Thursday, November 22, 2012

Patient Assistance Programs: Saving Money on Your Diabetes Medicine

Patient assistance programs, or prescription support programs, can make prescription drugs more affordable for consumers. Patient assistance programs are funded by pharmaceutical companies and government agencies to help qualified patients get prescription medicines for free or at a significantly reduced cost. Most patient assistance programs require that an individual be uninsured or under-insured and have a low income in order to qualify for free or discount medications.

Diabetes Supplies: How to Get Help

Diabetes care is best provided by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals with expertise in diabetes, working in collaboration with the patient and family. Management includes the following:
· Appropriate goal setting
· Dietary and exercise modifications
· Medications
· Appropriate self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG)
· Regular monitoring for complications
· Laboratory assessment
Ideally, blood glucose should be maintained at near-normal levels (preprandial levels of 90-130 mg/dL and hemoglobin A1C [HbA1c] levels < 7%). However, focus on glucose alone does not provide adequate treatment for patients with diabetes mellitus. Treatment involves multiple goals (ie, glycemia, lipids, blood pressure).

Pregnant with Diabetes

What can be done to prevent health problems related to diabetes during pregnancy?

1. Plan your pregnancy. If you have diabetes, it is very important for you to get your body ready before you get pregnant. If you are already pregnant, see your doctor right away.

2. See your doctor. Your doctor needs to look at the effects that diabetes has had on your body already, talk with you about getting and keeping control of your blood sugar, change medications if needed, and plan for frequent follow up.

3. Monitor your blood sugar often. Pregnancy affects your blood sugar control. You will probably need to check your blood sugar more often than when you are not pregnant. Talk with your doctor about how often to check your blood sugar.

4. Take your medications on time. If medications are ordered by a doctor, take them as directed.

5. Control and treat low blood sugar quickly. Having tight blood sugar control can lead to a chance of low blood sugar at times. Keep a ready source of sugar, such as glucose tablets or gel or hard candy, on hand at all times. Talk with your doctor about how to treat low blood sugar.

6. Follow up with the doctor regularly. You will need to see your doctor more often than a pregnant woman without diabetes. Together, you can work with your doctor to prevent or catch problems early.

7. If you had gestational diabetes, talk with your doctor about getting your blood sugar checked after delivery and every 1 - 3 years. About half of all women who had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later.

For more information please click here

Diabetes: What About My Baby

If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may be at increased risk of:

1. Excessive birth weight. Extra glucose in your bloodstream crosses the placenta, which triggers your baby's pancreas to make extra insulin. This can cause your baby to grow too large (macrosomia). Very large babies are more likely to become wedged in the birth canal, sustain birth injuries or require a C-section birth.

2. Early (preterm) birth and respiratory distress syndrome. A mother's high blood sugar may increase her risk of going into labor early and delivering her baby before its due date. Or her doctor may recommend early delivery because the baby is growing so large. Babies born early may experience respiratory distress syndrome — a condition that makes breathing difficult. Babies with this syndrome may need help breathing until their lungs mature and become stronger. Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes may experience respiratory distress syndrome even if they're not born early.

3. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Sometimes babies of mothers with gestational diabetes develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth because their own insulin production is high. Severe episodes of hypoglycemia may provoke seizures in the baby. Prompt feedings and sometimes an intravenous glucose solution can return the baby's blood sugar level to normal.

4. Jaundice. This yellowish discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes may occur if a baby's liver isn't mature enough to break down a substance called bilirubin, which normally forms when the body recycles old or damaged red blood cells. Although jaundice usually isn't a cause for concern, careful monitoring is important.

5. Type 2 diabetes later in life. Babies of mothers who have gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.
Untreated gestational diabetes can result in a baby's death either before or shortly after birth.

For more information please click here

Diabetes: When to Call the Doctor

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you are:
- Unconscious or you suddenly become very sleepy or confused. You may have low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia.
- Sleepy, confused, breathing very fast, or your breath smells fruity. You may have a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Call a doctor right away if:
- Your blood sugar is 300 mg/dL or higher (or it is higher than the level your doctor has set for you).

