NEW ORLEANS -- In Louisiana, 14 percent of people have diabetes. That's not including the many more who have pre-diabetes and don't know it.
There's a simple device that can do away with insulin injections to help them get better control of blood sugar. The problem is, there are doctors and patients who don't know about it.
Twenty years ago when Judy Lapeyrouse learned she had diabetes, it wasn't too surprising since many family members on both of her parents' sides needed insulin injections. She too began a daily regimen of four-to-six insulin injections, including one at every meal. With a busy hospital job as a licensed practical nurse, it was hard not to miss some of those frequent injections.
"Because I didn't take the time out to do it. I grabbed a bite to eat and, you know, just went about my day," said Lapeyrouse, 60, from Gheens, Louisiana.
That caused her blood sugar to skyrocket. Her A1c was at 11.4. Normal is less than 5.7.
"It's nearly impossible to do it every single day," Nurse Practitioner Aimee G'sell said of patients giving themselves several daily injections. "Almost 80 percent of patients who have diabetes, who are on insulin, are not getting their A1c to goal."
G'sell is the Lead NP for the Diabetes Specialty Clinic at Ochsner Medical Center.
In just the last year, G'sell has gotten Judy's A1c down to 7.3. It's all because she switched from injections to a small pod that sticks on like a Band-Aid.
"The fact that patients are getting the insulin is what's making a difference," G'sell explained.
The disposable V-Go is changed every 24 hours. Through a flexible needle, the size of an eyelash, Judy is constantly getting insulin. At mealtime, she just clicks a button once or twice for the extra dose. There are no more missed injections because it's so convenient.
"The beauty of the V-Go is that when patients wear it, it really changes how they are managing their blood sugars," G'sell said.
That's critical. Out of control blood sugar can cause strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage-leading to amputations of the feet and legs.
Although the V-Go has been on the market for seven years, many doctors and patients don't know about it. And like it's done for Judy, it could change their health.
"I don't feel as sluggish as I did. I'd get a bite to eat and I'd get sleepy afterward, you know. It's, and this has helped," Lapeyrouse said of the V-Go.
Most insurance does cover the V-Go patch.
For an appointment at the Ochsner Diabetes Clinic call 504-777-2908.
For the consumer information line: 1-866-881-1209