Sugar is the body’s souce of energy and diabetes is all around us. It’s in every city and town in each state. It’s in all populations, from pediatric to geriatric patients. And it’s in the news, especially lately because November is American Diabetes Month and today is the first United Nations World Diabetes Day.

Worlddiabetesday.org reports that 246 million people live with diabetes globally. If nothing is done, this figure will reach 380 million within 20 years.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 20.8 million children and adults in the U.S., or 7% of the population, have diabetes — including 6.2 million who have not been diagnosed with the disease.

Today, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced that the manufacturer of Avandia (rosiglitazone), a drug widely used to treat type 2 diabetes, will begin printing information about potential increased heart risk on the drug’s boxes. In 2006, the FDA began researching claims that Avandia increases the risk of chest pain, heart attacks and heart-related deaths but concluded that Avandia’s heart risk is no greater than similar oral type 2 diabetes drugs. Therefore, EMS personnel should question diabetic patients about whether they use Avandia and be sure to monitor the cardiac activity of these patients carefully.

Brush up on your care of pediatric diabetic patients by reading “Pediatric DKA” from June 2006 JEMS. Also read about the use of dextrose for hypoglycemic and diabetic patients in the March 2007 JEMS article, “Is D50 Too Much of a Good Thing?