Welcome back to Ask D'Mine, our new diabetes advice column, where just about anything can happen. You never know what your host —veteran type 1, diabetes author and community educator Wil Dubois — might be taking on this week. Read ahead to find out.

And don't forget to send us YOUR queries related to life with diabetes.

{Need help navigating life with diabetes? Email us at AskDMine@diabetesmine.com}

News nuggets from around the diabetes community

State of the Union: It's Time to Cure Diabetes
President launching new precision medicine initiative to better treat, cure diseases like diabetes.
'Robotic Pancreas' Appears On American Idol
Carlos Santana's nephew Adam Lasher shows off Dexcom G4 during live performance.
Metformin: A Great Lakes Disaster?
Wisconsin researchers find diabetes drug being discharged into Lake Michigan, affecting fish.

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Joe from Oregon, type 3, asks: Who should wear a medic alert ID? All PWDs, or just type 1s?

 

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: Great question! All T1s should wear a medic alert identification, but so too should many type 2s. The purpose of a medic alert is to let the authorities know that your bizarre behavior could be a medical problem, not because you are on meth or some other mind-alerting substance. Medic alert jewelry won't necessarily keep the cops from zapping you with a Taser, but it will probably keep you from dying in a jail cell overnight while they think you are "sleeping it off."

The bottom line is that any PWD at risk of being zapped by a Taser should wear one. In short, that means anyone whose diabetes therapy includes the risk of low blood sugar. This would be anyone (T1 or T2 or a woman with gestational diabetes) who takes insulin — or takes oral meds that carry the risk of low blood sugar as a side effect, such as the family of meds called Sulfonylureas.

Of course, the cops are only half the story. A medic alert is designed to communicate to medics, after all — the original idea being that if you lose consciousness, the ID will guide the medics on the first things to check once they arrive on the scene.

A medic alert can be a necklace, bracelet, keychain watch, or even a wallet. It should say "diabetic," "diabetes," or "insulin" on it. Don't put "PWD" on your medic alert. That's a term many people in our community prefer, but medics don't know what PWDs are, and when you are unconscious is no time to be educating people about proper diabetes etiquette.

Two of my favorite places to score stylish medic alert jewelry are Sticky J and ICE Gems, as both have reasonable prices and a great selection. The company by the actual name of Medic Alert gives every member a unique number and maintains a database that stores as much or as little info on you as you'd like. An ER doc (well, more likely his nurse) can call their toll free line 24/7, 365 days a year and a live operator will be ready to tell them all about your conditions and even what meds you take.

Also, eBay has tons of medic alerts to choose from, especially of the dog-tag variety in every color of the rainbow, and Google can find you hundreds of Mom and Pops and PWDs selling "anti-Taser amulets" (aka medical IDs)for you and your diabetes.

So go on. Buy yourself something pretty. You deserve it, and the life you save might just be your own.

   

Steve from Oregon, pre-diabetic, writes: After 10 years of statin use, recently my fasting blood glucose level has risen above the magic 100 number. Six months ago, when the number edged over 100, my physician ordered me to drop 30 lbs. I now walk 25 miles or more a week, am a vegetarian and only eat whole grains. Unfortunately, the FBG did not go down after the weight loss, but rather increased to 104. Now the dilemma: I have heart disease (3 stents), cholesterol levels are all in control, but glucose is escalating - what is the prudent course of action?  Reduce statin use slowly or develop diabetes?  Seems like a catch 22.

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: Wow. This is a bit of a "doctor" question and I'm sooooooooo not a doctor. But there's quite a bit of debate amongst the white coats about the relative benefits of statin use, and I think the whole matter of either/or choices between medicines and risks is worth talking about. Just remember that my viewpoint is from the patient/educator perspective. OK?

First off, there's firehouse full of alarm bells ringing in my head as I read your email. For those readers who aren't in the know, let me provide some background: Up until a few years ago the idea that there was any relationship between the family of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins and blood sugar was regarded by most doctors as lunacy. And while some docs may still feel that way today, several studies have pretty much put the issue to rest. The effect is small in most people, but statins do raise blood sugar. You, my friend, are not a lunatic. Your cholesterol med may very well be having an effect on your blood sugar.

But you also have three — not one, not two, but three stents.

Stents are surgically implanted high-tech chicken wire tubes that hold blood vessels open. People usually get them after having a heart attack. So that tells me that you've had at least one heart attack already, and maybe two or three.

That's relevant because high levels of cholesterol are a huge risk factor for heart attacks. So your cardiologist has filled you with chicken wire and your primary doc has successfully medicated your cholesterol into submission. But the cost is that perhaps treating this one disease is causing another.

To keep diabetes at bay you've made huge lifestyle changes. You eat better and less. You exercise. You've lost weight. But still the diabetes keeps marching toward you just like those ants in the children's song (Hurrah, hurrah!), because that's what diabetes does.

So you asked me what I think the prudent course of action is. To me, prudence dictates that you treat the impending diabetes. Diabetes sucks, but it's highly treatable. I think most doctors would agree with me that it's easier to treat diabetes than to treat heart attack number four. And if do you develop full-blown diabetes, you're gonna be a type 2. You'll probably take one pill for 5-8 years. Then they'll add a second pill. Maybe you'll live long enough that you'll need to take insulin (sometime in the far future), but by then, who knows what kinds of meds we'll have at our disposal?

The prudent course is to take your medicine. Both for your cholesterol and for your blood sugar.

Welcome to the family.

 
This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and openly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small part of your total prescription. You still need the professional advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical professional.

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.