Pregnancy and Diabetes (Pregnancy Health Guru Tip)

May 16, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=SGoGdsG3aK0%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Five percent of pregnant women have gestational diabetes. Learn more in this video, or GO TO: www.pregnancyhealthguru.com

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Divabetic!

June 10, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

tiara.jpg

DIVABETIC was inspired by Luther Vandross and created by his assistant, Max Szadek.

The project is a sassy, fun and energetic Diabetic outreach program to build self esteem and positive attitudes. Divabetics encourages early detection and prevention.

The principles of Divabetic- BEE-A-DIVA Workshops are:

  • Be Visible
  • Be Informed
  • Be Disciplined
  • Be Active

Diva to Diva! Presenting Divabetic Makeover Your Diabetes–Coming to a City Near YOU!!

Divabetic Makeover Your Diabetes events are your gateway to finding answers, feeling inspired and learning new ways to live well with diabetes while enjoying an exciting mix of free beauty and fashion services. By participating, you have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with friendly certified diabetes educators and registered dietitians in a festive, fun atmosphere. Come mix and mingle with hundreds of women just like you. Enrich your life! Enliven your spirit! Join us and experience an unforgettable night of outreach. Create your own success story!

Divabetic events are free and you can bring a partner, male or female. Register online. Check out the site to find when an event will be in your area.

j0422377.jpgEvent activities include:

  • Fashion tips
  • Free manicures
  • Beauty Bazaar
  • Gifts and Prizes
  • Shape Shop
  • Fitness Ideas
  • Free Makeovers
  • Diabetes ABCs

Grab your camera and your feather boa and post your diva photo in the Divabetic Diva Suite!

Divas Supporting Divas. Famous Divas with Diabetes.

Here’s a few famous Diabetic Divas past and present that I found:

  • Halle Barry
  • Sheena Easton
  • Delta Burke
  • Mary Tyler Moore
  • Mae West
  • Mahalia Jackson
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Carol Channing
  • Peggy Lee
  • Patti LaBelle
  • Anne Rice
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Jayne Wyman
  • Minnie Pearl
  • Dale Evans
  • AND YOU!!

The message is clear. Don’t let Diabetes stop you being all you can be— from being the Diva you are.

Diabetic Friendly Granola Recipe

April 24, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Yummy Goodness, Without The Extra Sugar

I love granola. Toasted, crunchy, and sweet it is versatile and perfect for anytime snacking. Most home-made recipes are full of sugar, though. While I know that regular sugar is fine for most healthy diabetics in small quantities, the amount called for in most recipes would make the most lenient doctor or nutritionist go into fits.

Can’t say that I blame them. Brown sugar, white sugar, honey, and a big dose of molasses makes home-made granola a big no-no. In the following recipe, I have replaced most of those with (mostly)natural alternatives. Feel free to experiment until you find the perfect fit for you and your taste.

Diabetic Friendly Granola

*10 cups rolled oats
*1 cup wheat germ
*1 cup sunflower seeds, hulled.
*1 cup flax seeds
*1 cup each chopped almonds, peanuts, walnuts
*1 ½ cup Brown Sugar Splenda
*1 cup water
*1 cup vegetable oil
*½ cup agave nectar
*½ cup Blackstrap molasses
*1 teaspoon salt (sea salt is great)
*2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
*3 teaspoons vanilla

Pre-heat your oven to 325 F. Mix oats, wheat germ, flax and sunflower seeds in a large bowl until evenly distributed. In a medium to large saucepan, mix the rest of the ingredients and warm over low heat until the Splenda is melted without boiling. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix until all of the dry ingredients are well coated.

Spread the mix into 13×9 baking pans. You will need 4 to 5, or make the granola in batches. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Check the granola during baking and stir with a wooden spoon every 5 minutes or so. For a chewier granola, remove at around 20 minutes. For extra crunchy, give the mix 5 to 10 minutes longer in the oven, watching closely for a golden brown color on the oats.

Allow to cool, place in large zipper top bags and store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the granola for longer keeping. Amount made: Approximately 20 cups.

Eat with milk for breakfast or snack on this anytime you’d like something sweet, but healthy.

* It is possible to not use Splenda. If you are familiar with Stevia, use it instead. Since Stevia is so much sweeter than sugar, you will need to adjust. You will also need to reduce the wet ingredients slightly.

