Blog Entries With Tag: Levemir


Posted: Apr 28, 2014

This blog post is dedicated to Susan Townsend who died of a stroke on April 10th.  She’d become a diabetic in the 1980’s, and she struggled with it, she admits that she thought she was the “ world’s worst diabetic. Diabetes eventually lead her to become blind in 2001 and almost 10 years later she suffered kidney failure and her eldest son Sean donated his kidney after she’d waited a few years for a donor (now is that a son or what?).   I thoroughly enjoyed reading her books over the years – if you’ve never heard of / or read ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ “– I am saying “shame on you “ – go to your library, bookshop, get thyself a copy – and keep on reading all of her fantastic books.

Picture of Sue Townsend courtesy of Brunchnews

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, February 19th

I’ve sort of been out of the loop lately – especially with diabetes discussions on the Internet – and composing my entertaining blogs.  My life lately has been overwhelmed by dealing with thyroid issues – or at least that’s what I think it is – with my lab work for endocrinology showing the signs. My endo I see for my diabetes (the one that was against my going onto a pump, etc.) – has been telling me for years that “eventually you’ll be on meds” – that’s despite my asking him if he agreed with the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) new guidelines for TSH normal range and recommended to change it from 0.5-5.0 to 0.3-3.0 (this was back in 2002!).  He rolled his eyes – end of discussion.  At that time - I was over the 3.0 range - and feeling like crappola (lose weight - eat less - exercise was his basic advise).

Today – after my lab work from the previous week for my GP – where I had ticked off extra tests for my thyroid panel rather than just the TSH which really doesn't reveal all the dirty details.  I pay 20% out of pocket for these tests to be done in a lab rather than government run clinic - wher they don't allow the patient to have a copy of their results - ssshhh - if only I lived in France).  My feelings are, it's my body - I want to know how to make things better along with my health team.  This time - thank goodness - my GP obliged me with giving me a prescription for Synthroid– the lowest dose possible – it’s a start - to hopefully regaining a normal life again.

Dare I mention that it’s helpful to have your DH with you on a doctor’s visit – because I think otherwise she might have dismissed my pleas for help (I was getting desperate - to the point of jumping out of a tall building and going splat).

Photograph by Ahn Junn

Wednesday, March 5th

I’m really behind on keeping up my journal.   actually have to admit – that I now understand how an adult – being diagnosed with diabetes feels.  It’s very daunting – when you don’t know what the heck you are dealing with.  For myself – by doing research – trying to learn all the terms that are associated with my thyroid are just the same as diabetes.  It’s mind boggling!!!  Personally, I’m finding having diabetes – even with the roller coaster ride I’m going on currently with my blood sugars (#BGnow) going wacko (oh – did I mention I’m peri-menopausal right now – I’m a constant bleeding and emotional pig – which I’m trying to cope with so I don’t worry my DH).  Diabetes is the easy part of my life at the moment compared to what I’m dealing with having had it since I was a child – it’s like riding a bike.  Thyroid disorder – is like learning how to surf (whack goes the board into my head – do people wear helmets when they’re learning I wonder.

Monday, March 17th

Heart burn city!!!  Never experienced this before.  I don’t know how people put up with this when it’s caused by eating.  Mine I think is caused by the Synthroid.  So far, no success with having GP  return my call for advise - just her RN - saying she'd follow up.  Nothing.  Mint flavoured calcium packed Tums - delicious - semi affective on the pain.  I’ll keep on popping the Synthroid pill – which I’ve discovered – tastes slightly sweet (reminds me of baby aspirins – that some kids used to pop like candy – bad, bad, bad).

