Accepting a New Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

One of the toughest transitions in life can be a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Either for yourself or a family member, the initial shock of diagnosis is sometimes hard to take and can require some getting used to.

In this first installment of a four-part series on type 2 diabetes, here are five ways to adapt to a new diagnosis in your family and the best ways not only to cope, but to thrive with type 2 diabetes:

There’s No Shame in a Diagnosis

There is nothing to be ashamed of with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes is simply the body’s response to becoming insulin resistant or the body’s inability to produce enough insulin naturally (more symptoms listed here). There are many risk factors that contribute to a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, but genetics and environmental factors do play a role. You may be discouraged upon diagnosis, but there’s no shame in having diabetes, and there’s no shame in taking charge of your health and taking care of yourself.

Today Is the Perfect Day to Be Healthy – Start Now

Not next week or next month, or even next year. Today is the perfect day to begin. Once you have a diagnosis, make sure you’re prepared with a glucometer, test strips, and a lancet device to start monitoring your blood sugar. You may also have a prescription for metformin or insulin that should be filled. Your doctor probably referred you to a nutritionist to come up with a meal plan, and maybe they’ve recommended regular exercise. Start small. Include more vegetables at your next meal, and aim for a short walk before bed. Taking small steps to improve your health today will lead to lasting health benefits down the road.

Assemble Your Care Team

This includes both professional and community support. Diabetes affects the whole family, and it’s important to have their physical and emotional support. You will need to enlist the expertise of not only your physician, but also an endocrinologist, and perhaps a nutritionist or maybe even a therapist. Caring family members can offer emotional support during this time of transition, and researching local support groups or diabetes advocacy organizations where you can find community will be a tremendous help in the weeks and months to come.

Don’t Operate from a Position of Fear

Make no mistake, type 2 diabetes is a serious disease that can cause devastating complications if left untreated, but it does not necessarily need to incite fear. You can live a long, happy, and healthy life with type 2 diabetes. This is an opportunity to tune into your body and make healthy, positive changes for the road ahead. Healthy lifestyle choices you make now can prevent complications later on in life.

Think of What This Adds to Your Life

A type 2 diabetes diagnosis is not the end of your life. Instead of thinking in terms of deprivation, think of what this adds (and can add!) to your life. More exercise. More opportunities to go outside. More excuses to walk your dog, or play with your children or grandchildren. More vegetables on your plate. More reasons to see your doctor and keep a closer eye on your health. More reasons to be thankful that you have the opportunity to get a firm grasp on your health in the here and now. Think in abundance and be grateful.

A type 2 diabetes diagnosis does not need to bring misery and sadness to your life. It can be an opportunity to connect with yourself, get in tune with your body, and lead you to start or continue to make healthy choices to prevent complications later on in life. And that’s something to cheers to.

Have you recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? How has the diagnosis affected your life so far? Share this post and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Diabetes Eye Screenings: Why They Are Important and Challenging

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Renza Scibilia and Chris ‘Grumpy Pumper’ Aldred

Regular eye screenings are important for people with diabetes. Learn more about diabetes-related retinopathy screenings from diabetes advocates Renza and Grumpy

What Causes Diabetes-Related Retinopathy?

Diabetes-related retinopathy occurs when many years of high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the eye. This damage triggers your body to make more blood vessels – but these new vessels are fragile and easily damaged, which can result in bleeding or scarring in the eye that worsens vision. Fortunately, there are medications available that can improve symptoms. For more background on diabetes-related retinopathy, see here.

There is more to developing a diabetes-related eye condition than just A1C. Time in range also plays a role, as seen by recent research – diaTribe will be updating readers on this in the coming months!  Blood pressure also plays an important role in our risk, as can rapid fluctuations in glucose levels. Family history of eye conditions, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), may increase the risk of diabetes-related eye issues, so knowing and sharing your family history is important when discussing your eyes at screening appointments.

The importance of eye screenings

In diaTribe’s past interview with ophthalmologist (eye doctor) Dr. Ivan Suñer of Memorial Hospital of Tampa, we learned that people with retinopathy often have no noticeable symptoms until they are at high risk for losing their vision. Early detection of diabetes-related retinopathy is crucial to prevent vision loss. Thus, his number one piece of advice was to see a doctor regularly for eye screenings. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with diabetes get a comprehensive eye exam every two years if there is no evidence of retinopathy. For those with retinopathy, the ADA recommends an eye exam every year.

