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Diabetes Can Lead To Intense Itching

Diabetes Can Lead To Intense Itching

Question: Can intense itching be a side effect for someone with diabetes whose blood sugars are poorly controlled? Answer: Poorly controlled diabetes is one possible cause for unexplained itching. Exactly how diabetes causes itching isn't certain, but suggested causes include diabetic nerve root injury, metabolic abnormalities from widely fluctuating blood sugars, and dry skin. If this is the cause, it should improve with better efforts to lower the blood sugars. That said, there are many other causes for severe itching. Dry skin from eczema is a common cause that's fairly easy to treat with moisturizers and steroid cream/ointment. Cholestatic liver disease with high blood levels of bilirubin is another cause of severe itching. A normal set of liver enzyme tests will rule this out. Either a very slow or a very fast thyroid can cause itching, so be sure to check thyroid function. Severe chronic kidney failure can also cause itching from the buildup of toxins. High levels of circulating blood histamines from a tumor can cause itching, so be sure to check a blood histamine level. Folks who have a disorder called polycythemia vera may experience itching due to high circulating levels of histamine-producing mast cells. Certain cancers such as carcinoid syndrome or Hodgkin's/non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can cause extreme itching, so these need to be considered. Parasitic infections are another possible cause, especially after recent travel to endemic areas. Severe emotional stress/anxiety is one more interesting cause for unexplained itching I've encountered in my practice. Q: My blood pressure averages 120/60. I'm concerned about the bottom reading of 60 being too low. I seem to be rather drained, and wonder if it's because my pressure is too low. Is there any food or vitamin I ca Continue reading >>

Why Diabetes Raises Your Risk Of Falling

Why Diabetes Raises Your Risk Of Falling

Comedians may trip and stumble for easy laughs, but theres nothing funny about falling, which is a major health risk for older adults. Having diabetes increases that risk because the condition can cause physical impairments that may make you less steady on your feet. According to one estimate, a person with diabetes who is older than 65 is 17 times more likely to suffer a fall than a younger man or woman who doesnt have the disease. But adopting some healthy habits and preventive strategies can help you prevent this common problem. The numbers tell an alarming story about the dangers of falling down. One out of five falls results in serious injuries, such as broken bones or head injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries and send 2.5 million older adults to emergency rooms each year; about a quarter million are hospitalized with broken hips . Breaking a hip can be debilitating, resulting in chronic pain and a reduced ability to get around. Indeed, hip fractures in the elderly are, on their own, a risk factor for early death. Falls become a greater threat as we age for many reasons. Bones become more fragile and fracture more easily. Age-related decline in cognition, or the ability to think clearly and make sense of the world, also increases the risk for falling; at least 60 percent of older adults with cognitive impairment suffer a fall each year. Your ability to react slows as you grow older, too, so you may be less able to catch yourself or break your fall if you slip or trip. Certain age-related diseases, including diabetes, and their treatments, can interfere with good balance and a steady gait. Several recent studies have taken a closer look at how and why this c Continue reading >>

Treating The Common Cold And Type 2 Diabetes

Treating The Common Cold And Type 2 Diabetes

It is that time of year again and as a Pharmacist/Certified Diabetes Educator one of the most common questions over the fall, the holiday’s and winter months is “What do you have to treat my cold?” or simply “Can you make me feel better?” Well there is no cure and we cannot wave our “therapeutic” wand and make symptoms disappear but there are a variety of products to help with the symptoms of cough and cold. If the patient is relatively healthy it may be a bit of a hit or miss scenario but usually the product will ease the symptoms until the cold runs its course over 7 to 10 days. The picture becomes less clear when the patient is taking other medications, has medical conditions such as kidney disease, blood pressure, or they have diabetes. Assisting our patient choose an appropriate product that will not worsen their existing medical conditions, and lessen the symptoms that make them feel miserable is key. Diabetes is a condition that requires some adjusting to choose the right product. It is not always a “Sugar free”, “Natural”, or alternative product that is best, as active ingredients may have issues. These include raising blood sugars, raising blood pressure or stressing the kidneys (common issues with diabetes). Usually after a brief discussion to educate the patient, a product can be chosen to help both their symptoms and minimally impact their diabetes and blood sugars. The discussion that follows is a practical approach on how to decide what a person with diabetes can use so that they understand why we avoid certain classes of products due to a their existing medical conditions. Blood Sugars Can Rise when Ill It is important to realize that when a person with diabetes is “fighting” a cold it produces stresses on the body as a whole and Continue reading >>