Depression and Diabetes: Treatments

April 14, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Prozac

Depression and Diabetes

We discussed diabetes and depression, how the sudden change thrust on someone can lead to a changed emotional state. The stages of change can be found here: Diabetes and Depression.

Depression Treatments

The treatment of depression is important. Even mild depression should be addressed with some type of treatment. Many people are not aware they are suffering from depression and seek to shake off their blues themselves. In some cases this can work, in others the depression may become worse. Worsening can occur when a self treatment seems to fail, leaving the individual feeling as if they are a failure.

For people who have never suffered from depression and are feeling the effects of a very mild case, it is possible to self treat. I must warn any one reading this that it is not recommended to treat depression on your own, the advice offered in this post is for very mild cases. If you are suffering from depression, I advise you to speak with your doctor or call a counselor.

Schedules

For mild depression, setting up a structured schedule may help. Make a list of your medication schedule and stick to it. A new diabetic may find that placing a desired activity right after a medication time will help erase the anxiety of the medicating. A favorite book, television show, or maybe shopping can help get rid of the bad feelings associated with medication. Instead of looking at blood testing and insulin injections as a chore, eventually it will become just a part of your routine.

Scheduling chores in your day can help as well. Take stock of your daily work and make a list. Place the largest chores first, tackle them, then the rest seems easy. Start with a small list, 2 to 3 things to get done. Larger lists in the beginning can set you up for disappointment until you are back in your ‘groove’.

Light Therapy

Some people who suffer from mild depression find that lights that mimic sunlight can help improve their symptoms. Special bulbs can be found in home and garden centers that offer the same spectrum as sunlight. Check the package to make sure the bulbs are safe to use in your fixtures, then place one in the area you frequent the most in your home.

Exposure to fresh air and real sunlight is wonderful for depression. If you enjoy gardening, now might be the time to explore your yard. If you do not have a yard, container gardening by a window can bring a bit of the outdoors, in.

Hanging With Friends

You’re down, you want to stay in, the phone rings and an of friend wants to go hang out. This is the time when you may feel the worst, wondering how you are going to ever go out and spend time with your friends again. Dread of needing to take medication and blood glucose monitoring supplies, fear of having a diabetic episode in public, and more. These are very real concerns, but each obstacle can be overcome.

By keeping your supplies with you, in your purse or in a wallet sized pack, you can go out again. Men may find this a larger fear than women. Not wanting to carry anything with them, afraid that they may not look ‘manly’ with a fanny pack, or other carrying case. There are cases that will fit on a belt and not be very large. Room enough for glucose tablets and a monitor, these packs can often be found in sporting supply stores. Check them out!

In the next post concerning Depression, we will discuss medications and herbal treatments.

Diabetes and The Sugar Myth

March 27, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

No Sugar Is Best?

For nearly all of the 20th century most people believed that to control their diabetes they had to avoid sugar completely. Sugar free candy, cookies, cakes, and other foods became the staple treat for diabetics all over the world. If you wanted to buy your sweetheart something for Valentine’s Day (or any holiday) you just looked for sugar-free chocolate.

The only problem with this is that diabetics were still having problems controlling their blood glucose levels. Even without their dreaded arch-nemesis, sugar, diabetics were (and still are) having high and low swings. Many were and are not able to figure it out. What were/are they doing wrong?

Food Raises Glucose Levels Higher

Back in 1994 a discovery that the foods you eat can raise blood glucose levels higher than sugar surprised many. This is one reason your doctor may warn you to avoid starches. The amount of carbohydrates in certain starchy foods can dramatically raise blood glucose levels. For example, normal white sugar has a GI (glycemic index) of 92 whereas white bread has a GI of 100, meaning the bread will cause a rise in blood glucose faster than sugar!

The Fat Factor

Another problem with sugar free diabetics foods is that they provide a false sense of security. You may believe that it is safe to consume more of a snack if it is sugar free. This is far from reality, though. Sugar free foods can contain more calories and fat than traditional ’sugared’ foods. Due to insulin and other medications causing a resistance to weight loss in some diabetics, adding extra fat in a diet can be extremely detrimental to keeping a healthy base weight.

So, What Do I Eat?