Given the importance of eye screenings, Renza and Grumpy – within a few days of each other – both recently tweeted about our upcoming eye screening checks. (Renza has annual visits to her private ophthalmologist as suggested by Australian guidelines; Grumps receives a screening every three to four months to monitor some damage in his left eye.)

Both of us (Renza and Grumpy) are fortunate that we live in countries with national eye screening programs for people with diabetes. (Australia’s program was launched just this year; the UK program has been around for a number of years now.)

In Australia, KeepSight operates as a “recall and reminder” system. People with diabetes register with the program and are sent prompts to make appointments. The frequency of these reminders is individually tailored, determined by how frequently screening checks are required.

In the UK, the Diabetic Eye Screening Program (time for a rename and some #LanguageMatters attention!) is overseen by the National Health Service (NHS). Screening appointments are made for people with diabetes, and follow up letters are sent with the results.

National screening programs work because they offer a coordinated and consistent approach that has the potential to reach a wide number of people. In an ideal world, they capture all people living with diabetes, ensuring screening occurs at the right time, changes to the eyes are identified early, and appropriate treatment is started immediately.

When implemented properly, the results of screening programs can be staggering. Before the UK program was established, diabetes-related eye conditions were the leading cause of preventable blindness in the UK. That is no longer the case.

The challenges of eye screenings

Not many people with diabetes look forward to their eye screenings. And many of us will look for any excuse to put off making or going to our screening appointment. There are a number of reasons for that.

While it may be one of the least invasive checks on our screening list, it can be one of the most disruptive. If pupil dilating drops are required, the rest of the day is often a write-off. Even when the blurred vision goes, we are often left feeling tired or with a headache from the bright light and eye strain caused by the drops.

On top of organizing time off work or school for ourselves, we may need to involve a friend or family member to take us to the appointment. All of these things can make coordination of our appointment difficult and become a reason that we postpone or cancel.

But logistics are only one reason we may decide to put off our appointment. Many of us are anxious about results from screening checks. Diabetes-related complications are often presented to us in such a scary and threatening way that we are frightened to organize and attend appointments. (Renza recently wrote this piece, “Why Scare Tactics Don’t Work in Diabetes” for diaTribe about how her introduction to diabetes-related complications when she was diagnosed with diabetes scared her so much that she was simply unable to face the thought of diabetes screenings.)

And those of us who have missed an appointment or two, or have never been screened before, become worried that we will be “told off” when we do eventually gather the courage to attend.

What works and how can we do better?

  • Making the process of actually having a diabetes eye check as easy and smooth as possible will always mean more uptake. Bringing screening to the people, rather than expecting people to travel long distances, will reduce a significant barrier to keeping up-to-date with screening checks. There are a number of different initiatives that are working toward making screening checks more convenient.
  • Pharmacies are being used in some areas to provide initial screening checks (using a retinal scanning camera), with any necessary follow-up being conducted by specialist eye health care professionals. This works well because it means the initial screening check – which will pick up any changes – is done somewhere convenient and familiar, and without the need for dilating drops. Hopefully this will reduce some of the nervousness people may feel about going to a clinic or hospital setting.
  • Coordinated reminder systems are great! Anything that helps ease the weight of “diabetes administration” is welcome to help with the daily tasks demanded by diabetes.
  • Counselling around the visit would also be helpful for some!

Having any sort of diabetes-related complications screening is never just about the process of attending and completing the screening. Just the thought of, and planning for, the appointment can be distressing for people, especially for those who have had complications presented to them in a scary or threatening manner. Offering counselling before and/or after screening is a great idea to help address some of those anxieties, and provide people with practical tips for coping.

Screening checks are part of the process of managing diabetes-related complications

We’d urge healthcare professionals to acknowledge just how difficult it can be for someone to simply show up for a screening appointment, and commend those that do. A little word of understanding can go a very long way!

As ever, peer support can be hugely beneficial. Whether it be sharing stories about how people manage to navigate anxieties and nervousness about eye screening checks, or how people have dealt with a diagnosis, speaking with others who have walked a similar path can be useful and can help reduce the isolation many people feel.

