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Diabetes Prevention – Understanding Blood Glucose

Every person’s blood contains sugar that is also referred to as glucose. Blood sugar is essential for human health. We obtain glucose from the foods that we eat. The blood takes the role of carrying it into the different organs of the body in order to provide energy to the cells thus allowing the muscles to move, the brain to think and other important functions of the entire body.

Blood glucose is the fuel for normal body and brain function. But like most things in life, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing! Uncontrolled levels of blood sugar can have devastating and long-lasting, even permanent, effects on organs and tissue.

Maintaining Normal Levels of Blood Glucose

When talking about blood glucose, balance is the key. Although blood glucose is very important for the many processes that are taking place inside the body, its levels should not be too high or too low. Otherwise, the person becomes at risk of some serious health problems.

Fortunately there are many things that you can do in order to keep healthy levels of glucose in the body. Aside from regularly monitoring your glucose levels, which is a must if you have diabetes or at high risk of developing such condition, you also need to get a better understanding of how glucose behaves and functions in order to keep it functioning at an optimum level.

The Importance of Having Normal Levels of Blood Glucose

The human body has the innate ability to keep the levels of glucose high enough for the millions of cells to stay well nourished. The human body also has this natural scheme of preventing glucose from going too high to avoid it from getting in the way of many important biological processes that are necessary for keeping the body healthy.

In order to regulate the levels of glucose, the body needs the help of some other parts of the body including: the muscles, fat tissue, brain, liver, small intestines, pancreas and a variety of hormones including insulin.
However, when one or any of these glucose-regulating body parts do not function well for some reason the individual may suffer from elevated levels of blood glucose, resulting in diabetes.

If left untreated, having elevated levels of glucose may damage the person’s eyes, nerves, blood vessels, and kidneys.

How Blood Glucose Behaves Inside the Human Body

For people who do not have diabetes, their bodies are capable of keeping the levels of blood glucose within 70- 100 mg/dl. After eating, foods will be broken down for their nutrients to be used by the different parts of the body.

As the process of digesting the food is taking place, their blood glucose will temporarily increase. While the levels of blood glucose are increasing, the release of insulin is additionally being triggered by the pancreas to ensure that blood glucose levels do not get too high. Insulin is a peptide hormone produced within the pancreas. It is released into the bloodstream to help regulate fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

At this time, signals are being sent to the numerous cells inside the person’s body, especially those that are found in their fat, liver, and their muscles. Once the signals are received, these body parts will absorb the extra glucose to convert it into energy or store it in the liver as glycogen for future use.

Glycemic Index – Diet and Diabetes

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index or Glycaemic Index, often referred to as GI, can a useful tool for diabetics. It can be helpful for practically anyone who wishes to educate themselves on how quickly glucose levels in the blood rise after eating a certain kind of food.

This index provides numerical values for foods. You can easily use the Internet at home or on your phone to find out the glycemic index of a particular food. The GI estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate, which is the total carbohydrate without the fiber content, in a food raises a person’s blood sugar level after they eat it. This measurement is relative to consumption of pure glucose, which has its own glycemic index of 100.

One of the things to take into consideration with the glycemic index is that it does not factor in the actual amount of carbohydrate that is consumed in the serving. The Glycemic Load however, a related measure, takes this into account by multiplying the carbohydrate content of the actual serving by the glycemic index of the particular food.

Foods that are considered to be Low GI measure in at 55 or less. Medium GI foods are considered to be 56-69 and High Glycemic Index foods measure at 70 and above. Understanding your portion size or the amount of food you are eating per serving and how fast this food will be broken down into glucose, will enable you to make wiser food choices.

If you do want that extra glass of wine or piece of chocolate cake, you will be able to calculate the rest of your daily meals to ensure you are balancing your carbohydrate intake safely.

Avoid High Glycemic Foods

We all know, or need to know, that sweets and processed foods are not healthy. Carbohydrates which break down easily during digestion and rapidly release glucose into our bloodstream are considered to be high glycemic foods. Be wary of pure fruit juices, salad dressings, condiments, health bars and cereals, white rice, potatoes, white bread, ice cream, chocolate, oranges and bananas. These foods are all considered to be on the higher side of the glycemic index.

