Sunday, December 25, 2011

Why blood sugar control is important

Take control of life

In the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), people with insulin-dependent diabetes were able to reduce their risk of eye, kidney and nerve diseases by keeping their blood sugar levels close to normal. In fact, people who took their treatment most seriously during DCCT continued to have a lower risk of complications than those using conventional treatment. It was also demonstrated that the earlier this blood sugar control begins and the longer it is maintained, the better the chances of reducing complications. These findings were so extraordinary that this 10-year study was cut short at nine years so that all people living with diabetes could learn about and begin realizing the benefits of better blood sugar control.

The benefits of lifelong control — today and tomorrow

Better control of your blood sugar can help you:

  • Feel better on a daily basis
  • Stay healthier
  • Reduce your likelihood of having diabetes-related complications like heart disease, eye disease, kidney disease and nerve damage
  • Discover more energy to do the things you want to do
  • Prevent the signs and symptoms of high blood sugar such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, blurred vision and slow-healing cuts and bruises

Know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor has classified you as Type 1 or Type 2. Your treatment options will be recommended according to the type of diabetes you have. This section outlines the difference between the two.

Type 1 Diabetes: Insulin dependent or "juvenile diabetes"

Children and young adults are usually diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which is why this type is frequently referred to as "juvenile diabetes." In Type 1 diabetes, the cells inside the pancreas that are suppose to produce insulin don't do their job or have been gradually destroyed. Without any insulin, people living with Type 1 diabetes are unable to control the levels of sugar in their blood. As a result, they become "dependent" upon insulin to live. They must have insulin through shots or a pump every day.

Type 2 Diabetes: Adult on-set or "insulin resistant"

Type 2 diabetes is far more common that Type 1. In fact, 90% of the people living with diabetes are Type 2. Diagnosis usually occurs during adulthood when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or starts ignoring the insulin that is produced. Unlike people living with Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetics can produce some amount of insulin, often giving them the option to control blood sugar levels using diet and exercise modifications, as well as prescription medications. It is not uncommon, however, for Type 2 diabetes to progress to a point where the person is required to take insulin just like with Type 1.

Start taking the LEAD by asking the right questions

By initiating a better dialogue about your health and treatment with your doctor, you increase your awareness of your own unique needs and educate yourself about available options for blood sugar control. Start by reading about diabetes and talking to your doctor. Then, ask your doctor questions like:

  • What is a normal blood sugar level?
    Normal blood sugar levels should be between 80 and 110 mg/dl before meals and between 100 and 140 mg/dl at bedtime. Your bi-yearly hemoglobin A1c tests (a lab test that measures your blood sugar over a three month period) should be below 7 percent.
  • How can I get my blood sugar in the normal range?
    To keep blood sugar as close to normal as possible, you must achieve a balance between your diet, exercise and treatment program (either insulin injections, an insulin pump or pills). This requires intensive control, starting with self-testing your blood sugar (via a glucose monitoring system) multiple times each day. You should also adjust your food intake and physical activity as they relate to your blood sugar levels. If you require insulin, your treatment program should include multiple daily injections.
  • How often and under what conditions should I test my blood sugar to get the best results?
    At a minimum, self-testing should be done before meals, at bedtime and when you wake in the morning. You should also get a hemoglobin A1c test done through your doctor at least twice each year.
  • What changes should I make in my program to reduce my chances of complications?
    The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial proved that you can delay the onset or slow the progression of complications through intensive control, which includes more frequent blood sugar tests, insulin injections (using shots or an insulin pump) and careful monitoring of your diet and exercise. If you do not require insulin, it's important you take your medication exactly as directed while more closely monitoring the food you eat and making exercise a priority.
  • How could I find out if I have kidney disease or other complications?
    A thorough physical examination with lab tests can detect complications. This includes the following types of diagnostic tools: blood pressure, opthalmoscopy (a look at the interior vessels of your eyes) cholesterol screening, urinalysis, blood test and a cardiovascular examination (i.e., electrocardiography, stress test).
  • What long-term effects does diabetes have on my eyes, kidneys and nerves? 
    High blood-sugar levels over time destroy cells. In your eyes, that means your vision can become blurred or lost through conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinopathy. In your kidneys, the damage causes blood vessels to lose their ability to filter waste products from your blood. And finally, in the case of your nerves, the effects include muscle weakness, loss of sensation (i.e., an inability to detect pain, heat, cold, etc.) and loss of functions normally under unconscious control (i.e. digestion).
  • When should I get together with a dietitian to review what I eat?
    As soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes, you should begin paying more attention to your diet. A dietician can help you get started on a meal plan appropriate for better control. You should also see a dietician if you have been unable to achieve near-normal blood sugar levels. He or she can then make adjustments in your diet to work within a more intensive treatment program.
  • What exercises are best for me? What adjustments to my food or insulin should I make if I plan to exercise?
    People living with diabetes can engage in pretty much any exercise program as long as they understand the close relationship between food, insulin and their body's use of sugar as fuel during exercise. To determine what adjustments you need to make, start by closely monitoring your blood sugar before, after and even during exercise. Once you know how your body responds to physical activity, you can increase or decrease your insulin and food intake. Typically, exercise causes blood sugar to drop. Therefore, you would not want to administer too much insulin before exercise, yet you would want to eat before so that you have an adequate supply of fuel. Sometimes it's also necessary to eat or drink something during exercise to combat low blood sugar levels.
  • What should my family and friends do if my blood sugar goes so low that I need their help?
    Your friends and family can give you food or drink that contains high levels of sugar to help you. Orange juice or hard candy is a good choice. You can also purchase glucose tablets at a drug store for this purpose. You might want to teach your friends and family how to administer "glucagon" as well. This injected substance, available through your doctor, can be used in case of emergency if you pass out during an episode of low blood sugar.
  • What should I do about taking care of my diabetes if I plan to become pregnant?
    Pregnancy can cause a lot of stress on a woman's body, thereby requiring more intensive therapy. Working with your doctor, you can outline a program that involves more frequent blood sugar testing and insulin injections while adjusting your food intake to meet the needs of you and your baby. Many doctors recommend insulin pump therapy during pregnancy, which allows more flexibility in eating and sleeping -- two of the most important aspects of a healthy pregnancy.
  • How should I take care of my feet?
    Besides making regular visits to a podiatrist, you can ensure the health of your feet through careful self-examination every day, watching for changes in the skin or loss of sensation due to nerve damage. It's also recommended you wear shoes that fit properly, apply moisturizers and exercise to promote good circulation.
  • Are there any diabetes groups that I could attend in my area?
    The American Diabetes Association and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation have local chapters you can attend. You can also check with your community hospital to see if they have a program for people living with diabetes.