Call a doctor if you:
- Are sick and having trouble controlling your blood sugar.
- Have had vomiting or diarrhea for more than 6 hours.
- Often have problems with high or low blood sugar levels.
- Have trouble knowing when your blood sugar is low (hypoglycemia unawareness).
- Have questions or want to know more about diabetes.

Webmd has great article on this issue. For more information please click here

Protect Your Kidneys

Keeping blood pressure under control helps to keep your kidneys healthy. Once you have kidney damage, you can slow it down or stop it from getting worse by controlling your blood glucose and blood pressure. Taking an ACE inhibitor or an ARB is important for both controlling your blood pressure and reducing kidney damage. However, if you are pregnant, you should not take an ACE inhibitor or ARB.
If you have diabetes, you should have your urine and blood tested regularly to see how well your kidneys are working. The test results should be given to you as your urine albumin and GFR results.

For more information please click here

Stop Diabetes Before It Starts

Losing Weight with Diabetes

Smoking with Diabetes

If you smoke and think you are otherwise in good health, think again. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, smoking 16 to 25 cigarettes a day increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes to three times that of a non-smoker. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chances are of developing diabetes.

In addition, substantial evidence supports inclusion of the prevention and cessation of tobacco use as an important component of state-of-the-art clinical diabetes care. Smoking is a health hazard for anyone, but for people with diabetes or a high risk of developing the disease, lighting up can contribute to serious health complications. Research has shown when added to human blood samples, raised levels of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) by as much as 34%.

Diabetic journal has great article on this issue. For more information please click here has great article on diabetes-Smoking. For more information please click here

Sick Days with Diabetes

Tips to Control Cholesterol and Diabetes

Diabetes and Depression

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes and Your Teeth

Diabetes and Your Heart

Diabetes and Stress

Diabetes and Your Waist

Diabetes Risk in United States


Signs of Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance

Diabetes and Support Groups

Blood Sugar Goals

Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar

Medicine for Diabetes

Blood Sugar and Ketone Tests

Complications of High Blood Sugar

What is Diabetes Page 3

What is Diabetes Page 2

What is Diabetes Page 1

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes means you have too much sugar in your blood. High blood sugar problems start when your body no longer makes enough of a chemical, or hormone, called insulin. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Printing Human Liver - Cirrhosis

The therapy of choice for end-stage liver disease is whole-organ liver transplantation, but this option is limited by a shortage of donor organs. Following recent advancements of stem cell research, the potential for organ regeneration using somatic stem cells as an ultimate therapy for organ failure has increased. However, anatomically complicated organs such as the liver have proven more refractory to stem cell-based regenerative techniques.

Cell-based therapies and hepatic tissue engineering have been considered as alternatives to liver transplantation, but neither has proven effective to date. A regenerative medicine approach for liver replacement has recently been described that includes the use of a three-dimensional organ scaffold prepared by decellularization of xenogeneic liver.

Research is underway to gain a better understanding of the healthy liver and how new cell therapies could work. Scientists are also developing more effective ways to grow large numbers of liver cells (hepatocytes) from embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells in the lab. Such research is not only useful for potential new therapies. In the shorter term, lab-grown hepatocytes are likely to play an important role in the development of new drugs and artificial liver machines.

Regenerative medicine has been called the “next evolution of medical treatments,” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With its potential to heal, this new field of science is expected to revolutionize health care.

For more information please click here

Friday, November 9, 2012

Liver Failure & Cirrhosis

Few days ago, I admitted a middle aged male patient to medical ICU for elevated liver function tests. He had been previously diagnosed with a hepatic mass suggestive of hepatocellular carcinoma. On this admission, his liver function tests were over 5000 which showed he was in full liver failure.

Patients with liver failure have many comorbidites and require a dedicated physician to spend ti and meticulously manage their health and wellbeing.