Tuesday, April 1st

April Fool's Day

Urrrhhhh!!!  Of all days - April Fool's -  I’ve had enough of this – doubling my dose – did I tell you some of the symptoms I’ve been having over the years???  Sit back – have a drink – gonna tell you a story about a man call Jed

Weight gain!!!!  I’m afraid to pull out the scale – at my GP’s visit – I’d gained 10 pounds (4.5 kg) over a few months. I have rolls of fat on my back now – never had that before) Muu Muu dresses are my fav thing to wear – except difficult in winter months when you have to go out!  And with my difficulty with staying warm (I’m frozen all the time – so unlike me – I even wear a hat inside the house – brrrhh – it’s Spring time!!!).  Therefore, I’m actually not going out much anymore – no energy – I want to sleep like I’m Sleeping Beauty.  To be happy about waking up in the AM – would be oh such a wonderful thing to appreciate again.  It’s been close to 3 years since all of this started (and the happy pills did nothing (you can see my talking about it in this vlog I did a few years ago) – they are a common thing given to undiagnosed thyroid patients – sad to say)

Maxine - I'm Out Of Bed cartoon

Friday, April 25th

New labs – TSH level is down – but other levels have changed – along with my antibodies (TPO) now being even higher.  I’d tried posting my results in a few groups I belong to online – but no replies (they mostly are more concerned with a natural thyroid medication aka Canadian Bacon/CB that I’ve been told to go on – but again – one step at a time with my health team).  It is made from desiccated pig thyroid that has a balance of T3/T4 – unlike the T4 Synthroid.  The only problem I’m finding – it varies on how it works depending on the manufacturer – and sometimes isn’t covered by health insurance plans  I think due to my being on the synthetic one – that they think I’m a whack job (just like pumpers think of folks who do MDI – aka multiple dose injections).   Also, I do know that the Canadian units in our lab work differ from USA – but so far – like with blood sugar conversion rate – I’m not having much luck (or time) to locate anything.  So for now, I’m happy with what I have found in a great article written by Dr. Marina Gutner at Outsmart Disease.

Monday, April 28th

What I’m learning from all the research I’ve been doing with pro-CB folks – and folks on combinations of T3 / T4 meds – like diabetes – YMMV (your mileage may vary).  None of us are the same on medications – like Levemir insulin (insert blog).  I did try it again after my GP told me that Lantus causes weight gain.  I have an allergic reaction to Levemir – it pools up in a hard  lump – despite the small dose).

I think having patience to find the right combination of meds / diet / exercise – like any health problem – takes time.  I am trying to be optimistic here – as I meet up with my GP tomorrow – and hope she understands all my babble - if not - it's onto my endo the following week.

Hmmm, maybe I should give her this blog?  So, she’ll understand what I’m going through.  That’s a plan … that’s a plan.

Picture of peacock courtesy of MyCrappyHouse.com

 

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Posted: Mar 7, 2014

It’s been a month now since coming back to Canada from what I think was the best holiday I’ve had in ages.  I’m still in the process of getting my thoughts together for a good travel blog on the experience along with going thru’ the 1,000’s of pictures both my DH and I took – but in the meantime – it’s back to business for blogging about what I do the best … diabetes … staying in control with it … using whatever method suits you best.

For myself, on this past holiday, I was determined to use the I-Port for all my rapid insulin shots that I take during my waking hours.  I average about 6 shots a day when using my rapid insulin for my meals and corrections.  The ability to not worry about where I last injected (yes – some people keep charts).  I’m lazy – too much work - using the I-Port – which is like an infusion set on an insulin pump (both devices to infuse are very similar) – makes it easier to give time to heal as you move the I-Port/infusion to the next spot.  It makes my life easier!

If I could have put my long lasting insulin into the same port – that would be great – but you can’t – according to the instructions.  It makes sense – since the long lasting insulin (Levemir / Lantus) – work at a different speed – so best to keep them separated.  So, for my regime of using Levemir during my holidays (x3 a day) that was fine (though the 6 AM wake up call for 1st of 3 shots – yawwwnnn – did I say I’m not an early morning riser???).

Anyway, the jist of my blog here is that … I had to ditch using the I-Ports into the 2nd day of our 14 days of sailing.  The reason why?

  • Heavy seas when sailing (we sometimes had waves of 12’ high) – a lot of movement – equals unable to get the needle into the rubber port  that you inject into on the infusion set – tres difficile.   Often I would just inject with pen needle the regular way – and forgo the I-Port altogether.  Sigh.
  • Lack of light.  You need GOOD light to be able to see the rubber port.  A few times when going offshore – the places we were going to – either candle light – flashlight – or next to no light at all.  The life of a boater – lighting is not always what we are used to in our homes that are connected to the grid.

