Diabetes Awareness & “Tripledemic”

Did you know that November is Diabetes Awareness Month? Diabetes is known as the “Silent Killer” in the medical profession due to the number of additional problems it causes in patients.

Approximately 34 million people in the US alone have diabetes. As with many other health ailments, Type 2 diabetes, many times can be prevented. Patients don’t just wake up one day with blood sugars in the 300-400 range. Over time, sugar collects in the bloodstream as a result of insulin resistance or failure of the pancreas to produce enough insulin. Appropriate diet and exercise (beating my drum again!) can help prevent becoming diabetic as well as helping to control one’s blood sugar level if already a diabetic.

The cardiovascular system, circulatory system, kidney function, and energy level are a few things affected by this disease. Every week this nasty little disease causes thousands of health complications like strokes, amputations, heart attacks, and kidney failure. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention UTIs are common complications of diabetes. Bacteria love sugar and high blood sugar leads to sugar in the urine. Patients who do not empty their bladder completely (think elderly) end up with bacteria “hanging around” in the urinary tract.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), patients with Type 2 diabetes experience more frequent and more severe UTIs. NCBI also says these patients have worse outcomes due to UTIs in diabetic patients often being caused by resistant pathogens, meaning the infections are more difficult to treat. Can you say order a PCR UTI test from ILDP? We can determine what pathogen is causing the UTI infection as well as determine the antibiotic resistance to make sure what you prescribe is the best thing for that patient. 

On another front, fall through early spring is flu season. The NY Times just had an article where “experts” are saying the Flu, RSV, and Covid may collide this winter causing a “tripledemic”. Some pediatric hospitals are already crowded with RSV patients. The irony of these viruses is they all cause similar symptoms. The only way to determine what a patient actually has is to test them.

According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, there appears to be an equal number of Covid, Flu, and RSV cases, which is alarming because it is very early for such Flu and RSV activity. Several European countries are experiencing upticks in Covid hospitalizations, and even deaths, which is concerning some US doctors.

It sounds as if this might be a challenging winter. We are here to help. ILDP offers a Fluvid test to help determine if and what influenza virus a patient may have as well as determine if it is Covid. We also conduct RSV testing within our respiratory panel. Guessing wrong can delay treatment and put your patients at risk. Please get those that need it, tested. 

I hope everyone had a happy Turkey Day and enjoyed their friends and family. Take a moment to reflect upon what you are thankful for this holiday season. ILDP is thankful for you.

Lance Benedict

President/CEO Industry Lab Diagnostic Partners