Having received a diagnosis of cirrhosis, you may feel afraid and confused. Many people are not prepared to deal with their diagnosis and find it difficult to obtain information and support. It is important to remember that being diagnosed with cirrhosis is not the end of the world. People with cirrhosis can have completely normal liver function and remain well for many years. Progression from cirrhosis to more advanced liver disease or liver cancer
(hepatocellular carcinoma) does not happen in every case.

How will cirrhosis affect my health?

• A rise in blood pressure in the veins coming from the intestines to the liver.
Blood tries to get back to the heart by bypassing the liver through connecting veins, which are not normally open. These veins are found in the gullet (oesophagus), stomach and lower bowel. Increased pressure can lead to rupture and life-threatening bleeding.

• Increased fluid retention in your abdomen - a condition called ascites.
Ankle swelling can also occur. This results from increased blood pressure plus a reduction in blood protein levels normally produced by the liver.

• Easy bruising and bleeding because clotting factor levels in the liver platelets are also reduced.

• The liver may no longer be able to clear drugs from the bloodstream, causing some people to become more sensitive to the effects of pharmaceutical and illicit drugs.

• The liver may lose the ability to clear waste products from the blood. One of the effects of this can be confusion or coma when such wastes affect the brain. This is called encephalopathy. Jaundice is the name given to the yellow pigmentation of the skin and eyes, which occurs when the liver cannot clear bilirubin from the body.

• ‘Fatty liver’ or steatosis. This is where excess fat is deposited in the liver.

Don’t be afraid to ask your specialist or doctor for further information about your condition. If you don’t understand what they are saying, ask them to explain it until you do understand. Cirrhosis can be a serious condition and it is important that any concerns you have about your health are clarified and your questions are answered. People close to you are often in the best position to provide you with support because they care for you.

Hepatitis Councils in the states and territories can provide you with information and, in some cases, link you with other people with cirrhosis who are interested in sharing their experiences. This type of support can be beneficial – it can help you realize you are not alone and also provide you with a different perspective or suggestions about how to manage your health and lifestyle.

For more information please click here

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Effective Ways to Spend Your Money in Health Care

The Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court recently upheld extends health care coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans but actually does very little to make health care affordable. Since 1970, health care spending has grown 9.8% annually, more than twice the rate of inflation. Medical costs now consume 17.3% of our gross domestic product. That’s $8,086 for every American or about twice as much per capita as most developed countries spend.  Although we pay more for medical care than any other country, America currently ranks 19th in the world in preventable death, 26th in life expectancy, and 31st in infant mortality.

Here are few ways to be spend your money more effectively in medicine:

1. Make sure the medicines you are taking are needed and appropriate.

2. Don’t Assume Herbal Supplements Are Safe or Adequate

3. Use generic drugs when possible.

4. Consider using a mail-order pharmacy

5. Look Into Splitting Higher-Dose Pills

6. Ask your pharmacist or doctor about ways to lower your medications costs. Pharmacists, in particular, may have suggestions on how you can spend less money but still keep healthy.

7. Ask if you still need to take a medication. Sometimes people remain on a medicine long after it is needed or can lower their need for medicines through healthy lifestyle changes.

8. For medications you take long-term, get 90 days supplies!  Many insurance companies and pharmacy drug programs offer lower prices when you get 90 days supplies.

9. Ask your doctor for samples. This can be a good way to save money when you are first trying a new medicine.

10. Look for coupons on the internet.  Here are two websites to try:

11. There are many prescription assistance programs that provide free prescription medicines for people without prescription insurance. Checking these websites:

12. You may be eligible for low-cost medications under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Use this website to see if you are eligible  

13. Consider ordering online
One way to use the Internet to save money on prescription drugs is to go to the BidRx Web site. Free registration is required to use the Web site. BidRx is a secure Web site that links consumers with pharmacies, manufacturers, prescribers, and payers so all can make better decisions when purchasing prescription drugs. It is an Internet auction site for prescription drugs. BidRx provides the information consumers need and allows consumers to define pharmacies they want to compete for their prescription business. Click here for more information.

PBS has great article on this issue. For more informations please click here