The good news? Pretty much anything you’d like, in moderation. Popular fad diets advocate high protein/low carbohydrates. The honest truth is that these diets will work. But, in a diabetic, the results can be weight loss plus a serious loss of health. Too much protein can put the body into ketosis which can be deadly for a diabetic.

Avoiding foods entirely can make you crave them more. Instead of avoiding a particular food or food group, allow yourself to enjoy it in smaller amounts. Be aware of what causes your blood glucose to rise and adjust your daily diet accordingly. Had a baked potato with your steak? Then skip the pie (or other dessert). Love steamed cauliflower? Just halve that brownie you want with a friend or your kid.

Remember to speak with your doctor before making any diet changes!

A Look Back

February 29, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Since it is the last day of the month, I thought we would take a look back at February.

We’ve talked about neuropathy, what it is and how it affects the body. battlingforhealth.com/2008/02/what-is-diabetic-neuropathy/

Reviewed The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts, which will be given away in just a few more days! Don’t miss out on the contest to win your own copy. battlingforhealth.com/2008/02/the-big-book-of-diabetic-desserts/

Talked about making healthy choices. No matter who you are, diabetic or otherwise, healthy food is important to your health. battlingforhealth.com/2008/02/healthy-choices-healthy-eating/

One of my favorite entries is on going green. Recycling can be a part of your routine. You don’t have to toss out all of that packaging! Bottles, syring caps, boxes, all of it can be reused or recycled. battlingforhealth.com/2008/02/get-green-diabetics/

My next favorite post is the links to diabetic recipes. The internet is such a vast resource for all of us. You do not have to eat ‘blah’ food to be healthy. The links in this post will help you find recipes for children or adults. battlingforhealth.com/2008/02/food-food-and-more-food/

I’ve also found new blogs that are interesting. I have placed them in my blog roll, but yesterday I spoke with a blogger I hadn’t met just yet. His name is Ken and his blog is www.battlediabetes.com . Who could resist another fighter in the battle?

March is going to be an amazing month. We are going to discuss how to ‘clean’ out our lives. Since March is the month when most people in North America are beginning to feel the effects of spring, we’re going to have a month of springing into action, breathing fresh air, and planting the seeds of good health into our lives.

If you have any suggestions, questions, or would just like to talk about you diabetes, feel free to contact me via the site or through my email.

battlingforhealth.com/contact/

julie@BattlingForHealth.com

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

February 15, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

I created the following recipe as a low fat, energy packed breakfast for my family.You can modify it by adding in other chunks of fruit or nuts. It really is very versatile. If you would like, try using a 50-50 ratio of white and wheat flour. If you use wheat, be sure to use molasses. I have also used soy flour to add a protein punch. Enjoy!

Oatmeal-Fruit Breakfast Fuel

*2 cups Oat meal, plain (the kind in the big cylinder)
*¾ cup flour (all purpose)
*1 ½ cup low fat granola (I just used some from a cereal box with almonds and raisins)
*½ cup raisins
*2 bananas, sliced thin
*2 eggs
*1 cup milk (more or less)
* 1/2 cup honey or molasses

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Mix everything in a large bowl. It will be slightly ‘goopy’. The milk will not completely absorb, but try to get all of the flour mixed into the liquid. If the mix is too dry, add a little more milk. Once it is all completely mixed, pour into a pan that has been lined or oiled well.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check at 20 minutes for browning. The top of the bars should be dry with spotty golden brown areas. Remove from oven, cool until you can cut and handle the bars without being burned. Serve warm!

Get Green, Diabetics!

February 14, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Are you into ‘green’?

Anyone can join the eco-friendly green movement. All you need to do is to begin acting in a more planet friendly way. The Earth is being depleted of its’ natural resources at an alarming rate. Even with re-forestation measures, the global effect that humans have is taking a toll.

I can remember in my teens hearing about how global warming would be impacting my grandchildren. Funny thing, I am seeing the impact of our parents and grandparents today. Shifting weather patterns is only one of the symptoms being felt. Of course, the planet does go through cycles and this could be one. I would prefer to have a hand in helping the planet thrive, though, no matter the cause of our current situation.

What does this have to do with me?