So, I ditched using the I-Ports for the whole 3 weeks of my holidays.

And yes, I am back on the I-Port now back on terra-firma – still enjoying the pump break I’m taking for now.  Testing out Levemir once again – but only on 2X a day injections (sorry Doris - the 3X regime was too much like being a slave to insulin - all I did was worry about times, etc. - not my personal style of controlling my diabetes health - too stressful).

Sadly I only have 6 I-Ports left – and after talks with Diabetes Express / and Fay at Medtronic Canada – who knows when we’ll be able to obtain more.  Discussions are ongoing for distribution since Medtronic took over distribution from Patton Medical Devices in February.  It’s also very sad – when I hear from parents of kids who use the I-Port – and their not being able to get what they need (most kids use 6mm – as an adult – I use the 9mm – otherwise – I’d give the I-Ports to those that need them most).

Feel like discussing this in the forums? You can go check it out here - where I originally posted about the I-Port back in 2008.  It's not new - and many Americans don't know much about it. 

Meanwhile, back to dreaming I’m still living on water ….

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Posted: Feb 21, 2014

Most of you know, I started insulin pumping back in 2008 with an Animas 2020 after 40+ years with multiple dosage injections (MDI).  Sadly, with the problems over the years when I go on holidays with a pump – it often fails on me - and I have to use the loaner pump that all Animas owners with a warranty can take advantage of.  I also had always brought MDI back  up incase the loaner pump also crapped out on me (See NOTE1).

Cool picture of an aircraft

On a recent trip to Martinique, with my assortment of insulin products I use for my MDI adventures - I experienced a little scare when it came to doing my basal injection with Levemir (I decided to give this a go again - doing 3X shots a day every 8 hours rather than the usual Lantus 2X a day regime). 

When I went to give my 14H00 Levemir injection with the NovoPen Echo (my American readers - it's now available in the USA as of January 2014) - like always - I went to prime the needle for injection.

Nothing came out.

I primed it again with 2 units instead of the normal 1.

Nothing came out.

I then started to panic.  Yes, I did have another 1/2 unit pen needle - the Novolin-Pen Junior - which has my NovoRapid in it for my bolus injections - but my mind wasn't thinking logically of taking out the vial of Levemir and inserting it into that pen. In cramped quarters on a plane – I just really was wanting to be a Princess!

Princess Cat - that's me in a nutshell NOT

Along comes my night in shining armor - my DH - saying something he'd said before when I used to fly with my insulin pump. 

"Air pressure in the aircraft may make the plunger mechanism go wonky"

Hmmm, I then looked down in the window where you can view  the insulin cartridge in the pen - and yuppers - the piston rod had gone back up to the top - even though earlier in the AM shot (in the airport before we left at the ungodly hour of 0600) - it had been in the correct position.  The plunger had actually retreated back to it’s base!

So, I pull pen needle apart, and get the piston rod to behave the way it should.  The one thing with the "improved" NovoPen Echo - is the rod seems more flimsy than the Junior pen I've been using for about 3 years (the piston rod seems more strong).  We're thinking maybe it's due to the Echo pen having "dose memory" of how much was injected and abit of an ability to tell you how long ago it was done (it's not the most precise for time of dose). 

After that - all was fine - and on return trip 3 weeks later (sigh - good bye warm ocean breeze and dolphins) - it never occurred.  Still - it makes me wonder - does this happen that often with an insulin pump - that the plunger mechanism can rewind itself back? 

In the meantime, I’ve posted to @NovoNordiskCanada on Twitter about this glitch that happened – and I’ll keep you posted with their reply. Hopefully if all goes well - compared to how it went with obtaining a 1/2 dose pen delivery system will be easier than it was last year

NOTE1: Hmmm, this doesn't make an insulin pump sound very reliable does it - well - in my case - I sometimes think I've been jinxed - so don't worry - if you are new to pumping - just ensure you have every possible back up with you - incase something goes wrong – since without insulin – we are plain and simple - DEAD.  It's always better to be safe than sorry - and I can do it all in a carry on for a month  (I really should make a YouTube video on how I do this – it’s so easy - and trust me - I still bring more then I need even in a small space).  All the “legal drugs”  we have to tote along can take up space (what leave my sexy sandals behind?? NEVER).  Though some airlines now will allow an extra carry (e.g. tote bag that fits under seat in front of you) as long as it contains ONLY medical equipment (always check with your airline carrier first). 

