Winning The Fight Against Diabetes

diabetes conceptual meter( 2006) The statistics are staggering. More than 18 million people–6 percent of the U.S. population–have diabetes. Of those, it is estimated that more than 5 million people don’t even know that they have the disease. And as if that’s not enough, the rate of diabetes among African-Americans has tripled in the last 30 years, with nearly 3 million African-Americans (11.4 percent of the total African-American population) current victims of the disease. Today, African-Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic Whites, and most likely to have complications from the disease.


* Diabetes is the result of the body’s inability to produce or respond to insulin, a hormone that allows blood glucose (blood sugar) to enter the cells of the body and produce energy.

* There is an estimated 5 million undiagnosed people with diabetes in the United States.

* The disease kills nearly 200,000 Americans annually.

* African-Americans over 45, persons who are overweight and those who have a family history of the disease are most at risk.

* One in 4 African-American women over 55 and 1 in 4 African-American men between 65 and 74 are affected by diabetes.

* Medical authorities have not been able to fully explain why African-Americans are affected at a higher rate, although they believe factors such as heredity, diet and increased incidences of high blood pressure are contributors.

* Diabetic symptoms include frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased hunger and irritability, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, tingling in fingers and/or toes, nausea, fatigue and vomiting.

* Diabetes is one of the most manageable chronic diseases. In many cases, diabetes can be controlled if you eat well-balanced meals on a regular basis, exercise regularly, take prescribed medication (if necessary) and test your blood sugar routinely.

* Unlike most other diseases, the person affected with diabetes does most of the care.

* Inhaled insulin is expected to be widely available to treat those who would prefer that method to injection.

* Diabetes is the seventh-leading killer in the United States and the No. 1 disease causing blindness, kidney ailments and non-traumatic amputations.

* Diabetes is the country’s second most-costly disease, behind mental disorders.

* Manufacturers have created glucose-monitoring systems that require a smaller blood sample, making living with diabetes more comfortable because there is less pain associated with the test.


The most important thing to remember about diabetes is that much of your health is in your hands. Under the best circumstances, you should be receiving your care from a team that includes an eye doctor, nurse and a dietitian. If you have ether compilations, your doctor may send you to other specialists, including a podiatrist.


* Ask what adjustments you’ve made to your diabetes care plan.

* Make sure you have an appropriate diet and exercise plan.

* Ask what problems you’ve had in following your plan.

Alternative Devices For Taking Insulin

An insulin vial with a needle

Alternative Devices For Taking Insulin

( — Many people who take insulin to manage their diabetes
inject the insulin with a needle and syringe that delivers insulin just under
the skin. Several other devices for taking insulin are available, and new
approaches are under development. For more information about insulin, see
Medicines for People with Diabetes.

Injection aids are devices that help users give injections with needles and
syringes through the use of spring-loaded syringe holders or stabilizing guides.
Many of these aids use push-button systems to administer the injection.

Insulin pens can be helpful if you want the convenience of carrying insulin
with you in a discreet way. An insulin pen looks like a pen with a cartridge.
Some of these devices use replaceable cartridges of insulin; other pen models
are totally disposable. A short, fine needle, similar to the needle on an
insulin syringe, is on the tip of the pen. Users turn a dial to select the
desired dose of insulin and press a plunger on the end to deliver the insulin
just under the skin.

Insulin jet injectors send a fine spray of insulin through the skin by a
high-pressure air mechanism instead of needles.

Subcutaneous infusion sets, also called insulin infusers, provide an
alternative to injections. A catheter (a flexible hollow tube) is inserted into
the tissue just beneath the skin and remains in place for several days. Insulin
is then injected into the infuser instead of through the skin.

External insulin pumps are devices that deliver insulin through narrow,
flexible plastic tubing that ends with a needle inserted just under the skin
near the abdomen. The insulin pump is about the size of a deck of cards, weighs
about 3 ounces, and can be worn on a belt or carried in a pocket. Users set the
pump to give a steady trickle or “basal” amount of insulin continuously
throughout the day. Pumps release “bolus” doses of insulin (several units at a
time) at meals and at times when blood glucose is too high based on the
programming set entered by the user. They also can be programmed to release
smaller amounts of insulin throughout the day. Frequent blood glucose monitoring
is essential to determine insulin dosages and to ensure that insulin is

Approaches Under Development

Implantable insulin pumps are surgically implanted under the skin of the
abdomen. The pump delivers small amounts of insulin throughout the day and extra
amounts before meals or snacks. Users can control doses with a remote control
unit that prompts the pump to give the specified amount of insulin. The pump is
refilled with insulin every 2 to 3 months.

The insulin patch, placed on the skin, provides a continuous low dose of
insulin. Because it’s difficult to overcome the skin’s barriers, delivery of
insulin through the skin is aided with sound waves or an electrical current.

Insulin pills provide insulin in tablet form. Researchers are working on ways
to get the insulin into the bloodstream before it is changed by normal digestive

Researchers are investigating delivering insulin as a spray. A buccal spray
delivers liquid insulin into the mouth. Insulin is then absorbed through the
tongue, throat, and inside of the cheeks. An intranasal spray delivers insulin
as a nose spray.

An artificial pancreas, a surgically implanted device, imitates the action of
the pancreas by sensing blood glucose levels and secreting insulin in response.
The user also can release insulin using a remote control.


Additional Information on Alternative Devices for
Taking Insulin

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse collects resource information
on diabetes for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases (NIDDK) Reference Collection. This database provides titles, abstracts,
and availability information for health information and health education
resources. The NIDDK Reference Collection is a service of the National
Institutes of Health.

To provide you with the most up-to-date resources, information specialists at
the clearinghouse created an automatic search of the NIDDK Reference Collection.
To obtain this information, you may view the results of the automatic search on
Alternative Devices for Taking Insulin.

If you wish to perform your own search of the database, you may access and
search the NIDDK Reference Collection database online.




National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
1 Information Way
MD 20892–3560
Phone: 1–800–860–8747
Fax: 703–738–4929
Email: [email protected]

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) is a service of the
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The
NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services. Established in 1978, the Clearinghouse provides
information about diabetes to people with diabetes and to their families, health
care professionals, and the public. The NDIC answers inquiries, develops and
distributes publications, and works closely with professional and patient
organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about diabetes.

Publications produced by the Clearinghouse are carefully reviewed by both
NIDDK scientists and outside experts.

This publication is not copyrighted. The Clearinghouse encourages users of
this publication to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired.