Type 1 diabetes questions

Diabetes and Alcohol

Do you drink alcohol? Do you know how it affects your blood sugar? Here’s some fantastic advice from community member Ane on how to deal with drinking and diabetes:

I’m a second year student in Stellenbosch, which is not very helpful with all the beautiful wineries etc here for a type 1. I do, however, prefer to either drink nothing or drink something I know will not have an impact on my sugars too much. The problem with alcohol is it makes your sugar drop rapidly when too much alcohol is in the blood without sufficient carbs to keep levels stable. This is a confusing concept since 275ml of beer = 5 slices of white bread = carb overload!
Do not drink cocktails. Nor shots. Ever. Try to avoid cloudy drinks as well.
I would recommend not drinking and drinking Coke Light or water (much much cheaper) or if you have to drink and want to, have some whiskey or champ. (Whiskey is your best option, and champagne is regarded the best type of drink for ladies with Type 1 diabetes.)
Always always have a friend with you that will not get drunk. In the (hopefully) unlikely event of a hypo, people will think you are drunk since it looks 100% the same in a club at 02:00..
Keep carbs with you at all times, and never drink on a empty stomach.
Set alarms in the morning to make sure that you don’t get a hypo. Rather little higher than too low.
Wear something to say that you have type 1 diabetes..
Remember, we are all curious at some point in time about alcohol (and a lot of other things that have an influence on our levels) We try things, make mistakes, learn and educate others. Everyone is different, this is my opinion since I have experience.. Hope it helps!

drinking and diabetes

Ready for an Insulin Pump?

insulin pump

In issue 12 of Sweet Life magazine we interviewed insulin pump expert (and user) Imke Kruger about her experiences with the insulin pump – and got her to answer your questions. Take a look at the article, here.

Here are some more of your insulin pump questions, answered by Imke, the Product and Sales Manager for Insulin Delivery Systems at Roche Diabetes Care.

How much is an insulin pump with and without medical aid?

The cost implications depend on a few aspects, one being the type of medical aid plan, and whether the particular medical aid covers the costs fully or partially. It would be best to discuss this with your healthcare professional or your medical aid. In order to buy a pump, you need to be a patient at one of the accredited pump centres in South Africa. Your doctor will decide if you are a pump candidate according to the Association of Clinical Endocrinologists of South Africa (ACE-SA) guidelines. If you are, you will need a script to claim the pump through your medical aid, or buy it cash from one of the supplying pharmacies.

How do I apply for a pump that I can afford?

You need to visit your doctor. If they agree that pump therapy is the best option for you, depending on your medical aid, the doctor will send an application to the medical aid. We at Accu-Chek® can also assist you with this process. You can contact me via email or alternately you can call the Accu-Chek® Customer Care line on 080- Diabetes/ 080-34-22-38-37

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using an insulin pump?

In short, insulin pump therapy improves metabolic control while giving you greater freedom and enhanced quality of life.
• Your metabolism stays more stable, with better HbA1c values and fewer episodes of hypoglycemia
• You may enjoy greater efficiency and more energy, even in times of stress or an irregular work schedule.
• You can be more flexible in your eating, if you understand the concept of carbohydrate counting.
• You can participate in sports whenever you feel like it — without having to plan in advance
I would say the disadvantages are that you have too much freedom in making food choices. There is a risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) from pump malfunction or absorption problems.

Deciding on insulin pump therapy is not a simple decision and should be carefully considered with the help of your healthcare professional team. However, feedback from many pump users, physicians and other healthcare professionals show that they are very satisfied with the results of Insulin pump therapy.

How would the insulin pump be used for sports? Are there special casings made or will I have to play without it? For example, a cricket game with a long duration and the risk of the pump being hit by the ball.

You can engage in any kind of physical activity while wearing an insulin pump. However, for sports involving intensive body contact and water sports we recommend temporarily disconnecting the insulin pump, but not for longer than 1 hour. We have special cases and pouches that protect the pump that would enable you to play cricket with the pump. However, we do advise patients to insure the system, for 100% assurance.

What is the risk of infection?

If you follow the right hygiene steps, the risks are low. You should always disinfect your insulin pump site before inserting the infusion set. It is also critical to replace the infusion set every three days as per the package insert of the product. In rare cases, patients can be allergic to the adhesive plaster, and need to use a tegaderm plaster underneath the infusion set to prevent allergic reactions.

How do I know if I’m ready to pump?

Visit our website to find out all the details you need: from how pump therapy is different to multiple daily injections, to how pump therapy benefits your help, how to wear and handle the pump, what a typical day looks like, what features to expect and how they make your life easier. There’s also a questionnaire. some FAQ, and all the contact details you need. What are you waiting for? Find out if you’re ready to pump.