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Posted: Feb 16, 2014

I wrote this back on the 13th of February (no - not a Friday ) - my 2nd day of a 3 week holiday in the French Antilles (sailing for 2 weeks - 1 week on dry land).  Have a laugh NOT - especially if you've done a similar thing - but in my case - this was my FIRST time in all my years as a T1 diabetic (I was diagnosed in 1967).  Live and learn - right?  You'll find a link to Zouk music further down - which I found I quite liked.

It’s just after 22h00 and I was all set to go to bed after my basal shot of Levemir.  I’ve done something I’ve never ever done in my life as a diabetic.  I’ve read about it in forums.  I’ve helped people through their fear of what they’ve done - many of us have stayed up late in the night to help them thru' it.  Sadly, due to where I am in Le Marin, Martinique ... I’m stuck without access to high speed Wi-Fi – so unable to get onto FB to post in the appropriate groups – to have someone help me feel more at ease as I play this waiting game. 

I'm feeling very alone right now without my DOC (diabetic online community) and D-friends nearby to talk me through my fears.

What have I done you are wondering?

I’ve just injected my rapid insulin used for meals and corrections to my blood sugar aka bolus  – but it should have been my slow insulin injection aka basal.  Crikey – panic set into me at that point very quickly.   Why it did not dawn on me at the time I did this – as the needle seemed dull (it had been used all day to inject into the I-port for my bolus shots and was bent out shape) – is beyond my comprehension.  Double crikey!!!

Alot has to do with STRESS (you will see this word ALOT in this post) - being on holidays - different routine – which seems to be a thing for me as I become older (plucking my grey nostril hairs out).  Not like when I was younger – when travel was so exciting – and I didn’t seem to worry about diabetes the way I do now.

What stresses you are all saying?  .... "You’re on holidays - we aren't - quit complaining!!!!"   Well, one of them was getting in some of the provisions for the catamaran we are chartering  with some friends over the next few weeks in the French Antilles (the shopping market was so packed, itt was like people were preparing for a tropical storm).  Of course, it was a Friday, and people preparing for “les weekend”.  STRESSSSS – did I tell you that I’m not a big lover of crowds?   In my little brain I was playing Zouk music - to stay sane with getting around the cramped store with shelves fast emptying out.

Along with getting the car back to the rental agency before noon when they close (and sometimes they close before – things you learn about places you visit).   STRESS – if only we could have had a full 3 days rental (it was a total of 140 Euros – which to most North Americans – is ALOT of money – but then taxi fare from Fort du France for 30 km distance to Le Marin – is 60-90 Euros – so win-win situation for a car rental despite the return time). So, trying to get all we had to do before it was to be returned ... STRESS.

Top it with with trying to find a restaurant in Le Marin that night which realistically in the North America wouldn’t require 2 billion days advance for a reservation -  STRESS!! Yes, life in a foreign country can be fun sometimes that often differs from what we’re used to at home – but  ....

NOT as fun as when a diabetic injects with the frigging wrong kind of insulin!!! 

STRESS!!!

Alright – it’s only 4 units of insulin that I’ve injected – for some of you it doesn’t sound like alot – but I’m very insulin sensitive.  On average – I take about 25 units a day of insulin I use (when on the pump).   With the MDI method that I’m using while on holidays – I use less insulin – and average about a total of 5 units of rapid insulin for meals/corrections – with the rest being taken care of by a basal insulin of about 12-18 units a day depending on my activity, etc.    In my case, 1 unit of rapid insulin – takes me down 3.5 mmol/l or 63 mg/dl – and my reading of my blood sugar (BG) just before I decided to go to sleep was 7.4 / 133.  Except I still have 2 units of rapid insulin on board (IOB) – due to a pizza and a few sinful cookies that had high fat (yes - a no reservations place near our boat - thumbs up to Pizz'amis Martinique!!).  So who knows what will be in store for me over the next few hours.