Be sure to read labels on condiments, sauces and pre-packaged foods. Even many foods we grew up considering to be healthy can lead you astray. Proportion is everything. Also note that ingredients are listed in the order of abundance; the first ingredient being the most prominent all the way down to the least.

Oftentimes the “pure or natural” ingredient advertised on the packaging will be way down on the bottom of the list! Be a smart consumer. If you have never previously read your food labels, now is the time to start. Your blood sugar and the rest of your body will thank you for taking the time!

Examples of Low Glycemic Foods

Carbohydrates that break down slower and release sugar more gradually into the bloodstream are considered to be low glycemic foods. Wholegrain bread, oats, barley, millet, wheat germ, lentils, baked halibut, soybeans and most beans are some popular choices.

Peaches, strawberries, mangoes, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and most vegetables are also great choices.

Introduction to Diabetes

 

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes is a condition that results in high blood sugar (glucose) levels in the body. When the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin, high blood sugar levels result.

This may occur for one of two reasons: either the pancreas is not making enough insulin or the cells are unresponsive to the insulin that is being produced. Excess glucose in the blood is eliminated in the urine via the kidneys.

Insulin, a peptide hormone, is produced by the beta cells in our pancreas and is responsible for helping certain cells in the body absorb glucose or blood sugar and convert it into energy. Therefore, insulin is crucial in regulating fat and carbohydrate metabolism within our body.

Once control of insulin levels fail, the blood glucose or blood sugar level in the body can reach dangerously high levels, and Diabetes mellitus can result. This disease is considered to be a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.

If left untreated, this condition can have detrimental effects to your level of well-being. Many vital organs, including the heart and your circulatory system, the kidneys and the eyes may be adversely affected.

Symptoms of Diabetes

There are 3 classical symptoms of Diabetes, which may be remembered as the 3P’s:

1.Polydipsia or frequent thirst,
2.Polyuria or frequent urination and
3.Polyphagia or frequent hunger.

Additional symptoms to be aware of include:

* Severe weight loss or emaciation can occur despite being excessively hungry
* Skin ulcers that appear anywhere on the body and are slow to heal
* Weakness
* Boils
* Loss of tactile sensation in the fingertips
* In women, there may be itching of the vulvae present
* In men there may be inflammation of the glans penis.

Having continually elevated levels of blood glucose can cause changes in the shape of the lens in the eye, due to glucose absorption in the lens itself. This can result in vision changes and many people complain of blurred vision prior to being diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetic dermadromes is a term describing a collective number of cutaneous conditions of the skin that are also commonly experienced by patients who have had Diabetes for some time.

Different Types of Diabetes

There are 3 main kinds of Diabetes mellitus: Type 1 DM, Type 2 DM and Gestational Diabetes. Other kinds of Diabetes mellitus include: Cystic Fibrosis related diabetes, different kinds of Monogenic Diabetes, Congenital Diabetes due to genetic defects of insulin production and Steroid Diabetes, induced through high doses of glucocorticoids.

* Type 1 Diabetes mellitus
This type of Diabetes requires daily insulin injections or wearing an insulin pump to regulate levels.

* Type 2 Diabetes mellitus
Type 2 DM, results from an insulin resistance. In this condition, the cells fail to use the insulin produced by the pancreas correctly. This condition may also be combined with a complete insulin deficiency in some cases.

* Gestational Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes is a form that occurs in pregnant women. Often there is no previous diagnosis of diabetes and the high blood glucose level may return to normal after delivery.

In some cases, this may precede development of Type 2 DM; however, many women only require medication and monitoring for the duration of their pregnancy.

Managing Diabetes

Discovering that you have diabetes can be overwhelming and challenging news for many people. Keep in mind that this condition affects individuals of all ages and races. Many people are born with the disease, and other people develop it later in life.

You are not alone managing diabetes. Take a deep breath and decide to take control of your diabetes, instead of allowing it to take control of you.

Incorporating exercise into your day, changing your eating habits and learning how to monitor your glucose levels will enable you to live a healthy and productive life. You can also make sure you get adequate sleep and reducing any stress will also help to keep your blood sugar in check. These can be monumental lifestyle changes for some individuals.