And finally, most people with diabetes do know the importance of regular complications screening, and that early detection and treatment will likely result in better outcomes. (In Grumps’ case, this early detection has meant that the issues have not progressed for several years and that, to date, no treatments have been required.) But that is not enough. We need to follow messages and campaigns that highlight the importance of screening with advice on how to make the process easier and more comfortable for people with diabetes, while recognizing how difficult it can be. Humanizing the experience of screening, and giving results and follow- up, is all an important part of the story.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Diabetes Love Letter: From Eoin to Girlfriend

Editor’s note: I had the pleasure of meeting Eoin at a diabetes meetup in New York City last month. He had just won the Myabetic award for “Diabetic Male Fitness Influencer” and rightfully so since he motivates people every day to be the best version of themselves. He tackles affordability issues, stigmas and teaches his followers proper diet and exercise techniques. He is also a diabetic fitness trainer. You can follow him at @insuleoin on Instagram. 

By Eoin Costelloe

To my girlfriend,

Where can I start? It’s almost like we were both diagnosed. Just on different dates;

Myself with type 1 diabetes on 01.04.2012.

Without knowing, you were diagnosed with ‘second-hand type 1 diabetes’ on 08.10.18.

I feel it’s fitting for me, first of all, to thank you. Thank you for the time we’ve spent together, and thank you for everything you’ve done. I don’t think you truly understand how special you are.

When we started dating it was something you were interested in learning about, something you didn’t know much about, but something you didn’t know would almost become your full-time job, just as much as mine.

I remember explaining it to you, breaking things down; how we carb count, units of insulin required, the reasons, the complications, what it entails. At the time you knew a minimal amount. From then until now, you have become a diabetes expert.

Photo credit: Eoin Costelloe

Maybe looking back now, you wouldn’t have been so keen to take on such an admirable role as a girlfriend – as I’ve always said, ‘it’s an invisible disease.’

I often think of diabetes as a part of me that no one sees. It’s a disease that can let you live a normal life if you treat it with respect, but it’s always on your shoulder, it never takes any breaks and never leaves your side.

We often see in cartoons or movies how there is a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. For the past 8 years of my life, since being diagnosed, that devil has made a home on my shoulder. For 8 years he’s been there, day and night, sitting on my shoulder with no contender, no dispute or objection, no angel on the other side.

Since the day we met, you’ve been that angel. You’ve been the challenger.

Photo credit: Eoin Costelloe

You have always prioritized my health, even during the times when I didn’t. You’ve told me to ‘check your blood sugar’ when I was lazy about it, or prodded me to ‘take your insulin’ if it slipped my mind or yelled at me to ‘not eat another roll of sushi!’ You’ve cared more than I ever expected you to.

Sometimes I felt like it was a burden, almost like a third wheel in our relationship. Maybe there were times I didn’t want to stop and check my blood or pause to inject my insulin because we were in a perfect moment and didn’t want anything to ruin it. But you were the one to pause, you were the one to always reassure me that we were in it together no matter what.

Every injection, every high, every finger prick, every 3 am low blood sugar and every ‘regretful pizza’ eaten, you’ve been there. You’ve shown passion and intrigue to learn about this condition for the sole reason to help look after me. You’ve lived through it by my side and never once complained.

There are no words or phrases that can articulate my appreciation for you. You’re a star, chaim sheli!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Keto Mock “Little Debbie Be My Valentine Snack Cakes”

This content originally appeared on Caroline’s Keto Kitchen. Republished with permission.

I don’t know what it is about these little cakes that scream Valentine’s Day to me. They must have been at eye level at every store I went to with my mom as a kid or something, because seriously, these are the first things I picture when I think of Valentine’s Day. So when it was time to create a Valentine’s Day dessert, you bet I was going to recreate the Little Debbie Be My Valentine Snack Cakes!

For those of you who don’t know what these are, they’re basically a 2-layer vanilla cake with frosting between the layers and a pink white chocolate coating with a white chocolate drizzle. It does take a bit of work considering there’s a cake step, an icing step, and a white chocolate coating step, but I promise, it’s worth it, and none of the steps are hard.

Keto Mock "Little Debbie Be My Valentine Snack Cakes"

Share the love this Valentine's Day with this heart-shaped vanilla cake. Coated with white chocolate, this dessert is low-carb, filling, and delicious.

