Fall is in the air, the weather is changing, leaves are morphing into new beautiful colors. And a hope for change is definitely in the air as we head into November 2020. As you know very well, November is Diabetes Awareness Month. What changes are you implementing or considering as you approach this month; introducing new educational topics, or encouraging your patients to set or reach new health goals? How will you make your impact this month?
It has been almost 34 years since President Regan issued the diabetes proclamation and designated Diabetes Awareness Month. The first paragraph of the proclamation states, “Diabetes afflicts perhaps one in twenty Americans and is one of the leading causes of death in our Nation. Every year, diabetes takes more than 35,000 lives and contributes to the loss of another 95,000. Diabetes can cause complications such as blindness, heart or kidney disease, strokes, birth defects, and lower life expectancy. This disease also imposes a personal burden on those affected with it and on their families. Day-to-day treatment is a lifelong responsibility for those who have diabetes.”
We are here thirty-four years later and recognizing that Diabetes now impacts 1 in 10 Americans. There is still more work to be done to improve the lives of those living with Diabetes. 2021 will mark 100 years since the discovery of insulin, and within that 100 years there has been tremendous advancement in the preparations of insulin as well as in delivery mechanisms.
Yet we know severe hypoglycemia is still the most common adverse reaction of insulin and a major reported challenge. 30-40% of people with T1D will experience one or more severe hypoglycemic events each year, as will 1 in 5 people with T2D on insulin. As a country, we spend ~$1.8B in direct costs related to emergency care, inpatient care, and ambulatory care as a result of hypoglycemia.
But last year ushered in the hope of a paradigm change as we think about treating severe hypoglycemia. In 2019, the FDA approved two new glucagon options - the first premixed autoinjector, Gvoke HypoPen®, and the first nasal powder glucagon, Baqsimi®. That means no more mixing, no more multi-step preparation and reconstitution processes required in the moment of emergency.
In keeping with the theme of Diabetes Awareness Month, what aspects of “awareness” and “change” will you focus on this month with your patients? One potential area to evaluate and discuss with your patients may be their own “awareness”, preparation, and readiness for managing hypoglycemia and severe hypoglycemia events. With the spirit of “change” and “accountability” in the Fall air, what actions might you take in revisiting the patient and caregiver’s readiness, willingness, and plan to recognize, manage, and treat events? As you plan accordingly, you might find the following Roadmap to be a helpful discussion tool to navigate these discussions with your patient and caregiver community. (https://www.diabeteseducator.org/living-with-diabetes/Tools-and-Resources/hypoglycemia-resources).
For more information, education and resources for you, your offices, and your patients, please visit the following websites: https://www.gvokeglucagon.com/hcp/resources-for-your-practice; https://www.baqsimi.com/hcp/videos