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!

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

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

Why you should know the glycemic index of the food you eat

October 13, 2010 by  

In order to be healthy and stay healthy, we should know the meaning of certain terminologies that is related to the food we eat and how our body reacts to and interacts with this food.

Most of us know about calories, calorie intake and burning, carbs, sugar and blood sugar, and of course the fats – transfats, saturated and unsaturated fats.

Here is another term that you should know about: glycemic index.

Glycemic index or GI for short is “a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose (blood sugar) level. A food with a low GI will typically prompt a moderate rise in blood glucose, while a food with a high GI may cause our blood glucose level to increase above the optimal level.” GI is also known as glycemic load.

Contrary to popular belief, GI is not something that only those with diabetes should know. Knowing the GI of the food we eat helps maintain a normal healthy weight, good cardiovascular health and favorable lipid profiles and thus lowers the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Here is why GI of our foods matter. Foods with high GI are rich in carbs that are eventually converted into glucose (simple sugar). The presence of glucose in the blood triggers the production of insulin that converts glucose into energy and excess glucose into stored fat. However, when the body is constantly forced to produce excess too much insulin, the results is not very healthy. Insulin resistance is a major adverse effect, followed by high levels of blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), increased weight and cardiovascular problems.

That is why paying attention to the GI of the food we eat is important to our health. GIs may be high, medium or low.

High GI is 70 and above. Glucose has GI ranging from 85 to 111. A can of coke has 77.

Medium GI is from 56 to 69. An example of foodstuffs with medium GI is the table sugar, with 58 to 65 (source: glycemic edge). A regular hamburger has 66 and 1 cup of cheerios has 74.

Low GI is from 0 to 54 and most of the fruit and vegetables and unsweetened dairy products fall under this category. Examples are

  • Fresh apples – 28 to 44
  • Fresh bananas – 30 to 52
  • Fresh kidney beans – 13 to 46
  • Fresh carrots – 16 to 92

Foods with high and medium GIs should be avoided, maybe eaten once in a while Below I give some links as to where to check the GIs of the food stuffs. But when looking through the Glycemic edge database, I found some surprisingly high GIs, as follows:

  • French baguette – 95
  • 1 cup of corn flakes – 84
  • Graham crackers – 74
  • Tofu frozen dessert, low fat, 1/2 cup – 115
  • Gatorade – 78

Sources of GI values of the food you eat:

Diabetes treatments benefit animals, too

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Diabetes used to be a death sentence. Until 1922 when insulin was discovered, extracted from pancreas of dogs. With insulin, diabetes became manageable. Dogs and other animals have been and are still being used in biomedical research for developing and testing new drugs for humans. Animal rights activists are of course not happy with this state of affairs. A recent report from the University of Missouri (MU) however indicates that it is not only human beings who benefit from the fruit of biomedical research but man’s best friend and other animals as well.

MU researchers have tested a continuous glucose monitoring device commonly used in humans with diabetes in animals and found the device to be helpful in treating dogs and other animals. The device is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades of the animal.

According to Charles Wiedmeyer, assistant professor of clinical pathology in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Our research has found that continuous glucose monitoring devices can be used in dogs, cats, cows and horses. Use of this system alleviated the need for multiple blood samples. It also reduces the stress associated with obtaining those samples. This system may provide greater monitoring capabilities in animals with diabetes and promote the diagnostic and research potential of glucose monitoring in veterinary patients.”

The device records blood glucose data every five minutes and provides a detailed blood glucose profile of an animal for several days. The data obtained with the device are invaluable in managing diabetes in pets especially in determining the proper dosage of insulin and in controlling sugar levels through proper diet.

These all sound very familiar to those who are suffering from diabetes because the disease manifestations in humans and in animals are very similar.

“Many of the symptoms of diabetes in dogs are similar to the symptoms in humans, including excessive water consumption, increased urination, or unexplained weight loss. For dogs, treatment typically involves insulin shots twice a day. Dogs get complications from diabetes, but they are not as severe as human complications. Older, female dogs and some breeds, such as schnauzers and poodles, are more prone to diabetes.”

