There have been advancements in technology to ease the lives of those suffering from diabetes. New reports have suggested that the scientists are now one step closer to making artificial pancreas which will perform the same way that a normal pancreas does.
The function of the pancreas is very complex. A well-functioning pancreas will release insulin in order to keep a check on the blood sugar levels of a person after every meal; and glucagon when no food has been consumed for a long time. Pancreases release exactly the right amount of insulin and glucagon for our bodies to perform properly. In diabetic patients either the pancreases stops functioning properly or the insulin released by the pancreases doesn’t cause any impact on the cell, and in turn on the glucose levels of the patients.
After the development of many types of equipment to keep a check on diabetes, for example, a mobile app which lets parents keep a check on their children’s blood sugar level even when they are at school, there has been no perfect solution for this disease.
Even though Insulin pumps, and continuous glucose monitors have been around for ages and have been of help in monitoring blood sugar levels, they need constant attention of the user. A glucose monitor met with an improvement in its system which enabled the monitor to stop releasing insulin when the blood sugar reached a low level. But, as the VP of the research done at JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), Aaron Kowalski said, these are mere steps to gain back what has been lost due to the disease; and termed them as ‘artificial pancreas system’.
Even though there has been no perfect solution for disease, there are many trials still under research. Medtronic have been working on a system which would release insulin when glucose levels rise to a certain limit. One of the many ideas, which are still being experimented upon in labs, include a ‘hybrid’ which needs the user to signal before their meals in order for the system to release insulin. Other ideas or trials include a system, called ‘closed-loop’ which works without any signal from the users; and a system which releases glucagon along with insulin and is capable of functioning on its own. It is referred to as a ‘bionic pancreas’.
The concept of introduction of bionic pancreas is debatable. Doctors around the world feel that a bionic pancreas can function sufficiently with insulin; and may not necessarily require glucagon which is more unstable than insulin.
This field has achieved a significant amount of progress but there are difficulties to overcome. For instance, the insulin will not be released in the blood vessels like a natural pancreas does. Remodeling of insulin is required so that it can help in reducing high sugar levels, faster, after every meal.
In conclusion, even though there may be extreme advancements in the field of developing the bionic pancreas to work to perfection, we must acknowledge the fact that they are machines which are prone to wear-and-tear and failure; and hence, should not be looked upon as the ultimate cure for diabetes.
The new guidelines of EU in relation to the control of blood pressure for diabetics could raise some problems.
A study done by researchers of The George Institute for Global Health, which is in affiliation to the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University, states that the new guidelines of EU could increase the chances of heart diseases, and/or stroke.
The new guidelines states that the blood pressure level for normal people should be below 140/90mmHg, while for the diabetics the level of blood pressure should kept at the maximum of 130/80mmHg.
Now very long ago another report about these researchers, who now pose a problem with the new guidelines, had provided therapeutic solutions to patients of type 2 diabetes having high blood pressure.
The reason why this new guideline is posing a problem is because high blood pressure in humans generates the risk of heart attacks, stroke and cardiovascular diseases. As for diabetic patients, due to high sugar levels, they already have a high chance of acquiring cardiovascular diseases; and having a high blood pressure will put them at an even higher risk.
The researchers claim that the conclusion of the study was that people who had blood pressure lower than 130mmHg, had 25% lower chance of having any cardiovascular disease; whereas, the patients who had more than 130mmHg, were at higher risk. When analyzing the data, they found that those with low blood pressure reduced the chances of acquiring eye and/or kidney diseases amongst diabetics. They added that relaxing the level of blood pressure could be dangerous.
Professor Kazem Rahimi, the author of the study, said that the news about the change in the guidelines is very unfortunate because they will prove to be harmful to the patients as higher BP would result in more risks of mortality. Rahimi, adds that these new changes should be modified and the BP target should be lowered to 130mmHg from 140mmHg.
Neil Poulter, from Imperial College London agrees with the results of the study and says that this could influence and change the guidelines of the new target set. He adds that changing the guidelines is necessary for the patients to be able to receive timely treatments in the UK and the US.
There are around 2.5 million patients of diabetes in the United Kingdom who are suffering. Diabetes is a diseases which can lead to other diseases like kidney, heart or eye diseases. Changing the guidelines would help the patients receive treatment well in time.
Though Paulter was not a part of the study, he has been worried about the change in the BP targets for the diabetic patients. He believes that this study has provided enough facts to change the new formed rules.
Fruits and vegetables are good for a person with diabetes. These are important in maintaining a healthy diet. With the right foods a person with diabetes can lead a long and healthy life. Watch this video to learn more about the best fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet.
Diabetes Diet: Healthy snacks
Is there really a healthy way to snack? Snacking need not be all junk food. This short clip reshapes how we think of snaking and introduces us to a more healthy way of doing so. This is important in maintaining your overall health.
Diabetes Management: Healthy Eating
Learn how to practice self-management through healthy eating. Many people fear that they will have to change their entire lifestyle as a result of diabetes. This is untrue. However, you do have to develop a healthy eating plan and know what foods to avoid. Watch to learn more.
Diabetes Basics: Create Your Plate
It is crucial that you grasp the meaning of the term ‘creating your plate.’ By creating an imaginary line running down the middle of your plate with one side divided again into two more sections, you can create a healthy meal. This method of eating can help you maintain your blood sugar levels. You will find out more by watching this video.