You are probably wondering what in the world a conversation about going green is doing on a diabetic blog. Heck, this is the perfect place for an eco-friendly discussion! Take a peek at the supplies you have on hand right now. Do you see plastic medication containers (pill bottles)? Lancets for your blood glucose meter come in a little box, then in some, are packaged again in plastic baggies. Syringes are in boxes, then plastic bags. If you receive your testing supplies through the mail or via a delivery company, again there is another box and packing material.

When all of this is gathered together, right in front of you, you have a very large eco-footprint. You can reduce this footprint on the planet by recycling as much as possible. If you are in doubt about what can be recycled, try putting your zip code into a website that locates recycle centers in your area, like Earth 911.

That doesn’t get rid of my containers!

Sadly, it is very hard to recycle the plastic in pill bottles. The plastic is of a different consistency than the plastic we are used to recycling. Some pharmacies will take old bottles and shred them, but that still does not change the fact that eventually these containers make it back into our eco-system at one point or another. You can use the bottles for crafts, to hold small items, or possibly donate them to your local vet or a church that ships them to developing countries.

When an item cannot be recycled, perhaps it is time for people to raise their voices and ask “Why?” Prescription bottles are manufactured by the millions, there has to be a way to use a different type of material to make them. With enough people demanding it, sooner or later someone will have to listen. Try contacting your state representative for help on this issue! Find your State Rep here.

Ok, Julie, but I still have needles and glass insulin bottles.

Not long ago I found a request for insulin bottles. I wrote the lady who wanted them, but never heard back. So, I don’t think she is looking for bottles now, but you can do what she was. If you are crafty, use your insulin bottles. Tiny lights for dollhouses, lampposts for model towns, and glitter filled decorations for a wreath. Heck, you could cover with glitter and hang from your Christmas tree if you did not have small children. There are so many possibilities for these.

The glass is fragile, so use thick gloves and a lot of caution when you remove the metal tops. This metal is thin and can be peeled off with needle nose pliers. You can also buy tiny corks so you can hold liquids.

Need more ideas?
Beach In A Bottle
Perfume for Your Bottles!
More Ideas

Syringes, did you forget?

No, I didn’t forget. Syringes cannot be recycled. Your only option is to re-use the syringe yourself. Many health professionals do not recommend this, so I am not going to offer information on re-using your syringes. For this, you need to speak with your doctor.

Caps, though, are another matter. As a child I would use the plastic caps to my mother’s syringes as cups for my Barbie dolls. You can use these in crafts, too. One idea is to hot glue the caps to a small, flat piece of wood to hold beads and other tiny craft materials. Small amounts of paint can be held, as well. Anything liquid, really, that needs to be in small quantities.

Paper Packaging

Card board and paper are the easiest things to recycle out of everything you accumulate. Scribble out your name and information, then place it all in your recycle bins. If you like, you may shred paper to further reduce its’ size and the possibility of someone finding your information. Often people will use shredded paper in packages when shipping items. This is a great way to recycle and to eliminate your need to purchase other packing material like Styrofoam. (bad, bad Styrofoam!)

Jennifer Chait of Tree Hugging Family has some very good posts on Trash Audits. By using the information posted there, you can start eliminating much of the trash you are throwing away. You might learn new ways to recycle the paper and plastic that is coming in your medications and supplies.

You are on your way!

Now you are on your way to becoming ‘greener’. But, don’t stop with your medication packages and supplies. Why not take a look at your diet? Since you need to watch your diet, take this as a huge opportunity to eat sustainable foods. By buying and eating locally grown foods, especially those that are in season, you are helping the enviroment. This helps an area become more sustainable. One of my favorite sites on eating and shopping for sustainable foods is Sustainable Table .

This site has an excellent page on why you should think and buy sustainable. When people ask me about sustainability and organics, I send them here. Introduction and Why.

More vitamins, more minerals, and excellent taste. Really, I do not think there is a reason to not buy/eat/live sustainably. Eating well is a number one concern for diabetics, so why not give sustainable foods a try?

Hey, drop me a line.

I would love to hear your thoughts on being a Green Diabetic. Or Green Caregiver. Or Green Giant. Share!

Coping With A Diagnosis

February 12, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

A great blog post.

Sometimes people with diabetes forget that they are a person, not just a person with diabetes. I found a wonderful blog entry by Eric Lagergren in the Diabetes Self Management Blog.

