Resources for lab test information

April 15, 2014

On March 19th, I posted an article regarding information about kidney tests/kidney health from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) ( I am glad that some of you submitted comments indicating the information was helpful. Others have inquired about information regarding several other lab tests.  In addition to the ADA website, additional resources regarding lab test information are:;; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI),; US National Library Of Medicine/National Institute of Health,  While I applaud your commitment to be an active, informed participant in your health care management, remember the information presented via any website is often times very general and may not be specific for your particular health situation.  Please note that your Health Care Provider is your best source for interpreting test results, in conjunction with your specific medical conditions, medications, and other factors. The  goal is for you to be a collaborative partner in your health management!

Step Out Walks to Stop Diabetes

March 30, 2014

Remember that goal to increase activity that many of us made for a New Year’s resolution? You’re in luck! There are several American Diabetes Association (ADA;;) fundraising events in the bi-state area planned for 2014.

A Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes event is next weekend, April 5th, , at Livestock Pavilion, Lions Lake, in Washington, MO/Franklin County; registration time is 9am & the Walk starts at 10am. Their website posts the following information: “the power of one makes a world of difference! Lace up your walking shoes, bring your friends, family, and co-workers and join us for the 11th Annual Franklin County Step Out Walk. Enjoy a light breakfast, health and wellness fair, live music, raffles and then walk around beautiful Lions Lake! All registered Franklin County Step Out Walk participants raising $100 will receive a commemorative Step Out event t-shirt on the day of the event. Celebrate those who live with diabetes everyday and help us find a cure! For more information, contact: Michael Marek at | 314-822-5490 x 6826.

Future events include: May 31, 2014; the St Louis Tour de Cure bike ride is at the Alton Riverfront Amphitheater, 1 Riverfront Dr; Alton, Il. Registration Fee: $25.00; Fundraising Minimum: 200 Route Distances: 10, 30, 50, 100; there are staggered check-in & start times for the various route lengths. Routes will take you on the scenic Great River Road along the Mississippi River. A great variety of easy to challenging courses to test your endurance and push you to new heights! After you ride stay for the amazing finish line party with lunch, live music and FREE admission to Raging Rivers WaterPark! Contact Shawn Martin, at or 314-822-5490 x 6824

A Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes is October 4, 2014; SIU-E, Edwardsville, Il; 62026. For more information contact Rawnie Berry at 314-822-5490 x 6829 or  Another Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes is October 11, 2014; at Creve Coeur Park; contact Michael Marek at or 314-822-5490 x 6826.

So with the Mother Nature teasing us with warmer weather, start preparing for a more active lifestyle!



There is still time to “alert” your family & friends about diabetes!

March 25, 2014

Today, the 4th Tuesday of March, is designated as the 26th Annual American Diabetes Association (ADA) Alert Day®.  Alert Day is a “wake-up call”, asking Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. An estimated 79 million Americans (1 in 3 adults) have prediabetes.  More than 25% of Americans with type 2 diabetes, don’t yet know they have it! Are your family members or friends part of this group? The Diabetes Risk Test can be found on the ADA’s Facebook page or via   For every Diabetes Risk Test taken, Boar’s Head, a leading provider of premium delicatessen products , will donate $5.00 to the American Diabetes Association, starting March 25 through April 25, 2014, up to $50,000.

This year’s ADA Alert Day is sponsored by Boar’s Head and Walgreens. I took the test; it was very easy and very quick to do–less than one minute! Although my risk score is low, I do have 2 risk factors, so that is why I try to eat healthier, manage stress better, and remain active to improve my health. And if you or someone you care about develops diabetes, St. Anthony’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education Services Department is ready to assist you with a Staff of Certified Diabetes Educators and other qualified healthcare Educator Professionals; call 314-525-4508, option 2 for more information.


March is National Kidney Month!

March 19, 2014

According to an article posted in the website of the American Diabetes Association (ADA),  March is National Kidney Month; a time to raise awareness about the prevention and early detection of kidney disease. Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure? The good news is that managing your diabetes well can help improve your health outcomes; and the information listed below is from the ADA site.

“So how does diabetes cause kidney disease? When our bodies digest protein, the procedure creates waste products. In the kidneys, millions of tiny blood vessels with even tinier holes in them act as filters. As blood flows through the blood vessels, small molecules such as waste products squeeze through the holes. These waste products become part of the urine. Useful substances, such as protein and red blood cells, are too big to pass through the holes in the filter and stay in the blood.

Diabetes can damage this filtering system. High levels of blood glucose cause stress on the filtering system in the kidneys. After many years, they start to leak, and protein, that is supposed to stay in the bloodstream, is lost in the urine. Having small amounts of protein in the urine is called microalbuminuria. This damage can happen without any symptoms. In time, the kidneys stop working well. Waste products then start to build up in the blood. Finally, the kidneys fail. This failure, called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), is very serious and requires a kidney transplant or dialysis.

Since there are usually no symptoms associated with early kidney failure, lab tests are essential. A blood test measures the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which indicates how well the kidneys are filtering blood. A GFR of 60 or higher is in the normal range. A GFR below 60 may mean you have kidney disease. A GFR of 15 or lower may mean kidney failure. Urine tests check for albumin, a type of protein found in blood. When the kidneys are healthy, they don’t let albumin pass into the urine. When the kidneys are damaged, they let some albumin pass into the urine. The less albumin in the urine, the better.

The steps to keep your kidneys healthy include:

a) Ask your health care provider, if the GFR (blood) and albumin (urine) tests for kidney disease have been done, and have this lab work done as often as recommended.

b) Keep your blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol in the desirable target ranges.

c) Take all medications as directed by your provider.

d) Reduce your sodium/salt intake. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium, or less than one teaspoon, per day. If you already have high blood pressure, you may need to reduce sodium intake to 1800mg. Choose foods that are heart healthy: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products; limit alcohol intake; excess protein intake is not advised.

e) Be more physically active, and if needed, lose weight.

f) If you smoke, take steps to quit. Among other adverse effects of smoking, it can worsen kidney damage.

