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History Of Diabetes: Past Treatments And New Discoveries

History of diabetes: Past treatments and new discoveries

History of diabetes: Past treatments and new discoveries

Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. It affects millions of people around the world. Research into diabetes is ongoing but diabetes is simple to manage for most people.
Since diabetes was first discovered, there have been huge improvements in the way it is treated. This article looks at the history of diabetes and how these treatments developed.
Contents of this article:
Diabetes affects blood sugar levels
The body gets energy from sugar (glucose), which is broken down from the food people eat. Diabetes affects insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps in the process of using this sugar efficiently.
People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin. People who have type 2 diabetes do produce insulin, but their body is unable to use it efficiently.
When a person has diabetes, the lack of insulin or the body's inability to use it properly, causes sugar to stay in the blood rather than entering the cells to be used for energy. This excess sugar in the blood results in higher than normal blood sugar levels.
Having high blood sugar levels for an extended period can cause serious and even life-threatening problems. However, there are many ways the condition can be managed so that these problems are avoided.
Early science around diabetes
Understanding the history of diabetes and how it was first treated can help us to appreciate how well it is understood and managed today.
Discovery of diabetes
The full name for diabetes is diabetes mellitus. This term comes from the Greek word "diabetes" (to siphon or pass through) and the Lat Continue reading

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Intermittent Fasting: Not So Fast

Intermittent Fasting: Not So Fast

I’m sure that at least a few of you have heard or read about the latest trend in weight loss called “intermittent fasting.” The very word “fasting” is probably less than appealing, as it pretty much means you don’t eat or drink anything (except perhaps water) for a specified amount of time. Starvation is not exactly recommended among health professionals. But intermittent fasting is different. Is it something you should try?
What is intermittent fasting, anyway?
Intermittent fasting has been the talk of the town, so to speak, thanks to two recent books to hit the market: The Fast Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, and The Overnight Diet by Caroline Apovian, MD. Intermittent fasting essentially means that you skip a meal or severely restrict calories on certain days of the week with the intention of losing weight, controlling blood glucose, and/or decreasing heart disease risk. But on the other days of the week, you can pretty much eat what you want (within reason, of course). For many people, this concept sounds appealing. Limiting calories for a couple days a week doesn’t sound that bad if you can eat what you want the rest of the time.
The Fast Diet, also called the The 5:2 Diet has you eat between 500 and 600 calories (women get 500 calories, men get 600 calories) for two days out of the week, spread over two meals of about 250 to 300 calories. These fast days should not be right in a row, and your food choices ideally should be more plant-based and emphasize protein. The premise is that after several hours of fasting, the body burns up its carboh Continue reading

Diabetes and Your Feet

Diabetes and Your Feet

If you have diabetes, here’s a way to keep standing on your own two feet: check them every day—even if they feel fine—and see your doctor if you have a cut or blister that won’t heal.
There’s a lot to manage if you have diabetes: checking your blood sugar, making healthy food, finding time to be active, taking medicines, going to doctor’s appointments. With all that, your feet might be the last thing on your mind. But daily care is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications.
Between 60% and 70% of people with diabetes have diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). You can have nerve damage in any part of your body, but nerves in your feet and legs are most often affected. Nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet.
Feeling No Pain
Some people with nerve damage have numbness, tingling, or pain, but others have no symptoms. Nerve damage can also lower your ability to feel pain, heat, or cold.
Living without pain sounds pretty good, but it comes at a high cost. Pain is the body’s way of telling you something’s wrong so you can take care of yourself. If you don’t feel pain in your feet, you may not notice a cut, blister, sore, or other problem. Small problems can become serious if they aren’t treated early.
Risk Factors
Anyone with diabetes can develop nerve damage, but these factors increase your risk:
Nerve damage, along with poor circulation—another diabetes complication—puts you at risk for developing a foot ulcer (a sore or wound) that could get infected and not heal well. If an infection doesn’t get better with treatment, your toe, Continue reading

Diabetes Can Be (and Cause) a Real Headache

Diabetes Can Be (and Cause) a Real Headache

Diabetes can seem to have an almost limitless list of symptoms. Now headaches are added to the list.
The ebb and flow of blood sugar levels can result in headaches whether sugar is high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia.) The mechanisms are different, but the pain is the same.
Types of Headaches
Headaches are the most common cause of pain experienced by otherwise healthy people, according to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Diabetics have also been found to have more frequent headaches than the general population.
Classification Of The Headaches
Generally, headaches are classified as primary or secondary.
A primary headache occurs when neurotransmitters in the brain send signals to certain groups of nerves. Migraine and stress headaches are examples of this type.
Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are the result of some disease or disorder within the body that causes disruption to the nervous system. Diabetes is one of these diseases.
Doctors have not determined the exact process for every different type of headache but they have a pretty good idea of what causes most of them.
Hypoglycemic Headache
Your brain runs on glucose, using as much as 25 percent of the glucose circulating in the body. The brain can sense when there is an inadequate supply. Despite sending off a lot of commands to different parts of the body – to the liver for increased glycogen production, the pancreas for insulin production, and so forth - blood vessels in the brain constrict, or spasm. This spasming can be very painful. Brain cells starved for glucose can als Continue reading

Do Potatoes Cause Diabetes?

Do Potatoes Cause Diabetes?

Are potatoes dangerous? Do potatoes cause diabetes?
You might think so if you followed the headlines. In 2006, the media was full of reports making these claims, some of which are still being made today. All of this attention was based on the results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.1
The prospective study followed 84,555 women in the famed Nurses’ Health Study. At the start, the women, aged 34–59 years, had no history of chronic disease, and completed a validated food frequency questionnaire. These women were then followed for 20 years with repeated assessments of their diet. The study concluded, “Our findings suggest a modest positive association between the consumption of potatoes and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. This association was more pronounced when potatoes were substituted for whole grains.”
So, let’s take a closer look at the study and see how accurate these claims are, and where the truth really lies. Specifically, we will look at five key points.
Are all potatoes equal? Or “When is a potato not a potato?”
In the study, participants were asked how often, on average, in the previous year, they had consumed potatoes. The options they were given to choose from were either:
a) One baked or one cup mashed potato
b) 4 ounces of french-fried potatoes
These were the only two choices the subjects could pick from. So, while these may represent how potatoes are often consumed here in America, they do not account for any differences in how the potatoes were prepared and served. And mashed potatoes were counted in with Continue reading

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