Gluten Free Chewing Gum – Australia

Next month, in November, it’s one year since I went gluten-free. Before that, I always had a pack of chewing gum in my handbag. The other day I realised that I had to do some research. I haven’t had gum in nearly a year!

Hopefully, this will be of some assistance. Wrigley’s, one of the more popular chewing gum makers, state on their website, that the following gums available in Australia are gluten free (and sugar free):

  • –  EXTRA® – Peppermint, Spearmint, Sweetmint, Strawberry
  • –  EXTRA® Professional – Strongmint, Spearmint, White and Lemon Lime
  • –  Extra® ActiveTM- Berry, Peppermint, Spearmint, Watermelon
  • –  ECLIPSE® Ice – Peppermint, Spearmint
  • –  ECLIPSE® Mints – Peppermint, Spearmint, Cool Breeze, Intense, Berry
  • –  5® – Cobalt (peppermint), Electro (spearmint), Tempest (watermelon), Vortex (green apple) and Cirrus (blueberry)
  • –  P.K® – Peppermint, Blue
  • –  Juicyfruit®
  • –  Hubba Bubba® – Grape, Strawberry, Cola

If you are in the USA, a different and more comprehensive list can be found here:

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Medical IDs

Do you have diabetes and wear a medical ID?

Why Wear a Medical ID?

Every person with diabetes – at the very minimum, those on insulin or other diabetes medications – could be in dire straights if something unforeseen happens, while not wearing a medical ID. It’s an insurance of sorts. We all buy insurance, never thinking that something bad will happen. This is no different. It’s a just-in-case measure that might well save your life.

I’ve almost always worn a medical ID. Apart from diabetes and the fragile 24/7 management that no stranger can do as well as I do, I’d prefer someone get in touch with my endo and CDE before they decide on any insulin doses. I’d also want someone to know that my insulin pump copes with my basal very well, but to reduce it a bit if I’m stuck motionless.

I have a laundry list of allergies, other medical conditions, and in particular a horrible intolerance to a very common drug used in anaesthesia. I need to know that if I can’t speak for myself, something else will. All of that and more just won’t fit on a little ID tag.

Medical ID Options

Sometimes I’ve bought generic medical IDs and had them engraved. Sometimes I’ve just bought the ID part and made my own jewellery to go with it. a few years ago, bought a beautiful, delicate silver bracelet from Etsy, which surprisingly lasted several years, considering it was so delicate. My IDs have been varied and in many different styles, but they could never hold enough information.

While there are some incredibly cute IDs out there, I don’t particularly want an ID to look like a pretty piece of jewellery that no one will think to look at. On the other hand I don’t want anything engraved on my forehead, so to speak.

Most of the 24 hour call IDs are inappropriately expensive!

The Brand I Chose

Along comes RoadID, a very clever and relatively inexpensive concept! I’d read about it a while ago and decided it would be my next medical ID.

While partially targeted at anyone who’s on the road – cyclers, runners etc, it’s also marketed as a medical ID.

RoadID ships worldwide – at a very reasonable cost. Apart from the clever designs and concept, the inexpensive shipping and local first responder (ambulance, police etc) access phone number (in Australia) is definitely icing.

Original or Interactive

The ID part that is engraved is just the beginning. There are two kinds if RoadIDs – “Original” and “Interactive”.

You can purchase an ID that just has a few lines of your information on it (Original), or you can buy one where more detailed medical information is held on the website (Interactive).

Each Interactive ID has a serial number and pin on the back. Cleverly, the serial and pin are not on the front – someone has to turn it over to get these numbers. As long as you’re wearing it, no random person can get the info as long as you’re conscious! If you’re unconscious, you clearly need help immediately. Doesn’t matter who gets the information, if they can’t help!

Any first responder (police, ambulance etc) can either log into the RoadID website or call a local number. They then have access to your medical record and emergency contacts,  your own identifying information and more. For example, my information has a note that I have a dog at home and who to call to take care of the dog if I can’t.

With the interactive ID, you create as much or as little info as you want on the website, and update it anytime. The cost of the data storage – US$9.99 per year. Way more than reasonable!

norm_interactiveHere’s a photo of the difference between the regular RoadID and the interactive one. (A better one is on the website.)

Emergency personnel will need the serial number and pin of the RoadID before any information is available. I don’t know any first responder these days who doesn’t have either a mobile phone, internet access or access to someone else at the base who could call!

It could save very valuable time, and averts the risk of inappropriate treatment.

