Thursday, March 26, 2015

Can you hear me?

Silent Sam was sitting innocently watching the morning news.
Can I take a picture? Let's just say that he was not a willing victim.

In the past, I have written about how diabetes affects the feet, the eyes, and the teeth.  Now I have been reading about diabetes affecting the hearing. 

A recent study found that “hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease.”

The Better Hearing Institute reports that younger people with diabetes were at an even greater risk of having some hearing loss.  Hearing loss in people over 60 with diabetes was 1.58 times higher than the normal population.The rate jumped to 2.61 times higher in the diabetic population under the age of 60. 

There does not seem to be any conclusive answer why hearing seems to be affected by diabetes.  It is possible that as a result of poor blood glucose level management that the small blood vessels in the ears are affected.  But this is an area that needs more research.

What does this mean to you?

If you have diabetes, then you should also talk to your physician about having your hearing checked.  It is thought that such a check can help you watch for signs of hearing loss.  Hearing loss can have a profound affect on your health.  Think of it this way, if you can’t hear well, you might not want to go out in public where you won’t be able to hear others talk.  Also, it is frustrating to have to ask people to repeat themselves all the time.  All this can lead you to withdraw from your social life. 

An audiologist giving a hearing exam. 

What should I do if I think I have hearing loss?

You should get your hearing checked.  This will tell you if you have a hearing loss. (A family story – My mother was sure my father suffered from hearing loss.  She nagged him until he went and had his hearing checked.  His hearing was fine!  He was diagnosed with “selective hearing”.  It has been a family joke ever since.)

If you do have hearing loss that could be helped with hearing aids, get them and use them.  I know from having a relative with hearing aids that using them can be a hard adjustment. Please make the effort.  It will be to your benefit to be able to hear better. 

My hearing is fine but what can I do to protect it?

First of all, maintaining good control over your blood sugar level is an important step for your overall health. One of the studies indicated that women between the ages of 60 –75 who had good control over their diabetes had better hearing than their counterparts with poor control.  Maintaining good control over your diabetes will make a huge difference in not just your hearing but in your entire physical condition. 

The other part of maintaining good hearing is using ear protection.  Everyone is at risk of having some hearing loss due to noise.  Carry ear plugs with you for when you find yourself in a high level of noise.  Make sure you don’t have your personal devices (phone, MP3 player, tablet) turned up too high.  Limit your use of ear buds.  If you find yourself in a situation where there are loud noises, walk away from that situation. 

Taking care of your hearing is important to your social well being.  Please take the time to talk to your doctor about your hearing. Have you had your hearing checked?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

There is an app for that.

How often have you heard the saying “There’s an app for that.”  These days there are “apps” for everything and sometimes that is a really good thing. (Except of course for the really terrible apps.  I read about one that was Christmas at the Dentists which had ads throughout for a funeral home. Such holiday cheer!)

I was reading today about a company by the name of Glooko. The company makes a device that can sync to your phone to download all the information from your glucose meter.  It can sync from over 30+ of the current meters on the market. It will not only download the information but it can put it in graph form.  It can also sync to your fitness devices like Fitbit to incorporate your fitness into your blood sugar monitoring so you can see the direct affect that your exercising has on your levels. 

The reason that Glooko is in the news is because they  have picked up some major funding to work on their next product.  They want to make an app that will connect to wireless meters and glucose pumps.  They have gotten major funding from several sources including the medical device maker, Medtronic.  In the article, it states the Glooko has picked up $16.5 million dollars in financing from various sources, including Medtronic, for the new product.

There is also an interesting article and video about the current device from ABC 7 News.
I think it is really great that there is work being done to help people manage diabetes better.  Anything that can help will mean better and longer lives. 

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Daylight Savings Time

So, just to complicate our lives, Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday.  Yes, it is the curse of the “spring forward” at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. 

I don’t know about you but I have been feeling extremely upbeat about the days being longer.  There is nothing more depressing than getting up in the dark and leaving work in the dark. 

I will admit, only to you, that I have more trouble with the time change than I should. According to one school of thought, it should take you one day per hour to adjust to a time change.  I think that means that on Monday, you should be be adjusted.  That is not the case for me and I am sure I am not alone. I have read that there are more car accidents on that Monday morning than other Monday mornings. 

So, you might want to get to bed a bit earlier on Sunday night and not try and rush off so early on Monday.  Make sure you are really awake before heading out to work.  With all those groggy people heading into to work, maybe the thing to do is to have a dance party first thing Monday morning so that people wake up when they start their work day. 

(Okay, I am having too much fun imagining that.  How about you?  Are you smiling?)

Happy time change!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Organization - Your Medicines

Last week I talked about having a medical information binder.  It can not only save you time but it could also be a lifesaver.

This week, let's look at your medications.

Should you keep your medications in the bathroom?

This is something that we all do that we shouldn't. Your bathroom has temperature and humidity changes that are not the best for your medications.  It is far better to keep them stored out of the sunlight and where the temperature is relatively constant. And if you are like me, somewhere that you will remember to take them!