Putting Together a Gluten-Free Meal
Learn how to maintain a gluten free diet. To regulate your blood glucose level you have to discover how to control your diet and weight and have fun whilst doing so. This has a lot to do with assigning the right portions of what your body needs to your plate. Watch this video for more information.
Meal replacements are substitutes for solid food meals that we can use to plan our diet. There are different types of meal replacements with diverse purposes. Watch this video to learn more about the recommended meal replacements.
Diabetes Basics: Eating Out
You can eat healthy even when eating out. Thinking about what you’re eating, when you are eating and how much you are eating does this. Here you will learn more about the food options that can help you maintain a healthy diet plan when eating out.
Diabetes: Why is oatmeal heart-healthy?
Did you know that oatmeal reduces the risk of heart disease by reducing the amount of cholesterol that gets into your intestines? With added benefits for people with diabetes, this short clip will make you take oatmeal seriously, if you haven’t already.
Diabetes: About your diet: Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have an important role to play in our body as it is a source of energy. However, a person with diabetes must regulate his carbohydrates. Here you will learn how this can be done and the importance of doing so.
Diabetes: Salt and cholesterol
Although the risk of heart disease and stroke is higher in people with diabetes, this can be controlled by maintaining a healthy diet low in salt and fat. Learn more about the distinction between bad fats and good fats thereby helping you plan your diet.
Gestational Diabetes is a very rare form of diabetes which occurs exclusively in pregnant women during the gestational period of the fetus . Similar to the other forms of diabetes, Gestational Diabetes also results in the cells of the body being unable to effectively absorb blood sugar, leading to a higher concentration of glucose in the blood.
Resistance to insulin is a normal physiological response during pregnancy induced by the maternal hormones released by the mother’s body. However, in some cases, this resistance becomes high enough to result in high levels of blood sugar, enough to be classified and diagnosed as Gestational Diabetes. In such women, the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance.
Gestational Diabetes may be defined as hyperglycemia with its first presentation or onset during pregnancy. About 2-6% women suffer from gestational diabetes. The disease proves to affect both the mother and the child and can also cause major complications at the time of delivery of the child.
Usually, after the delivery of a child, the blood sugar levels of the mother return down to normal, but both the mother as well as the child are at a risk of developing Type II Diabetes later on in the future. As such, Gestational Diabetes is not by itself a chronic condition, but it exposes individuals to the risk of developing chronic diabetes later on in life.
While Gestational Diabetes is a serious pregnancy complication that must be dealt with seriously, it can easily be controlled by a combination of a healthy diet, sufficient exercise and also medication in some cases.
Pathology of Gestational Diabetes
The exact cause of Gestational Diabetes is still unknown and researchers still debate on the possible causes as to why some particular women stand a higher risk of developing the disorder than other women. However, the way in which a woman’s body behaves in this condition is fairly well-known and agreed upon.
During pregnancy, the insulin sensitivity falls in the mothers and this subsequently increases the blood glucose levels to provide adequate nutrition to the fetus. The Human placental lactogen hormone, also known as Human Chorionic Somatomammotropin reduces the insulin sensitivity in mothers. It also alters the metabolism of fatty tissues in pregnant women, releasing fatty acids as an alternate energy source for the mother, freeing up glucose for the fetus.
The mothers who face a greater risk of developing Gestational Diabetes are those who:
Are older than 35 years of age when pregnant
Have a history of any type of diabetes in first degree family members
Have had a baby that had a birth defect or weighed more than 9 pounds
Are hypertensive in nature
Have excess amniotic fluid in the body, a condition known as polyhydramnios
Have had a history of stillbirth or an unexplained miscarriage in the past
Were overweight before their pregnancy with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30
Just like Type II Diabetes, even Gestational Diabetes occurs due to inadequate insulin secretion as well as decreased responsiveness to insulin. In most of the cases of gestational diabetes, it is corrected after the delivery but in some cases it may continue to occur. Gestational diabetes is harmful to both mother and fetus and may result in few complications if not controlled.
The placenta connects the blood supply of the mother to the blood supply of the developing fetus and it allows hormones to also pass through. Thus, the abnormality caused by Gestational Diabetes also passes on to the child’s blood stream and this can trigger very harmful conditions. The high concentration of blood sugar can allow the baby to grow to a much larger size than normal and one of the most common complications associated with child birth in mothers with Gestational Diabetes is the requirement of delivery of the baby through a C-Section surgery operation. This procedure is recommended if the baby grows to more than 9 pounds in weight and such procedures are also carried out much in advance to the expected delivery date of the child.
Gestational Diabetes may cause the mother to develop a condition known as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a very serious complication associated with Gestational Diabetes which proves to be life threatening to both the mother and the developing fetus.
Understanding Gestational Diabetes
Another one of the major and common complications that may be encountered with Gestational Diabetes is that the increased blood glucose levels may enter into the fetus’ blood leading to macrosomia or large sized baby which may further lead to difficulty in delivering the child via the birth canal. This also raises the chances of a C-section birth rather than a normal birth.
Gestational Diabetes also raises the risk of an early labor and associated complications, which includes babies born with a respiratory distress syndrome. Such affected babies require assistance with breathing until the lungs are capable of functioning properly on their own.
The babies that are born out of a mother with high blood sugar levels may suffer from low blood sugar levels in their body after birth as their body’s production of insulin is much higher than normal. This condition, known as hypoglycemia, if left unattended, may even result in seizures and other complications in the baby.
Both the mother and the child that are affected by Gestational Diabetes also face a high risk of developing Type II Diabetes later on in life.
Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes
There are several different types of screening tests that are used in order to diagnose Gestational Diabetes .
Since Gestational Diabetes develops in third trimester of pregnancy, thus the women should be screened for diabetes by Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) between 24th-28thweek. OGTT measures the ability of the body to use glucose.
The World Health Organization (WHO) proposes using a 2-hour 75g OGTT, with a threshold plasma glucose concentration of greater than 7.8 mmol /L (140 mg/ dL) at 120 minutes as screening for gestational diabetes.
These days a simple glucometer may be used at home to measure the blood glucose level themselves by the mothers. There are various tests for monitoring the well-being of fetus like the non-stress test.
Some of the routine tests that are typically carried out include the glucose challenge test to the mothers which is then followed by a glucose tolerance test in order to diagnose the disorder in pregnant women.
Women who have been diagnosed with the disorder will require very frequent medical check-ups and these are to be even more followed during the final three months of pregnancy. The pregnant women will also need to actively monitor as also manage their high blood sugar levels, in conjunction to the medical check-ups. The condition can lead to very serious complications for both the mother and the developing fetus if left unattended.
Post the delivery of the child, usually the blood sugar levels in the mother fall down back to normal. However, all mothers who have suffered from Gestational Diabetes will require medical check-ups every now and again. The glucose levels of the blood will also need to be monitored as the mother is at a high risk of developing Type II Diabetes later on in the future.
Treatment of Gestational Diabetes
It is extremely essential to control the levels of blood sugar in pregnant mothers o as to prevent the complications associated with Gestational Diabetes . The first and foremost step in the successful controlling of the conditions is to closely monitor the sugar levels in the bloodstream of the pregnant woman. This is recommended to be done several times a day and any unexpected change in the levels of glucose in the blood should be attended to at the earliest. While monitoring can be done at a professional healthcare clinic, it is highly recommended that pregnant mothers should monitor their blood sugar levels on their own as well. The process of monitoring is a relatively easy process and it can easily be made into a habit to last throughout pregnancy.
A healthy diet is the next step that a pregnant women suffering from Gestational Diabetes should take. The diet of a diabetic mother must have a correct balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, along with sufficient amount of vitamins, minerals, and calories. It is necessary to keep the glucose levels stable, and women should avoid skipping meals. Such women must avoid sugary items like candy, cakes, and aerated sodas. Recommended foods for diabetic mothers include having more of whole grains, fiber and also fruits and vegetables. Since all women have a unique physiology, their diabetic diet will differ from others. It is essential that a diet is based making all possible considerations and also in consultation with a dietician or a practicing healthcare professional.
While exercise is recommended to everybody, it is an absolute must for diabetic mothers. Regular and frequent exercise promotes the cells of a diabetic to absorb the blood sugar more efficiently and this can greatly help in controlling the symptoms of Gestational Diabetes. Exercise also increases the sensitivity of the body to the released insulin. It is recommended that diabetic pregnant women should get as much moderate to rigorous exercise in a day as possible, after consulting a physician and a dietician.
In some cases, just exercising and maintaining a healthy diet are not enough in controlling the symptoms of the disorder and in such situations medications are required in order to help return the blood sugar levels to normal. Only 15% of women with Gestational Diabetes need medications like oral hypoglycemics or sometimes insulin analogues.
Regular monitoring of the blood sugar levels of both the mother and also baby will need to be carried out. There may be complications with the baby after birth and these will need to be attended to at the earliest. The monitoring of blood sugar levels will need to be continued throughout the lives of both the mother and the child as they stand a risk to developing diabetes later on in life.
Preparing for a Medical Appointment
In most common cases of Gestational Diabetes, the disorder will be diagnosed in the screening tests carried out in the third trimester of pregnancy . Once diagnosed, diabetics will need to prepare themselves both physically as well as psychologically in order to combat the disorder. While this can be stressful, it must be remembered that the condition is life threatening and intensive care must be provided in order to protect the health of both the mother and the child.
Any medications that are being used by the diabetic individual should be disclosed with a physician to determine whether they can be continued or not. Any type of unusual symptom that the pregnant woman experiences should also be referred to the medical professional and all key personal information, including family medical history should also be made available to the physician.
It is also recommended that pregnant women who are diabetics have a close friend or an aide, who can help out in case the sufferer forgets or misses anything.
The different screening tests for gestational diabetes as also various other tests that are carried out over the course of treatment of the disorder are important and should be done properly. Some of these tests require fasting while others challenge the body’s ability to take up insulin and every test must be done as per the prerequisite that it has along with it.
There are also a number of support groups for diabetics and pregnant diabetic mothers can also try being a part of these groups . Not only does this help in keeping sufferers cheerful, but it also helps sufferers gain a lot of knowledge as well as support from other people who are facing the same conditions. It is also recommended that women find out as much about the disease, its scope, the limitations of treatment and also future risks associated with Gestational Diabetes.
