DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have been an insulin-using diabetic for 15 years. The insulin pump idea intrigues me. I have to give myself as many as four shots a day, and I am getting tired of the inconvenience. What are your thoughts on the pump? Would I benefit from it? – K.K.
ANSWER: The insulin pump delivers insulin at a constant rate through a slender, plastic tube inserted with a needle under the skin at the same body depth where a person injects insulin. The pump itself is about the size of a thin beeper. It’s worn on the belt or put in a pocket. The plastic tube is taped to the skin.
Pumps have been around for more than 20 years. They’re a reliable way to get insulin into the body. They can be programmed to deliver larger amounts of insulin at the times of day and night when more is needed. For example, during sleep, just before wakening, blood sugar rises in the earlymorning hours. The pump can inject more insulin at that time. The same goes for mealtimes.
A person with a pump must still check his or her blood sugar. If it’s high, the pump user can activate the pump to release a surge of insulin.
I think insulin pumps are wonderful, but they’re not for everyone. They take some getting used to, and a person needs special instructions to learn their ins and outs. More than 200,000 Americans avail themselves of a pump. For those who have to inject themselves many times a day, the pumps are a real boon.
At some future time, there might be a pump that tests blood sugar and then releases an appropriate amount of insulin. That’s the eventual goal for this technology.
Diabetes is discussed at length in the booklet by that name. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue – No. 402W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Is it better to drink diet pop or regular pop? – B.
ANSWER: It’s OK to drink either if you do so in moderation – one or two cans a day.
Regular pop has a hefty supply of calories, around 150 for 12 ounces. You don’t get any other nutrients with those calories – no minerals, no vitamins, no fiber. Sugar in regular pop promotes tooth decay.
Diet pop has no sugar, so that’s something in its favor.
Caffeine in either form of pop puts women at risk for coming down with high blood pressure if they drink four or more cans a day.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am 63 and have a condition that people call “turkey neck.” The skin under my neck hangs down. How can I get rid of it without surgery? It’s not a double chin. I do exercises for it, but they aren’t working. – A.L.
ANSWER: How can I break this to you gently? I don’t know of any way to get rid of that redundant, drooping skin without resorting to surgery.
Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853- 6475.
©2008 North America Synd.