insulin

New Program Helps People With Diabetes Eat Healthy

Dec 29, 2020

Standing in her kitchen, Therese Richardson is making her favorite recipe. “The honey dijon roasted pork tenderloin. I like that one,” the 50-year-old Indianapolis woman says.

Richardson has Type 2 diabetes, meaning that cells in her body are resistant to insulin, causing her blood sugar levels to rise. Eating vegetables and other healthy food helps her avoid serious complications — and lowers blood sugar levels.

Farah Yousry

Economic problems caused by COVID-19 hit diabetics especially hard. The American Diabetes Association says about a quarter of people with the disease are tapping savings, loans or stimulus checks to buy insulin. And some are taking big risks to get the life-saving drug.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The pandemic has left millions of Americans without jobs, and as a result, nearly 14 million people lost employer-sponsored health insurance.  For the one-in-10 Americans with diabetes, this poses a potentially life-threatening problem. 

Jacob Dean

William Rentel, a nurse practitioner in Ohio, has Type 1 diabetes but has been able to keep his blood sugar well-managed.

That changed when he and his wife contracted COVID-19 this spring.

“I found myself needing to use double the amount of insulin I would normally use to get my blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible,” recalls Rentel, who works at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “That’s when I knew something was very wrong.”

Zach Herndon / WFIU/WTIU News

Insulin is not a new drug, but even though it’s been around for nearly a century, its price continues to climb.

People with Type 1 Diabetes have to take it to regulate their blood sugar.

But a recent study from Yale shows as many as a quarter of people who need insulin ration it because it’s too expensive.

Indianapolis-based drug company Eli Lilly says it will soon start selling a cheaper insulin for diabetic patients. The move comes amid outcry over high drug prices.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

Nicole Smith-Holt’s son Alec was 23 when he started feeling sick. His muscles cramped. He was lethargic. He woke up multiple times every night to use the bathroom. After two weeks, Smith-Holt encouraged him to go to urgent care.

BRAM SABLE-SMITH / KBIA/SIDE EFFECTS PUBLIC MEDIA

For many people, life goes on after a diabetes diagnosis. But for others, the high price of insulin has forced them to devise dangerous and sometimes deadly workarounds to make ends meet. On this episode: the lengths to which some diabetics go to survive, and why insulin is so expensive.

Flurry of Federal and State Probes Target Insulin Drugmakers and Pharma Middlemen

Nov 4, 2017

With the price of a crucial diabetes drug skyrocketing, at least five states and a federal prosecutor are demanding information from insulin manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry’s financial middlemen, seeking answers about their business relationships and the soaring price of diabetes drugs.

Diabetics Protest Rising Insulin Prices At Drug Company Headquarters

Sep 11, 2017
Jill Sheridan / Indiana Public Broadcasting

More than half a million Hoosiers have been diagnosed with diabetes, and many of them rely on insulin to live healthy lives. But patients say the skyrocketing price of the medicine —which more than doubled from 2002 to 2013 — is squeezing them to the point of outrage.

A proven training model helps diabetics control their disease, but only fraction of people have access to it. On Wednesday, pharmacist Jasmine Gonzalvo urged state lawmakers to make it easier for patients to access the training model, Diabetes Self Management Education or DSME.

Connecticut's Low-Income Diabetics Paying High Price For Insulin

Apr 13, 2016

The high cost of insulin, which has risen by triple-digit percentages in the last five years, is endangering the lives of many diabetics who can’t afford the price tag, say Connecticut physicians who treat diabetics.

You Can Buy Insulin Without A Prescription, But Should You?

Dec 14, 2015

As anyone with diabetes can tell you, managing the disease with insulin usually means regular checkups at the doctor's office to fine-tune the dosage, monitor blood-sugar levels and check for complications.

But here's a little known fact: Some forms of insulin can be bought without a prescription.

Carmen Smith did that for six years when she didn't have health insurance and didn't have a primary care doctor. She bought her insulin without a prescription at Wal-Mart.

Urine For A Surprise: Your Pee Might Reveal Your Risk For Obesity

May 1, 2015

You might think it's easy to guess if a person is at risk of becoming overweight or developing diabetes. The behavioral traits are pretty clear – that person might exercise less or eat more. He or she might have high blood pressure, or might have gained weight.

But now there's another place to find evidence of those risk factors: in a person's pee.

Researchers are finding clues about the metabolism in human urine – most recently in more than 2,000 samples kept frozen in the basement of Imperial College, in London.

Dr. Jeremy Greene sees a lot of patients with diabetes that's out of control.

In fact, he says, sometimes their blood sugar is "so high that you can't even record the number on their glucometer."

Greene, a professor of medicine and history of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, started asking patients at his clinic in Baltimore why they had so much trouble keeping their blood sugar stable. He was shocked by their answer: the high cost of insulin.

Jill Brown/Flickr.com

Treating Type 1 Diabetes isn't as simple as it seems. One common misconception: Your body has low insulin levels, which means you just need to fill up on more insulin, right? Not really.

A team of Harvard scientists said Thursday that they had finally found a way to turn human embryonic stem cells into cells that produce insulin. The long-sought advance could eventually lead to new ways to help millions of people with diabetes.

Right now, many people with diabetes have to regularly check the level of sugar in their blood and inject themselves with insulin to keep the sugar in their blood in check. It's an imperfect treatment.

Melissa J/Flickr.com

Although most people with diabetes have Type 2, most of the kids I treat have Type 1. 

And this week, after spending the majority of my time explaining why carbohydrates are not evil and how they didn’t cause the Type 1 diabetes in the first place, I was reminded of how little information about Type 1 diabetes is out there for families.  

Other than sharing the same name and resulting in high blood sugar levels, comparing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes would be like comparing a raspberry to a grapefruit—they are both fruits, and that’s about it.  

YouTube


"We want to tell you now about a device that's still in the investigational phase, which means it's hasn't yet even been submitted for FDA approval. But when we heard about something called a bionic pancreas, we thought you might be interested, too" says host Barbara Lewis.