Be patient with yourself. Do not try to overhaul everything on the first day. Knowledge is power. The more calm and open-minded you can stay while you educate yourself about this new condition, the better off you and your loved ones will be.

Risk Factors For Diabetes and How To Be Proactive

Understanding the risk factors of Diabetes will help you understand what kind of preventative measures you can take in reducing the associated risks that accompany this condition. Many people learn how to listen to their bodies with this disease. Often it provides the wake-up call a person needs about some much needed lifestyle changes.

Other people, however, may go into denial about their condition. They may even rebel and decide not to take their medicine on time, or not to make time to check their blood sugar levels. These individuals often suffer dire consequences as a result. Instead of managing their disease, they allow it to progress and may end up dealing with numerous other health problems. Choose to be proactive and as healthy as you can be. It is never too late to start making positive choices.

Obesity

Obesity is the largest risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes. Unfortunately, obesity is considered to be at pandemic levels in many countries. This abundance of excess weight causes a lot of stress on the entire body. The joints, the cardiovascular system and the internal organs are all affected.

Many studies have been done to determine why obese people have a higher tendency to develop Diabetes. One theory shows that abnormal glucose output is actually increased in obese people and the pancreas has a difficult time responding with the required amount of insulin.

It is possible to deal with obesity in a healthy manner. Start with small changes in your daily routine. Park your car at the farthest point from work or the store and increase your daily steps. Take the stairs whenever possible. Keep raw veggies in a bowl of water in the fridge for a nutritious go-to snack. Drink a glass of water before every meal to help convince your body that you feel fuller faster. Visit with a dietician who specializes in Diabetes and learn some new recipes!

Sedentary Lifestyle

A sedentary or low activity lifestyle is another common diabetic risk factor. Keeping active and staying on your feet increases your blood flow and promotes healthy circulation. If you sit at your desk all day, make time to stretch and get some fresh air during lunch and coffee breaks. Are in the habit of watching TV after supper? How about choosing to go for an evening walk around the block instead? These small changes will have a positive impact on your overall health.

Diabetes Prevention – Helpful Eating Tips

Studies have shown that individuals, who have a high-risk of developing diabetes, significantly lowered their risk and prevented or delayed developing the disease after losing weight. The very best way to maintain a healthy weight is to enjoy a healthy diet. A healthy diet combined with regular exercise may be the best prevention against diabetes.

If your doctor finds you a high-risk candidate for diabetes, they may recommend you follow a specific meal plan that is tailored to your current nutritional needs. It is important that you eat three meals in a day and have appropriate snacks in between to maintain an optimal blood sugar balance. Skipping a meal is a big no-no for people who have diabetes or who are at risk. Keeping regular meal times will help you have better control over your blood sugar levels.

When eating, it is vital to be very aware of your portion sizes. You may need to research a bit about the right portion sizes for each food category. You may wish to ask your doctor or your dietitian about portion sizes and food servings to ensure that you are eating the correct amounts of the right foods.

Limit your intake of foods that contain high levels of unhealthy fats. You also need to be careful about cooking methods. For example, when you need to use oil, make sure to select the kind of oil that does not contain trans-fats or saturated fats.

Other foods that you should limit if not eliminate in your daily diet includes fatty portions of meat, whole milk and other dairy products that contain whole milk, fried foods, candies, crackers, cakes, pies, salad dressings, lard, and non dairy creamers. It is always better to opt for foods that are raw, boiled, broiled, grilled and steamed as they do not contain unhealthy fats.

Whole grain foods are a rich source of fiber. This can be found in cereals that contain 100% whole grains, oatmeal, and other foods which are made from whole grains such as bagels, pita, rice and tortillas. Other rich sources of fiber also include dried herbs, flax and sesame seeds, edamame, sun-dried tomatoes, beans and passion fruit.

Reduce Your Sugar Intake

If you are fond of reaching for a can of soda, then now is the time to start ditching that habit. It is a good idea to start getting used to drinking coffee without sugar in it and avoid those fruit-flavored drinks as well.

You may also want to ask your doctor or dietitian about healthy sugar substitutes. If you want to get rid of your craving for soda, try making your own fresh fruit juice. Fresh fruit juice already tastes sweet and it does not have to be added with sugar in order to taste delicious. Your juicer can become your new best friend.

