Showing posts with label Diabetes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diabetes. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2017

Is HYPOGLYCEMIA Just DIABETES in Reverse?

OneTouch Ultra2 is being used by a diabetic pa...
OneTouch Ultra2 is being used by a diabetic patient.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Hypoglycemia is a medical term referring to a pathologic state produced by a lower than normal amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The term hypoglycemia literally means "low blood sugar". 

Hypoglycemia can produce a variety of symptoms and effects but the principal problems arise from an inadequate supply of glucose as fuel to the brain, resulting in impairment of function. Derangements of function can range from vaguely "feeling bad" to coma and (rarely) death. Hypoglycemia can arise from many causes, and can occur at any age. The most common forms of moderate and severe hypoglycemia occur as a complication of treatment of diabetes mellitus with insulin or oral medications.

Presence or absence of effects: are symptoms more important than the number?

Research in healthy adults shows that mental efficiency declines slightly but measurably as blood glucose falls below 65 mg/dl in many people. Hormonal defense mechanisms, adrenaline and glucagon, are activated as it drops below a threshold level which is about 55 mg/dl for most people, producing the typical symptoms of shakiness and dysphoria.

On the other hand, obvious impairment does not often occur until the glucose falls below 40 mg/dl, and up to 10% of the population may occasionally have glucose levels below 65 in the morning without apparent effects. Brain effects of hypoglycemia, termed neuroglycopenia, determine whether a given low glucose is a "problem" for that person, and hence some people tend to use the term hypoglycemia only when a moderately low glucose is accompanied by symptoms.

Diabetic hypoglycemia represents a special case with respect to the relationship of measured glucose and hypoglycemic symptoms for several reasons. Although home glucose meter readings are sometimes misleading, the probability that a low reading accompanied by symptoms represents real hypoglycemia is higher in a person who takes insulin. Second, the hypoglycemia has a greater chance of progressing to more serious impairment if not treated, compared to most other forms of hypoglycemia that occur in adults. Third, because glucose levels are above normal most of the time in people with diabetes, hypoglycemic symptoms may occur at higher thresholds than in people who are normoglycemic most of the time. For all of these reasons, people with diabetes usually use higher meter glucose thresholds to determine hypoglycemia.



Disclaimer - The information presented here should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor for more information about Hypoglycemia. 




Monday, January 23, 2017

LOW-CARB Diets and DIABETES

In a low-carb diet, the carbohydrate intake is limited to about 5 to 10 percent, such that protein and fats take precedence in one’s eating habits, to be able to keep sated and avoid bouts of hunger. It is in maintaining that feeling of fullness that one is able to avoid craving for sweets, and this is a good reason for diabetics to adopt a diet that is low in carbohydrates to control their condition. Following this type of diet prevents excessive consumption of carbohydrates, which leads to higher levels of blood sugar.

English: Typical Atkins diet meal
Typical Atkins diet meal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to properly take in starch and sugar. For a diet to work in favor of a diabetic, it has to be low in fat, high in fiber, and packed with minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Keeping to the kinds of food with low glycemic index is also important. Foods that are permitted in low-carb diets are meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, fish, and some selected vegetables.

Although some sources say that to eliminate carbohydrates altogether is not recommended for diabetics, as carbohydrates in the diet are vital, because they serve as the main resource of energy and nutrients within our bodies. In a diabetic’s diet, carbohydrates in excessive amounts may be frowned at, but authorities recommend a daily dosage of not less than 130 grams. On the other hand, studies have shown that the low-carb diet caused no undesirable effects on the levels of insulin, glucose, blood pressure or cholesterol. It is also worthwhile to note that one can alter a diet according to his or her specific needs. In this regard, before following any diet, be sure to check with your physician to make sure you will be getting all the right nutrients that will help you control your condition. Doing so will also help you pinpoint areas of the regimen that you should alter for a more appropriate eating habit.

The effects of limiting the amount of carbohydrates in your diet manifest as loss of weight due to a lesser calorie intake, or the successful maintenance of your ideal weight. Remember that with weight loss, the body’s blood sugar and insulin levels naturally improve. Even just a 10 percent weight loss is a substantial improvement towards being in better control of diabetes.



Also, when weight loss is part of your goal of achieving better health to make your condition more bearable, then a carefully planned diet is best paired with an exercise routine that is easy enough to follow. Daily walks and a couple of dozen repetitions with free weights are good low-impact exercises you can adopt. Regular exercise doesn’t only help combat diabetes; it also promotes a sense of well-being that helps you maintain the right attitude towards living a healthier life for good.






Tuesday, January 10, 2017

DIABETES and YOGA

Cardiac yoga sample exercise
Cardiac yoga sample exercise 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diabetes in various forms affects up to 5percent of the world population with 12 million diabetics in Western Europe alone. Of the different ways in which diabetes presents, noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is probably the most commonly encountered genetic disease. NIDDM or Type II diabetes is multifactorial, depending also on environmental factors including obesity, sedentary lifestyles and nutritional imbalances.