Cake

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup granular Swerve
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husk powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 stick salted butter (melted)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp monk fruit juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Icing

  • 1 stick salted butter (softened)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered Swerve

White Chocolate Coating

  • 7 oz cocoa butter
  • 1/3 cup solid coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream powder (I used the Nekstella brand)
  • 1/2 cup powdered Swerve
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • food coloring
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together all dry cake ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, Swerve, baking powder, baking soda, psyllium husk powder).
  3. Add in all wet ingredients (eggs, melted butter, vanilla, monk fruit, sour cream), and stir well.
  4. Line a cookie sheet that has edges with parchment paper. (Mine was roughly 13″ x 18″).
  5. Spread the cake batter evenly on the parchment paper. (You can wet your hands with a bit of water to help spread it more easily.)
  6. Bake for around 16 minutes or until cooked. (The edges may start turning a little bit golden at this point).
  7. While the cake is in the oven, begin making your icing by mixing the softened butter with the vanilla and powdered Swerve until smooth.
  8. Remove cake from oven, and let cool completely.
  9. Using a heart cookie cutter, cut as many hearts as you can out of the cake. (I had a big heart cookie cutter (~3.5″), so mine only made 18 hearts.)
  10. Put icing between the hearts to make 2-layer heart “sandwiches.”
  11. Now it’s time for the white chocolate coating. In a large saucepan, melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil on a very low heat.
  12. Remove from heat and add the heavy whipping cream powder, powdered Swerve, vanilla and salt. Stir until smooth.
  13. Spoon some of the mixture into an icing bag (this will be the white drizzle, so you need to put some aside before you turn the rest of the white chocolate coating pink).
  14. Add pink food coloring to the white chocolate coating mixture and stir until smooth.
  15. Dunk each cake into the pink white chocolate coating. Place on wax paper after dunk and allow coat to settle (you can speed this up by refrigerating it). Once settled, repeat, dipping each cake 2-3 times total.
  16. Once final pink layer is solidified, cut the tip of the icing bag and drizzle the white chocolate on top of each cake.

The nutrition facts depend on your specific ingredients and how big your cookie cutter is. My cookie cutter was quite large (~3.5″), so each cake was 2 servings at least (very filling!).

Keto Mock “Little Debbie Be My Valentine Snack Cakes” Recipe

Source: diabetesdaily.com

An Argument for Kindness in the Diabetes World

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Lauren Salko

This is what I used to tell people when asked the difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes: “type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and type 2 diabetes is caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices”.

I still cringe when I think about how inconsiderate and sophomoric my comments were. Honestly, I was afraid of the stigma attached to type 2 diabetes and I wanted to make sure that people knew that my diabetes was not my “fault”.

Now, the way many people with type 1 talk about those with type 2 makes me absolutely livid. The worst part is this seems to be a growing trend in the type 1 diabetes (T1D) community. Growing up, my mom always told me that dimming someone else’s light would never make mine shine brighter.

I compete as an individual in professional skiing. This lesson is something that I strive to implement every day. The performance of others never has and will never have any bearing on my own success. When my teammates or friends grow and succeed, so do I. I do not need others to fail to reach my goals.

I understand that type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are different diseases, and I’m aware that there are differences between the two. But hear me loud and clear: there is absolutely no reason for the type 1 community to put down those living with type 2 or to devalue their experiences as people with diabetes. I know this comes from fearing the blame people often place on those living with T2D being placed on you or your child. No matter how inaccurate it is, it still hurts when people pass judgment.

Here’s the thing: when you make negative statements about type 2 diabetes and its causes, you aren’t helping yourself. You’re just hurting others. Dimming someone else’s light doesn’t make yours shine any brighter.

Did you know that type 2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history and lineage than type 1? Did you know that insulin resistance causes weight gain, which can cause even more insulin resistance? What a vicious cycle.

We also need to recognize that a lot of the advances in technology and diabetes treatments we have come to rely on are available now because of the type 2 community. Only 5% of people with diabetes have T1D, so the type 2 diabetes community has a lot to do with the incentives and direction driving diabetes innovation.

The next time someone asks you about the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, I hope you take the opportunity to educate! Don’t just take the easy way out and make negative (and often times incorrect) comments about type 2 diabetes. Be the biggest ally you can for everyone living with diabetes by standing up for all of us in the face of ignorance.