How To Spot Pre Diabetes Symptoms

How To Spot Pre Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes is one of the most common and troublesome chronic health problems in North America. Prediabetes is not far away from that. In-depth research revealed that as many as nine out of ten adults in North America have prediabetes symptoms or signs, yet only one in 20 knows it. Nobody wants to be a diabetic, but many forget that type 2 diabetes does not happen overnight. T2 diabetes usually go through a prodromal phase with abundant symptoms of prediabetes. Prediabetes symptoms start here Long before becoming a diabetic and even prediabetic a person is usually enters a state called dysglycemia. Dysglycemia is a medical term for blood sugar fluctuations. These fluctuations are small at first, seldom detected by standard blood tests. Only much later when glucose swings to a much larger larger magnitude lab tests prove to be of value. The initial stages of dysglycemia causes only minor blood sugar changes, changes that are not enough for diagnosis of hypoglycemia or diabetes. Although not picked up by a laboratory the dysglycemic state is felt by the body. Here is a list of common dysglycemic and prediabetes symptoms. When sugar tends toward high the following can happen: Weight increase and a person has difficulty losing weight Fat tends to accumulate around the waist Waist to hip ratio changes from ideal 0.7 to above 0.75 in women and above 0.8 in men Cholesterol increases and triglycerides are excessive There is a higher chance for fatty liver This is what you can do with it: Not everyone starts with increased weight, body heaviness, higher cholesterol, and spiked blood pressure. Some may feel weak, flabby, chilled, and dizzy. When sugar tends toward low watch for different symptoms: Cravings for sweets and carbohydrates, worse before menstruation in women Low energy, Continue reading >>

Have Diabetes? New Drugs Can Help You Pee Out Excess Sugar

Have Diabetes? New Drugs Can Help You Pee Out Excess Sugar

An abnormally high level of sugar in your urine has traditionally been a sign of uncontrolled diabetes and something to be corrected. But that notion has been turned on its head by a new class of diabetes drugs that work by increasing how much sugar patients pass in their urine. New path to blood sugar control To date, two of these new drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating type 2 diabetes. The first, canagliflozin (Invokana®), was cleared last March; the second, dapagliflozin (Farxiga®), was approved just this week. Both drugs are so-called SGLT2 inhibitors that act by blocking the kidneys’ reabsorption of sugar, or glucose. The result is that more glucose is released in the urine and the patient’s blood glucose level goes down — a major goal of diabetes treatment. Most other available drugs for diabetes work by targeting the liver, pancreas or gut to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce insulin resistance or stimulate insulin secretion. In contrast, SGLT2 inhibitors work completely independent of insulin. The two new medications, which are taken by mouth in pill form, are approved for use as stand-alone drug therapy, in addition to changes in diet and increased exercise, or in combination with other drugs for diabetes. Their approvals were based on multiple clinical studies — nine for canagliflozin and 16 for dapagliflozin — showing that they effectively lowered hemoglobin A1c, a measure of average blood sugar level over the previous three months. A surprise effect on the waistline An added benefit is that SGLT2 inhibitors are associated with modest weight loss. For instance, patients shed from 2.8 percent to 5.7 percent of body weight in clinical studies of canagliflozin. “The weight loss is an appealing side effec Continue reading >>

Can Diabetes Cause Headaches?

Can Diabetes Cause Headaches?

We all get the odd headache. In fact, 15 per cent of Australians will have popped a painkiller to treat one by the time you finish reading this story. People living with diabetes, however, are more likely to be hit with headaches than the rest of the population, and having diabetes may even increase your migraine risk. ‘Headaches are one of the most common complaints doctors are presented with,’ says Dr Tony Bartone, president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victoria. ‘That, combined with the fact they can be caused by a variety of things, means it’s understandable that some people may not make the link between their diabetes and their headaches.’ Find the link and you are halfway to solving the problem. Here’s what to look for… High or low blood glucose levels A headache can be a symptom of hypo- or hyper glycaemia – when blood glucose levels go too low or too high. Low blood glucose levels trigger the release of hormones that cause vasoconstriction – a narrowing of the blood vessels – which may bring on a headache. High BGLs can cause you to run to the loo more often, which sometimes leads to dehydration and, in turn, a headache. THE FIX: As soon as you feel a headache coming on, test your blood glucose levels. This is especially important if you frequently wake up with a pounding head, which could be a sign of nocturnal hypoglycaemia (going too low overnight) if you take insulin or certain other medications. See your doctor if you suspect this is the cause of your headaches. If your levels are low, treat them with 15g of fast-acting carbohydrate and monitor your symptoms as your blood glucose levels return to normal. Once they stabilise, the headache may ease. On the other hand, if your levels are high, exercise may help, but first che Continue reading >>

Is Diabetes To Blame For Your Headache?