 Perinatal outcomes associated with the diagnosis of gestational diabetes made by the international association of the diabetes and pregnancy study groups criteria, Ethridge JK Jr, Catalano PM, Waters TP.; 124(3):571-8 – Sep 2014 – DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000412, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25162258
 Benefits and harms of treating gestational diabetes mellitus, Hartling L, Dryden DM, Guthrie A, Muise M, Vandermeer B, Donovan L.; 159(2):123-9 – Jul 16, 2013 – DOI: 10.7326/0003-4819-159-2-201307160-00661, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23712381
 Screening and diagnosing gestational diabetes mellitus, Hartling L, Dryden DM, Guthrie A, Muise M, Vandermeer B, Aktary WM, Pasichnyk D, Seida JC, Donovan L.; (210):1-327 – Oct 2012: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24423035
The term diabetes refers to a group of metabolic diseases and is quite prevalent all over the world . Medically, known as Diabetes Mellitus, the disorder is also spreading quite rapidly. Diabetes is caused due to an increased level of blood sugar or glucose in the blood stream, which in turn can be caused by a number of different factors, most primarily, the role of the hormone insulin in the body.
There are three major types of diabetes  which include:
Type I Diabetes, in which the body is unable to produce the required amount of the hormone insulin. It is a rare form of diabetes and is prevalent in less than 10% of people with diabetes, mainly with children.
Type II Diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes, in which the body cells show resistance to the insulin hormone. Type II diabetes is also known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM). It is the most prevalent form of diabetes accounting for almost 90% of the total number of people with diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes is another type of diabetes which is exclusively found in pregnant women. This is a much rarer form of diabetes.
There is also another condition known as Prediabetes which is often diagnosed in individuals. In this condition, the glucose levels in the blood prove to be higher than normal, but the levels are not high enough for the condition to be classified under Type II Diabetes.
While Type I and Type II Diabetes prove to be chronic and long lasting conditions, both gestational diabetes and prediabetes are reversible conditions which can be treated completely by following adequate remedies and methods of treatment.
Type I Diabetes
Type I Diabetes occurs when body’s own immune system destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. This results in complete deficiency of insulin. It is suspected that heredity and genes have a major role to play in an individual encountering Type I Diabetes as it is passed on from one generation to another. It may also be triggered by environmental factors like diet, viruses, and some specific toxins.
Type II Diabetes
In Type II diabetes, either the body produces insufficient amounts of the hormone insulin, or the body develops a resistance to the action of insulin. This results in the body cells being unable to effectively use up glucose, consequently leading to an increased concentration of sugar in the blood stream. While this is the most common type of diabetes in individuals, the actual causes of Type II Diabetes are yet to be known. The disorder is most commonly found in elderly and obese people. Various factors that may trigger Type II Diabetes include dietary habits, lifestyle and genetic susceptibility.
Gestational diabetes may be defined as hyperglycemia with its first presentation or onset during pregnancy. Approximately 2-6% women suffer from Gestational Diabetes. The human placental lactogenic hormone also known as Human Chorionic Somatomammotropin, which is released during the gestational period, reduces the insulin sensitivity in mothers and it may lead to an increased level of blood glucose. While the body systems of most women counter this by increasing the production of insulin, some women are susceptible to the disorder. If left uncontrolled, this condition may soon lead to Gestational Diabetes. This type of diabetes causes complications for both the mother and the developing fetus.
Understanding what causes Diabetes
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
There are a number of symptoms which may help you to diagnose the presence of this metabolic disease.
Frequent urination: Also known as polyuria, this proves to be one of the most common symptoms of diabetes, wherein the sufferer feels an urge to urinate several times in a day and over 2.5 liters of urine is excreted per day. The phenomenon is more noticeable during the night.
Increased thirst: Sufferers feel an increased urge of thirst in order to compensate for excessive fluid loss due to urination.
Increased hunger: Also known as polyphagia, this condition is also noticed in diabetic patients. If cases of increased hunger coexist along with above two symptoms in a sufferer, diabetes is said to be diagnosed.
Fatigue: Increased tiredness and fatigue are other important symptoms in a diabetic patient. This is caused due to an impaired production and utilization of calories by the body. This may also result in the wasting of muscles.
Slow healing: Slow healing of wounds is also an important feature that is seen quite commonly in diabetic patients. This condition affects almost all diabetic individuals and is considered to be one of the easiest ways of diagnosing if diabetes has affected an individual.
Abnormal sensation: There may be occurrences of numbness or tingling sensation felt in the limbs in diabetic. In some cases, a person may feel a loss of sensation in the hands or the feet.
Increased risk to infections: A diabetic person is more prone to an infectious disease as compared to a normal person.
Miscellaneous: There are some other symptoms of diabetes which may include a blurring of the vision, unexplained loss of weight, lack of interest and concentration while working or studying.
If these symptoms are not taken care of, and treatment of diabetes is neglected, it may result in a number of complications such as:
Diabetic neuropathy: The excess sugar levels present in the blood stream can prove to cause damage to the blood vessels and capillaries. This can eventually lead to damage of the nerves and loss of sensation in particular regions of the body such as the fingers and the toes.
Diabetic nephropathy and diabetic ketoacidosis: Damage can be caused to the kidneys due to the excess glucose present in the blood in diabetics. There is also a high presence of ketones in the urine which is caused by deamination of some amino acids and also the improper breakdown of fatty acids.
Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetes can also cause damage to the blood vessels surrounding the retina of the eye. While this may result in some eye conditions such as glaucoma and cataract, over longer periods, it can also lead to permanent blindness.
Cardiovascular or macro vascular diseases like stroke or peripheral vascular disease: The risk of encountering cardiovascular diseases is greatly increased in diabetics. These include potentially serious conditions and diseases such as a heart attack, a stroke, pain in the chest and also a constriction of the arteries in the body.
Muscle wasting and weakness: Due to the cells being unable to effectively absorb glucose, diabetic individuals cannot efficiently or effectively use their body muscles. While this causes general fatigue and tiredness, over longer periods it may lead to a gradual wasting of the muscle tissues.