Eric describes the hierarchy of his needs and how diabetes has affected his thinking, not just his life. It was an interesting post, complete with thoughts on how other veteran diabetics percive his writing and attitude towards his condition.

How do you see yourself?

Each day you deal with diabetes. Changing your diet, taking medication, visiting doctors and dieticians. It probably impacts how you spend your social life. Taking stock of your supplies, deciding if you have enough glucose tablets or insulin to take with you on a trip to watching your activities and blood sugar while at a social function.

Diabetes can consume you. It can drive all thoughts out of your mind except for the diabetes itself.

You can take your life back

You are a diabetic, but you are still you. The person you were before you were diagnosed with diabetes is still there. The diagnosis did not take away any of your talents or skills. All it did was add a new dimension to your life. A dimesion filled with not only medications, but a healthier way of living.

Once you are diagnosed, you begin (or should) to be more careful of how you treat your body. This is not any different from how all people should be. Eating better, exercising, and taking careful stock of your body. One diabetic once said, “I am healthier now as a diabetic than I ever was before.”

This is the goal of living well with diabetes. Some problems due to diabetes can be reversed with a good diet and lifestyle, so what do you have to lose? Nothing but pounds, inches, and possibly the most sever complications of the condition. Focus on the good aspects of being diabetic, not the negative.

You will always be the same person, no diagnosis will change that.

Healthy Choices, Healthy Eating

February 6, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Diet and You

Each day when you eat a meal, you are choosing how healthy you are going to be. Every single bite of food you have affects your body. So why not choose the very best foods to put into your system?

I wrote yesterday about diabetic desserts, but what about meals? So many of us are used to comfort foods. These foods remind us of a simpler time, a time when all was well and we did not need to worry about what we were eating. This type of attitude as children can also attribute to obesity and as many already know, diabetes.

Teaching Good Habits

Children need to learn good eating habits right now to establish them as adults. Too many children are exposed to sugary snacks and other foods. Have you ever seen the sugar content in breakfast cereals? These foods are marketed almost entirely to and for children. No amount of vitamin enrichment will counter the sugar included in those foods!

When searching for a good breakfast cereal for you or your children, look for cereal that is low in sugar. Fruit additives can make up for the loss of sweetness and is better for you both. In my home, we often buy plain cornflakes then add in slices of banana, strawberries, or raisins. Sometimes we add all three! I have to credit my husband with instilling a love of vegetables in our children at an early age. Our kids will eat tomatoes like apples, which sometimes makes for a mess. But, at least they are eating healthy, so I cannot complain.

Other Meals

When you are preparing lunch or dinner, check your carbs. Starchy foods, like potatoes and pasta, can drive your blood glucose levels up. If you are including these types of foods in your meals, try to avoid desserts with the same type of content. If you are not familiar with exchanges, stay tuned, I will soon be posting an explanation of diabetic exchanges and substitution ideas (again!)

It is always good to have a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables on hand for snacking. One of my preferred snack items is popcorn. Freshly popped and lightly salted, popcorn is very satisfying. You can eat handfuls of it without a lot of guilt at all!

For kids, why not prepare a snack drawer in your fridge? My grandmother devoted one of the bottom drawers in the fridge to me full of kid friendly foods I could just get into at anytime. Cheese cut into small blocks, celery, apples, carrot sticks, and raisins are great ideas. Don’t forget to add in some low sugar drinks, too!

What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?

February 4, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Causes and Symptoms

If you are diabetic and have neuropathy, then you are familiar with the painful, burning, and sometimes tingling sensation of neuropathy. Neuropathy is thought to be caused by a loss of blood supply to nerves in the body. This is a dangerous condition and can caused fatalities. Nerves affected can be any of those in the human body, including the nervous system that is associated with internal organs, such as the heart, lungs, and liver.

In some cases, the neuropathy can give a diabetic the appearance of someone who has had a stroke. Drooping in the face, mainly around the eyes and mouth can occur. Difficulty swallowing, speech impairment, vision problems, and erectile dysfunction are only a few of the problems caused by neuropathy.

Control

The only known way to prevent neuropathy or to control its’ spread is by having very strict control of your blood glucose levels. Even with this strict attention, the neuropathy can only be reversed or prevented if the onset is recent. Years of neuropathy cannot be reversed. This means: If you have diabetes, start a tight regimen now. Do not delay. Years of damage cannot be repaired!