Is Diabetes To Blame For Your Headache?

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that results in blood sugar, or glucose, abnormalities. This causes a host of symptoms and related complications, some of which can be life-threatening. A common symptom of high or low blood glucose is a headache. Headaches alone aren’t harmful, but they can signal that your blood sugar is out of its target range. If you have frequent headaches, diabetes may be to blame. Find out if diabetes is the cause of your headache so you can take proper action. Can diabetes cause seizures? Learn how to prevent them » Headaches are common in both children and adults. In fact, headaches are the most common source of pain. They’re also a leading cause for days missed from work and school. Headaches are a frequent problem among the American population, but there are numerous causes. Headaches are classified as being primary or secondary. Primary headaches occur when brain cells or nerves, blood vessels, or muscles around the head send pain signals to the brain. Migraines and tension headaches are common examples. Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are not directly caused by the type of pain signals mentioned above. These types of headaches are attributed to underlying health conditions or medical problems. Diabetes is one cause of secondary headaches. Other causes can include: fever or infection injury high blood pressure, or hypertension stroke anxiety or stress hormone fluctuations, such as those occurring during menstrual cycle eye disorders structural abnormalities within the brain Just as causes can vary, the pain associated with secondary headaches can vary. Headaches due to diabetes are often moderate to severe in nature, and are known to occur frequently. These headaches can be a sign that your blood glucose is either too high Continue reading >>

Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

A low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia or an insulin reaction, is defined as a blood glucose level below 60 to 70 mg/dl. It is usually companied by one or more of the symptoms described below. Low blood sugars or insulin reactions can occur whenever insulin is used. Although less frequent, it can also occur with use of drugs that stimulate insulin production in Type 2 diabetes, such as Diabenese, Glyburide, Glipizide, and Starlix. Hypoglycemia symptoms vary greatly. Lows may occur with no symptoms, minor symptoms, or full-blown symptoms. They will vary from person to person and from one low to the next in the same person. A single symptom may make you aware that your blood sugar has become low, or you may suddenly become aware of several symptoms at once. Symptoms are created both by the effect of the low blood sugar on the brain and other organs, and by the effects of adrenaline and glucagon which are released in large quantities to raise the blood sugar. Anytime you suspect a low blood sugar, check it to be sure and, if you are low, raise your sugar quickly with glucose tablets or other fast carbohydrates. If you're too confused to check, eat quick carbs and check later. The faster you recognize hypoglycemia, the faster you can respond and bring the blood sugar back to normal. Keep in mind that you do not want to eat too much when you treat a low blood sugar, or you can begin a blood sugar rollercoaster. Identify the symptoms for insulin reactions so you can take action quickly. Insulin Reaction Symptoms shaking sweating irritability headache tingling hunger blurred vision dizziness and confusion numbness of the lips nausea or vomiting fast heart rate sudden tiredness seizures pale appearance frequent sighing personality change confusion or poor concentation loss Continue reading >>

Dizziness (dizzy)

Dizziness (dizzy)

Dizziness is a symptom that is often applies to a variety of sensations including lightheadedness and vertigo. Vertigo is the sensation of spinning, while lightheadedness is typically described as near fainting, and weakness. Some of the conditions that may cause lightheadedness in a patient include low blood pressure, high blood pressure, dehydration, medications, postural or orthostatic hypotension, diabetes, endocrine disorders, hyperventilation, heart conditions, and vasovagal syncope. Vertigo is most often caused by a problem in the balance centers of the inner ear called the vestibular system and causes the sensation of the room spinning. It may be associated with vomiting. Symptoms often are made worse with position changes. Those with significant symptoms and vomiting may need intravenous medication and hospitalization. Vertigo is also the presenting symptom in patients with Meniere's Disease and acoustic neuroma, conditions that often require referral to an ENT specialist. Vertigo may also be a symptom of stroke. Most often, dizziness or lightheadedness is a temporary situation that resolves spontaneously without a specific diagnosis being made. Introduction to dizziness (feeling dizzy) Dizziness is one of the most common symptoms that will prompt a person to seek medical care. The term dizziness is sometimes difficult to understand since it means different things to different people. It is either the sensation of feeling lightheaded as if the individual is weak and will pass out, or it describes vertigo or the sensation of spinning, as if the affected person just got off a merry-go-round. Lightheadedness is often caused by a decrease in blood supply to the brain, while vertigo may be caused by disturbances of the inner ear and the balance centers of the brain. Continue reading >>

Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 In Adults

Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 In Adults

What is it? Diabetes (di-uh-BE-tez) is also called diabetes mellitus (MEL-i-tus). There are three main types of diabetes. You have type 2 diabetes. It may be called non-insulin dependent or adult onset diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body has trouble using insulin. Your body may also not make enough insulin. If there is not enough insulin or if it is not working right, sugar will build up in your blood. Type 2 diabetes is more common in overweight people who are older than 40 years and are not active. Type 2 diabetes is also being found more often in children who are overweight. There is no cure for diabetes but you can have a long and active life if your diabetes is controlled. How did I get type 2 diabetes? Insulin (IN-sul-in) is a hormone (a special body chemical) made by your pancreas (PAN-kree-us). The pancreas is an organ that lies behind the stomach. Much of the food you eat is turned into sugar in your stomach. This sugar goes into your blood and travels to the cells of your body to be used for energy. Insulin acts as a "key" to help sugar enter the cells. If there is not enough insulin or if it is not working right, sugar will build up in your blood. With type 2 diabetes, you may have better control of your diabetes with the right diet and exercise. You may also need to take oral medicine (pills) to help your body make more insulin or to use insulin better. You may also need insulin shots. No one knows for sure what causes type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes runs in families. You are more likely to get it if someone else in your family has type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to get type 2 diabetes if you are overweight. Being overweight makes it harder for your body to use the insulin it makes. This is called insulin resistance. In insulin resistance, y Continue reading >>

Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes? Don’t Exercise Till You Read This!

Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes? Don’t Exercise Till You Read This!

Small losses, big gains "Because most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight, meal planning and physical activity usually focus on gradual weight loss, something on the order of two to three pounds per month, " says Paris Roach, MD, an endocrinologist with Indiana University Health and the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "Exercise is beneficial to metabolism independent of weight loss in that it lowers glucose levels and improves insulin resistance," says Dr. Roach. Just a five to ten percent reduction from your starting weight can have significant effects on blood glucose levels. That's good news if you haven't broken a sweat in a while. In addition, you'll also gain muscle strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, balance, stamina, mood and overall good feeling. This workout normalizes blood sugar for type 2 diabetics. Keep an eye on blood sugar Exercise will not only help control blood sugar levels but also help you shed weight and keep your heart healthy. It's important you keep an eye on your blood sugar because any physical activity makes you more sensitive to insulin. "When you exercise, your body becomes more efficient at using insulin and this can lower blood sugar, both during exercise and up to 24 hours after," says Mark Heyman, clinical psychologist, certified diabetes educator, and vice-president of Clinical Operations and Innovation at One Drop, a mobile app that educates and coaches diabetics. Because blood sugar can drop dangerously low, check it before you exercise and again if you feel light-headed or weak during exercise, he says. "If your blood sugar is low (below 70mg/dl), eat 15 grams of simple carbohydrates, such as orange juice, glucose tablets or candy," says Dr. H Continue reading >>

Caring For Diabetes-related Nerve Disorders (neuropathy)

Caring For Diabetes-related Nerve Disorders (neuropathy)

What is diabetic neuropathy? Some diseases consume the body like wildfire. Others are more like a slow burn. Diabetes is a malady that takes its time. If not controlled, diabetes slowly eats away at the body's cells, especially nerve cells. Doctors call the gradual breakdown of nerve cells "neuropathy." At first, nobody misses a few dead cells here and there. But after a decade or two, the damage can be impossible to ignore. Many patients suffer numbness or the opposite, extreme pain. As a result of decreased sensation, many people with diabetes may not be aware when they've broken the skin or suffered a cut or scrape on one of their feet. Bacteria can then set up housekeeping -- an invasion aided by impaired circulation and small vessel disease caused by diabetes. In some cases, these unnoticed infections can lead to raging infections and loss of the limb. Despite many recent advances in diabetes treatment, neuropathy remains frighteningly common. About 60 to 70 percent of people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes will eventually develop nerve damage, though not all of them will have symptoms. But if you have diabetes, remember this: the key to avoiding nerve damage is prevention. By carefully controlling your blood sugar, you can help keep your nerve cells out of harm's way. What causes diabetic neuropathy? When people with diabetes experience pain, tingling, numbness or other sensory symptoms, typically in the feet, high blood sugar seems to be the real culprit. In general, nerve cells only start dying when blood sugar stays too high over a long period of time. Nobody knows why extra sugar is so toxic. Perhaps it upsets the chemical balance in the nerves. Or perhaps the sugar slows down blood circulation and cuts off the oxygen supply to the nervous system. Expert Continue reading >>