Diabetes is rough, no matter what kind you have, so have some compassion for your brothers and sisters who also deal with high and low blood sugars, counting carbs, taking medication, insurance fights, and fearing complications. Kindness will get us further than stigma and othering ever will.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Review: Senita Athletics Apparel Designed with Tech in Mind

Whether you wear a pump, CGM or just want your phone close by for emergencies, it is nice to find athletic wear that meets your needs. Senita Athletics makes durable, affordable and functional apparel that will allow you to keep your tech on you during even your most active times. Senita Athletics is designed to make you feel safe and not let diabetes get in the way of whatever it is you are doing.

Who Are They?

Maddie and Jenna have been close friends for many years. Teammates both in high school and Division I University, they were both no stranger to the many different brands and types of athletic wear available. After they both had children and vowed to get back into shape, they couldn’t wrap their heads around the prices of some of these clothing. They sought out to find manufacturers who could create high-quality fabrics at affordable prices. And in 2015, the Senita Athletics brand was born, offering products at a fraction of the price of its competitors.

Senita Athletics
Mesh Crop Top | Photo credit: Senita Athletics

What Do They Offer?

Senita Athletics offers a variety of different products for all types of activities and lifestyles. They carry an assortment of sports bras, tanks and long sleeve/sweatshirt options. They carry different lines as well, so there is a nice selection of pants with differing types of fit and fabric to choose from. Many of their products are designed to hold phones or other devices, which are perfect for people with type one diabetes.

How Much Does It Cost?

Senita Athletics is able to offer its customers affordable pricing by cutting out the middle man, the retail stores. Their products cost significantly less than the big brand names. You can see a good snapshot of their prices on their collections page.

My Review

I am an avid CrossFitter and go five times a week religiously. My workout clothes are put through the test between the vigorous workouts and constant washing so I am always looking for quality products that will last.

I was pleasantly surprised just upon touching the pants that I could tell they had enough spandex to hold me in and wouldn’t be too thin where I would be self-conscious about them being see-through. The best part is the pants come with pockets. They are placed on the outer thigh and through all the burpees, power cleans and back rows, they never once got in the way.

I also got a crop top that says “Fierce”; I just love this top and the message and it will definitely get me in the right mindset for a good sweat session!

Other products to try are the sports bras. These bras have a pocket straight down the back so it is out of sight and out of the way! I highly recommend these and plan on purchasing one before my Spartan Race this spring!

With a family connection to type 1 diabetes, Senita Athletics has kept our needs in mind when inspiring many of their designs. They have a special “Sweet Blue” line that has tops, bottoms and a very inspirational tank to help lift us up. Their Sweet Blue leggings have dots on it, which represent each time a person has to test their blood glucose. I am happy we have Senita Athletics apparel and more importantly, their support!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Automated Insulin Delivery: Six Universal Observations and Understandings

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Laurel Messer

Six universal facts about automated insulin delivery systems, and the things you should keep in mind about this revolutionary technology

Automated insulin delivery (AID) systems are moving towards the forefront of diabetes management. AID systems combine continuous glucose monitors (CGM) with smart algorithms to automatically adjust insulin delivery.

The Tandem Control-IQ system was recently cleared by the FDA, and the Insulet Horizon and Medtronic Advanced Hybrid Closed Loop systems are beginning pivotal trials. These are encouraging developments. As more systems move through the pipeline and eventually into the commercial market, important patterns are emerging in user expectations and user experience. As a diabetes nurse, certified diabetes educator and research investigator, I, along with my team at the Barbara Davis Center, have worked with nearly every AID system in the pipeline, and other systems that will never make it to market. Here are six insights we have gleaned, which seem to be universal (thus far) to all AID systems:

1. You can always beat an AID system with compulsive diabetes management

Many people with diabetes compulsively attend to diabetes care in order to achieve ultra-tight glucose ranges – and are the first to ask about automated systems. What ends up happening is that these “super-users” are invariably frustrated that the system is not yielding the same results that they were able to achieve with their own calculations and management. An important point is that many automated systems are excellent at reducing mental burden for taking care of diabetes, excellent at reducing hypoglycemia, and adequate at improving glucose levels. Humans can beat automated systems if they attend to diabetes care near-constantly. The individuals who will likely be satisfied with AID are those who are comfortable with an A1C in the 7s or above, but they want to reduce the mental load of adjusting settings and micromanaging high glucose levels. The most important question to ask is, “Why do I want to start using an automated system?” If it is to achieve near-perfect glucose levels, the system will likely disappoint. If it is to reduce the burden of “thinking like a pancreas” all the time, it may be a good option. AID will excel at the marathon of diabetes care but may disappoint in the hour-to-hour sprint.