The Original Concept

From the RoadID website:

Road ID was created on the concept that active people should wear ID as part of their gear when participating in outdoor activities. It was started by a couple of guys who began to wonder “why in the heck don’t we have ID on us when we go out for a run or a ride?” We looked at our dogs, they had ID. But, if we had an unexpected accident, while running or cycling, we would be in bad shape – nobody would know who we were or who to contact. That freaked us out.

What I Bought

roadid_slimI bought a Slim Wrist ID in black with a spare pink band. I also bought the medical alert badge (a red caduceus) that goes to one side of the tag.

I don’t like anything tight on my wrist, so I opted for the large size, and wasn’t disappointed. It’s not going to fall off. It’s incredibly comfortable, and I barely notice I’m wearing it. So while I don’t have a huge wrist, the large is perfect. Do take measurements if you order one, and decide whether you want a tight bracelet or a loose one. Some are adjustable, some not.

The ID Tag and the small medical alert badge can easily be switched to another wristband of the same type. I’m sorry now I didn’t order more colours!

There are several different designs – something to suit everyone, even kids. There’s even one for the ankle! There’s also a Free RoadID app, which I’ve downloaded for my iPhone.

If you’re looking for something a little different with a very effective concept, head on over to RoadId.

Read and watch the RoadID story.

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Strip Safely Campaign

We’ve long known that our lives with diabetes depend on accurate glucose meter readings. We’ve also known that  fixing of the allowable +/- 20% error is long overdue!

There’s a campaign going in the USA called Strip Safely (click on the graphic to read more). The Diabetes Online Community (DOC) in the USA seems to have quite an influential voice, but the problem exists world-wide. Meter and strip manufacturers cater to markets everywhere.

I’m not going to bore you with the mathematics of it, but the upshot is that if I’m in a lowish blood glucose range, there’s a huge difference between treating a hypo, if I’m really having one, and leaving it alone if I’m not. If my blood glucose is high, there’s a possibility I will stay out of range even if I correct with insulin, if my meter is incorrect.

There are some meters which are more accurate than others. Is it the meter, the testing strip or a combination of both? I don’t care. I care that the process becomes more accurate.

Am I in range or not? Do I correct something or am I ok? And I don’t just want to be ‘in range’. I want to be in the lower end of being ‘in range’ – that’s where I feel the best. Is my meter so off that I’m high all the time and my risk of long-term complications doubles? Seriously? Who am I going to sue for that?

I can test, with the same drop of blood, with two different strips and get a different result. That’s what we with diabetes deal with every day. I’ve had occasions that a reading has been out by a very long way, much more than the +/- 20% allowable. Had I treated on what the meter said, it would have been a bit of a disaster. Lucky for me I looked at the number and said to myself: “No way!”. And I tested again with a completely different result.

Granted, there have been huge improvements in the accuracy of home blood glucose testing since the first one arrived on the market in the early 1980s. Before that, some, like me, remember peeing on sticks (which are still around today) and comparing the result to a row of a few colours. Plenty of disasters for me, and for others too I’m sure.

Since January this year, I proudly wear a Dexcom G4 Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). It’s incredibly accurate! I’ve come to rely on it much more than a blood glucose meter. CGMs and the measurement sensors are expensive and are not covered by health insurance in Australia. That’s a whole other issue. The potential cost of ongoing sensors is $100 a week (AUD is about the same as USD). I’m grateful that my sensors last longer than a week. The point is that if this kind of technology is available, and generally glucose meters haven’t improved in accuracy for quite a few years, what are the meter manufacturers doing? I don’t know.

Are you telling me that the technology doesn’t exist to make blood glucose meters better? I find that hard to believe! Are you telling me that it would cost too much to produce a more accurate blood glucose meter? I’m not sure we care. I’d certainly pay double for a meter that was more accurate than the ones I have. Using a meter over a few years, the cost of the meter itself becomes minimal. The cost of most any current meter is less than the cost of one CGM sensor, which only lasts a week!

I don’t care what or how, but I’d like the meter manufacturers to do SOMETHING to improve the current accuracy of blood glucose meters.



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Animas Insulin Pump

I've had an Animas Insulin Pump since June 2009. I absolutely love my pump and I love the wonderful people at Animas (AMSL Australia).

If you are even remotely thinking of getting an insulin pump, please feel free to contact me and ask me why I love mine and what a huge difference it's made to my life.

There are also lots of posts here to give you similar information.