Barring a miracle, there probably won’t be a cure within the next 10 years. So we know that managing our diabetes well is the only option if we want to live a long and healthy life.
This is the premise behind CDE and author Gary Scheiner’s latest work, Until There’s A Cure: The Latest and Greatest in Diabetes Self-Care. While his previous book, Think Like a Pancreas, was strictly geared toward those on insulin, his new book released Feb. 26 can be applied to a more general audience (although it’s still heavily skewed toward type 1 diabetes). Gary walks us through the latest ideas, tools and technologies that can help us better manage diabetes. As he explains, “When a cure does finally come along — and it will — I want to be in the best of health and have no regrets about the effort I put in.”
Many of us may think of diabetes management as “complication prevention,” which is typically seen as anything negative down the line, which becomes more likely the longer you have diabetes. It can be hard to get motivated to “all the right things” day-in and day-out when the consequences are so far off.
But Gary points out that there are several immediate benefits to taking control of your diabetes now, including increased energy, better sleep, stable moods and emotions, and also personal safety! High blood sugar, Gary writes, can cause sleepiness, and hypoglycemia will cause some degree of mental impairment. Extreme blood sugars take away from your ability to be, well… you! Personally, I can attest that this is the effect Highs and Lows have for me — and I’m sure it’s similar for anyone living with diabetes.
If you’ve ever met Gary, you’ll quickly learn that he is quite the technology buff. He’s tried out every insulin pump and CGM (continuous glucose monitor) on the market, and even took to wearing an extra insulin pump filled with Symlin for a while. So you’d think most of this book on the latest and greatest would focus on technology. Well, you’d be wrong. Gary actually organizes the book around three key areas: nutrition, exercise, and mental health — what he calls the cornerstones of diabetes management. He breaks down the importance of hot topics like the Glycemic Index, why we should all get exercise, and how depression and stress can affect our blood sugars.
Of course, he does delve into D-technology! The book provides a comprehensive, yet very concise overview of the technologies we depend on — insulin pumps, glucose monitors and CGMs. He gives a quick synopsis of the pro’s and con’s, and what’s required to get and use these items.
He also gives us an excellent overview of current medications — insulins, oral drugs, and new injectible drugs like Victoza. Gary even provides some new ways of thinking about our standard diabetes medication, which came as a surprise to me. Did you know that some folks are actually using NPH to offset the peakless action of Lantus? Although NPH is a crappy old-school insulin to use as standard background insulin, it does have a peak that can help counteract any dawn phenomenon effects — unlike Lantus, which is a flat-line basal insulin without the power to counteract those morning BG jumps. So, new isn’t always better in every respect.
Gary explains that some type 2 drugs, like Victoza and metformin, can also be very beneficial for people with type 1 diabetes, even though those meds will never eliminate our need for insulin. I’ve had personal experience using metformin with great success, and Gary himself has used Victoza and Symlin to manage his diabetes because of the effects they have on stabilizing post-prandial glucose levels and suppressing the appetite.
So although insulin will remain ever-present, you might be surprised at what your other options may include! Sometimes it can be hard to get an endocrinologist or CDE to listen to an idea when it comes from “the Internet,” (or some book promoted there), but Gary will give you plenty of workable justification from a legit source.
Who here gets totally overwhelmed when looking at all the squiggly lines of blood sugar graphs? In his chapter on glucose monitoring, Gary gives the “lowdown on downloads” and shares some of his tips on how to interpret statistical graphs. As someone who always gets overwhelmed by the onslaught of lines and numbers, I found this section very helpful. Now I know which graph will help me identify what kinds of trends!
The book closes out with a brief chapter on treating diabetes complications, which we have also covered extensively in our 411 series here at the ‘Mine, as well as a hefty Resource chapter that includes a long list of great websites. It’s always great to see a CDE recognizing the power of the Diabetes Online Community.
If you’re an “engaged patient,” you’ll likely be familiar with much of what Gary writes — although at just about 140 pages, it’s the most compact overview we’ve seen of “everything that matters” for PWDs. If you’re newly diagnosed or a “born-again” diabetic just now returning to better management, this book will quickly get you caught up to speed. Or perhaps you are a family member or friend looking for an easy-to-read “everything but the kitchen sink” guide to diabetes. If so, this is it — written so concisely and engagingly that you’ll be able to breeze right through it.
Not only is Gary a CDE, but he’s also been living with type 1 diabetes for more than 25 years, so he knows what our concerns are, not just from a medical standpoint but also practically. Gary was my CDE for a few years while I was in college; his remote services (sessions over the phone or Skype) are fantastic, but of course not feasible for everyone. If you’re interested in hearing what a great CDE who really “gets it” wants you to know about diabetes, then this book is an awesome resource.
The DMBooks Giveaway
1. Post your comment below and include the codeword “DMBooks” somewhere in the the text to let us know that you’d like to be entered in the giveaway.
2. You have until Friday, March 8, 2013, at 5 p.m. PST to enter. A valid email address is required to win.
3. The winner will be chosen using Random.org.
4. The winner will be announced on Facebook and Twitter on Monday, March 11, 2013, so make sure you’re following us! We’ll update this blog post with the winner’s name once chosen. NOTE: Last week’s winner of a free copy of Sugar Free Journey was Nikki Brickman. Congrats!
The contest is open to all. Good luck!
Update: This contest is now closed. Congrats to Tom Beatson, who was chosen by Random.org as the giveaway winner!