Monday, November 26, 2012

Stupid Things People Say To Diabetics

2nd of a 2 part series: November is Diabetes Awareness Month. How much do you know about Diabetes?

You’re Diabetic? You’re not fat!!  -Diabetics are not all overweight, they come in all shapes and sizes. Being overweight may increase your risk for Type 2 Diabetes, but heredity plays a big role, too.

You don’t look like a diabetic.  -Really? What should I look like?

You shouldn’t eat that, or You can’t have that, or Should you eat that?  -Please, do not give yourself the mission of telling a diabetic what to eat. They know what they should or should not eat.

Your solution: you can just eat sugar-free foods. -Sure, except that they taste terrible and are full of questionable additives that can upset your stomach. Actually, people with diabetes can eat almost anything, in moderation. Really.

At least a cure is close.    --Maybe, maybe not. They say that about cancer, too. Does that make it less serious?

I could never give myself shots. I could never stick my fingers for blood tests-Sure you could, if that was how you stayed alive.

Is it contagious? No. It is not.

(Referring to meter) You can’t get service for that in here.   -This is just a meter to measure blood glucose. It’s not a cell phone or an I-pad, and it has no use for the internet.

Diabetic, that means you want to eat all the time, right?         -What??

Are you going to/When are you going to go blind?     -When are you going to go smart?

Well, at least it’s just diabetes.     -Um, excuse me??? This is a serious disease. In your line of thinking, it will “just” damage your cardiovascular system and potentially cause nerve damage and kidney damage, if left untreated. No big deal.

  • People wearing insulin pumps are also sometimes laughed at because others think they're wearing a pager or have their cell phone clipped to their pocket.
  • If you happen to observe someone injecting something in a restaurant, you should assume it's insulin and not stare
  • Please be considerate and offer treats like fruit and nuts at parties
  • Keep in mind there is no day off from having Diabetes

So, there you have it: share this info with your friends so they’re informed, too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thank Your Farmer

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, Triogenius wondered what it was like to be a farmer who produces the food we eat...Have you ever thought about farming or something related as a career?

Farming can be anything from a small family farm to a major conglomerate involving several million-acre locations. If you grew up on a farm, you already know most of what's involved in running the place. You may have participated in 4-H in middle and high school. 4-H students often will raise an animal, such as a calf, lamb, or pig, and present it at the annual State Fair.

So how could more education be helpful?

Think of all the things involved in farming:

Farming crops--           Plant Science
                                    Soil Science and Irrigation
                                    Farm Inspectors

Farming with animals--Animal Maintenance
                                   Veterinary Science/Farm related
                                   Dairy Science
                                   Aquafarming--growing fish for food
Both crop and animal farms require you to have knowledge of:

                                     Machine Repair
                                     General building and maintenance skills
                                     Field Maintenance (fields needed for grazing)
                                     Biomedical Science
                                     Stock Market (what is your product
                                                        selling for-- varies day to day)

There are also careers in Agricultural Law, which deals not only with land and ownership issues, but also with pollution, price fixing, and corporate liabilities--what if an outbreak of food poisoning was traced back to food grown on your farm or by your company?

There is a constant stream of research being done on how to make plants disease-proof and yield more, as well as developing new plants (hybrids) and healthier animals, which includes genetic engineering and statistics.

You might focus on only dairy products (or, only milk); only turkeys, only certain vegetables like corn and soybeans, or products like honey, apples, or plants to be used in landscaping, including sod, trees, shrubs, and garden plants.

You may want to pursue organic farming--farming done with no pesticides or engineered growth chemicals. These farms tend to be smaller and require a lot more hands-on maintenance.

You may want to work as a county extension agent, who is someone who helps advise and guide farmers.

Last, while farming is a very valuable career, many times farmers find they need a second job to provide a steady income. Their income level varies year to year and is not only dependent on good weather, but also the risk of diseases in plants and animals. It is very physical, demanding, tiring work. However, most farmers will tell you they find their jobs very rewarding: Working the land and/or with animals, producing food, and enjoying the outdoors, are reasons they love what they do.

Take a few minutes to consider how your Thanksgiving feast arrived at your table and give thanks for those farmers this year.

Check out the Extension News from the University of Minnesota:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank A Vet

This essay, written by Sgt Denis O'Brien, USMC-retired, was found online and it speaks very well about what it means to be a veteran. Let's keep it in mind today, Veterans Day 2012.

What is a Vet?

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg or perhaps another sort of inner steel: The soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She or he is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Danang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another.. or didn't come back at all.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor remains unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket with palsied hands, aggravatingly slow, who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being: a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airman, and also a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember each time you see someone who has served our country. When you see one, just lean over and say Thank You.

That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot: "THANK YOU".

Please also see this video about wounded vets finding healing through music:

The Minnesota American Legion has some wonderful stories on its website:

To see other ways you could volunteer in some way to help our veterans, visit:

Remember to support the families of our service members as well.

If you are a vet reading this,

                   THANK YOU!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Diabetes Awareness Part I

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Let's learn something about Diabetes in order to understand it better.

Did you know there are three kinds of Diabetes? There is Type 1 or Juvenile, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes. Gestational type occurs during pregnancy, so it affects less people, and usually stops after the birth of the baby. We're going to share information here about Type 2 and Type 1.

                                                         Type 2

90% of people who have Diabetes, have Type 2. Whether you develop Type 2 is mostly dependent on lifestyle and heredity: If you have a close blood relative that has it, you are at higher risk as well. Being overweight increases this risk. However, many Type 2 Diabetics are of average or slender build.

