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Category Archives: Diabetes

Right now one million Canadians have Type 2 diabetes and do not know it.  That statement is from the Canadian Diabetes Association Website (www.diabetes.ca).  Diabetes is a growing epidemic and health concern.  There are new treatments and resources available to help manage diabetes.

Bayer and Roche have new meters recently available.  Bayer has a meter called the Didget.  This meter is aimed at kids and rewards them for good monitoring habits.  It comes with games and connects to the Nintendo DS or Ds Lite System.  Patients can get this through their local diabetes education centre or specialist.  Another new meter is called the A1C Now Selfcheck.  This meter captures the three month average of a patient’s glycosylated hemoglobin.  This is close to lab results that your doctor sees and gives patients a very good idea how well controlled their diabetes is.  This test can now be performed at certain pharmacies that have this meter.

Roche’s new meter is called the Accu-Chek Mobile.  This meter uses strip-free testing.  Instead of inserting individual test strips for each blood test a cartridge is inserted which is good for 50 separate tests.  The benefit of this machine is the elimination of strip handling which can be difficult for people with arthritis, Parkinson’s or other dexterity issues.  This machine is free for Humalog or Novorapid insulin users since they must test their blood sugar more often.

There is new medication available as well. Victoza is a relatively new product on the market.  This medication is for patients with type 2 diabetes.  This is a non-insulin, once-daily, injectable  medication, that can help improve blood sugar and has been shown to be able to provide the additional benefit of weight loss.  This medication may used alone or with other medications such as Metformin.  Other similar medications to this will be on the market shortly.  You can call your insurance company to see if this medication would be covered for you.

Besides additional products on the market there are also additional services available for diabetics.  Pharmacists can provide a diabetes medication consult, free to the patient, paid for by the Ministry of Health, and an unlimited number of diabetes follow-ups.  These consults can involve the pharmacist explaining medications, insulin use, and glucometers.  The pharmacist can also use the A1CNow meter and check your average three month blood sugar.  Pharmacists can also provide referrals to diabetic community services and web resources that are available to patients.

If you have diabetes, or are concerned that you may be at risk please call the pharmacy and book an appointment today.

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Diabetes is a disease where treatment, management, and patient outcomes, are affected to a great extent by how well the patient understands how to manage their disease.  The better a patient is able to manage their blood sugar the less likely they will suffer complications of their disease such as, vision problems, heart disease, kidney problems, and neuropathy.

Patients need to understand their blood sugar readings in order to correctly manage their disease.  For people without diabetes a normal fasting blood sugar should fall somewhere between 4 and 7 mmol/L.  After a meal, blood sugar will naturally rise but then should begin to fall as the body processes the food.  If a person’s blood sugar remains high, and is consistently above 7 mmol/L, it begins to adversely affect the body in the ways mentioned above.

Technology today in the form of glucose monitors allows a patient to check their blood sugar on a regular basis.  They are then able to respond to their blood sugar readings.  In most cases this may mean adjusting medication or diet to help lower blood sugar.  In some cases it may indicate low blood sugar which can also be a serious condition.  There are a number of different types of glucose monitors available.  They all require a small sample of blood each time a test is performed.

The machines are all very similar in terms of accuracy but some have slightly different features which may make one machine more suitable for certain patients.  If your doctor has advised you to get a machine your pharmacist can help you decide which machine is most appropriate for you.  If you have health insurance which includes prescription drug coverage the glucose monitors are free with a prescription for the test strips.   Glucose monitors require test strips along with lancets (small needles) to get your blood samples.  Sometimes the lancets are not covered by patient’s insurance.  If you have a prescription your pharmacy can try to bill them through to your drug plan to see if they will be covered.  Otherwise 100 lancets cost approximately 10 to 15 dollars.  The test strips and lancets are not interchangeable from company to company.  For example if you have a machine made by Bayer you need lancets and test strips made for that machine.

The machines are fairly easy to use.  If you need a machine your pharmacist should be able to provide you with a demonstration that will help to explain how to use it.

For people who use insulin, they also require needles.  Some people will manually draw up the number of units they need with a regular needle, others use insulin pens.  The type of pen used depends on the type of insulin a patient is taking.  The pens are free however patients must purchase the pen needles to go along with these devices.  Sometimes insurance will cover the cost, depending on the plan.

Insulin pens have not changed much in the past few years but there is a new pen made by Eli Lilly Canada that is slightly different.  It is called the Memoir pen.  The dial on this pen is digital and it can call up the time you administered your last dose of insulin.   This pen is only available at select pharmacies.  Please contact us if you would like more information.

Pharmacists can provide a wealth of information regarding diabetes management.  Please come and see us if you have any questions about the disease or the tools needed for its management.