Diabetes petition


My 14 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year. I want to bring to your attention an initiative that I believe will greatly facilitate awareness and fundraising for T1D. A fellow mom of a T1 child, Jeanette Collier, and I have filed a petition to revise the type classification names of both T1 and T2 Diabetes to more accurately reflect the nature of onset of each condition. We believe this will benefit both the T1 and T2 communities and help protect our T1 children from dangers caused by prevalent misconceptions. We believe that clarity in the names given to these two types of Diabetes will enhance educational campaigns for all types; which in turn will benefit fundraising towards better treatments and a cure.

Our petition is approaching 5,000 signatures from all over the globe. It is supported by many well-respected individuals within the Diabetes community including:

  •         Dr. Camillo Ricordi, Scientific Director and Chief Academic Officer- Diabetes Research Institute (DRI)
  •         Robert A. Pearlman, President & CEO, Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF)
  •         Dr. G. Prakasam, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Founder/President Center of Excellence in Diabetes & Endocrinology (CEDE), past Chapter President and Board Member of ADA
  •         Dr. Mingder Yang, JDRF nPod Investigator Relationship Coordinator
  •         Moira McCarthy, Journalist/Author and JDRF National Volunteer, Chairperson and Outreach Speaker
  •         Della Matheson, RN, CDE; Research Coordinator, University of Miami Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Clinical Center
  •         Brenda Novak, Best Selling Author and Diabetes Advocate
  •         Scott R. King, President, CEO and Founder, Islet Sheet Medical LLC, in association with Hanuman Medical Foundation
  •         Dr. Stephen Ponder, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Medical Director Texas Lions Camp
  •         Dr. David L. Katz, Founder and Director of The Yale University Prevention Center
  •         Riva Greenberg, Speaker, Author and Health Coach
  •         Theresa Garnero, Diabetes Nurse Educator, Author, and Speaker
  •         Barbara J. Anderson, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Head, Psychology Section, Baylor College of Medicine; Diabetes Nurse Educator/Social Worker (Joslin, Barbara Davis, and Texas Children’s)
  •         Bret Michaels, via Life Rocks Foundation
  •         Miguel Paludo, NASCAR Driver and Diabetes Advocate
  •         Nikki Lang, Singer/Songwriter and Diabetes Advocate

The petition can be accessed via a link on our website, DiabetesTypeConfusion.org. The response we have received so far has been amazing, but additional support is still needed to bring our efforts to the forefront. We hope that you will review our petition and consider signing and promoting our cause.
Please sign the petition here if you are interested: http://www.change.org/petitions/revise-names-of-type-1-2-diabetes-to-reflect-the-nature-of-each-disease

Thank you for your consideration!

– Jamie Perez

Diabetic pregnancy and the pump

I am a Type 1 diabetic since 1991. I have had two children and desperately want a third, but cannot face another pregnancy like the second due to severe hypoglycaemia which kept occurring.

I breastfed for a very long time (2 years +) after the birth of my second child and since stopping my sugar levels have been very unstable – this also happened after stopping breastfeeding the first child and I was labelled a brittle diabetic at that stage.

I want to get a pump and have approached Roche. My doctor did initially suggest it and I have asked for a referral to a centre that deals with pumps as my present doctor does not. I have heard that there are two centres in Pretoria that deal with pumps, but have had no information about Johannesburg. I have also been told that no endocrinologists specialise in/are dealing with pumps in this country – that only GPs are doing so at present – is this true? I also would like to know what the chance of getting a pump on medical aid is if it is recommended by a doctor and if the medical aid is paying for CDE at the moment? I have been told that a pump costs R26000 at the moment – are there cheaper options? What type of motivating factors would a medical aid be wanting to approve a pump?

I am trying to control my sugars now but even tracking them 6-8 times a day, taking multiple extra shots when needed and tracking my diet closely is not helping and the problem appears to be with the night time readings – as some nights I do go hypoglycaemic, but whether I do or not my sugars always rise very heavily between 04:00am and 07:00am when I get up so even if they are normal at 4:00am they will be high by 07:00am and if they are low at 04:00am then they will be even more high by 07:00am (sometimes as high as 18/19).

Can a pump help to correct this as a bad reading in the morning seems to mess up all control for the rest of the day no matter what I do to try to correct it. Also can a pump prevent the severe hypoglycaemic episodes I had during my second pregnancies which resulted in ambulance trips a few times if I were to fall pregnant again?

– Bronwyn