There are some drugs which can give some relief of symptoms, but due to the amount of side effects at this time, stronger drugs are not available. In some cases the drugs that are the strongest have debilitating side effects. Your doctor can be consulted for your best options, you should not rely on research alone to choose a medicine for this disability. This is extremely important in this day and age when drugs are available over the internet for purchase.

I want to be very clear here. If you purchase medication online for this disability, you can die. Only use the medication your doctor prescribes.

Alternative Treatments

New approaches are being studied to treat neuropathy with good results. One of the most recent is the study of a special form of the vitamin B12. The results were mixed with this treatment. Another diet additive was an anti-oxidant known as a-lipoid acid. A dose of under 1800 milligrams was used, as higher doses caused nausea. Some benefit was shown in the clinical trials, though the study has not been published.

Vegans will not be surprised that a vegan diet with moderate exercise has been shown to improve diabetes symptoms, including neuropathy. This diet is high in vitamins, anti-oxidants, and the vitamins the body needs. Low in cholesterol and other body harming byproducts, a vegan diet promotes good health and good glucose control for diabetics.

Diabetes And Sexual Issues

January 30, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Sex and Diabetes

If you are a young and otherwise healthy adult, you may find that your sex life has been suffering without knowing why. Many adults who have diabetes also have problems in their sex lives. The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a survey in 1999 and discovered that %43 percent of women with diabetes (who participated in the survey) had some sort of sexual dysfunction. This is compared to %31 of men who participated in the same study.

What Are Issues Women Face?

Many women who have diabetes can find that during their period, their blood glucose levels may be harder to control. Studies had been performed to determine the cause of this fluctuation, but until 2007 there was no hard evidence on what caused the blood sugar to become so hard to control. In 2007, ABC News had released an answer to a question from a diabetic on their website (ABC News) that concludes that hormone levels in the week before, then during a period will cause insulin resistance.

Diabetic women also might have more issues than their non-diabetic counterparts with vaginal dryness. Proper lubrication is very central to enjoying intercourse. Use of a lubricating gel can help ease these issues. Diabetic women can also have less sensation in their genitals because of nerve damage, similar to the damage that causes loss of feeling in the fingers and feet.

Men and Impotence

Trouble attaining and maintaining erection is a problem that most men who are having problems with their sex life report. This can be due to nerve damage, much like the loss of sensation women can experience. It can also be attributed to fear of performance if there have been a loss or failure to achieve an erection in a past sexual episode. One very important factor is proper blood flow, since erections are achieved by a rush of blood to the penis during arousal.

Men should speak with their doctor if they are having issues with erection. Sometimes there can be a blockage in one (or more) of the blood vessels in the penis or to the penis. This not only can cause sexual problems, but other health issues as well. Some other factors to be considered are smoking, which constricts blood vessels throughout the body, and drinking which is infamous for causing erectile dysfunction.

The Afterglow

A diabetic who is taking insulin instead of controlling their diabetes through diet should try, if possible, to check their blood glucose before sex. It has been shown that occasionally sex can lower blood glucose levels. A small snack before and after sex may help counter this.

Natural Diabetes Treatments

January 23, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Avoiding the injection?

In recent years, particularly since the 1990’s, people have been looking more and more to nature to solve health issues. Almost every single day there is more information released in the news and online that details new and amazing uses for one herb, extract, or food. Often one will be touted as the ‘Wonder Cure’ for diabetes.

As of right now, there is no wonder cure-all for diabetes. With the recent breakthrough in medical science covered in my earlier post ‘Scientists Jumpstart Insulin Production In Diabetic Mice’, there may one day actually be a cure. But for now, here are the facts.

Herbs and spices for good health.

Just this month, scientists in China have found that a compound in pumpkin can help regulate blood glucose levels. The complete verdict is still out, but pumpkin is full of vitamins and minerals your body needs. It never hurts to add more into your diet.

Cinnamon has long been a favorite among herbalists for helping the body control blood glucose levels. Science has proven the validity of the claims, along with alleged arthritis treatment. To experience the benefits of cinnamon, include the spice in your diet each and every day. At least a teaspoon is needed to show results in arthritis and sugar levels. If you drink tea, try mixing it into your tea. Making your own cinnamon toast with Sucralose/cinnamon is easy! Toast your bread, spread one side with a low calorie margarine, then sprinkle a little cinnamon and sweetener onto the ‘buttered’ side.