Yoga has shown some beneficial results in curing diabetes. The yoga exercises that are prescribed for curing diabetes is different from hatha yoga exercise because it involves positions tailored to treat certain conditions, as well as meditation, relaxation and stretching exercises.

One of the studies conducted to cure diabetes was the one set up by the Yoga Biomedical Trust, founded in 1982 by biochemist Dr Robin Monro, and an Indian yoga research foundation which discovered that practicing yoga for 30 minutes a day for one month helped reduce blood glucose levels in some diabetics.

The yoga patients took part in one or two 90-minute sessions a week and were asked to practice at home. The classes included the specific yoga exercises of the spinal twist, the bow and abdominal breathing.

At the end of the 12 weeks blood sugar levels fell significantly in all patients in the group and were slightly raised in a control group which had not joined in the yoga sessions. Three yoga students managed to reduce their medication, including one man who had not changed his drug regime for 20 years.

It has been known for a long time that exercise is helpful for diabetics. Yoga therapy may help reduce stress levels which could play a part in maturity onset diabetes. But one drawback is that some patients would find it hard to keep up the regular sessions needed to sustain the benefit. All the patients said they would like to see these classes set up on a permanent basis but we don't have the money.



It is not necessarily the exercise component of the yoga therapy package which is most important, because there is not enough physical exercise to account for the changes, but stress reduction has a lot to do with it. Stress hormones increase sugar levels in the blood. People also benefit from the stabilization of their moods which yoga brings, an increased feeling of well-being and a feeling of being more in control, which may help with their diet control.




Monday, December 26, 2016

Bitter Melon as DIABETES Treatment

Bitter melon or Momordica Charantia is a vegetable which grows in tropical areas like East Africa, Asia, South Africa, and the Caribbean. This vegetable is rich in iron, beta carotene, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and other dietary fibers. In many countries, it is also used as an herbal medicine due to its properties that help improve insulin production. Clinical studies show that bitter melon increases the production of beta cells in the pancreas which leads to improvement in the insulin production of the body. It is also believed to be beneficial for the liver and can act as an anti-tumor agent. Because of its health benefits, bitter melon is used by many as an alternative treatment for diabetes

bitter melon
Bitter melon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Diabetes is a disease that is characterized by the presence of high levels of blood glucose and by the secretion of excess glucose in the urine. This ailment develops because of relatively low levels of insulin which leads to irregular carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Diabetic persons feel hungry and thirsty most of the time. In addition, these people get easily tired physically and mentally. They may also suffer from constipation, excessive itchiness around the genital area, and general weakness. Other body parts that are affected by diabetes are the heart, kidney, eyes, blood vessels, and the nerves. In addition to these health effects, diabetes is one of the major causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence among men. 

Diabetes causes impotence because it alters the body systems such as the circulatory, nervous, and the endocrine system. The organs in these systems all work in harmony to let blood flow into the penis so erection can take place. Higher levels of glucose caused by diabetes damages the blood vessels and the nerves. Complications in the state of blood vessels may hamper the flow of blood to the penis, hampering erection.  In addition, a number of medical studies show that diabetic persons are more likely to have low testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that is responsible enhanced libido, energy, and other reproductive health concerns. Men with type 1 diabetes are more likely to become impotent once they reach 40 years of age.



Many health experts are recommending the use of alternative medicines like better melons for diabetic management. Many studies show that bitter melon is able to reduce the blood sugar levels in the body. Charantin, polypeptide P, and oleonolic acid glcosides are some of the ingredients of bitter melon that are essential in diabetes treatment. Charantin consists of mixtures of natural steroids which are shown to reduce blood sugar levels in the body. Polypeptide P, contains alkaloids that can also promote healthy blood sugar levels. Oleanolic acid glycosides, on the other hand, may prevent the retention of sugar from the intestines. Improvements in these area leads to improved insulin levels in the body. 

Diabetes can be treated with alternative medicine and adjustments in lifestyles. Many health experts advice diabetic persons to include bitter melon in their diet to reduce their intake of anti-diabetic drugs. This alternative healing method, however, should not be regarded as a stand-alone treatment.





Tuesday, December 20, 2016

DIABETES, Glaucoma Put Millions At Risk for Unexpected Blindness

Normal vision.
Normal vision. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unexpected sight loss is more common than you may think. Blindness often happens without prior warning signs and in people unaware they are at risk.

A scene as it might be viewed by a person with...
As it might be viewed by a person with glaucoma.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia
)
The two most common culprits of unexpected sight loss are diabetes and glaucoma. These diseases are known as the "sneak thieves of sight" because symptoms may not occur in the early stages. By the time a person realizes something is wrong, irreversible vision loss often occurs.

In fact, diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in adults. An average of 55 Americans go blind from the disease each day. The numbers threaten to rise sharply as diabetes becomes increasingly common due to poor eating habits, infrequent exercise and an aging population. One in three children born in the United States five years ago are expected to become diabetic during their lives.

