AFTER PERUSING YOUR excellent Consumer
Guide to diabetes products in the January
2014 issue, I am surprised that your reviews
of blood glucose meters do not mention the
two features that are most important to me,
besides accuracy and small sample size.
The first feature is the ability to add
blood to a strip that is not saturated. With
all three meters I use, I can apply some
blood to a strip, put the meter down,
squeeze my finger or lance it again as
necessary, and then apply more blood to the
same strip. This prevents wasting strips.
The second feature is a port light that
illuminates the opening into which the strip
is inserted. This allows me to test in the
dark without holding a light between my
teeth, during the night without disturbing
my husband, in a car at night (when I am
not driving), or in a dark theater.
Barbara Gilman, Dunwoody, Ga.
The Editors respond: It’s always great to hear
about what our readers would like to know. We
will definitely consider adding such details to the
meter section of the Consumer Guide. Thank you.
RECENT ITEMS IN the magazine about
traveling with testing equipment brought to
mind a trip to Asia about 20 years ago.
I carried a tester, strips, lancets, and
spare parts in a fanny pack. Airport security
in China was considerable. We were advised
that the X-ray equipment was rather strong
and might create problems with the tester.
At each airport check-in I would remove
the fanny pack and ask the inspector to
examine the contents visually.
One guard asked me to show every item
and explain its purpose. I showed him
the meter and test strips. Then the guard
held up the lancing device and asked,
“What is this?”
Without thinking, I replied, “Stick out
your finger and I’ll show you!”
Fortunately, the guard laughed and sent
me on my way.
Robert Leffler, Tucson, Ariz.
Continued from page 12
What to Know: The leading cause of death in people
with diabetes is heart disease. The most effective therapy to lower the
long-term risk of atherosclerotic heart disease (disease that starts in the
arteries) is a statin. Statins reduce risk mostly by lowering LDL (“bad”)
cholesterol. Several years ago, a very large study of a statin was done in
patients at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. That trial found a
small but significant increased risk of being diagnosed with diabetes in
the group on the statin compared with the group on placebo (a sugar
pill). The incidence was 3 percent in the statin group and 2. 4 percent in
the placebo group.
This prompted other researchers to go back through studies of other
statins, and it turned out that the finding was consistent across different
statin drugs. As far as we can tell from the data, women are at no more
risk of developing statin-associated diabetes than men. The risk was
greatest among people with risk factors for type 2 diabetes (higher
body weight, more sedentary lifestyle, high triglycerides). But the same
reanalyses of these trials also confirmed the overwhelming benefit of
statins for the heart. This benefit is actually even greater in patients
with diabetes or at risk for diabetes compared with other patients. In
the final analysis, for every one new case of diabetes that was diagnosed
in the statin group, the statin prevented five new cases of heart disease.
Find Out More: The websites of the American Heart Association
heart.org) and American Diabetes Association (
helpful information about the risks versus the benefits of being on
Takeaways: While there is a small increased risk of developing
elevated blood sugar on a statin, the risk is primarily in people already
at risk for developing diabetes. The benefit of the statin for the heart far
outweighs these risks.
Craig Williams, PharmD, responds: Every drug
has risks and benefits, and the decision of whether or
not to use a drug depends on the balance of those
factors in a patient.
What Links Statins to Type 2?
There has been news that statins contribute to diabetes
in women. As a woman who has taken statins and been
diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (I have no family history
nor do I meet the usual profile of a type 2 diagnosis), I
would like to know more about this link.
Betsey R. Rosenbaum, Alexandria, Va.