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Diabetes: What doctors know -- and what patients know

October 23, 2009 |  6:01 pm

Diabetes Doctors and researchers know that poorly controlled diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney damage, nerve damage and limb amputations and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. And they know how to monitor blood glucose, what patients should eat and which medications they should take.

The advice is not one-size-fits-all. There are tips specifically for ...

- teenagers, from the National Diabetes Education Program.

men, from the American Diabetes Assn.

women, from

- for older people, from the National Institute on Aging.

That's just for starters.  

The American Diabetes Assn. offers an excellent Ask the Expert section, with topic-specific advice from an optometrist, pharmacist, dietitian and dentist.

The site is truly a phenomenal resource. (There's even a risk test.) Even if you don't have diabetes, take some time to explore the information. There's something for almost everyone who wants to live a little more wisely -- and the information can shed light on the battles that millions of Americans face every day.

We too offer advice -- but mostly news and trends and profiles related primarily to Type 2 diabetes (because it's by far the most common), but also to Type 1 as well -- in this week's Health section devoted to diabetes.

But patients learn some lessons first-hand. And those are the lessons we want to know about... And that we want to share. Such as ...

How do you manage the intricacies of ordering off an unknown menu? ... Of feeling yourself become shaky in the middle of watching your kid's soccer game? ... Of transporting insulin on a three-week trip? ... Of reconciling your dietary restrictions with the food preferences of loved ones who have no such limitations? Of even trying to eat a simple meal when kidney failure is so close that almost all foods seem closed to you...?

If you have your own hard-won advice -- or aha! moment, we'd like to hear it.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: A simple blood test actually isn't. The results can trigger a host of actions and reactions and then compensatory actions, all part of the effort to control glucose.

Credit: Los Angeles Times