Dogs, however, are more like little children rather than adults with diabetes because they have little control over their insulin and diet. They need to rely on their owners/caregivers on glycemic control, thus making easy and convenient glucose monitoring invaluable.

The glucose monitoring device specially designed for animals is manufactured by Medtronics.

iPhone Apps for those with diabetes

June 29, 2010 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Monitoring blood sugar and insulin levels as well as keeping in mind the kind of food that helps you keep your glycemic targets are hard. Add to that the complexity of insulin types, the glucose periods (fasting, before and after eating) and you get lots of data on your hand. I had to monitor my blood glucose when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes. That was just for a few months. I can imagine how tedious this recordkeeping can be if it is for life. Which is why it is so great that there is technology nowadays to help people with diabetes. As part of our series of health and medical phone apps, we are bringing you a couple of useful apps for those with diabetes.

Glucose Buddy was supposedly ranked as the number 1 iPhone diabetes application by Manny Hernandez, Founder of It allows users to enter data on glucose levels, carbohydrate consumption, and insulin dosages. It is fully compatible and syncs easily with the Internet application at It costs nothing to download.

Diabetes Log is simple and straightforward, yet useful app to record glucose levels and food intake. The newer versions allow you to mail your data directly to your doctor with the Touch Mail application. It is for free.

DiaMedic also helps you record your glucose and insulin values as well as exercise but in a highly compressed way that allows you to fit more info. “Diamedic © Diabetes Logbook offers a unique solution for the diabetic to easily record every glucose reading, insulin injection, lab result, carb intake, weight, medication and exercise workout. Log sugar levels on the go, then monitor readings with instant graphs to help you maintain tight control.”

Glucose-Charter™ is another app that enables to your to record blood glucose and insulin levels that you can send to your doctor at the touch of a button. In addition, it gives access to a database of diabetes-friendly food. There is a Lite version and Pro version. Unfortunately, I can’t find any info about the price but the lite version should be cheaper or even for free.

Diabetic Meal Planner helps you calculate your glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) for a meal or for a day. It gives info about common food items to help you in planning your meals taking into account the carbs, fats and proteins. There is a free and a full version ($13.99). The former gives info on 38 food items, the latter on 975.

Type2Friendly is actually useful for those with Type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It gives info on diabetes-friendly restaurants, their menus, maps and directions, websites and contact numbers. Makes going out for diabetics easier.

Photo credit: screen shot from diabetes log

The Hormone Foundation

September 9, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

The Hormone Foundation, is the public education affiliate of The Endocrine Society, a leading source of hormone-related health information for the public, physicians, allied health professionals and the media. Their mission is to serve as a resource for the public by promoting the prevention, treatment and cure of hormone-related conditions through outreach and education.

Additionally, they work directly with the Society, and experts in the field of endocrinology, to translate science for the benefit of patients with endocrine disorders and raise the general public’s awareness about emerging endocrine system diseases.

The Hormone Foundation provides educational information and resources on over 25 endocrine related topics including diabetes. You can obtain patient fact sheets on diabetes here.

The Endocrine System:(definition from Merck Manual Online)

The endocrine system coordinates functioning between different organs through hormones, which are released into the bloodstream from specific types of cells within endocrine (ductless) glands.

Endocrinology (definition from Wikipedia)

Endocrinology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the endocrine system and its specific secretions called hormones.

The Hormone Foundation’s physician referral directory is comprised of over 3,000 members of The Endocrine Society, the largest and most influential organization of endocrinologists in the world. The referral is updated weekly with physicians who are accepting new patients.

Check here to find an Endocrinologist in your area.

One of the best things this site offers is a 25 minute video that follows four people with diabetes as they live their lives to the fullest while using insulin.

Do yourself a favor and watch, Living Your Best Life: Diabetes and Insulin

If you like what you see, support The Hormone Foundation and their advocacy efforts.

Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Partners in Crime

May 27, 2008 by  

Initially, it was chalked up to age. It was almost expected that a person with Alzheimer’s disease also suffered from diabetes or some other illness. The thought was that the person was aging and the other disorders were a function of an aging body and not necessarily related per se to Alzheimer’s disease.

Then the researchers started to consider the fact that people with Alzheimer’s disease were often battling other health issues such as: heart disease, stroke and especially diabetes.

Have you ever noticed that “a diet low in fat, and high in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables” is good for just about every sickness?

The point here is that good nutrition is good for the body AND the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is sometimes not detected until the person is in the third or fourth stage of the disease. By that time some damage has been done and changes have started to take place. Also, by that time other diseases have already manifested. Specifically, diabetes.

Research has shown that there is a connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. So, as you shield yourself against diabetes by eating a high fiber, low fat diet rich in complex carbs and whole grains you are doing “double duty” moreover, protecting yourself against Alzheimer’s disease and vice versa.

In some cases, Alzheimer’s is even being called type 3 diabetes.

You can get detailed information about the types of diabetes from Battling Diabetes. Click the links for information regarding type 1 diabetes, often diagnosed in children, teens and young adults, where the body ceases insulin production, and type 2 diabetes, where the body produces insulin, but not an adequate supply. In 2007, Time and USA Today ran stories about the link between Alzheimer’s and diabetes. even characterized Alzheimer’s disease as a form of diabetes. Suggesting that,

“Insulin disappears early and dramatically in Alzheimer’s disease,” In addition, “Many of the unexplained features of Alzheimer’s, such as cell death and tangles in the brain, appear to be linked to abnormalities in insulin signaling. This demonstrates that the disease is most likely a neuroendocrine disorder, or another type of diabetes,” said senior researcher Suzanne M. de la Monte, a neuropathologist at Rhode Island Hospital and a professor of pathology at Brown University Medical School.

In the end, it is more important to eat a balanced, nutritious diet that is low in fat and cholesterol; get plenty of exercise and address total health needs than to get all stressed about potentially getting Alzheimer’s disease. The research seems to suggest that a healthy body leads to a healthy brain.

What’s your experience? Are you providing care for someone who has Alzheimer’s AND another illness?

Why Is Cigarette Smoking Habit Forming?

March 10, 2008 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

Nicotine is one of the most well known components of inhaled cigarette smoke. But is it addictive? Yes and no. The details that make clear that paradoxical statement are interesting.

Nicotine itself is not addictive. But then, neither is heroin. It’s what the body does with that compound that produces the result. Think that’s quibbling over words? Read on…

The average cigarette delivers between 1.2 – 2.9 mg of nicotine, according to data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. But, of course, very few smokers limit themselves to one per day. The average one pack-per-day user will absorb between 20-40 mg per day. That may not sound like much, but the effects are considerable.

Nicotine stimulates regions of the brain in the area of the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Big words, but important ones. These areas play a large role in the endocrine system, the part of the body that regulates hormones.

Small doses of nicotine produce alertness, making cigarette smoke a stimulant. Larger doses act more like a sedative. So the impetus for smoking to become a habit is two-fold: cigarettes both stimulate and relax.

They do that by producing several effects.

Many drugs can’t penetrate the blood-brain barrier, the system that selectively allows only certain molecules into the brain. But nicotine manages to indirectly defeat that protective function. Nicotine increases the levels of endorphins, the well-known ‘runners high’ compounds.

It also affects the availability of dopamine in the brain, which is responsible to a large degree for the positive feelings associated with smoking. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in the brain associated with reinforcing desirable behavior. Signals are sent that say ‘smoking is pleasurable’. Unfortunately, it doesn’t send signals that inform the smoker that ‘smoking is also harmful’.

In addition, nicotine stimulates the adrenal glands. That causes them to release the hormone named after them, adrenaline. That in turn causes a spike in glucose levels, leading to increased respiration and heart rate, raising blood pressure.