Improving diabetes control will help reduce the occurrence of kidney disease. Research has shown that tight blood glucose control can reduce the risk of microalbuminuria by one third! Other studies have suggested that tight control can even improve microalbuminuria.” Discuss your kidney disease risk factors with your health care provider.

For more information, visit the National Kidney Disease Education Program, at; or the American Diabetes Association, at

“Spring Forward” this weekend!

March 6, 2014

Have you noticed that daylight is lasting a few minutes longer every day in the past week? This weekend, the time changes for many areas of the country–”spring forward”.  As you walk around your residence changing the time on clocks and electronic devices, don’t forget your “diabetes-related” devices; they may not change automatically. The data memory in your blood glucose meter is saved according to the time of the test; it needs to be correct. The time set in your insulin pump &/or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) determines your personal settings, including basal and bolus rates. Additionally, the “insulin on board (IOB) ” feature and time of your boluses is directly tied in to the time set in a pump. So the time setting is very important and needs to be accurate. You may also need to synchronize the clocks on your computer software diabetes data management systems to maintain the accuracy of time for data saved and downloading purposes. After you have programmed the new time, always double check your settings, especially that the AM/PM setting is correct. The Users Guide can direct you on the procedure to follow, or contact the Customer Support departments, of your various devices, by their specific website or by calling the toll-free phone numbers, usually found on the back of the device; they may request the serial number of your equipment. This same information is also important if you are traveling to different time zones. As you travel through different time zones, you should remember to update the time on your insulin pump and blood glucose (BG) meter, especially if the time change is 3 or more hours.

Caring for diabetes is an Olympic event!

February 16, 2014

The current Olympic Games provide exciting and inspiring stories of hard work and perseverance. Preparing for an Olympic event can be similar to caring for any chronic disease. It involves continuous planning and evaluation of various aspects of activities and choices that can impact your performance. Education about diabetes, eating healthier, exercising at the proper time, testing blood glucose,  maintaining a healthy stress level, keeping  medical/lab appointments, and if appropriate, taking medications on a consistent basis can  help you achieve the most important medal of all…..improved health! Olympian cross-country skier, Kris Freeman, is representing the USA, in Sochi, Russia. His story is featured in an article of the February, 2014 issue of Diabetes Forecast by Tracy Neithercott. Kris was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19. By that time, he had competed in skiing, at the Junior World Championships for the third time.He is the current 50 kilometer national Champion of cross-country skiing. Kris’ training is about 900 hours per year, in aerobic exercise, including running, swimming, kayaking, and roller skiing. Aerobic exercise is sustained activity that utilizes oxygen to fuel the muscles, stimulating and strengthening the heart and lungs. Freeman tests his blood glucose 3 to 4 times a day, uses a patch-style insulin pump delivery system, and a continuous glucose monitor. His diligence helps him to adjust his insulin dosing to match his body’s requirements. Tracy notes that Kris’ views on nutrition are simple; he doesn’t take in more fuel than he burns/utilizes….a good lesson for all of us!

For me, the most striking sentence in the article is when Tracy reports that Freeman stated: ” The way to not be terrified was to learn as much as I could about [diabetes]“.  As a Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator (CDE), I often hear how frightened people are with a first-time diagnosis of diabetes. Frequently, their fears are due to many misconceptions of the disease as a result of the media, the internet, various health care Providers (HCP), well-meaning  friends, neighbors, and family members. While there is a lot about diabetes that pertains to most people with diabetes, there is information that is pertinent to your situation. There are several medical conditions, syndromes, and diseases that you can’t do much to change, there is a lot you can do to improve your diabetes health. Arm yourself with knowledge of the disease and your own body, develop confidence in your blood glucose control, and establish a good support team and hopefully, you can say “thank goodness, it’s just diabetes”! The Education Staff of St Anthony’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education Services is composed of Certified Diabetes Nurse Educators and Certified Dietitian Educators and additional clinical support Staff. With a Physician’s order, they are prepared to partner with you and your health care Team to provide you with the tools and tips needed to help you achieve your best level of diabetes health. Call 314-525-4508, option 2, or access; for more information.



Meeting notice: “Diabetes & oral care: gateway to your body’s health!”

February 11, 2014

The TalkDiabetes Support Program and the Diabetes Education Program at St. Anthony’s Medical Center presents its quarterly live meeting.  Meetings are FREE to the public and are meant to be an extension of formal diabetes Education sessions.

Speaker Nancy Trebilcock, BSN, RN, CDE, will address the topic of: “Diabetes & oral care: gateway to your body’s health!” People with diabetes can be at increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease. Like diabetes, periodontal disease starts as a silent problem that often goes unnoticed. Most of the time, periodontal disease is fairly painless, but can destroy your jaw bones and gums. Harmful bacteria can enter the main blood stream through your gums, possibly causing infection to other vital areas like the brain and heart. Even if you have full dentures, regular dental visits and good dental care is so important, that it is listed as one of the “National Standards of Diabetes Care”. Join us to learn how your diabetes control can be affected by the health of your mouth!

The meeting date is Thursday, February 20, 2014, at 1:00 p.m., in the Great Room, of the Hyland Education & Training Center, on the hospital campus; 10020 Kennerly Road, St Louis, 63128. As is our custom, we have an ongoing “Green (Recycle) Table please bring your unwanted magazines, books and coupons to donate to the exchange table.

Registration for the program is requested by calling 314-ANTHONY (800-554-9550) or via:






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