Diabetes causes partial or complete loss of vision in as many as 70 percent of those who have it. Yet 30 percent of all people who have diabetes don't even know they have it. Even people who know they have diabetes downplay the risks they face.

According to a survey of diabetics sponsored by Lions Clubs International, 60 percent were not worried about going blind or losing a limb. In reality, 74 percent of diabetics will develop serious complications that could lead to loss of sight or a limb or kidney failure.

Glaucoma, on the other hand, is a group of eye diseases that slowly damage the fine nerves that connect the eye to the brain. For most people, this damage occurs when pressure in the eye is too high. When these nerves are damaged, vision loss may result.




Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the United States. But like diabetes, not enough people know about it: An estimated 4.2 million Americans have glaucoma but half are not aware of it.

Diabetes and glaucoma are especially prevalent among blacks and Hispanics. These groups are believed to have a genetic predisposition to the diseases and are much more at risk than Caucasians. Others particularly at risk for glaucoma are people over 60, those with a family history of glaucoma, diabetics and the very near-sighted.

The good news for those at risk is that a dilated eye exam can detect the two diseases and early treatment can prevent vision loss. Vision experts urge at-risk people to have regular eye exams.

Raising awareness of diabetic eye disease and glaucoma is key to preventing unnecessary blindness. Lions Clubs International works with Lions clubs, community groups and individuals to publicize the need for early detection and timely treatment of the two diseases. The Lions Eye Health Program provides materials for distribution at health fairs, senior citizen centers and similar gatherings. It also offers strategies for raising awareness of the eye diseases.



Friday, November 25, 2016

Insulin Pumps - Get Better DIABETES Control, Get Your Life Back!

In recent years an alternative to manual insulin injections has emerged. Enter the Insulin Pump. The first Insulin Pumps were quite bulky, but modern ones are about the size of a small Cellphone or Pager. The pump is worn unobtrusively on a belt or in a pocket and it delivers insulin through a thin plastic tube (or Infusion Set) that is inserted under the skin.

Animas Vibe - insulin pump and CGM system
Photo by aldenchadwick

WHY AN INSULIN PUMP IS BETTER
In a healthy person, the pancreas produces insulin constantly at low levels, keeping blood glucose levels stable. When a meal is eaten, the pancreas will send larger amounts of insulin into the blood stream to handle the food. Using a standard injection regime, slow and fast acting insulin is used to try and mimic the pancreas. An insulin pump much more closely copies the pancreas. The pump delivers a low level of background insulin (called basal) and at meal times can deliver a "bolus" dose at the touch of a button, to cover the food.

Just like a real pancreas, if you are ill, or exercising, the basal insulin rate can be reduced. If you skip a meal, the bolus is not delivered. In this way, the pump fits into your lifestyle, rather than planning your life around your injection schedule!

CHOOSING AN INSULIN PUMP
Most insulin pumps on the market today have all the basic features. Choosing one is much like chosing a Cellphone, it is a mixture of personal taste and what you plan on using it for. If you are a water sports fan, waterproof ones area available!

If you love analysing data to improve your control, you can get one with PC download capability and analysis software. If you are new to the world of Insulin Pumps, here are some key points to think about:




  • Choose a pump that allows you to set up different basal levels. For instance at night time, if you are sick or exercising. This is an important feature to help you live a full life.

  • Pumps that use a standard "Luer Lock" infusion sets are better. This means cheaper consumables.

  • Alerts to remind you to check your blood glucose level make life easier.

  • Check what batteries it takes, standard AA or AAAs are cheaper and easier to buy.

  • More advanced pumps include a carbohydrate calculator to help you figure out what your meal Bolus dose should be.

  • Coming to the market are integrated Insulin Pump/Glucose meters. The meters readings are automatically transferred to the pump which can use them to recommend an insulin dose.
  • Other features to look for include, being waterproof, having a carbohydrate food database and alerts to warn you if you have missed a meal, or the infusion set needs changing. In short, Insulin pump manufacturers are making their products ever easier to use and automating more and more features. Life is getting better for diabetics!


     
      FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


      Q What if I don't get on with the pump, can I switch back to injections?

      A Yes. It is not a one way ticket, but most people do notice an improvement in their blood glucose control and find their lives improved.

      Q I have a really hectic lifestyle, is a pump for me?
      A Yes. Infact people who are extremely busy often see the biggest improvement. If you struggle to remember to test and inject at the right time - perhaps meal times vary from day to day, then a pump could really help you.

      Q I am considering a pump but may get pregnant, is that ok?
    A Yes. As pumps usually improve your blood glucose control, using a pump through pregancy and beyond is generally a good thing. Having as close to normal blood glucose levels reduces the chances of complications during pregnancy.

      Q What are the costs?
      A The initial outlay is in the order of a few thousand dollars, but prices are coming down all the time. Infusion sets need changing regularly too. The latest prices can be found from various diabetes suppliers on the web.