One of the ideas that I like is to keep your medicines all together in a plastic bin.  There are all sizes and price points available these days.  I was looking at the web site for the Container Store and saw some that might do the trick.  They even have a handle so that you can just pick up and go when you are traveling. Also with the lid on the box, it is easier to keep it away from your pets.

The sides are translucent but the top is clear so you can easily look in it.
Disposal of unused medications 

Somehow every time I go to clean out my medicine cabinet, I find unused prescription medicine.  Now you know that these days you are not supposed to throw those medicines in the waste basket.  But do you know what to do with them?  I found a web site that will direct you to the closest pharmacy that will take back the drugs for proper disposal.  You can go to Dispose My Meds and click in the upper right hand corner on the word "locator" and then fill in your zip code.  It will then show you where you can go in your area.  Also, check with your town.  Where I live, we can take old prescription medicines and sharps to town hall for disposal.

Prescriptions for controlled substances have federal guidelines for disposal.  Those guidelines are as follows:

1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers. 

2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.

3. Put this mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a seal-able bag. 

4. Remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the empty containers. You can cover the label with black permanent marker or duct tape, or scratch it off .

 5. Place the sealed container with the mixture, and the empty drug containers, in the trash. 

We sometimes forget to take medicine. It is not out of the ordinary for me to put reminders in strategic places.  

Just a little reminder hidden away!

Of course the other thing you can do is use the alarm function on your cell phone.  That is an easy way to remind yourself.

I hope you have a great weekend!  Take care!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Organizing to Make Diabetes Easier

We all know that eating in a healthy way and exercising are an important part of diabetes care. But are there other things that can impact our care?

Of course our mental state and thoughts about the disease made a difference. It is felt that one of the things that can help is to have our physical space set up so that we can easily find supplies and remember to use them.

IMG_3008 (2)
I probably should not admit that my desk looks this messy

This month in Diabetes Forecast, the magazine of the American Diabetes Association, there is an article on de-cluttering and organizing to make your home a bit more diabetes friendly. It just so happened that I have been thinking about cleaning out and de-cluttering my work space. I am beginning to think that perhaps some of my occasional dread and unproductiveness could be due to the amount of stuff I seem to have collected on my work desk. It all starts innocently enough. I have several piles around the desk. One pile is bills that need to be paid, one pile is either correspondence that I have not responded to yet or articles that I want to read. There is yet another pile that is special offers that have come in the mail. (Hate to miss those specials, right?) Along with the other things that can just accumulate on my desk, it means that I end up working in a smaller and smaller area. This does affect my attitude toward my work. The more that accumulates, the less I want to work and the quicker I am distracted from my work. So, I will have to take time to clean off my desk. And let me add the word “AGAIN”. I seem to be able to conquer the clutter beast only to be faced with it again in a few months. While it is disheartening, it just seems to be the way it goes.

Silent Sam      Medical            Info

But is there a way to de-clutter or organize to make dealing with diabetes easier? Yes, it seem that there are things that you can do to help yourself. One of the first things that the author talks about is having a binder where you keep all your medical/emergency information. I think that having such a binder is a great idea. First of all when you are going to the doctor, you can just grab the binder and take it with you so that you have all the information on hand to give the doctor. Also, if you have to go to the hospital, you have all the current information right at hand.

One section of the binder can be a contact list all your doctors, pharmacy, and any other members of your diabetes team.  You will want the name, specialty, and phone number included.  You might even include a copy of your insurance card. 

Silent Sam

There could also be a section that has a list of all your current medications. Depending upon the type of organizer you are, you might want to keep the receipt from the pharmacy that gives the name of the medication, the prescriber, and the date you had it filled in the binder. If you don’t want to have the receipts there, you could just have a list but you will need to update the list each time you refill or get new medications. (This is a moment where I would suggest to you to use the KISS* method.  Make it as easy as possible to keep up as possible.  If you are thinking of keeping a list, do a bit of soul searching as to whether or not you will really keep the list up.) With the pharmacy that we use, you can go on line and print out a list of your prescription records. You can just print and insert into the binder whenever you get a new or refill prescription. 

Silent Sam List of Medicines

I would also keep a general calendar of when you have doctor’s appointments. By this I mean a page that has all 12 months on it and you note what months you are due to see part of your diabetes team. You could then put actual appointments in the correct month. When you go to the doctor and are asked when you are due to see another one of the team, you can look in your binder and it will be all mapped out.  Also, one look at the first of the month and you can tell if you need to make an appointment to see one of your doctors.

You might want to have a section that indicates where to find your medications in the house.

Also, a section with some general information about how to recognize and treat diabetes related problems like hypoglycemia.

I think that having such a binder is a great idea. How easy to just grab the binder on the way to the doctor's or the hospital. (Think of how impressed they will be with your organizational skills!)