Diabetic coma: While it is known that diabetic patients suffer from increased risk to nerve damage, in some extreme cases, this nerve damage can also lead to a condition of a coma.
Others: There are many other complications which can be associated with diabetes and these include damage caused to the limbs, infectious skin diseases and conditions, an impairment of hearing and also the development of Alzheimer’s disease is some individuals.
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test: This test measures blood glucose levels after going for at least 8 hours of fasting. This test is used to detect diabetes or prediabetes.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: This test is used to measure the blood sugar level. The test should be taken after at least eight hours of fasting and two hours after drinking a glucose containing liquid. This test is also be used to diagnose diabetes as well as prediabetes.
Random Plasma Glucose Test: In this test, the doctor checks the blood sugar level without observing to the last meal. This test helps in assessment of symptoms and for diagnosing diabetes, but it does not diagnose prediabetes.
Diet: A diabetic should always take a balanced nutrition to maintain the short-term as well as long-term blood glucose levels under control. Following a diabetic diet is a necessary aspect for diabetics.
Physical activity: It is another important and effective method of treating as well as preventing diabetes especially in Type II Diabetes mellitus caused due to obesity or overweight.
Medications: Type I Diabetes can be treated with the insulin therapy where combinations of NPH and regular insulin or synthetic insulin analogues are administered to the patients with diabetes. Type II Diabetes can be treated effectively with the use of oral hypoglycemic medication like metformin. There are other medications as well which include angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or the angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).
Whatever the method of treatment for diabetes may be, care must be taken to periodically monitor the sugar levels in the blood stream of diabetics. While the treatment methods may prove to be effective on their own, diabetes should always ensure to monitor their glucose levels. This is the most effective way to ensure that targets are being met and that the medications or treatment remedies are proving to be effective.
There are also a number of home remedies and lifestyle tips that can be used to provide relief to the symptoms of diabetes. These include:
Making an active commitment to combat the disease. This is the first and foremost step and sufferers must ensure that they collect as much information about the condition as possible.
Following a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
Getting adequate physical activity every day.
Identifying the specific type of diabetes as Type I and Type II need to be differentiated.
Taking vaccinations on time to combat the increased risk of infections. Flu shots are recommended to be taken every year.
Keeping a check on the blood pressure and on bad cholesterol levels. While regular exercise and diet can help in keeping these in check, measurements need to be taken regularly in order to avoid complications.
Taking care of the gums and the teeth. Diabetes can have dire consequences on the gums and the teeth and regular brushing and flossing of the teeth should always be done.
Avoiding the exertion of unnecessary pressure on the feet. The toes and the feet can very easily get damaged in diabetics. Any problems in the feet should be referred to medical practitioners immediately.
Drinking alcohol responsibly and within recommended daily limits. The recommended limits are one drink of alcohol a day for women and two drinks a day for men. Carbohydrates on the consumptions of excess alcohol can upset the balance that is required in the dietary plan.
Smokers should cease smoking immediately. Smokers who also have diabetes have an extremely high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and the smoking and other forms of tobacco should be stopped at the earliest. If addiction is a problem, consult medical practitioners for alternatives to smoking.
Stress and strain on the body should be considered very seriously as they may adversely affect a diabetic. Prolonged stress can prove to be very harmful to the tiny blood vessels and can lead to serious complications such as a stroke. Plenty of sleep is recommended for diabetics.
Regular visits to the doctor and frequent eye checkups are required to be a part of a diabetic’s life.
While diabetes cannot be cured completely, following proper medication which is coupled with a healthy lifestyle with lots of physical activity can provide relief to sufferers. Following an effective treatment plan with a well-maintained lifestyle can help keep symptoms in check and can help diabetics lead a closer to normal life. However, diabetics must make sure to understand the fact that complications related to the disorder can spring up at any time and they need to always maintain a high level of care in order to keep symptoms in check. Diabetic sufferers do not have an easy time, but integrating a new lifestyle and adopting healthy measures as daily habits can greatly help in managing the symptoms of this disorder.
 The Patient-Provider Relationship: Attachment Theory and Adherence to Treatment in Diabetes, Paul S. Cjechanowski, M.D., M.P.H.; Wayne J. Katon, M.D.; Joan E. Russo, Ph.D.; Edward A. Walker, M.D., Volume 158 Issue 1, 29-35 – January 2001, – DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.158.1.29, http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.158.1.29
If you are constantly asking yourself, “What should I eat?” it’s time to stop worrying. We’ll help you figure out the right foods that can help keep your diabetes on an even keel.
Including these foods in your daily diet will help you meet your nutritional requirements and lower your risks of diabetes complications. Certainly, the foods in the list below shouldn’t be the only foods you eat, but incorporating them in your daily diet would help improve your overall health.
Broccoli: An anti-diabetes superhero, Broccoli, is highly recommend for diabetes since it contains chemical that help prevent damage caused to the blood vessels.
Blueberries: The American Diabetes Association titles blueberries as a diabetes superfood, as they are packed with various antioxidant vitamins and fiber that help dealing with diabetes.
Steel-cut Oats: Oatmeal is a powerhouse when it comes to managing diabetes. Steel-cut oats, having lower glycemic index, are full of nutritional value and high in Vitamin-B, fiber, protein and calcium.
Olive Oil: A diet rich in olive oil is not only a good alternative in managing diabetes, but it could also help prevent the beginning of the disease.
