, and keeps her weight down. Those interventions did not lower her A1C, so she educated herself and asked her NP/CDE if she should start metformin. This was about 20 years ago. Since starting metformin, A1C is in the 5.1-5.5% range. Patient regularly checks glucose, which was recently rising. A1C rose to prediabetes range again. Started on GLP-1 by NP/CDE. Patient then went to a new PCP who told her she should not be taking metformin or the GLP-1 because she does not have diabetes. Wanted to refer her to an endocrinologist....

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Create Safe Environment for Your Patients to Tell You the Truth

A teenage type 1 on an insulin pump was seen in our office for follow up. The download on her pump revealed some interesting numbers. First off, her glucose levels were out of target range and secondly her I:CHO ratio and her insulin sensitivity looked more like the numbers of a type 2 diabetic vs a type 1. Her I:CHO was 1:16 and her insulin sensitivity was 1:30. In my experience, I'm used to seeing a lower I:CHO and a higher insulin sensitivity in type 1 vs type 2.

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Think Out of the Box!

An extremely insulin sensitive type 1 diabetic woman in her 60s came for review of carb counting and blood sugar logs. Pt had been running blood sugars above target range. When asking pt why she thought her blood sugars were running high, she stated she was fearful of having low blood sugars.

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In Search for Culprit Behind Glucose Swings, Investigate Non-diabetes Medications

Recently I had a patient who was referred to me due to increased glucose levels, which happens all the time. However, this patient was referred because of the recent changes in fasting glucose levels. After attending a group diabetes class, the patient seemed to be improving self care and average fasting glucoses had dropped from around 165 mg/dl to 130 mg/dl. The readings held like this for two months and then started to rise again. The patient's primary caregiver assumed that the patient was no longer doing the right things learned in the class and, after lecturing the patient on all the complications that occur because of elevated glucose, sent the patient to me for individual counseling.

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