Diabetes is a major public health crisis. But no one needs to tell James Walker that. A lifelong Taylorsville resident, James Walker, 49, has been living with Type 2 diabetes now for over 20 years. At times he feels overwhelmed and defeated. But James says a new wearable device called a V-Go® is helping him follow doctor’s orders and he calls it a “game changer”.
James has experienced a number of serious complications as a result of having diabetes. The disease makes him predisposed to plaque build up and high blood pressure, which contributed to the five heart attacks he’s survived. The progression of heart disease has been so severe, that doctors now say he has chronic heart failure and needs a transplant. However, to be eligible for the heart transplant wait list, he must first get his diabetes under control.
“One of the challenges in treating diabetes is to get patients like James to follow a medication regimen that stabilizes their blood sugar [glucose] levels,” says Joy Duckworth, NP-C, James’ primary care provider at Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Taylorsville . “James is doing good making lifestyle changes with exercise and diet, but he wasn’t always consistent when taking his insulin medication. With this new discrete device, we are already seeing an improvement in his targeted blood glucose levels.”
Before the V-Go, James complained that injecting himself away from home was both embarrassing and inconvenient. He admits there were times he avoided giving himself a shot that he needed. In fact, data from one study* shows that 72% of patients who need insulin therapy don’t give themselves the injections they need outside of their home. This may be because of the need to carry around supplies or simply because patients do not want to advertise their disease in public. The social stigma of diabetes or using a needle in public to control an unknown disease is powerful.
When asked about the V-Go, James says, “I don’t like it. I love it! I’ve been using it for six weeks now and I am feeling much better overall. To me, this is the best thing they’ve come up with. Before, people used to stare, but with the V-Go, no one knows it’s there. You just stick it on your skin underneath your clothes and go.”
James fills a new V-Go disposable device each morning with insulin and then sticks it on his skin. He activates the V-Go by simply pushing a button on top of the device, which immediately starts delivering insulin at a continuous rate for 24 hours. During that time, he gives himself manual injections during mealtimes with another click. Importantly, he accomplishes this without anyone seeing the device or broadcasting his disease to the world through using needles, pumps, or pens in public.
Gaining control of his blood sugar levels makes him more motivated to follow the care plan developed by his team at both the Taylorsville office and Catawba Valley Cardiology’s Heart Failure Clinic. For example, James takes walks everyday and, as a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts school in Atlanta, he has learned how to cook a fine array of diabetes-friendly cuisine. He offers this advice to anyone who’s having trouble controlling type 2 diabetes – “Listen to your doctors and ask about new options that can put you back in control of your life.”
V-Go is also cost effective. James says the device costs him about $80 less per month than the traditional insulin supplies he was using. It is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance plans.
Joy Duckworth has been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for providing quality care to patients with diabetes. She is one of the many practitioners in the Catawba Valley Medical Group network of providers who have achieved national recognition for educating patients and helping them master the skills necessary to control diabetes. To make an appointment with Joy or any of the providers at Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Taylorsville, please call 828.632.7076. The practice is located at 50 Macedonia Church Rd Suite A, Taylorsville, NC 28681.
*2011 U.S. Roper Diabetes Patient Market study
V-Go is a registered trademark of Valeritas, Inc.