Beans: The American Diabetes Association advises people to add dried beans to their meals each week. Beans have low glycemic index and contain protein and fiber that help to manage blood sugar levels.
Spinach: Spinach is very low in calories, which is a major benefit to diabetic people. One cup of spinach contains 40% of your daily magnesium value, which can help control your blood sugar level.
Sweet Potatoes: High in Vitamin A, C and fiber, sweet potato are a great alternative of potatoes who people with diabetes.
Nuts: Nuts are good and full of life, as they are seeds and fruit combined. Eating two servings of nuts in a day can help stabilise blood sugar level in type 2 diabetes.
Carrots: Rich in Vitamin A, B, C and k, folate, dietary fibre and antioxidant beta-carotene, carrots are a good choice of you have diabetes. They are low-carb and crunchy smack.
Flaxseed: A nutritional powerhouse whole grain food, flaxseed, has many benefits for fighting diabetes. tablespoon of flaxseeds for a month can help improve blood sugar levels.
Garlic: garlic provides you a natural method to help control diabetes. It is touted as an antidote for many ailments and is packed with number of health benefits.
Kale: Kale is naturally low in calories and high in protein. It contains special array of compounds to manage diabetes, beyond high level of vitamins and minerals.
Quinoa: When compared to other grains, Quinoa contains more antioxidants, protein and fiber. Evidences suggest that eating more quinoa can help fight diabetes.
Raspberries: This nature’s candy has antioxidant power and a unique combination of minerals and vitamins. Many studies have suggested that consumption of raspberries can help fight diabetes.
Red Onions: Onions are low-calorie, provide you with iron, potassium, vitamin C and other micronutrients. They are a healthful nutrition to include in your diabetic diet.
Yogurt: Yogurt is a great nutrient-dense option. It is low in carbohydrates and can be one of the best foods for diabetic people. But avoid products that say they were heated after culturing.
Dark Chocolate: Surprisingly, researchers have discovered many health benefits of dark chocolate. Consumption of 20 gm per day helps increase in sensitivity to insulin, which is important to control blood sugar level.
Fish: Diabetes experts recommend fish for cardiovascular health. It is low in unhealthy, trans fat and cholesterol and mostly contains healthy, unsaturated fat.
Apples: A new report suggests, an apple a day, keeps diabetes away. They are loaded with Vitamin C and fibre. Don’t peel the skin though, it is the most nutritious part and full of antioxidants.
Tea: Being one of the nation’s favourite drinks, tea (without milk) is also suggested as a healthy drink. It helps improving insulin sensitivity and maintain healthy blood pressure.
If you have diabetes, checking blood sugar can be a significant tool in preventing log-term diabetes complication. Even if you have not been diagnosed of diabetes but there is a doubt, you can always check your blood sugar level at home.
Testing your blood sugar level allows you to manage your diabetes it no matter the time of day. It is important to keep a log of your results. Your healthcare provider will have good picture of their diabetes care plan, when you take these results to them.
While it is important to consult your doctor to stay on top of your diabetes treatment plan, you can also test your blood sugar on your own.
There are few ways to test your blood:
From your fingertip
The traditional method to check includes pricking your finger with a small, sharp needle (also called lancet), putting a drop on a test strip. Then place this strip into a meter that would show your blood sugar level. You can expect results in next 15-20 seconds.
With some meters, you should be sure the strip code matches the meter code.
Blood sugar meters and strips are easily available at local pharmacy.
Some meters also have feature kits that can show you the average blood sugar level and graphs and charts of your past results.
A device called, continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is a good tool to track your blood sugar levels at home. This FDA-approved system collects readings automatically every 5 minutes. It also helps to identify patterns and trends which can give your consultant a complete view of your diabetes and help you manage your diabetes condition well.
CGM uses a small device placed under the skin of your tummy, which measures the glucose amount in the fluid present in your body. A transmitter on the device then directs the info to a monitor which you can clip on your belt. In case your blood sugar level drops at very low level or high level, it will sound an alarm.
Devices are accessible for children and adults. But you would need a prescription from your specialist to get one.
When to check your blood sugar?
Check your blood sugar level whenever you require information to take decisions. The way you make use of this information is more vital than how often you test.
Often people find it useful to check their when they first get up in the morning and again before going to bed. Some test before and after their meals. Many test after and before exercising.
Testing blood sugar level at different times of the day can give you varied information about how plan is going.
Testing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything will tell you if you have sufficient insulin in your body to control blood sugar level at night, when you are sleeping.
Testing before taking meal would help you decide how much food you can consume and how much medicine to take.
Testing after taking your meals and before sleeping would tell you if you are taking sufficient medicine to cover the meals you have in the day and making the correct diet choices.
Before doing activities such as exercising would help you ensure blood sugar levels stay close to normal during and after you are done exercising.
Every time you feel something odd, you may feel like your blood sugar level is unexpectedly increasing or decreasing. But you wouldn’t know for sure without testing. Thus, testing will help eliminate the guesswork, helping you take better decision about the actions you need to take to manage your diabetes.
Who should check their blood sugar levels?
Consult your specialist whether you should be checking your blood sugar level. However, it is recommended for people to check their blood sugar level who:
have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels
are taking insulin
have ketones because of high level
have low blood glucose level
Understanding your results
If you blood sugar level is under 100 mg/dl, your blood sugar level is completely normal and may not worry about it.