Yes, I am staying fully awake – and I’m composing this #dblog for posting when I get back home in 3 weeks.  I’m Fing freaked out by this error.  Have not even fathomed if I should take my Levemir shot or not (as my DH was saying before headed off to bed – with an insulin pump this would never have happened – one insulin – no mix up with injecting with the incorrect insulin).  I now finally after almost 50 years of diabetes – know what some of you – who have done the same thing – feel like.  PANIC!!!

I’ve already consumed the breakfast guava juice (it’s about 30 grams of carbohydrates) – inhaled a few Dex 4’s  – I am playing a waiting game of making sure I don’t go into la la land – but hoping I eventually can get some sleep – since we have to move our bodies out of the quaint little hotel we’ve been at here in Le Marin.  Walk down the hill to the marina in the AM – with all the foods we aren’t having delivered to the boat (yuppers – found a good deal for someone to get some of the bulky stuff in for us instead of us heave hoeing it). 

So, if I can post this on Diabetes1.org without access to Facebook – this is what I’ll be doing.  If not – you’ll be reading this later on – when I have Wi-Fi access again – that is of better speed – and nodding your heads in agreement .... Been there done that ...

I hope to never EVER do this again – and will faithfully check the pen needle BEFORE proceeding with the dart board practise on my behind with my basal insulin.

 

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Posted: Jan 4, 2014

Remember the movie with Daniel Lewis - My Left Foot? It was based on a true story about Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy.  Christy could only control his left foot.  

As I started to try to figure out a title for this blog - my British sarcastic humour way of thinking brain - did what it always does - whether it's having a hypo or not ... breasts came into play - just like some of my previous blogs have done.  So I apologise to anyone who thinks I'm making fun of Christy's situation - and now I'll proceed on with the reason I'm posting this blog. 

Oh, and the nipple bit in my title is actually my i-port - which I like to play around with at times (does that make me kinky?) .  Over the past few weeks at get togethers - I've been asked about "why did you go off the pump, yadda, yadda, yadda".  For some reason, I start to feel my "nipple" and tell them the story.  I'm always educating EVERYWHERE I go - with abit of humour in it - and at the same time - telling them that without good control - diabetes is a serious condition to have - that has dire consequences if you don't take care of yourself.

I am loving my i-port - aka "nipple".  Using it for my NovoRapid shots - not worrying about injecting in an area I have already done - and have problems with healing.  This little baby solves everything (to read more about my previous trial with two i-ports - check it out here).

You can inject ONE insulin only into the port - so with my Lantus - I've been injecting the "old fashioned way" (no biggie with a 32 gauge 6mm pen needle).  I have a good fleshy area on my backside which makes for a good dart board practise.  After a few weeks of being off the pump (of course - I chose the holiday season - when there is LOTS of good healthy food around) - I thought I'd give Levemir a try again.

Dartboard with bright coloured needles

Why do a trial with Levemir?  Well, I did try it a few years ago (back in 2009) – but sadly developed an allergy to it – which caused lumps/bumps in the area injected and swelling in areas I didn't want to swell up! I had horrible BG control - it plain freaked me out with all that happened - due to being a bit of a control freak with my diabetes management. 

Fast forward to Dec 2013 – a friend of mine who decided she’d had enough of MDI (multiple dosage injecting) –went onto a pump (lucky person has 100% coverage for EVERYTHING) – oh did I mentioned that they’re in their 70’s – and they are uber techno cool? 

So, they had a box of pen needle vials of Levemir – though I did tell them – keep them incase something goes wrong with your pump.  They detested - being a human dart board for the past 20+ years was enough for them - so I took the vials – thinking maybe another diabetic who needed it could use them before they expired in 2015.  That person now happens to be me - Ms. Guinea Pig!!

Cat waving good byeI said sadly said "bye bye" to George Michael (my Animas 2020 insulin pump) mid-December for what now seems to be a ritual every year at this time for taking a pump holiday.   I started with Lantus originally – getting used to doing the X2 (every 12 hours) shots with the inbetween dart shots of NovoRapid (using the i-port)  for my meals and corrections.   Luckily, the notes I took earlier this year – unlike the previous time – where my record keeping was pretty lame  – the transition this time (who wouldn't get anxiety attacks going off their pump?) is much easier! 

