Bits and Pieces of This and That

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It isn’t spring, but it sure is cleaning time, at least as far as my files are concerned. I run across tidbits of this and that which appear at first to be good blog fodder, but can’t always seem to figure out how to make a full blog entry from it. So I end up filing it away for another day when inspiration hits. So far, inspiration is staying far, far away.

Or I start to write something, get sidetracked to another subject, then can’t figure out where I was going with the original stuff. (I’m in mentalpause.)

Therefore, I have gone into my little electronic folder, gathered up some thoughts written on the equivalent of gum wrappers, cocktail napkins, and backs of envelopes, and present a blog entry comprised of bits and pieces to you. These are pretty much all from the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) meeting in St. Louis last month.


I had a bite of some pretty awesome chocolate cake at AADE . Exhibitors there will frequently put out food, whether it’s a sample of the company’s offerings or just a treat. In the case of the chocolate cake, it was made from gluten-free pancake mix sold by the exhibitor, Maple Grove Farms ( The chocolate cake recipe wasn’t on the Web site, but there were some other goodies using the gluten-free pancake mix as a base.

Hodgson Mill ( was also playing up its gluten-free offerings with a list of product offerings, a page of recipes, and promoting the fact that its cookbook contains gluten-free recipes.

People with celiac disease are allergic to gluten, which is a protein that’s found in wheat and some other grains. Eating gluten causes inflammation that can destroy the lining of the small intestine. That, in turn, reduces absorption of nutrients.

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1 in 250 people in the general population have celiac. In those with Type 1 diabetes, however, the incidence is 1 in 20. People with celiac don’t always have symptoms, so the best bet is to have a blood test that checks for antibodies. Further testing, if needed, involves taking a snip from the small intestine.

While I don’t know a lot about celiac, it seems that more places are making it easier for those who need to eat a gluten-free diet. As an illustration, six of us went out to dinner one night during AADE and we had three menus among us: standard, vegetarian, and gluten-free.


“True or false,” William H. Polonsky, Ph.D., C.D.E., said to an audience at AADE: “Diabetes is the leading cause of (all kinds of dreadful things.)”

“False!” he answered. “Poorly controlled diabetes is the leading cause of (all kinds of dreadful things). Well-controlled diabetes is the leading cause of…nothing.”


Overheard during a vendor-sponsored program: “Do I get a gift if I stay through the class?”


Wanna know what your risks are for getting, oh, a heart attack, stroke, foot and eye problems, and such? Go for your Diabetes PHD. No, it’s not a graduate program. PHD, which stands for Personal Health Decisions, is a risk assessment tool.

What you do is click here and create your personal health record. Using a mathematical model called Archimedes, PHD will then show what your current risk is for all kinds of things. You can then change some of variables in your profile to find out what the effects of, say, smoking cessation or weight loss would be on your risks.

Have as much of the following information at hand as you can:

  • Basic personal information (age, weight, sex, etc.)
  • Basic family health history (if anyone had diabetes or heart disease)
  • Blood pressure level
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Fasting glucose level
  • HbA1c (if you have diabetes)
  • Health history (whether you smoke, how active you are, whether you’ve had certain health problems like a heart attack or stroke)
  • Current drugs related to diabetes, blood pressure, or cholesterol

One of these days I may get up the nerve to get my Diabetes PHD. Actually, it’s more like one of these days I’ll get around to looking up all that information.


And one item unrelated to AADE: If you have diabetes and want to fast on Yom Kippur (or any occasion that calls for fasting), a good information source is While the emphasis is on dealing with diabetes while observing Jewish law, there is information there that is applicable to anyone.


I went to my endocrinologist a couple of weeks ago. I think he’s the greatest, but sometimes he tends not to hear what I’m saying. That day, he sent in a student for me to play with. When Doc came back into the examining room, he and Baby Doc began poring over my continuous glucose monitor printout, tsking over my not-so-terrific daily pie charts toward the top of the page…and totally ignoring the ones toward the bottom that were just fine.

Muttering about what adjustments to have me make in my insulin dose, they were ignoring my sputtering “but, but, but”s until I more or less went “FWEE!”

“Look,” I said as I jabbed my finger down the row of pie charts: “Chicago, Chicago, Chicago; New York, New York, New York; deadlines, deadlines, deadlines; Whew! Normal, normal, normal. See? It’s all good.”

“Oh,” they said. “No changes.”

Don’t ever be bashful about speaking up. Even when you’re outnumbered by doctors two to one.

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