Be Conscious of Your Carb-Cravings

As a person who is at high risk of developing diabetes, you need to be aware of your carbohydrate intake as well. Carbohydrates can have a great impact on your blood sugar levels and this is the reason why you need to be conscious about the amount of carbohydrates that you consume on a daily basis.

You may ask for help from a dietitian with regard to measuring food portions. If you are not already doing so, aim towards becoming well-educated about reading food nutritional labels when you are shopping. Particularly pay more attention to portion sizes and the amount of carbohydrates that each food product has.

A healthy diet is ideally coupled with regular exercise. Ask your health care provider and your fitness expert before starting any exercise regimen.

How Diabetes Harms the Brain

Diabetes can damage a number of organs, from the eyes to the kidneys and the heart. Now there’s fresh evidence that unchecked blood sugar can affect the brain as well, which may lead to drops in cognitive functions

When blood sugar levels start to climb in diabetes, a number of body systems are harmed—and that list includes the brain, since studies have linked diabetes with a higher risk of stroke and dementia. Now, a new study published in the journal Neurology reports that changes in blood vessel activity in the brains of diabetics may lead to drops in cognitive functions and their ability to perform daily activities.

Dr. Vera Novak, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and her colleagues followed a group of 65 older people. About half had type 2 diabetes, and half did not. After two years, the diabetic patients had lower scores on cognitive tests compared to when they began, while people without diabetes showed little change on the tests.

MORE: The Strange Way a Diabetes Drug May Help Skin Scars

What drove the decline, says Novak, were changes in the brains of the diabetic patients. Diabetes can cause blood vessels to be less responsive to the ebb and flow of demand in different parts of the brain. Normally, flexible vessels will swell slightly to increase blood flow and oxygen to areas that are more intensely active, such as regions involved in memory or higher reasoning during intellectual tasks. But unchecked blood sugar can make these vessels less malleable and therefore less responsive.

“When doing any task, from cognition to moving your fingers, you need to increase blood flow to that specific area of the brain,” says Novak. “With diabetes, however, that vasodilation ability is reduced, so you have fewer resources to perform any task.”

Read on:http://ti.me/1LX0xw9

This Very Expensive Diabetes Drug Helps Promote Weight Loss

A new promising diabetes drug has been announced but it’s also very very expensive:

Saxenda: This Diabetes Drug Helps Promote Weight Loss, But There’s A Catch

Saxenda is a treatment for diabetes that could also help people looking to lose weight. People who injected the drug every day for a year lost an average of 18.5 pounds, compared with six pounds among a control group taking a placebo.

Liraglutide (popularly known as Saxenda) was studied in 3,700 overweight and obese people who have not been diagnosed with diabetes. However, around half the subjects in the study exhibited prediabetes. Subjects in the study were divided into an experimental group of 2,500 participants who received injections of the drug, and a control population of 1,200 people were provided with a placebo. All the subjects in the experiment were provided with lifestyle counseling aimed at teaching methods to promote weight loss.

After 56 weeks, 63 percent of subjects receiving the drug lost 5 percent or more of their body weight, while 33 percent lost at least 10 percent of their initial body mass. This compared with 27 percent and 10 percent, respectively, among participants receiving a placebo.

“It is a very effective drug. It seems to be as good as any of the others on the market, so it adds another possibility for doctors to treat patients who are having trouble either losing weight or maintaining weight loss once they get the weight off,” Xavier Pi-Sunyer from the Columbia University Medical Center said…

Read on: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/65665/20150703/saxenda-diabetes-drug-helps-promote-weight-loss-theres-catch.htm

Weight surgery for diabetes treatment?

Would you ever consider weight surgery to treat your diabetes? Well a recent study indicates it works better than diet or exercising.

That being said I don’t know whether I would want to go through that would you?

Anyway here’s that story:

Weight Surgery Treats Diabetes Better Than Diet, Exercise

In a small study of obese patients, weight-loss surgery was better at keeping type 2 diabetes at bay than diet and exercise alone, researchers report.

In fact, three years after weight-loss surgery, more than two-thirds of those who had a procedure called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass to shrink their stomach didn’t need any diabetes medications.