Heart Disease And Stroke With Diabetes

Heart Disease And Stroke With Diabetes

Heart and blood vessel damage can affect anyone, but these problems occur more often in people with diabetes and can develop at an earlier age. If your family has a history of high blood pressure, stroke, or heart disease, you might carry some of the same genes that can lead to these problems. If you also have diabetes, the likelihood of blood vessel damage is even greater. No one knows exactly why people with diabetes are more likely to have these problems, but some possible reasons are: Blood-fat levels tend to be high when blood sugar levels are high. High levels of certain blood fats (especially cholesterol, LDL or bad cholesterol, and triglycerides) increase the risk of blood vessel damage and heart attack. High blood pressure, which is more common in people with diabetes than in other people, also increases the chances for heart disease and stroke. How Damage Happens Arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body, are like flexible, elastic tubes. Inside the artery walls are slippery to let blood pass through quickly. When fat begins to build up on the artery walls, it makes the artery thick and less flexible. The lining of the artery wall becomes sticky instead of slippery, causing more fat to build up. The fat build-up clogs and blocks the artery. When the artery is blocked, the parts of the body beyond the blockage can't get the oxygen and nutrients they need. This causes damage that can lead to serious health problems including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and poor blood flow to the arms, legs, and head. Preventing Heart Disease You can't change the fact that you have diabetes or a family history of high blood pressure, stroke, or heart disease. But there are many things you can do to lower yo Continue reading >>

Diabetes Insipidus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Diabetes Insipidus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Diabetes insipidus is a condition where the body loses too much fluid through urination, causing a significant risk of dangerous dehydration as well as a range of illnesses and conditions. There are two forms of the disease: nephrogenic diabetes insipidus and central diabetes insipidus (also known as neurogenic diabetes insipidus). A number of factors have been linked to the development of diabetes insipidus, which may also occur in pregnancy or with the use of certain medications. Establishing the cause of the problem can help determine the most appropriate treatment to support the regulation of water balance in the body. Diabetes insipidus is a condition that can be managed successfully. Contents of this article: What is diabetes insipidus? An uncommon condition, diabetes insipidus is a disorder affecting the regulation of body fluid levels. Two key symptoms resemble those of the more common forms of diabetes that affect blood sugar levels (diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2).1-5 People with diabetes insipidus produce excessive amounts of urine (polyuria), resulting in frequent urination and, in turn, thirst (polydipsia). However, the underlying cause of these two symptoms is quite different from the causes in types 1 and 2 diabetes. In diabetes mellitus, elevated blood sugar prompts the production of large volumes of urine to help remove the excess sugar from the body. In diabetes insipidus, it is the body's water balance system itself that is not working properly. Here are some key points about diabetes insipidus. More detail and supporting information is in the body of this article. Diabetes insipidus is a condition where the body fails to properly control water balance, resulting in excessive urination. Diabetes insipidus can be caused by low or absent secretion of t Continue reading >>

Diabetic Neuropathy: What To Know From Head To Toe

Diabetic Neuropathy: What To Know From Head To Toe

Diabetic Neuropathy: What to Know from Head to Toe From head to toe, every part of the human body contains nerves. Nerves send signals throughout the body telling us when and how to react to triggers such as temperature, sound, and pain. They also stimulate muscle cells that allow us to move and keep our hearts beating. Despite the saying, nobody has nerves made of steel -- nerves can be damaged. Neuropathy is the technical term for nerve disease. When nerve disease is caused by high blood glucose, it's called diabetic neuropathy. Risk Factors Diabetic neuropathy can affect anyone with diabetes, but it is more common in people with these risk factors: poorly controlled blood glucose It's estimated that 60 - 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy, making it one of the most common complications of diabetes. Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy differ depending on where nerve damage is occurring in the body. From your head to your feet, here's what to look for. The Head What to look for: Vision changes such as double vision, aching behind one eye, inability to focus, problems adjusting to changes in light. Paralysis of one side of the face (called Bell's palsy) or facial drooping Hearing problems including ringing or buzzing in the ear The Torso While diabetic neuropathy is most common in the limbs of the body, it can also affect the trunk. Nerves control movement of food into the intestinal tract, bladder function, and even sexual function, says Richard Hellman, M.D., former president of the board of directors for the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). What to look for: unawareness of low blood glucose The Arms What to look for: The Legs What to look for: The Feet "The longest nerve seems to be mo Continue reading >>

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