2. Systems work best when you let them work

Using both research and commercial systems, we have seen all the ways to “trick” AID systems—entering phantom carbohydrates, changing set points, performing manual corrections, overriding recommended doses. More often than not, these behaviors lead to glucose instability – reactionary highs and lows from the system destabilizing. All systems will perform best if they are used according to user instructions. This is difficult for the individual who would prefer to micro-adjust settings or desire control over all insulin delivery. Most systems work best when users learn to trust them.

3. Give the system a chance – 2-4 weeks before deciding long term potential

It may benefit us to think about AID like a new significant relationship – it can take some time to “settle.” I mean this both on an interaction level (learning how to respond to alerts, when to intervene, when to let it ride) and on an algorithm level (allowing the system to adjust internal algorithm parameters based on usage). In addition, programmable user settings may need some adjustment in the first few weeks of use, so working with diabetes educators can be helpful for initial set-up and early follow-up.

4. Bolusing is still king

If I could go back in time, I would caution device manufacturers against any whisper of not needing to bolus with AID systems. Bolusing is the singular most important action a person with diabetes can do to optimize insulin delivery on current and near-future automated systems. This will be true until insulin action time gets exponentially faster or artificial intelligence gets better at predicting human behavior, neither of which is on the immediate horizon. In order for people with diabetes to see the best performance on any system (automated or manual), they need to bolus before carbohydrates are consumed. Specific to AID, the timing of the bolus (prior to carb intake) is especially important, as the system will automatically increase insulin delivery after an initial rise of glucose levels, so a late bolus (e.g., after the meal) could lead to insulin stacking and hypoglycemia.

5. Rethinking low treatments

Low glucose levels (hypoglycemia) still happen when using automated systems. What is different with AID is that the system has been trying to prevent the low by reducing/suspending insulin, possibly hours before the low occurs. This means that an individual may need to consume significantly fewer carbs to bring glucose levels back into range – perhaps 5-10 grams of carb at first, reassessing 15-20 minutes later. This can be difficult when wanting to eat everything in sight; however, it can reduce the chance of rebounding into the 200s after over-treating.

6. Infusion sets are still infusion sets

While AID algorithms are revolutionary, the infusion set is not. It is the same plastic or steel cannula that occludes, kinks, or inflames. This hardware limits automated systems and can very quickly lead to hyperglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It is important for people using AID to recognize signs of infusion set failure – persistent hyperglycemia, boluses that do not bring glucose levels down, ketones, vomiting, etc. Knowing how to treat ketones (via syringe injection of insulin and set change) can prevent a hospital admission or worse.

I love that the diabetes community learns from its members and experiences. Check out our Barbara Davis Center PANTHER (Practical Advanced THERapies for diabetes) website for our team’s latest insights on automated insulin delivery, and tools for people with diabetes, clinicians, and engineers.

Are you considering AID? Feel free to share this article with your healthcare team. For more information about AID systems that are currently available or in the pipeline, click here.

About Laurel

Laurel H. Messer is a nurse scientist and certified diabetes educator at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO. She has spent the last 15 years studying how to best utilize new diabetes technologies, and remembers fondly teaching families to wrap up their corded CGM system in a plastic shower bag for bathing. Ok, not that fondly, but look how far we have come! Dr. Messer works with the Barbara Davis Center PANTHER team (Practical Advanced Therapies for diabetes), conducting clinical research trials on promising technologies to make life better for children, adolescents, and adults living with type 1 diabetes. Get in touch at Laurel.Messer@cuanschutz.edu

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Shadow’s Edge: Video Game Designed to Help Kids Cope With Chronic Disease

Being a kid is hard enough as it is. Add in having a chronic disease and it can make those very special years potentially very isolating ones. Shadow’s Edge is a virtual reality game that allows children to process and express their feelings about their disease — or whatever else they may be going through. This mobile game can help change the experience of a serious diagnosis, or challenging times, by combining art therapy and cognitive behavior therapy and giving children a safe place to not feel so alone.

