Daylight savings: Is it a risk for diabetics?

Turning back the clock during fall can be disruptive to everyone, but diabetics may fare worse than others if they aren't precise about their insulin delivery, according to new research.

Saleh Aldasouqi, associate professor of medicine at Michigan State University, suggests that the main priority for people with diabetes is remembering to change the time on their insulin pumps.

"Some diabetes patients who use insulin pumps may forget to change the clock that is found in these devices," said Aldasouqi, a diabetes expert. "Forgetting to change the time can result in insulin dosing errors that can be harmful."

Current insulin pump technology doesn't have automatically adjusting clocks, which puts more responsibility on the patient to set pumps correctly. Additionally, Aldasouqi says his research has found that health providers often find patients have incorrect a.m. and p.m. settings on these devices.

Concerns with bolus therapy

Of the two forms of insulin delivery methods, basal and bolus, bolus is more of a concern if the delivery timing is affected, since bolus therapy releases insulin in bursts at meal times (instead of steadily throughout the day).

"Since this delivery method is timed around meals, if a patient eats lunch around noon, they'll get their burst of insulin at the wrong time," he said. "If it's too much or too little, it could send them to the hospital or worse."

When the clocks turn back and sleep schedules change, so do circadian rhythms - which can affect hormone balance and insulin levels, too.

"The implications of remembering to change the clock in these devices means so much more than just remembering to adjust the alarm clock for that extra hour of sleep," Aldasouqi said. "As a physician, I'm going to do what I can to make sure patients are safe."

Source: Science Daily

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