The November Facts

Starting November 2010, I post every day in November about diabetes, trying to get in at least one new fact per day (I missed a couple). Here is a list of the November facts for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.


1Jackie Robinson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

2 More than thirty thousand pancreas transplants have been performed in the United States.

3One unit of insulin is 1/22 mg of crystaline insulin.

4Sonia Sotomayer has been taking insulin since she was 8 years old.

5 Insulin secretion inversely affects glucagon secretion.

6 Symptoms of high and low blood sugar are inconsistent.

7 Type 1A diabetes is autoimmune.

8 Math skills affect diabetes control.

9Fibers are carbohydrates that cannot be turned into sugars.

10Vitiligo and other autoimmune disorders are more common in type 1 diabetics and their families.

11The therapeutic index of insulin is close to 1.

12 Insulin was the first genetically engineered byproduct to be sold.

13Finland has the highest incidence and prevalence of type 1 diabetes worldwide.

14Many diabetics do not have access to insulin due to geography and economics.

15 Insulin is secreted from the normal pancreas in pulsatile form.

16 The only insulin for sale anywhere is for injection only.

17In conjunction with other factors, diabetes causes heart, kidney, nerve, breast, eye and other diseases.

18A combination of genes and environmental factors affect the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

19Leonard Thompson was the first diabetic whose life was prolonged by insulin injections.

20Early detection of diabetes saves lives.

21 The human body has many tools for preventing and treating hypoglycemia.

22Monitoring the appropriateness of an insulin dose is done through blood sugar testing, not insulin testing.

23 Humans are not the only animal that develops diabetes.

24 Although diabetes typically shortens the lifespan of people who have it, some people have lived over 75 years with type 1 diabetes.

25 The highest blood sugar on record is 5600 mg/dl.

26Anne Rice was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

27 Autoimmune diabetes is not the only type 1 diabetes.

28Occasional babies are born with diabetes.

29Type 1 diabetics may or may not be on diets.

30Household medical waste does not count as potentially infectious medical waste under Illinois law.


1 Glycosuria was historically the defining symptom of diabetes.

2Definitions of diabetes have changed many times even in the last decade.

3 Alcohol impairs liver function, which affects blood sugar.

4 High blood sugar over time leads to higher levels of glycoprotein in hair.

5 Sugar is not a chemical term.

6The three companies selling insulin in the United States for human consumption are Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi.

7 The portion of newly diagnosed diabetic children in the United States who have a high HLA risk for diabetes declined between 1965 and 2005.

8The United States government has pledged $150,000,000 for research on type 1 diabetes per year.

9People who quit smoking develop transient insulin resistance.

10Three type 1 diabetics have climbed Mt. Everest.

11Current glucometers use 0.3 to 1.5 microliters of blood.

12No insulin combination has shown itself to lower A1c by more than 0.15 points compared to NPH+Regular.

13 Needles for blood draw have 5 to 30 times the volume of needles used for insulin injections.

14 Diabetics are at risk of ketoacidosis even when their blood sugars are normal.

15Early versions of the OGTT were done with blood from the earlobe.

16 Type 1 diabetic adults diagnosed as children take more insulin than those diagnosed as adults.

17 There is no standardized ASL sign for diabetes.

18 Autoimmune diabetes is sometimes transmitted and sometimes cured by bone marrow transplant.

19 Diabetes is associated with multiple forms of vision loss and impairment.

20 The acronym NODAT stands for New Onset Diabetes After Transplant.

21 Diabetes causes high blood sugar.

22 There are two genes on the X chromosome that impact risk of developing type 1a diabetes.

23 Being diabetic is no excuse for not registering as an organ donor!

24 There are lots of interesting places to learn about diabetes!

25According to current definitions, half of Americans over the age of 65 are diabetic or prediabetic.

26 Zinc is a necessary ingredient in pro-insulin.

27Andy Stuckey, whose first high blood sugar reading was on a Christmas day, is a father, singer song writer, and the head writer of a successful TV show.

28 Alpha cells turn into beta cells but not vice versa.

29 The genetic basis for narcolepsy is protective against type 1 diabetes.

30 Some amino acids can be converted to carbohydrates.

1 Age at diagnosis has a strong effect on risk of complications and associated diseases, including renal failure and celiac sprue.

2 One in a million American children died of diabetes in the past few years; that's 40 kids per year.

3 Internationally, well over a hundred blood glucose measuring devices are for sale. 

4 Endocrinology covers the study of a diverse group of hormones.

5 In 2009, the United States had roughly 20,490,000 adults diagnosed with diabetes.

6 Smushed up, a newborn baby's pancreas would fit inside of a 10 mL insulin vial.

7 Changing a sheet of metal into a needle in a factory takes days.

8 Heat speeds and increases absorption of subcutaneously injected substances- like insulin.

9 There are a half dozen different ways to calculate glycosolated HbA1c with a blood sample.

10 The FDA committee of 12 people deciding on the approval of insulin degludec included four people with strong arguments against its approval. The other eight outvoted them.