Take the Lead in your treatment

The only person who can take the lead in your care is you. But taking care of yourself is easier and more effective than ever — complications can be offset, postponed or even prevented. Many treatment options to control your diabetes are available to you, no matter your financial or insurance situation. It's not the size of your bank account or salary that determines how successful you'll be in controlling the disease. It's your knowledge that determines your success. The more you know, the less likely you are to be one of the millions of Americans going undiagnosed, under-treated or worse, not treated at all, which can cause those people living with diabetes to suffer the most tragic disease complications.

Why is diabetes an epidemic?

In the United States, diabetes affects everyone. It costs us $98 billion each year to care for the 16 million people living with diabetes. One third of these people actually go undiagnosed or under-treated, which then leads to more severe complications and higher hospital bills. However, it doesn't have to be this way.

The good news is that every American has the power to stop the diabetes epidemic. You can open the lines of communication between your friends, family and community. You can increase your awareness about your own health, and voice your concerns about others who may be at risk. You can also urge your congressional leaders to give diabetes the amount of exposure and support it deserves in light of its cost in life and dollars to the American public. In other words, you can take the lead against this epidemic and turn the tragedy of ignorance into a lifetime of better health for all Americans.

Why is diabetes an epidemic?

  • #1 cause of blindness
  • #1 cause of amputation
  • #1 cause of kidney disease
  • #1 cause of impotence
  • #7 cause of death
  • One out of 17 people in the U.S. suffer from the disease
  • Number of diabetes cases has increased 49% since 1990
  • A 165% increase in diabetes cases is anticipated by 2050
  • 75% of people living with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke at a younger age than the general population
  • Middle-aged people with diabetes have death rates twice as high as middle-aged people without the disease

Easy Diet Tips

The hundreds, if not thousands, of diet and weight loss programs today offers you all the good news that you would want to hear. They offer you the rules from how to get in shape and achieve your well-being but most are not Easy diet tips. While some diet programs are little too complicated to obey, others also are quite expensive. But the truth is, getting in shape is not actually that complicated and costly. All you have to do is participate in the process while being guided with the right information for a proper diet. The following are some of the simple and easy diet tips that should help you in achieving the shape and health you desire.

Minimize your caloric intakes

As much as possible, eliminate the bad carbohydrates as part of your diet. Easy diet tips: Replace your calorie-rich food intakes such as white breads, fried foods, refined and processed foods with wholegrain and fiber-rich foods.

Eat and drink healthy

Fruits and vegetables are rich in countless vitamins and minerals, and thus they should be on top of your diet. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibers and antioxidants which are the key for optimum health. Easy diet tips: Replace your sweet wines and carbonated drinks with water and fruit juice.

Be Active

Spend at least 30 minutes of workout and exercises every day. If you’re trying to lose weight, vary your exercises to boost your metabolism. Exercises do not only give you the energy but they work also best to stabilize your system. Easy diet tips: You don’t need any contraptions and gym equipments; a simple jog and walk will do.

Say goodbye to bad habits

Refrain from your bad habits such as smoking and excessive intakes of alcohol. You know for a fact that these two are the number one contributor why people develop dreadful diseases such as hypertension, cancers, and other artery and heart problems.

Sleep Well

As much as possible, give yourself enough rest. Easy diet tips: Seven to ten hours of sleep is recommended for a healthy body.

See, being healthy and getting in shape is easy. If you just follow those easy diet tips and with your cooperation, you too can have the health and form you deserve at no extra costs! The easiest way to stay on track is find a program that makes sense and stick with it. The most important of all the easy diet tips is getting your body into pH balance.

Women Health Center

Because of increased demand of beauty and fitness for women, more and more women health centers appear. They are really helpful and more and more popular to women. A women health center offers all affordable measures of health care. They have trained and knowledgeable staff and usually are not too concerned with insurance. Women health centers work towards keeping a community or population healthy and worry less about the financial means than other places.

A women health center provides many different types of health care services. A women health center is basically any agency where health care is administered, including health education. A women health center can offer basic health care or even specialize health care; also includes clinics, hospitals and treatment centers.

Women health centers are even available in many univeristies and colleges.

The women health center here is a place where students can get discounted or free health services. Many of the college women health centers offer basic health care, much sound an emergency room. There are recurrently not doctors that take scheduled visits. A college women health center usually help to keep disease and illness under control on a college campus.

Such a women health center can help students a lot; not only care about their health and diseases but give much useful specialized information like pregnancy as well as treating female types of cancer. These women health centers focus on educating women about their health

Women health centers come in a variety of focuses. As mentioned, universities, colleges and women health centers are quite popular. There are other health centers that focus on different groups like children or the elderly.