Action video games can help reduce depression in teens and Shadow’s Edge hopes to help bring positivity and community to those who need it most. Founder and philanthropist, Sherri Sabrato Brisson, is a brain cancer survivor who initially co-wrote a book, “Digging Deep: A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges ” with Rose Ofner, to help kids process their chronic disease or serious illness and it had great success. She then met Rosemary Lokhorst, who is now the game producer because of how much she loved the concept and that is how Shadow’s Edge was born.

Shadow’s Edge is a free and completely donation funded, virtual city that has just been overtaken by a storm, much like our lives after being hit with a diagnosis of some kind. The storm removes all the color from the city, much like our disease has the potential to take away some of our happiness…if we let it. The object of the game is to bring back the color to the city through writing and art, which helps empower the player to take on whatever it is they are going through.

Shadow's Edge

Photo credit: Shadow’s Edge

So far, Shadow’s Edge has worked with many organizations and university clinics in the US, Brazil and in Europe, focusing on kids and teens with cancer, and has received very good feedback, especially from doctors. Currently, they are running a complex research study nearby the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, with more than 100 kids testing Shadow’s Edge. So far, the results have been fantastic, and the game is helping these children build up the resilience to tackle the challenges they are facing.

I was able to chat with Sherri to find out more about Shadow’s Edge and their plans for the future.

Sheri, the journey you went through with brain cancer must have been so traumatic. Did writing your first book, Digging Deep: A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges, prove to be therapeutic? What about creating this game?

As a survivor, I can tell you, I know how difficult it was for me to even know how I was feeling at the time, let alone be able to express these feelings.

On my 25th anniversary of survivorship from brain cancer, I envisioned a world where every young patient has real-time access to the tools he or she needs to build emotional resilience through their experience.

I started by co-authoring Digging Deep: A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges, with Rose Offner, MA. I donated 35,000 journals to hospitals across the country, but it still wasn’t enough. So, we decided to meet young people right where they are—on their phones, playing games.

Seeing the success of your book shows that there is a need for resources and tools for people who have serious illnesses or a chronic condition. How do you think Shadow’s Edge can help fill that gap for our children?

Just like the physical journal, Shadow’s Edge helps teens build their emotional endurance to tackle the challenges they face through the power of their personal narrative. There are very few resources directed at teens today. Our aim is to meet them where they are – on their phones, playing games. So this time, teens are engaged through their medium—their phones or tablets—to express themselves through writing and now, covering a city in graffiti! Through gameplay, teen players realize they needn’t stay in their confined world—they have the power to reshape their world into whatever they choose. Through their expression, they can create beauty where there was once dilapidation: There can be light; There can be color; There can be hope. And, there can be a community.

“When starting to play Shadow’s Edge, a teen may not even know how they feel or what is troubling them. As they continue through their journey, they often discover they are at a different place emotionally in the end—there may be a sense of resolution, a greater understanding, a place of peace”.

I know for me personally, when I was diagnosed with type one diabetes, finding community changed everything for me. I was so much better off mentally and emotionally and had a much better outlook on my future. How does playing this video game help children connect with others? 

Yes – connection is key to build resilience and to feel better! Teens asked us for a space that is theirs only, where they can express things for themselves, as they are not always clear or ready to connect. Interestingly, this working with oneself helps to reach out. Additionally, the game has an in-game sharing space (once you reach the new level, Disillusionment). There you receive a means to see other players’ art and provide messages of support and where you can publish your graffitis. The community aspect is one that we are focusing on to expand – it is the key ask of players to build on.

I could see how the concept can be applicable to many different obstacles a child could be facing, what other areas are you focusing on and what do you hope to accomplish?

We are expanding the content so that teens facing a variety of difficult situations can benefit from it – these can be changes in the family like a divorce or death of a family member, bullying, anxiety, stress, depression, identity questions.

Shadow’s Edge has the potential to help so many children going through hardships. Where do you see Shadow’s Edge going from here?

We are working on expanding the community aspect of the game. We want to create a community around self-expression where teens facing all kinds of challenging situations can share, collaborate to create art, find psychoeducational content and just connect with each other.

As a brain cancer survivor, what message would you like to share with people facing a health battle of some kind? 

