Alexa, Tell Me About My Blood Glucose: Health Tech Startup Wellpepper Wins Alexa Diabetes Challenge

Alexa, tell me about my blood glucose: Health tech startup Wellpepper wins Alexa Diabetes Challenge

Alexa, tell me about my blood glucose: Health tech startup Wellpepper wins Alexa Diabetes Challenge

The Sugarpod, winner of the Alexa Diabetes Challenge. The device is a scale and foot scanner that connects to an app and Alexa skill. (Wellpepper Photo)
Type 2 Diabetes has become a health crisis in the U.S. The rate of type 2 diabetes has nearly doubled in the last twenty years and the disease is now among the top ten causes of death.
Sadly, the problem is only going to get worse: The CDC has projected that the rate of type 2 diabetes could triple by 2050 .
The Alexa Diabetes Challenge is hoping to ease that crisis. The program launched in April, and challenged health technology companies to put Amazons Alexa voice assistant to work in helping those with newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
Voice is a natural interface in healthcare, both in the clinic and in the home.
Monday, the challenges organizersannounced the winner of the $125,000 grand prize: Seattle-based health software startup Wellpepper , which entered its first-ever device in the competition.
The competition was a collaboration between pharmaceutical giant Merck , strategy consultant Luminary Labs and Amazon Web Services (AWS) , the tech giants cloud service. The 98 competitors received mentoring, cash prizes and AWS credits as they moved through the challenges stages. Wellpepper was one of five finalists.
Known as Sugarpod , the winning device is a connected weight scale and foot scanner that integrates with the Sugarpod app and Alexa skill.
Wellpepper CEO Anne Weiler. (Wellpepper CEO)
We knew that voice would be a great interface for interactive care plans but wanted to take it further with an IoT dev Continue reading

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Preventing type 2 diabetes requires transformation of our environments

Preventing type 2 diabetes requires transformation of our environments

Across the world, type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. I am currently in Bermuda, which like many small islands, has a particularly high rate of diabetes. Just a short time here is enough to highlight how the environment is promoting the rise in type 2 diabetes.
While there have been some small steps to transform the diabetogenic environment, much more needs to be done to transform the food and physical environments in which we live in order to improve the health of the public.
How big is the problem?
The most recent edition of the International Diabetes Federation’s IDF Atlas estimated there were 415 million adults living with diabetes in 2015, an increase from 151 million in 2000. The great majority of that increase is due to the inexorable rise in cases of type 2 diabetes. This increase is occurring in just about every country in the world – diabetes is no longer a problem of rich societies. In fact, one of the most startling facts is how type 2 diabetes is increasing so rampantly in sub-Saharan Africa, an area that is predicted to see the largest increase in diabetes by 2040 of any global region.
Another sobering lesson is that the traditional explanation for the rise in type 2 diabetes in low-income countries is due to ‘urbanisation’; yet the most recent data suggest that the gap between urban and rural areas is narrowing, that the so-called diabetogenic environment is spreading out from the cities. The IDF Atlas also reveals the ‘island phenomenon’, with some of the highest prevalence rates being found in small islands, most notably in some o Continue reading

11 Exercise Tips for People With Type 2 Diabetes

11 Exercise Tips for People With Type 2 Diabetes

11 Exercise Tips for People With Type 2 Diabetes
By Jenna Autuori Dedic UpdatedDecember 6, 2017
Jenna is a freelance writer, specializing in fitness and health topics, but loves essay writing and covering pop culture, travel and parenting stories. Jenna was previously the fitness editor at Fitness magazine. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and their toddler daughter, Evie.
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. And now that you have diabetes it's even more so. "Exercise will burn up some of the excessive sugar floating in your bloodstream to fuel your muscles during workouts. It's basically a straightforward and natural way to reduce your blood sugar," says Dr. Michele Olson, an exercise physiologist and adjunct professor of sport science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. Fortunately, you don't have to run a marathon or swim a mile to reap the benefits of working out. A little change will go a long way in preventing the long-term complications associated with diabetes. Get started with these 11 tips:
Ready, set, get fit! (Image: @jsdaniel via Twenty20)
1. Do a blood sugar check. You need to think about your blood sugar levels both before and after exercising. If your blood sugar is low prior to working out, then snack on 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates (like an apple, orange, slice of bread or granola bar) and wait 15 minutes before re-checking. If it's within your target pre-exercise range, then hit the gym; if not, continue to follow the 15/15 rule Continue reading

Should People with Diabetes Soak Their Feet in Epsom Salt?

Should People with Diabetes Soak Their Feet in Epsom Salt?

People with diabetes need to be aware that a potential complication is foot damage. Often this is caused by nerve damage and poor circulation. Over time both conditions might be caused by high blood glucose levels.
In order to lower the risk of foot damage, you need to take good care of your feet. Some prefer to soak their feet in Epsom salt. But people with diabetes should not do this. Soaking the feet if you have diabetes might raise the risk of foot issues.
Before you decide to soak the feet in Epsom salts, make sure to consult your doctor.
What is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt scientifically is known as magnesium sulfate. It is actually a mineral compound which comes with different uses. Epsom salt is a common home remedy for different problems and has beauty and health benefits.
Why People Use Epsom Salt
Boosts the levels of sulfate and magnesium in the body
Soothes pain and muscle aches
Removes splinters
Provides relief from itches caused by poison ivy and sunburn
Decreases swelling
Foot Complications and Diabetes
In order to understand why individuals with diabetes should not soak their feet in Epsom salt, it is vital to understand how the condition itself might affect the feet.
High blood glucose levels can lead to damage to the nerves in the body. This is known as neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is actually the most common type of neuropathy for individuals with diabetes. It is a damage of the nerves which serve the arms and legs.
As a consequence, individuals with diabetes might lose feeling in their feet. As a matter of fact, it is common for individuals with diabetes Continue reading

8 Things You Didn't Know About Gestational Diabetes

8 Things You Didn't Know About Gestational Diabetes

8 Things You Didn't Know About Gestational Diabetes
8 Things You Didn't Know About Gestational Diabetes
You probably know the basics about diabetes that develops during pregnancy, but you might be surprised by some of the details surrounding GDM.
8 Things You Didn't Know About Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy can be tough, and when you add gestational diabetes into the mix, things can get a lot harder not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to regulate glucose (sugar) in the blood. In the case of GDM (gestational diabetes mellitus), a woman who has never had diabetes before experiences high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. The cause of GDM is unknown, but risk factors include a family history of diabetes, a history of birthing babies over 9 pounds, obesity prior to pregnancy, high blood pressure, and a history of unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth. African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women are also more likely to develop GDM.
If its not well controlled, the condition can be dangerous for the mom-to-be and also for her baby, as excess glucose can cross the placenta and cause complications such as premature birth and stillbirth.
So while a pregnant woman diagnosed with GDM is already worrying about the effects it might have on her and her baby, she might also worry about what people will think and how to handle the diagnosis. If you know someone with GDM, the best thing you can do is educate yourself about the disea Continue reading

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