Within limits, those latter effects are perceived as desirable. That’s the stimulating effect. But at the same time, over time, that result can wear arteries more rapidly than they otherwise would. Along with other compounds like carbon monoxide, CO, which tends to produce fatty deposits and harden vessels, the arteries are ‘aged’. They’re less effective at their purpose: delivering blood.

Nicotine has other effects on the body.

It suppresses insulin release from the pancreas. That hormone plays a critical role in regulating glucose. Excess glucose in the blood encourages the development of diabetes. Cigarette smoking doesn’t directly cause diabetes, but it slightly ups the odds. Combined with a statistical increase in obesity in many countries, upping the odds isn’t helpful.

Reducing the regular dosage of nicotine by reducing or quitting smoking, reverses many of the perceived pleasurable effects. As a result, quitting is more difficult. But using willpower, patches and other stop-smoking methods means keeping in mind that ‘long-term harmful’ outweighs ‘short-term pleasurable’ by any rational calculation.

Insulin Shock

February 23, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

What Is Insulin Shock?

Insulin shock is characterized by a drop in blood glucose levels, often triggered by a diabetic trying to reach normal levels of blood glucose by using insulin. The glucose levels fall below 50 dl and can cause symptoms of shock.

The Symptoms

The Symptoms of Insulin shock can often be confused with symptoms of high blood glucose. Be sure to check the blood sugar levels before administering treatment.

*Pale or clammy skin.
*Cold sweats
*Shaky or weak movements
*Rapid heartbeat
*Strong hunger


First and foremost, give yourself or the diabetic a dose of sugar. It can be in pure table sugar form, candy, fruit juice, or soda. If you or the person you are helping is having trouble understanding to chew and swallow, try dissolving sugar in water and drinking it. (or giving them to drink). In some cases a diabetic you are treating may not be conscious and in that case you can put sugar under the tounge. While it dissolves, the sugar will be absorbed through the oral mucosa. Never just pour anything into the mouth of someone who is not awake, this can cause even bigger problems such as choking and drowning.


After blood glucose levels have been brought up enough to stabilize, feed your diabetic or yourself a meal packed with carbohydrates. This is important as often glucose levels will again drop not long after being raised. Check the glucose levels often after an insulin shock episode, it can fall again without warning even after sugar has been introduced into the body. Keep a stock of sugary items close at hand during such an episode.

Items to Have

A diabetic should always have an emergency insulin shock plan. The best plan of action is to know glucose levels before going on a long drive, hiking, or shopping for an extended period of time. Hyperglycemia is not nearly as dangerous as hypoglycemia, so while it is important to take your insulin, missing a dose will not cause a reaction in the same deadly areana as taking too much! But, just in case you do have too much insulin in your body have these items:

*Identifying jewelry or card for diabetes.
*Glucose gel or tablets
*Packets of sugar
*Hard candy
*Chocolate bar.
*Nutritional drink for after care (Ensure)
*Protein bar (for prevention)

Any of these items will help you in case of an insulin shock episode. If you find yourself feeling hungry, the best prevention for insulin shock is to eat. Having just a few of these items on hand in your purse or pockets can make a world of difference. Men can always carry a protein bar in their pocket and a few packs of sugar in a small ziptop bag, too. Not carrying a purse is not an excuse!
Always be on top of your glucose, before it is on top of you.

Exercise To Control Diabetes

January 10, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Having diabetes is never a picnic. But fortunately, for a very large percentage of those who suffer from the disease, exercise can play a large role in the management of the condition. Not only does it improve overall health, helping to stave off future complications and deal with dips in well-being, it directly improves the diabetic condition. But, it needs to be done properly.

Before embarking on any exercise regimen, a diabetic should consult his or her physician and insist on clear answers and feasible suggestions. The diabetic will need to find out which exercises are safe and under what conditions. That will vary from person to person, and often day to day.