Here's where the pancreas is.....ugly thing, isn't it.........

With Type 2, your pancreas is still functioning, but not at 100% efficiency. If you closely monitor the foods you eat, with Type 2 you can still keep diabetes under control to some extent. Type 2 involves an insulin resistance and sometimes a reduction in insulin production. Your body's cells do not use insulin the way they are supposed to. Sometimes people with Type 2 Diabetes are able to control their blood glucose (blood sugar) levels with diet and exercise, but often treatment requires medication. Often, medication in a pill form will help cells use insulin more efficiently, and so insulin is not necessary. However, sometimes people with Type 2 Diabetes aren't able to achieve good control of their blood glucose levels and begin to use insulin injections. When taking the pill form of medication, it's necessary to check blood glucose levels (finger sticks) before meals and at bedtime, so about 4 times each day. When taking insulin, much more frequent checks are needed.

Here is someone checking her blood glucose using a meter: The drop of blood is put on a test strip, and the test strip is inserted into the meter, which gives the blood glucose reading:

                                                         Type 1
Type 1, or Juvenile Diabetes, occurs when your pancreas isn't functioning at all. In this case, you will need to give yourself insulin when you need it and monitor your food intake much more closely than with Type 2.

Feeling adventurous? Take this challenge: Try being a Type 1 Diabetic for a day using this app: text T1D4ADAY to 63566, or visit

You will be texted many times in a 24 hour period to simulate a day in the life for a person with Type 1.
It was originally called 'Juvenile Diabetes' because it usually shows up in people under the age of 20-including newborns and toddlers-but can appear at any age. Type 1 is considered an autoimmune disease, or an attack from within. It does not have a connection to your lifestyle but may have one to heredity.

People with Type 1 must rely on insulin injections for treatment. Your body requires insulin at all times. Insulin works as a type of "key" that lets glucose into all your cells. Glucose is needed by your cells in order for the cells to function. Without it, glucose can't enter cells, so the cells don't have fuel to work, and your system shuts down. In Type 1, insulin must be injected so that the glucose can always enter your cells and your body can function. 

Insulin can be carried with a person in a device that looks like a fat pen and is pre-loaded with insulin. It has a needle on the end that needs to be changed after every use.  Insulin needs to be refrigerated until it is opened. Once opened, it can be out of the fridge for 28 days and then must be thrown away. 

When you have Type 1 Diabetes, your life is much more influenced by the disease than with Type 2 (usually). A typical day for a Type 1 Diabetic includes up to 12 finger sticks/meter readings per day, with injected insulin (shots) occurring with each meal as well as long-acting insulin to get through the day. Activities that lower or raise your glucose mean more testing, as does illness (it tends to run high while fighting off an illness) while exercise usually lowers the glucose level. Running too high can cause nerve damage if it's left uncontrolled, and running too low of a glucose level can result in the person going into a coma.

Insulin can be carried with a person in a device that looks like a fat pen and is pre-loaded with insulin. Carried in a small nylon case with the meter, this makes it easier to test and inject the insulin when a person is 'out and about.'

Another option for someone with Type 1 Diabetes is an insulin pump. Here is what it looks like:

The pump, as you can see, looks somewhat like a pager. It has a tendency to make security alarms go off, and can be a bother to allow for if you're wearing certain clothing; however, it does save you from several injections every day. You can take it off completely for an hour to shower or take a swim, but the pump cannot get wet.

With the pump, insulin is constantly being administered to the person, 24/7. This provides the person with a steady supply of insulin, since their body isn't making any insulin, and the body's cells always need it ready to dispense. The person does a blood test (finger stick) and based on that, tells the pump to deliver a "bolus" (dose) of extra insulin when they eat or when their blood sugar is running high. Since the tubing is already sitting under the skin, the pump eliminates the need for several insulin shots per day. Every 3 days a new 'set' is inserted, using  a needle and a little tool. Once the new set is inserted, the needle is then removed, leaving behind a cannula, which is a very small hollow plastic tube, underneath the skin. This connects to the insulin pump via a small plastic tube that's about 12 inches long. The pump is typically worn on the front of pocket of your pants. The needle is attached to your skin in the abdomen area with a large round bandage patch. The pump needs to be refilled and the infusion site (the place where the tubing was connected to the body) changed every two to three days. The insulin needs only to be infused into the fatty layer of tissue just beneath the skin. From there, it is absorbed into the body and dispersed to the cells that need it. 

How do you know if someone with diabetes might need your help? A person whose glucose level is running very low will become disoriented, may not make sense, will seem a little drowsy or shaky. If you know the person is diabetic, offer some juice or a small piece of soft candy-you don't want him or her to choke. A very small amount of soda will work, but is extremely high in sugar so don't give a large amount. Even a little milk will probably provide enough sugar to stabilize the person so he/she can decide what to do. Do not pour something down the person's throat! Your aim is only to bring the blood glucose (sugar) level up enough so the person becomes fully alert. Stay calm so the person will also stay calm. Once the blood glucose level comes back up, the person will be fine and probably will not need medical intervention. However, if you are not having success, call 911 right away.

There's your tutorial about Diabetes. Hope it enlightened you, and remember: you may develop it yourself, and you almost certainly know someone who has it. Look for Part 2 later this month.

Please also visit to learn more about Diabetes, including help for Hurricane Sandy victims who may be in need of help with diabetic supplies.