If your blood sugar level didn’t reach 140 mg/dl for an hour after consuming a high dose of carbohydrates and was below 120 mg/dl for two hours after consuming a high dose of carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels are normal.
Having children is the biggest decision we take in our lives. If you are a woman having diabetes, this decision requires more planning and thought.
Most women (having diabetes) deliver healthy babies, but this doesn’t mean it’s an easy experience – it needs dedication and lot of work on your part. If you have diabetes, pregnancy presents unique challenges and give higher risk of some complications.
When you are pregnant, three types of diabetes can affect you – Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are long-term conditions and may have developed before getting pregnant. Gestational diabetes is developed only during pregnancy and goes away after the baby is born.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is developed when your body doesn’t produce any insulin.
It is advisable to gain control of the blood sugar level throughout pregnancy. “The most important thing for type 1 diabetics is that if they consider pregnancy, they should make sure blood glucose control is under optimal conditions,” recommended obstetrician and gynecologist Raul Artal, chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology department at St. Louis University in Missouri.
Since type 1 diabetes usually starts in the childhood, women will be aware of their condition before they are pregnant. To prevent complications, they need to take insulin so their blood glucose is in control.
Type 2 Diabetes
This type of diabetes is developed when your body can’t produce enough insulin or the developed insulin doesn’t work properly. Managing this diabetes means being good to yourself.
Women with type 2 diabetes are mainly at risk of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which can also create pregnancy complications. They should consult both their obstetrician and endocrinologist who can help them be at their healthiest to conceive.
Women with type 2 diabetes usually manage their blood glucose level by exercising, taking healthy food and pills. However, when you become pregnant, hormones may alter the way your body handles blood sugar. Often type 2 diabetes is treated with tablets but some women may need insulin injections.
Usually, glucose amount is controlled by insulin. However, during pregnancy, some women develop more than normal level of glucose which insulin can’t control.
Gestational diabetes affects women only during pregnancy. It is developed in the third trimester and often goes away after the baby is born.
You are expected to get gestational diabetes if diabetes runs in your family or you are overweight before getting pregnant. It can be controlled by diet; your doctor will advise you with foods that help keep your blood sugar stable.
It is important to note that if you have gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you are twice likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
How diabetes can affect you and your baby?
Diabetes during pregnancy could lead to complications for you and the baby:
Birth Defects: Uncontrolled blood sugar in women can affect organs, which are formed during the first two months and cause severe birth defects such as those of the brain, heart or spine.
C-Section Delivery: If your diabetic is not well controlled, there is a greater chance of having a C-section delivery, in which it a woman takes longer to get well from delivery.
Long-term Problems: Diabetes during pregnancy can worsen your long-term problems such as kidney disease, heart disease and eye problems.
Having an Extra Large Baby: Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can increase of blood sugar level of the baby which leads to overfeeding of the baby and the baby grows extra-large. Apart from the discomfort caused to the mother, it is possible that the baby may be born with nerve damage.
Stillbirth or Miscarriage: While miscarriages and still births can happen for number of reasons, but women with uncontrolled diabetes have a higher chance of stillbirth or miscarriage.
The Action Plan
Your consultant will help you establish your target blood sugar level. However, it’s on you to make healthy lifestyle choices to control your diabetes. Here are few basics:
Plan your pregnancy as dealing with pregnancy complications, especially if you have diabetes, can be a game-changer.
Don’t ignore physical activity in your daily routine, after consulting with the doctor. Check your blood sugar before and after exercising, especially if you take insulin.
Probably your diet already includes health fruits and vegetables, your dietitian may suggest changes in your diet to help you avoid low or high blood sugar level.
Schedule your check-ups early and often during pregnancy. Your doctor might recommend prenatal screening tests and ultrasound to monitor baby’s growth and development.
Check your blood sugar level often because pregnancy may cause the body’s requirement for energy to change and consequently blood sugar levels can change very frequently.
If you like the taste of cinnamon, it’s fine to sprinkle it on the cereal or use in baking, but if you are expecting it to help in your diabetes, you could be a bit disappointed.
A 2011 meta-analysis of various studies confirmed that both whole cinnamon and its extracts reduce fasting blood glucose. A review conducted in 2013 echoed this study and discovered that not only it cinnamon helps to reduce fasting blood glucose, but it also reduces total cholesterol triglycerides, while increasing the “good” HDL cholesterol and reducing the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Whether cinnamon is helpful in Diabetes is a topic of debate – but studies suggest that it could be a helpful supplement in type 2 diabetes. Although, cinnamon seems to be helpful for people having type 2 diabetes, but it’s hard to know if it could work for everyone.
Is Cinnamon Safe for People With Diabetes?
If you are talking about cinnamon capsules, check out for water-soluble extract like Cinnulin PF. Talk to your doctor first taking these, especially of you are on medications. Also, make sure that the brands are labelled with quality seal which consist of NSF International, Consumerlab seal or Prarmacopeia.
Be careful if you have liver problems because cinnamon may contain a compound called coumarin which could be toxic for liver. Taking cinnamon with drugs affecting liver is likely to make liver problems severe.
“The evidence is still inconclusive,” says Emmy Suhl of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, but cinnamon “is inexpensive,” “and it tastes good.”
The bottom line
Efficacy of cinnamon as a treatment for diabetes has not yet been established. No doubt, it’s natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s either effective or safe. Cinnamon is not an alternative to medicine if you have diabetes, but for people who want to control their blood sugar, it’s worth considering.