Why did I decide to give Levemir a go again?  I have a T1D mate who I lovingly call the "Insulin Guru" who swears (politely) by this insulin regime of 3X a day (every 8 hours) - and they have an A1C of 4.9% (note - a lower A1C is not my goal - just having level BG's - in my happy zone is all that matters the most to me).  Because that insulin doesn’t work as long as Lantus – they feel splitting it up into 3 shots instead of the usual 2 (or in some cases – people only take their basal insulin once a day – though I wonder about their BG readings over a 24 hour period – IF they do basal testing that is).

The first few days – I was abit unsure if I was doing the right thing.  I took my total Lantus amount – and split it up into 3X – similar to Lantus – where I take more for my AM shot – less for PM shot.  So far, with my hormonal bursts (menopause / period / stress from holidays) – I’m actually not doing too badly.  My corrections with the doses to make sure I’m staying in my happy zone are working out alright.  I have tried to allow at least 3 days before I make any changes.

The one thing that I’m finding as I enter into my 2nd week experiment with Levemir – my BG’s seem to be doing less of the roller coaster ride.  Sadly, Lantus has a reputation of landing those of us who use it – into hypo fairy land – as it has a tendency to peak – and bang – you are low.  One of the reasons I had originally gone onto George Michael was because of the hypos I was having overnight and in the mornings.  Not conducive to work at all!!!  Levemir from the research I’ve done in forums as well as medical discussions with endo’s/CDE’s tends to show that this doesn’t occur with Levemir.  

Yes, you do have to be abit patient when you try any new regime that you may not be familiar with – I won’t lie to you about this.  I won’t lie to you either – that using a pump is way easier as it has the ability to do everything with one insulin – and ability to fine tune your basal requirements.  I’m finding the time to “think” about my carb count – despite the use of the InsuLinx (watch for a new blog on this soon).  I'm still writing in a log book (the meter sadly doesn’t have ability to do this).  So initially, it’s time consuming, but if it’s anything like last years 6 month holiday from the pump – it all becomes easier.  It's like tying up your shoe laces (wait – there’s Velcro for that right?).   

The other aspect of using the Levemir – is being a clock watcher (actually it’s my android that’s my savoir).  Timing of the shots – remembering to test my BG’s a few hours later – it’s getting used to this that is bugging me slightly - but I'm determined to make this work - despite getting up at the ungodly hour of 0600 to do my first Levemir shot - that's too early for this little work at home puss cat (my other shots are at 1400 / 2200 - this is the regime that works for ME that I set up for myself).

On the other side though – that’s good at least to me –

  • not being hooked up to a machine
  • no tubing (fast dressing/undressing - Whoo! Whoo! If you get my drift)
  • Wearing clothing that normally I can’t wear due to have the pump (this may change if I ever progress to a pump that has a remote – but still – depending on where you stuff the pump – it can lead to a bit of a bulge – and sorry – I have enough of those from fat deposits on me already) … I’m so vain ;)

So, how many of you use Levemir - and find taking 3 shots of it a day work for you as well?

 

*** For more discussion on the I-port - feel free to check out the forums at this link ***

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Monitor Blood Glucose Part 3
Keep Complete Records- Blood Glucose Monitoring
How and why to keep a log of your blood glucose levels...
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Cost Savings Tool
Do you know the annual cost of managing your diabetes? Would you like to find ways to reduce your costs? Calculate your total budget and identify ways to save money. You can do this in just a few minutes by entering facts about the products you use. This quick analysis will provide you with a comprehensive overview of both spending and potential savings.

Cost Savings Tool
Monitor Comparison Tools
Blood glucose monitors offer an easy way to test your blood sugar at home or on the go. Use this comparison tool as a guide to learn more about the features and benefits of your current monitor or to find a new one.
Handheld Monitor Comparison
Continuous Glucose Monitor Comparison
Advanced BMI Calculator
Ever wonder if you are at a healthy weight? Then enter your height and weight in our advanced Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. This tool provides you with two important numbers reflecting the estimated impact of your present body weight and shape upon your overall health.
Advanced BMI Calculator
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