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Diabetes Update Number 173: When to Check Your A1C

December 1, 2012

By David Mendosa


A Juvenile Tundra Swan
Spreads its Wings

Baseline Reservoir, Boulder,
Colorado, November 25, 2012  

The New Site Goes Live

When you visit my website,, this month, you will notice that it's different. A few days ago my website programmer, Abhijit Mhapsekar, completed a massive facelift for the site. This is the site's first major upgrade in almost 18 years. When I started the site in February 1995, I did my own programming after learning a bit from books and other sites about how to do it. Eventually the site grew so big -- with more than 4,000 articles about diabetesand how to manage it -- that programming it was too much work for me to do alone. So I brought Abhijit in to help me, and over the years he has done more and more of the work to develop and maintain the site. You may notice a few rough edges, and if you do, please let us know. But we hope that you will find the revamped website more attractive and easier to use.

  • My New Diabetes Articles for HealthCentral:

    Last month HealthCentral published seven more of my diabetes articles about all aspects of the condition:

    We must accept responsibility for the welfare of our fellows. This means we have to do what we can to help them. But no wife, no diabetes writer, and no doctor can help a husband manage his diabetes when he isn't on board.

    If we are lucky, those of us who have diabetes will live long enough to get neuropathy. This new painkiller could remove the pain. 

    Relatively little money goes for diabetes research. Diabetes advocacy sucks. This article explores why and who is at fault.

    Half of our A1C level depends on the one month before we test it. To me that means we need to do that test every 30 days. That's what I do now.

    The standard recommendations about cholesterol do more than anything else to hold back our management ofdiabetes. Cholesterol is at the heart of every dietary recommendation in this country for the last generation.

    John Dodson's weight made it hard for him to manage his diabetes. He tried everything and has finally succeeded.

    Do you like the blood glucose meter that you use? I like mine and a brand new study shows that most of those of us who have diabetes do too.

  • Fitness and Photograph for Fun:

    Last month I published 10 more of my articles on staying fit by getting the activity we need. Photography gets me to hike, and hiking keeps me fit:

    Hiking around Coot Lake on one of the last days of fall, I didn't see any coots. But the landscape was glorious.

    Bald Eagles have made a wonderful comeback from nearly going extinct half a century ago. These majestic birds, a symbol of our nation, never fail to capture my attention. They are back in Boulder now and I captured these images of them.

    Boulder's most renowned photographer, Chris Brown, led a short photo safari to Sawhill Ponds where he taught some of us the fundamentals of exposure, focus, and composition. I also got some landscape shots of the ponds in fall.

    We saw at least 46 of these colorful Wild Turkeys. And none of them seemed the least bit afraid of becoming our Thanksgiving Dinner.

    Before the storm, Colorado's Clear Creek showed its fall colors in all their glory. And a hungry hawk.

    The city of Boulder manages this open space just east of the city limits as a wildlife preserve for birds, fish, and animals, rather than people. We saw birds, fish, and fall colors there at the beginning of the week just before our first snowstorm.

    Even though I got trapped by quicksand as a got as close as possible to a flock of American White Pelicans, I had a great time walking around McIntosh Lake in Longmont, Colorado. And at the end of the visit I was able to photograph a rare bird here.

    Approaching slowly and carefully to an American Kestrel we found on a post at the end of our hike through Adams County Regional Park, I was able to get within 12 steps of one of America's smallest and most beautiful raptors. This bird was more intent on hunting its breakfast than on being hunted by me.

    The highlights of my trip to the Rocky Mountains on Black Friday was the chance to get really close to two birds. Neither a Steller's Jay nor a Black-billed Magpie showed any fear of me. 

    Just arrived from their arctic home, Tundra Swans are now visiting Boulder, Colorado, where I live. These are America's smallest swans, and they are exceptionally beautiful.

  • New Flickr Site
    I keep added some of my favorites nature photographs on In the past month I have added several more. You can find them the easiest way by clicking here

  • Dr. Bernstein's Webcast
    If you have any interest in controlling your diabetes by low-carb eating, one of the best resources is Dr. Richard K. Bernstein's monthly webcast. It's an hour of excellent diabetes education available free either on the Internet or by phone. You can click here to register

    Dr. Bernstein's next live webcast will be on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, at 7 p.m. CST, 8 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. MST, and 5 p.m. PST. He designed it to answer your most important questions concerning diabetes and to offer his thoughts on the latest developments in this area. The special topic for this webcast will be "Update on glucose monitor accuracy."

  • Searching for My Articles
    Whenever you want to find anything that I have written about diabetes -- whether on my website or on HealthCentral Network -- the easiest way is to use the search tool on my site. You can search for all of the articles on my site or for the "Diabetes Developments" blog or the "Fitness and Photography for Fun" blog or what I have written at HealthCentral, which is now a part of Remedy Health Media.

    Just go to and check which one of the four sites you want to search and enter what you want to find in the search block.


  • Health Central
    The Health Central Network will now notify you by email of new articles (SharePosts) by me or anyone who posts at Just click on "Subscribe" at the top of each of my articles or on my "Profile" page.

    Each month I describe and link my new Health Central articles here. But you can also use a blog reader to keep up with my articles more quickly. I use Bloglines, as I describe in my article, “Reading Health Blogs.

  • This Newsletter:
    1. Is and will remain free.
    2. Will never include advertising (except targeted Google ads at the bottom of the web page and not in the email newsletter).
    3. Nor will I ever sell, rent, or trade your email address to anyone.
    4. I will link sources of information.
    5. I will disclose any conflict of interest.
    6. If and when I learn of any errors of fact, I will correct them.
  • Archives: I now send out Diabetes Update once a month.

  • Previous issues are online at Older Issues.
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