The most important thing is to keep up the information. Part of being able to keep the information current is to have it in a convenient place. You need to think about where to keep the binder. The location would depend upon how you do things in your house. I know that when we pick up a prescription, it ends up on the dining room table and then the medicine is removed from the bag and put in the bathroom or on the dining room table (so we will remember to take the medicine). For us, getting the receipt in the binder would be best if it was in the dining room but we don’t really have a place to put it there. So the next best place is in the kitchen. It could go by the cookbooks. As long as where you keep it makes keeping it up to date as easy as possible for you.

Next week some other organizational ideas!

Thanks for reading!

*KISS method – Keep It Simple Stupid an acronym used by the U. S. Navy.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Valentine’s Day Dilemma

Here it is roaring up on us – Valentine’s Day.  That day of hearts and love and PRESSURE.


I sometimes wonder if there are more people who love Valentine’s Day or if there are more that dread it.  I also wonder if a greater share of men dislike the day.

Silent Sam and I do not celebrate events in a big way.  We usually get cards (one funny and one serious) and then sometimes a gift and sometimes not.  This is a year that we are not exchanging gifts for Valentine’s Day. 

But I was wondering about gifts that would not be the usual flowers or candy.  So, if you are looking for some ideas, I have a couple for you. 

1.  I received the following gift a few weeks ago and I thought it was really cool. 


It is a jar with 31 little envelopes.  Each envelope has an inspirational card in it.  The gift is available from 1-800 Flowers.  Here is a link to it.

2.  My next idea actually goes back to my high school days.  One year I gave the love of my life a keychain engraved with our initials.  His on one side and mine on the other.  My girlfriend thought is was a great idea and she did it too.  Her gift was infinitely more humorous since her initials were “VD” and his were “BS”. Still it was a nice gift. You can check your local jewelry store or here.


You are right, I just love telling that story.

3.  The American Diabetes Association has many items available that not only can help you but you are also donating via your purchase. Their shop is located here.

4.  I have talked about medic alert bracelets before.  It is nice that you can find cool ones to wear.  If you need one or want to look at an interesting selections you might want to check out Lauren’s Hope Medical I D jewelry.

5.  Another type of gift is to make a donation to an organization that helps people with diabetes.  I have just heard about an organization that looks like it deserves your attention.  It is called Spare a Rose Save a Child

spare a rose

Those are just a few ideas for you to use to celebrate Valentine’s Day without flowers or chocolate.  Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Add subtitle text

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rustic Vegetable Soup

I know, three weeks of recipes in a row.  But I have found these soup recipes to be a great addition to our meal repertoire. Although I will admit that when Silent Sam looks at me on Saturday morning (pre-grocery shopping) and asks what I am going to make for Sunday soup night, I feel a bit snarly. (What? Try something new AGAIN?

Truth be told, I really hate making something and having it not work out.  I really bugs me.  So this whole try out new soup recipes thing is a bit hard for me.  Maybe that is why I am such a bad cook.  Maybe if I tried more, I would learn what would work and what does not work.  It is a good thought but I don’t think it is going to happen.

Today’s recipe is from the Crock Pot: Diabetic Recipes cookbook.  This cookbook has crock pot recipes and it touts that every recipe is 350 calories or less.  If you would like a copy, you can click on the picture above and it will take you directly to Amazon.  You might find it a good investment for $3.90. (plus shipping)

Completely off subject, I did want you to know that the Crock Pot is 75 years old.  That is right, brides have been getting crock pots for that long.  The venerable appliance is enjoying a resurgence of popularity these days. Apparently, you can even buy them with NFL logos on the sides.  They appear to be very expensive though…
seahawks crock pot
Rustic Vegetable Soup
Serves 8


1 jar (16 oz) Picante Sauce
1 package (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables
1 package (10 oz) frozen cut green beans
1 can (about 10 oz.) condensed beef broth, undiluted
1-2 baking potatoes, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1 medium green pepper chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

We used mild picante sauce and think that was just fine.  Also, the original recipe calls for the vegetables to be thawed.  I am not sure why but I did not thaw them.  I did use the Birds Eye Steamfresh mix that has carrots, corn, and asparagus.  The asparagus did not come out well in this soup.  (I used it last week with no problem but it came out stiff in this recipe.) So you might want to not use that particular blend. 

Also, we could not find condensed beef broth.  I used regular beef broth and it worked out well. In contrast to some soup recipes, this one does not have a lot of fluid; it is not real “soupy”.  It is a lot of vegetables, potatoes, and peppers with some broth. 

Although the recipe calls for eight servings, we only had four servings. 

Take all the ingredients EXCEPT the parsley and put them in the crock pot.  I mixed them up a bit.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. 

Stir in the parsley just before serving. 

I did not use the parsley.  I sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese over the top.  Okay,since the soup is so low in calories, I was willing to add a few calories. 

Nutritional Information
Calories – 80, Total fat – 0 g., Saturated Fat - 0 g., Protein – 3 g., Carbohydrate – 16g., Cholesterol – 0 mg., Fiber – 4 g., Sodium 540 mg.

I hope that you enjoy these soup recipes as much as we have.  It has been a nice change for our Sunday night suppers.

Thanks for reading!