Your challenge does not define who you are, you define this. When you are ready, take an active role in opening up–every time you tell your story you tell it a little differently, this make you integrate it and see new perspectives. Practicing this also supports you to understand you are stronger than you think, getting comfortable with your story and owning it as a part of you, but not all of you.

Shadow’s Edge is available on both IOS and Android, and available in 6 languages.

They also have a special website dedicated to helping parents and healthcare professionals who are helping a young person with illnesses, see more information at www.diggingdeep.org.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Recipe Roundup: To Someone’s Heart Through Chocolates

It has long been a custom for people to give sweets to celebrate the month of love. Stats support this thoughtful gesture: People spent $1.7 billion on chocolates and candy alone in February 2017, according to the National Retail Federation.

This year, why not make your Valentine’s present extra special by preparing it yourself? If you’re up for this kitchen challenge, here are some diabetes-friendly recipes that will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

Photo credit: Brenda Bennett

Sugar-Free White Chocolate Bars

These white chocolate bars are sugar-free, low-carb, and quick to prepare. You can load them with dried cranberries or chopped nuts for more flavor. Brenda of Sugar-Free Mom notes that though this healthy alternative isn’t like the typical white chocolate in the market, it doesn’t mean it tastes any less delicious.

Photo credit: Jennifer Shun

Chocolate Pistachio Bark

Without a doubt, this nutritious chocolate pistachio bark will satisfy your sweet palate. For this recipe, Jennifer of For Good Measure uses dark chocolate, which is a good source of fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. The use of hemp seeds gives you a nutty texture as well as a protein boost.

Photo credit: Caroline Levens

Chocolate Low-Carb Muffins

Can you make something tasty with just three ingredients? Yes, Caroline of Caroline’s Keto Kitchen proves that with her moist muffins. All you need is a chocolate cake mix, some canned pumpkin, and egg white, and you have a fabulous treat for your loved ones. If the taste seems too simple, you can add chocolate chips on top.

Photo credit: Lisa Marcaurele

No-Bake Keto Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

If you plan to give some treats to someone who loves peanut butter, then look no further. These bars were inspired by a recipe Lisa of Low-Carb Yum learned how to make in middle school Home Economics class. “It’s great to be able to enjoy the same taste in a much healthier version of the no-bake peanut butter bars,” she said.

Photo credit: Lisa Marshall

Abuelita’s Chocolate Truffles

Compared to the recipes above, preparing these truffles take a longer process, but in the end, it is all worth it. Lisa of 24/7 Low-Carb Diner used cinnamon, coffee, and roasted peanuts for a distinctive bite. After making the flavorful mixture, you can roll them into balls and then wrap them up as a gift for someone who loves chocolate but does not need sugar overload. If rolling is too messy for you, you can use it as a pie filling.

Which chocolate recipes do you like baking for yourself, family or friends? We’d love to read them in the comments.

Recipe Roundup_ To Someone’s Heart Through Chocolates

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Creamy Brussels Bake

This content originally appeared on Butter Is Not a Carb. Republished with permission.

I think Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that are very versatile and easy to prepare, yet people often avoid them. When they are tender, either by roasting or even steaming, they are absolutely delicious.  This recipe turns them into an absolute comfort food, so much so that you and your guests will forget they are low-carb, high-fat approved.

Creamy Brussels Bake

Turn Brussels sprouts into this easy-to-prepare side dish for some creamy and cheesy goodness. It's low-carb, high-fat comfort food everyone will love.

  • 1.5 lbs fresh Brussels sprouts ((24oz))
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup full fat mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded )
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion (diced)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash the Brussels sprouts; remove stems and chop either in half or in thirds depending on size (pieces should be bite-sized).
  3. Dice the onion into small pieces.
  4. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for about 40 seconds; add mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, onions, salt and pepper.
  5. Add Brussels sprouts and stir gently to combine.
  6. Lightly spray a pie dish (or other shallow baking dish) with non-stick spray. Evenly spread Brussels sprouts mixture.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes uncovered; turn on the broiler for 3 additional minutes to brown the top.

9g net carbs

I highly recommend using a shallow baking dish for this recipe. The sprouts will cook evenly and brown up much better than they would in a deeper baking dish.

Creamy Brussels Bake Recipe

Source: diabetesdaily.com

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