11 Type 1 diabetics tend to have better cholesterol levels than nondiabetics of the same weight.

12 George Woolf, one of Seabiscuit's jockeys, was a type 1 diabetic.

13 There are more than 300 sextillion (in the American way of counting) molecules of glucose in a gram of sugar.

14 The IDF recommends bariatric surgery for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in persons with BMIs above 35 with inadequate diabetes control and in persons with BMIs above 40 no matter the diabetes control.

15 Diabetes causes hearing loss.

16 The highest and lowest diagnosed diabetes rates in adults in the United States are in Alabama and Alaska.

17 The cost of making a Dexcom is less than half the price of buying one, but Dexcom is in debt anyways.

18 Even among those diagnosed in adulthood, short adults are at higher risk of diabetes complications.

19 Some animals develop insulin resistance when they fast, even overnight.

20 Intensive blood sugar control doesn't make the average type 2 diabetic live longer (although it does reduce risk of neuropathy and vision loss).

21 Although no English speaking country accepts diabetics into its armed forces, the Finnish and Israeli armies do.

22 Having a form of type A blood is a risk factor for type 1 diabetes.

23 Misdiagnoses regarding diabetes status and type of diabetes happen and sometimes they matter.

24 Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is present in a large portion of both type 1 and type 2 diabetic adults.

25 One a day Lantus doesn't have a better effect on type 2 diabetics' blood sugars than once a day NPH.

26 Despite rumor to the contrary, the Senate Candy Desk was not started by a diabetic.

27 Testosterone has a nonlinear effect on insulin sensitivity.

28 Insulin production matters even at very low levels.

29 In the past six years, the US market has seen new insulin pumps, new CGMs, and new insulins. It has also lost insulin pumps, CGMs, and insulins.

30 Cyclosporine (an immunosuppressant) extends the honeymoon period in type 1 diabetes.


1 The diabetes guidelines committee consists mostly of individuals who receive significant income from drug companies.

2 The proinsulin gene is located on chromosome 11.

3 Blood sugars tend to be higher in the winter... especially in hibernating animals.

4 Some risk factors for type 1 diabetes are present at birth.

5 Mutations and variations in the wolframin gene contribute to as much as 15% of all cases of diabetes diagnosed as type 2.

6 Two thirds of diabetic dog owners say that their dogs respond to their blood sugars.

7 Treatment of asymptomatic diabetic retinopathy dramatically lowers the risk of going blind in the affected eye.

9 Male pattern baldness is associated with a higher risk of heart disease for men, including diabetic men.

10 26% of  adult diabetics in the US use insulin. Only about 5% of adult diabetics are diagnosed with type 1.

11 Type 2 diabetes has less negative health impacts in the elderly, and in some studies of people aged 85+, those with diabetes were LESS likely to die.

 12 Protein, fat, and carbohydrates all raise blood sugar in type 1 diabetics.

13 Type 1 diabetics, as a group, have fewer children than non-diabetics.

14 A list of fifteen people with childhood onset diabetes who lived past the age eighty.

15 Certified Nurses' Aides in the state of Illinois are trained to cut fingernails, but are legally not allowed to cut the fingernails of diabetics.

17 Long term vegetarians are considerably less likely to develop adult onset diabetes.

18 The University of Toronto patented insulin in 1923, and you can read the text of their patent application on line.

19 Incretins are substances made by most euglycemics' bodies in response to eating, that prompt the beta cells to make more insulin even before blood sugar rises.

20 People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as a group have a higher cancer risk compared to the general population; people diagnosed with type 1 do not.

21 Insulin glargine reduces risk of hypoglycemia compared to NPH, but it doesn't lower A1cs.

22 Mitochondrial mutations are responsible for about 1% of all cases of diabetes.

23 Shoulder pain is more common in adult diabetics (compared to adult euglycemics and compared to children).

24 Most non-diabetics' blood sugars drops below baseline after mealtime rises in blood sugar.

25 In embryonic development, the pancreas begins as two pieces that come together.

26 The pancreatic islets in humans contain five types of cells.

27 Five facts about glucagon.

28 Some researchers want to encourage blood vessel growth near sensor sites to make them last longer.

30 Physicians in the US have public rankings based on meeting various standards... including how often diabetic patients have screenings and what our A1cs are.