The level of blood glucose rises, for example, in response to exercise. But how much and how rapidly differs from person to person and day to day. A high blood glucose level, say 300 mg/dL can rise even higher with vigorous exercise. Those with Type 1 diabetes who have a fasting glucose level above 250 mg/dL will likely have ketones in the urine. Exercise can raise that further, producing a dangerous condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Alternatively, insulin treatments can produce hypoglycemia (having too low a level of glucose in the blood). But consuming carbohydrates to level it off may have undesirable side effects, such as encouraging excess body fat. That excess in turn may help push those with pre-diabetes into full blown diabetes, over time.

Any exercise routines should be realistic and begun slowly. Many diabetics need to reduce their level of activity below what would be normal for another person. But they can still benefit from the many positive health effects of a good routine. Just as with the elderly or others who may need to curtail some kinds of activity, the diabetic needs to monitor their condition carefully and exercise appropriately.

Think long term. Even people without any medical condition can become discouraged and give up on exercise too easily. Working muscles that have been sedentary (a lifestyle that often raises the risk of acquiring diabetes in the first place) can lead to soreness and discomfort. That creates negative incentives to continue the exercise program. Starting slowly and working up to greater effort can solve that problem. Adopt exercise as a part of an overall lifestyle, not as a targeted cure for any specific problem.

Walking several times per week is a good start. For those who have access to a pool, swimming is a good cardiovascular exercise category that is easy on the joints.

At first, you may feel a bit too tired to even get started. That may be the result of low blood sugar. If your physician approves, eating a small snack can help get you up for the effort. A small adjustment to medication may work for others.

Monitoring is important, even during exercise, since it can change blood glucose levels quickly. A special watch is available that provides a timer for measuring routines, but will also monitor glucose level. But whatever method you choose, keep a close eye on things. Stop if you feel dizzy, nauseous or experience symptoms generally.

An Introduction to Diabetes

October 22, 2007 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Diabetes – An Introduction to Diabetes

Diabetes, a disease characterized by chronic high levels of glucose in the blood, is not the major problem it once was. Prior to the end of the 19th century, it might well have been a death sentence for many. Excess glucose can have a number of ill effects, including poor cut healing or kidney damage, even coma. With the advancement of monitoring and insulin delivery methods, it’s often now little more than another daily task to perform.

Though the underlying causes are not fully understood, diabetes results from either too little insulin being produced or ineffective use of it by the body. In Type 1 diabetes, for example, the islet cells of the pancreas fail to produce an amount of insulin adequate to allow blood glucose to enter cells where it’s used for energy. In Type 2, the cells may resist insulin’s action, once again leaving too much glucose in the blood.

But though they’re not completely known, experts agree that the causes of the different types of diabetes are generally a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental or lifestyle factors. In some cases, one or the other may dominate. Gestational diabetes, for example, affects about 3% of pregnant women usually from around 24-28 weeks into term. But it goes away after birth. Type 1, on the other hand, affects mostly juveniles and is largely genetic.

In all cases, the symptoms are usually roughly the same: excessively frequent urination, unquenchable thirst, sometimes accompanied by dizziness or stomach pains. Naturally, these common symptoms can have a number of causes. Anyone suspecting he or she has diabetes should be tested by a physician.

Those tests are simple and relatively painless, only requiring a small blood sample. Blood glucose level is measured, with normal running around 99 mg/dL, while diabetics have a level of 126 mg/dL or above. It may require more than one test to confirm the disease.

Once confirmed, regular blood glucose monitoring is a must. Fortunately, there are today many convenient ways to do that. Testing devices the size of a cell phone are common. A small sample of blood is smeared on a strip fed into the instrument, which delivers a number within seconds. Some recent devices measure glucose level through the skin using an infrared beam.

Treatments are equally easy for most diabetics. In some cases careful diet and appropriate exercise may be enough to keep the right glucose-insulin balance. In the usual case, insulin delivery is called for. But that too is much easier than in generations past. Small insulin-containing pens can deliver the exact right dose painlessly. Newer oral inhalers are on the market that have met with success.

Though no one wants to have to deal with diabetes, managing the disease is now easier than ever. The possible long term complications of untreated diabetes remain what they always were. By keeping them at bay with simple techniques, most diabetics can enjoy an active fulfilling life just as anyone else.

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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.