Remember that the treatment for diabetes is a lifelong commitment of blood sugar monitoring, regular exercise, healthy diet and sometimes insulin therapy or diabetes medications.
Myths about diabetes are everywhere. And when it comes to diet suggestion, everybody has an opinion. But you don’t want to make diet choices based on fiction – even if suggestions are coming from friends or family, who may have good intentions and mean well but are not the experts.
The first step in treatment of any disease is learning the facts. You can make smart choices without giving up your favourite foods in diabetes. Use this guide to separate fiction from fact.
Myth 1: Diabetes is caused by too much sugar
Fact: Your diet is not responsible for Diabetes. There are two types of Diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 Diabetes is caused by genetics, when the cells in pancreas that make insulin are damaged. While Type 2 Diabetes results when the body doesn’t respond to insulin properly or produce enough insulin. This type is mostly caused by genetics which means that it is inherited from the parents.
However, eating sugar in large amount can lead to weight gain, a major trigger for Type 2 diabetes. But so can eating too much of unhealthy food, not simply diet with high sugar content.
Myth 2: Diabetes is not that big of a deal
Fact: Many people underestimate the disease and believe that it won’t kill you. To them, you just have to go through a ‘special diet’, but diabetes is more serious than that. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes causes more deaths in a year than AIDS and breast cancer combined. So, don’t assume that it is not a serious disease. The chance of having a heart attack doubles in people having diabetes and should not be taken lightly. However, the good news is that good diabetes control can trim down the risks for complications. If you manage it right, some diabetes-related health complications can be easily avoided.
In reality, diabetes is a silent killer.
Myth 3: People with diabetes are more more susceptible to flu and cold
Fact: This is not true. You are no more susceptible to cold or illness than anyone who doesn’t have diabetes. However, diabetic people are advised to get flu shots. As the body responds to infection and illness by increasing blood sugar levels, glucose management becomes more complicated.
People with diabetes should get flu vaccine, irrespective of the type, since illness can make diabetes hard to control and diabetic people are more at risk of flu complications. If you are senior, do everything to avoid flu to avoid complications.
Myth 4: Losing a lot of weight can help in improving diabetes
Fact: A modest weight loss can improve blood pressure, blood fat levels, blood sugar and reduce diabetic complications. You doctor may have told you a number if time: “Lose your weight and do more exercise.” What is rarely told, however, is that while getting your weight to a healthy range is ideal, number of benefits can be achieved simply by losing 5-10% of your body weight. In simple words, you don’t need to lose a lot of weight to help diabetes.
Myth 5: People with diabetes can’t donate blood
Fact: People with diabetes can donate blood as long as the other medical requirements are met.
If a diabetic person is on oral medication or simply controlled by diet and not dependent on insulin, he is a good candidate to donate blood. But, there are a few parameters that should be kept in mind before donate blood. The person should be healthy and should not have donated blood for at least 56 days.
People suffering from high blood pressure or any other heart disease should consult their doctors before donating blood.
Myth 6: There is a ‘special diet’ for diabetic people
Fact: There is nothing called as a special diet for a diabetic person. The diet for a diabetic person is typically identical for a healthy diet for anyone. Such diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, wheat grains, lean meat and moderate amount of healthier fats found in olive or canola oil. And of course, a diabetic person can have sweets as well, as long as they include them in their meal plan cautiously.
With diabetes, you just need to keep a closer watch on things such as the type of carbohydrates, calories, protein and fats you eat. You can easily have food with your family and friends, if you eat in moderation.
Myth 7: People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolates
Fact: Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too, just not all of it.
This myth related to sweets is decades old. Logically, it makes sense too. Sugary diet causes an increase in blood sugar levels. However, sweets or chocolates, if eaten in small portion, can be consumed in diabetes. In fact, everyone – people with diabetes or no diabetes – should avoid food with zero nutrition value and limit the consumption of total amount of calories. (Yes, most sweets are high in calories).
Save sweets for special occasions and focus more on healthy foods.
Myth 8: Diabetes is contagious
Fact: Diabetes is not contagious like cold or flu – you cannot catch it from another person. Diabetes isn’t caused by germs. So even if you get a blood transfusion from a diabetic, you will not get diabetes.
Diabetes develops inside the body in people who have genes for it. While the causes of Diabetes haven’t yet been pinpointed exactly by scientists, but they know it’s not contagious. Type 1 diabetes take months or years to develop.
Myth 9: If you have diabetes, alcohol is off-limits
Fact: It is often assumed that for diabetic people alcohol is off limits. Not so! If you keep an eye on what and how much you drink, it would help avoid such pitfalls of weight gain, low glucose level and high blood pressure.
Diabetic people can include alcohol in a responsible way – and take the right steps to be safe. Check your blood pressure before consuming alcohol and up to 24 hours to make sure it is at the safe level.
Regular drinking can interfere with diabetes self-care. Do not drink on an empty stomach, and calories do count. As Carolyn Brown, a nutritionist in New York says, “You’re drinking your dessert.”
Myth 10: Kids can outgrow diabetes
Fact: Diabetes can be managed efficiently but cannot be outgrown. In type 1 diabetes, the cells producing insulin are destroyed. Once destroyed, the will never make insulin again. Children with type 1 diabetes will always need insulin to survive (until treatment is found). This type of diabetes is a lifelong challenge for parents.
In many cases, kids with type 2 diabetes may see an improvement in stability after puberty and lifestyle changes, but they will always have the tendency toward having high blood sugar levels.