Bitter Melon or Balsam pear has had confirmed results in lowering blood sugar. In fact, the juice and extract works so well it can cause hypoglycemia in diabetics who use it in conjunction with traditional medicines. Over use can result in abdominal cramps and diarrhea, so it is not recommended for children. This is one herb to use quite a bit of caution with, if used at all.

Garlic and Onions have been confirmed to have many health benefits. Lowering glucose levels, cutting cholesterol, and helping the body fight disease. Unless you have allergies to this family of plants, garlic and onions are a perfect addition to any diet.

What Now?

Even if you incorporate foods and herbs known to help with controlling blood sugar levels, you should not stop your insulin routine. Only your doctor can give you medical advice concerning your diabetes and you should never stop treatment on your own. You can, however, add foods and spices to your diet. If your sugar levels become more controllable, mention the foods you are eating to your doctor. It is possible through diet to control diabetes better, but until there is a cure, you still need to use caution with any treatment, natural or otherwise.

Sources:Diabetes Holistic Online and dlife

Diabetes And African Americans: Perfect Storm

January 21, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Frightening Statistics For African Americans

According to National Health Interview Studies conducted from the early 1960’s to the early 1990’s, nearly three times the number of African Americans have diabetes compared to the early studies. This does not account for undiagnosed cases. Many African Americans who do not have health care, much like other races who are in the lower income brackets, do not have access to proper health care. Due to this, the number of diabetes cases are possibly double the current number. For every white person who has been diagnosed, approximately one and a half more African Americans are being diagnosed.

One in four African American women over the age of 55 has diabetes. Twenty five percent of African Americans between 65 and 74 have been diagnosed with diabetes. Out of all diabetic Americans, African Americans are more likely to develop complications than their white counterparts.

Why African Americans?

Some researchers believe that the reason more African Americans are becoming diabetic is due to their genetic heritage. In the past, Africans developed a gene that enabled their bodies to more efficiently use food and energy stores during cycles of famine. Today there is not such a demand for the use of this gene. There are not as many feast or famine cycles in the Americas, though this does not mean there are not people who experience times of scarcity. The gene may play a part in increased difficulty of weight control, which itself contributes to diabetes.

What Are Some Complications ?

As mentioned above, African Americans experience higher risk of complications than white Americans. I have included a list of some complications.

*Kidney Failure- 2.2 to 5.5 times higher.
* Visual Difficulties- %40 higher in African Americans
* Amputations- Up to %72 more likely than whites or Mexican Americans

See Your Doctor!

Whether you are African American or not, you should speak with your doctor if you have exhibited signs of diabetes. Good medical care can help you live a long and happy life, not matter your race.

Sources: Black Health Care and Web MD

Battling Diabetes In Children

January 17, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

What Is Type I Diabetes?

Type I Diabetes is a disease that affects people at any age, any time. It is also known as Juvenile Diabetes because it is most often seen in children and young adults (teens). The pancreas halts production of insulin, the hormone that aids glucose to enter cells. When glucose (sugar) enters cells, it use then used to create energy. Insulin also allows other internal organs such as the liver, to store glucose to be used for energy at a later time. Without insulin, the body is unable to use glucose properly, resulting in many health problems.

One very serious problem that can occur is a condition known as Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). When the body does not manufacture insulin and glucose(sugar) levels g climb too high, a chemical imbalance develops in the blood. Cells are not receiving the glucose they need to produce energy and the body begins to break fat down to try and compensate. This action allows the release of ketones into the bloodstream. With the release of ketones, the body is at risk for serious damage, even death if not treated immediately.
Source: Web MD.

The Signs of Type I Diabetes.

* Thirst – Children are often thirsty, but when a child suddenly becomes thirsty and drinks much more than they normally would, it is time to take a close look at what is going on.

* Frequent urination.

* Weight loss without dieting or added exercise.

* In some cases, the child or adult will become hungrier than normal.

