CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: Feb. 12, 2001
UI Intensive Insulin Therapy Clinic is offering comprehensive diabetes
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Health care professionals have long recognized the importance
of good blood glucose control for people with diabetes. However, successful
control for each affected individual depends on finding and adhering to the
appropriate combination of diet, exercise and insulin therapy.
The UI Intensive Insulin Therapy Clinic helps people with established diabetes
meet this challenge by bringing together physicians, nurses and dieticians
in one care center. Since opening last October, the clinic has been helping
people ages 16 and older gain and/or maintain control of their diabetes, especially
type 1 diabetes. A major goal of the clinic is to help people take advantage
of diabetes treatment advances.
People with diabetes either do not make insulin, or the insulin they make
does not work the way it should to help glucose enter cells and provide energy.
As a result, people with diabetes can have too much glucose in their blood.
Chronically elevated blood glucose can damage blood vessels and cause serious
complications leading to blindness, kidney disease, lower limb amputation,
and stroke or heart disease.
"Good blood glucose control requires structured dietary and exercise
therapy along with intensive insulin therapy," said Gregory Doelle, M.D.,
UI associate professor (clinical) of internal medicine. "Intensive insulin
therapy can mean multiple daily insulin injections or the use of an insulin
pump. Good control also requires many health care providers who are involved
on an ongoing basis with patient management."
The clinic helps people already using or who want to use an insulin pump,
a newer method of insulin delivery that substitutes for multiple daily needle-stick
injections. The device is about the size of a deck of cards and is often worn
on the belt or in a pocket. The pump delivers a continuous infusion of short-duration
insulin through a tiny catheter inserted into the abdomen. The device also
can be used to provide extra insulin before meals or to correct high levels
of blood glucose.
"The pump system allows more precise insulin dosage and gives people
who use it more flexibility," said Vicki Kraus, UI advanced registered
nurse practitioner in internal medicine and one of the clinic staff members.
"People who use the pump can more easily deal with altered meal times
or content. The device also is very accommodating for people with highly variable
levels of daily activities, such as construction workers or people who work
People who choose to use the pump are initially closely followed with weekly
or more frequent clinic visits. Telephone check-ins then help patients as
they learn to work with the device to maintain good blood sugar.
Newer technology also helps the clinic professionals assess patients for
possible use of the pump or for the need for changes in their insulin dosages.
An implantable 72-hour glucose sensor, which monitors blood glucose sugar
every five minutes, provides a detailed pattern of highs and lows so that
insulin use can be more easily and accurately be adjusted.
In addition to Doelle, UI physicians serving the clinic are Robert Spanheimer,
M.D., associate professor of internal medicine, and William Sivitz, M.D.,
associate professor of internal medicine. Spanheimer is also a staff physician
at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City; Sivitz is both a staff
physician and researcher at the VA center. The UI clinic staff also includes
Barbara Bezoni, Rhonda Fruhling and Jennifer Long, nurse diabetes educators,
and Sydney Carlson, a dietician who can help people plan meals with the appropriate
balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
The UI Intensive Insulin Therapy Clinic serves people ages 16 and older with
established diabetes. For more information, call UI Health Access at (319)
384-8442 or 1-800-777-8442.
People who are interested in finding out whether they have diabetes should
also call the above numbers but ask for information about free diabetes screenings.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the
UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care,
medical education and research programs and services they provide.