Ted Kutz, of BD, gets his blood tested by Sanofi’s Dan Leier at the sixth annual Diabetes Education Night on Oct. 3, hosted by the Lloydminster Lions Club. - Tom Pierson Photo
By Tom Pierson
The Lloydminster Lions were pleased to host Diabetes Education Night (DEN) for the sixth time.
“The last two years, what we’ve done is we’ve gone with this kind of a trade fair,” diabetes chairperson Brent Smithson said. “There is more representatives from the different drug companies and insulin pumps. So, it’s basically to give the information to the community.”
Smithson talked up the free supper and seems to feel that brings in more people. The Lions used to bring in speakers, and pay them between $2,000 and $3,000. Because of the expense, the Lions were mandated to recoup some of that outlay by charging an admission.
“This seems to work better,” explained Smithson. “We’ve got more people going through than what we had before.”
During the short evening, between 4 and 8 p.m., over 100 visitors passed through the front doors of St. Joseph’s Hall.
Besides the several manufacturers and drug company representatives, experts in many fields were on hand to supply a wealth of information on keeping fit, keeping to a good diet, keeping your heart healthy, and learning about the connection between kidney disease and diabetes.
Dietitians and several people from Prairie North Health District were on hand, as it seems that better general health leads to better diabetes control. There was even a pharmacist on hand to discuss individual needs and solutions. As Smithson said, the information available was very comprehensive.
That begs the question of why do the Lions align themselves with diabetes? The answer is simple. The Lions have always treasured sight and have provided many services and funding to that end. One of the well known side effects of diabetes can be loss of sight, thereby bringing it into the Lions’ den.
For the many people who visited the various tables seeking information, there were no shortage of helpful information providers. Hearing a smattering of the conversations proved one thing organizer Helen Rogers suggested, this is a great way to get caught up on all the latest equipment developments, information and news.
“It looked like a lot of people were having really good conversations with the providers,” said Rogers. The experts and representatives were only too happy to explain, instruct and demonstrate just how far they have come in recent years.
Ted Kutz, of BD Nano, provided a perfect example, with a static display of needles and how they have shrunk tremendously, down to a measly four millimetres, making the lives of diabetics that much easier. The original size was approximately four times the length of today’s needles.
The iPhone as a Tool
Dan Leier, of Sanofi, amazed with the BG Star and the IBG Star meters which use something called dynamic electro-chemistry. “A fancy term to indicate that the meter is very accurate.”
The advancement is, “being able to test your blood sugar on a meter and have those readings get synchronized with you iPhone or your Smartphone,” said Leier, “So all your readings are on a logbook on your iPhone.”
The strips are compatible with the BGStar and the IBGStar meters, and with an adapter, they are also compatible with your iPhone, making it a handy tool for the diabetic and his/her medical team.
There is no paper involved. Leier said, “From there you can email your doctor your results, you can look at the different statistics and you can make adjustments to your insulin, based on the information that you analyze, right on your phone.” And the company is working on Bluetooth capability for the meters.
Rogers was pleased with all the great exhibits. She said, “People have traveled from Saskatoon and Edmonton to be with us. We are very thankful for that.”
Although the Kidney Screening Team of Saskatoon could not make the event, information and important printed materials on its symptoms did arrive and their free distribution was a welcome addition on the link between kidney disease and diabetes.
Speaking of materials visitors were able to take home, for those bored with their diets, the solution was in the proliferation of recipes on the various tables and in several (a dozen or more) cook books strictly for diabetics.
There were information sheets, brochures, pamphlets and a lot more goodies available to take home on many topics offering a good deal of up-to-date advice.
It looked like a great evening all around and Rogers complimented the Lions on a great job with the supper.
By taking a quick look around the room, it was easy to see that there have been some terrific advancements through technology in recent years, as well as information on a wide variety of connecting topics.
Rogers added that the amount and level of supports available has also been growing.
With an information night such as this every year, it is easy to keep up with the latest advancements in treating diabetes, the end result being a better quality of life.