Each symptom on its own does not signify Type 1 Diabetes. But, added together these signs are a good indication that Type 1 Diabetes may be the culprit. Since the symptoms can take time to develop, often the parent may assume the child has a ‘bug’ or the flu. The symptoms can resemble the flu and treatment is often delayed long enough to cause Diabetic ketoacidosis. How can you tell if you or your child is suffering from DKA?

Do you or they exhibit the following symptoms?

* Flushed, hot, and dry skin.
* Loss of appetite.
* Stomach pain.
* Emesis (vomiting)
* A very strong, fruity odor of the breath.
* Rapid respiration
* Over sleepy, hard to wake.
* Confusion.

If so, seek medical help right away. Only a doctor can tell you if you or your child is suffering from Type 1 Diabetes. The doctor will order a blood test to measure the glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream.

How Type I is Treated.

The routine treatment for Type 1 Diabetes focuses on keeping the blood glucose levels near the level of those for a normal, healthy person without diabetes. Parents of children with diabetes will need to check the glucose levels of their child often and give the medication prescribed by their child’s doctor. When children age, eventually they become responsible enough to take their glucose readings and inject their insulin on their own. Care should be taken to allow the child to watch as the parent fills the syringe with insulin each time an injection is needed. Children are naturally curios and as they watch their parents, their understanding of their own medication will grow. A chart on a door or side of the fridge is a wonderful way to keep track of your child’s insulin levels. Use large blocks to indicate the days of the week and break each day into three sections. Draw a face: happy/sad, or use stickers to indicate ‘good’ levels or ‘bad’ levels. Make the treatment as interesting as possible for your child. Try to keep a strong, happy face to your child, their acceptance and understanding of their condition relies on their parents attitudes. The Children’s Diabetes Foundation of Denver offers some interesting books for children and their parents on Battling Diabetes.
Books: CDFD Book Link.

Healthy Diet Is Key.

Most children with Type 1 Diabetes can enjoy a normal diet. It is imperative to teach children to take care of their bodies, so a good, balanced diet will benefit any and every child. Children with diabetes can in some cases still have foods containing sugar, but as with any food, moderation is important. If your child cannot tolerate much sugar without having a threatening jump in glucose levels, do not treat sugar as a villain. Labeling a food as ‘bad’ will only make it more tempting as they grow. An example of this is that I made this mistake with my oldest child. She was allowed one very small candy item a day, nothing more. I was military strict and when she went to visit her aunt in a different state, every dime she had taken with her was spent on sugary snacks. Sugar had been treated as an enemy, not as something we could live with or without. Forbidden items have temptation value.
Source: eHealth MD, Do Diabetic Children Need Special Foods?

Wound Care Is Essential.

All diabetics, Type I and Type II have issues with wounds being slow to heal. Each and every time you dress or undress your small child, check their body for wounds. Even a small scratch can become infected. Older children should be taught to self check their bodies for wounds and have the tools to care for them on hand. A good first aid kit should be in every medicine cabinet. Another in your car or purse will come in very handy. Children are great at getting scrapes and bruises, diabetic children are certainly no exception.

Let Your Child Play.

If you are a parent of a diabetic child, you know how hard it is to let go. The constant worry, wondering if your child is ok, if she has taken her insulin, does the school know how to handle diabetes, and just having her out of your site in general can be a nightmare. The stress can be nearly intolerable. But, you cannot hold on forever. Holding too tight can frighten your child and cause them to become withdrawn or in some cases, too much of a daredevil. Learn to give enough freedom to your child and if you are too frightened, remember, that you are only working for your child’s best interest. She will need to learn to look out for herself eventually, hold her back will not teach her to care for herself properly.

If your child does go to visit a friend or go to a playground alone, be sure to give her a fanny pack with medication and directions on how to use it properly. The fanny pack can hold a simple ‘survival’ kit. Hard candy or glucose tablets, insulin inhaler with a small icepack, a snack, and a small first aid kit. The first aid kit should have a few bandages, antibiotic cream, and gauze pads with antiseptic wash.
Sources:
Caring for Diabetic Children in the Classroom
Children With Diabetes Online Community
Children’s DiabetesFoundation at Denver

For more information, visit blogs of others who have diabetes or parent children with the disease.

* Six Until Me A Post To Parents
* Juvenile Diabetes Blog, By A Teen With Diabetes
* Living With Juvenile Diabetes Symptoms, By The Mother of Two Children With the Disease.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.