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Like insulin, glucagon is a hormone made in the pancreas. But the two hormones have opposite effects – insulin lowers blood sugar, while glucagon raises it. This means glucagon can be used to treat an episode of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in diabetics.
Severe hypoglycemia is rare in most insulin dependent diabetics, but can cause a loss of consciousness and should be considered a medical emergency. Type 1 diabetics are advised to have a glucagon kit on or near them at all times, as are the parents and caregivers of children with diabetes.
About.com diabetes coach Gary Gilles has written a valuable guide to treating severe low blood sugar with glucagon, describing when and how glucagon should be used. Glucagon is administered as an injection, but unlike an insulin injection, it should be injected deep into the muscle.
To read Gilles’ article on About.com, >Click Here.<
Sensors for Medicine and Science Inc (SMSI) is developing a new approach to glucose monitoring that promises to be a long-awaited improvement over present methods, which typically require several finger prick blood tests a day. This inconvenient and uncomfortable method of collecting blood samples results in many diabetics not testing their blood sugar as often as they should.
The new glucose monitoring method involves a small sensor that is implanted under the skin. The sensor automatically monitors glucose levels every few minutes, and transmits the information wirelessly to a small wrist-watch-like external reader. The sensor will also warn the wearer of an impending episode of low or high blood sugar.
The sensor would be of obvious benefit to insulin dependent diabetics whose diabetes is not well controlled or whose blood sugar levels swing unpredictably. It would also be ideal for children with diabetes.
Sensors for Medicine and Science will be presenting the results of a successful pilot study of the glucose monitor at the next meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. “Based on the promising results obtained,” says CEO Tim Goodnow, PhD, “We plan to initiate more clinical trials in the very near future.”
The company also hopes to collaborate on artificial pancreas research, with many questions to be answered.
A simple home urine test has been developed which can measure if patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are producing their own insulin. The urine test replaces multiple blood tests in hospital and can be sent by mail, as it is stable for up to three days at room temperature. Avoiding blood tests will be a particular advantage for children with diabetes.
The urine test measures if patients are still making their own insulin even if they take insulin injections. Researchers have shown that the test can be used to differentiate Type 1 diabetes from Type 2 diabetes and from rare genetic forms of diabetes.
One woman with a genetic form of diabetes whose urine test revealed that she was still making her own insulin was able to stop taking insulin injections after 14 years of insulin treatment. To read more about this promising home urine test on ScienceDaily, >CLICK HERE.<
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children, and the incidence of juvenile diabetes is growing. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 215,000 children and youth have diabetes. Most of them are type 1 diabetics, but more children are being diagnosed with type 2. This increase in type 2 diabetes in children is being attributed to poor diet, not enough physical activity, and resulting weight gain.
A new blood sugar meter designed for kids can actually make glucose testing fun. The Bayer Didget Meter has a five second testing time, a large easy to read screen, and a selectable post meal reminder to prompt children to test their blood sugar levels after eating.
Perhaps its best element is the feature that it adds a fun factor for children who glucose test regularly by rewarding them with free Nintendo DS games. To see a picture of and read more about the Bayer Didget Meter on diabetic live, >CLICK HERE.<
Unfortunately, the easiest way to measure long-term glucose levels to diagnose diabetes in children – the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test, may not be the most effective method.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics comparing HbA1c screening and the fasting plasma glucose test (which must be administered after an 8 hour fast) warns that the HbA1c test is less sensitive in children than it is in adults.
“You don’t want to rely on just this test to diagnose a child with diabetes,” says pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Joyce Lee, “The HbA1c test just doesn’t perform as well in children as it does in adults.” Lee worries that cases of diabetes in children could be missed, and advices the test be used only in conjunction with other tests to diagnose juvenile diabetes.
The HbA1c test is quite accurate in adults, but it’s believed that changing hormone levels could skew the results in boys and girls. Although more difficult to administer, the glucose tolerance test is still the “gold standard” to detect diabetes in children, says Dr. Gerald Bernstein of the Beth Israel Medical Centre’s Friedman Diabetes Institute.
To read more about the latest information on diagnosing children with diabetes on WebMD, >CLICK HERE.<