And one-third of the people who chose a procedure called adjustable gastric banding no longer needed diabetes medications three years after surgery, the study found.

“Surgical treatments show promise for durable, longer-term, type 2 diabetes control in people with obesity,” said lead researcher Dr. Anita Courcoulas, a professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
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The report was published July 1 online in JAMA Surgery.

The researchers recruited 61 obese patients with type 2 diabetes for the study. They were between the ages of 25 and 55 years old.

The researchers randomly assigned the study volunteers to either an intensive weight-loss program for one year followed by a less intensive program for two years, or weight-loss surgery. Some patients had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and others had adjustable gastric banding.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass reduces the size of the stomach to a small pouch — about the size of an egg — which reduces the amount of food you can eat. Adjustable gastric banding restricts the size of the opening to the stomach, also decreasing the amount of food you can eat.

In terms of type 2 diabetes, researchers found there was more improvement in the surgical groups than in the lifestyle-only treatment group. Forty percent of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and 29 percent of the adjustable gastric banding patients achieved complete or partial remission of their diabetes at three years, Courcoulas said. No remission was seen in the nonsurgical group..

Read on: http://www.newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/diabetes-surgery-weight-diet/2015/07/01/id/653127/

Do you have Pre-Diabetes?

Do you have pre diabetes? Well if you’re genetically predisposed and seriously overweight chances are that may well be the case, First thing to do is to see your doctor and get the related checkup and if that confirms you are than you shouldn’t despair because fortunately prediabetes can often be reversed or staved off with exercise and the right diet:

You Have Prediabetes – Now What?

Robin Dorsey’s grandparents, mother, siblings and cousins have all had diabetes. She was the lucky one who escaped the grasp of the chronic disease that’s expected to impact 1 in 3 Americans by 2050 – until she became pregnant at age 29. That’s when hormonal changes pushed her body into a state of prediabetes, setting the stage for the full-blown variety, Dorsey says.

Prediabetes wasn’t just bad luck. Dorsey, now 37, was genetically predisposed. Because her mother had Type 2 diabetes, Dorsey’s risk for developing diabetes was already 1 in 7, according to the American Diabetes Association. Some researchers believe the risk is greater if both parents have Type 2 diabetes. The ADA also reports that 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes in 2012, up from 79 million in 2010.

There aren’t any particular symptoms of prediabetes beyond having blood glucose levels that are higher than average. This elevation in blood sugar – also called glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c in technical terms – is often not high enough to be considered Type 2 diabetes, says Dr. Margaret Powers of the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet in Minneapolis.

People without diabetes have a normal HbA1c reading of 5.7 percent; those with prediabetes often have a range of 5.7 to 6.4 percent. Beyond that is full-blown diabetes, according to the ADA’s website.

People who are overweight, inactive or have a family history of diabetes have the greatest risk of developing prediabetes. Importantly, Powers adds: “If somebody is diagnosed [with pre-diabetes], it doesn’t mean they will get diabetes, but it does mean they’re at a higher risk than someone without diabetes.”

Read on: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/06/23/you-have-prediabetes-now-what

Johnson & Johnson launches major research on Type 1 diabetes

Here’s s a story that might ultimately spell good news for those suffering from the Type 1 Diabetes and them having to take insulin every day for life:
“Johnson & Johnson has begun a research partnership to find the root cause of Type 1 diabetes and stop the hormonal disorder in its tracks. It’s the health care giant’s first project under its ambitious initiative to prevent or at least intercept and reduce harm from many diseases.

In a collaboration with immunologist and Washington University professor Dr. Emil Unanue and his colleagues, researchers at J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals will explore how specific immune system cells are involved in the initiation and progression of Type 1 diabetes.

The disease, also called juvenile diabetes, affects about 5 percent of Americans with diabetes, roughly 1.25 million people. For reasons that aren’t clear, the immune system attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas that make the hormone insulin, which is needed to convert blood sugar into energy. As a result, patients must take insulin every day for life. When diabetes is poorly controlled, complications including blindness, amputations and kidney failure can result.

“We hope to be able to manipulate the (immune) system in such a way that this no longer drives the destruction of beta cells, while maintaining protection against infections and tumors,” said Dr. Joseph A. Hedrick, leader of that project.

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