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Managing Diabetes

Managing Diabetes

Managing Diabetes

You can manage your diabetes and live a long and healthy life by taking care of yourself each day.
Diabetes can affect almost every part of your body. Therefore, you will need to manage your blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar. Managing your blood glucose, as well as your blood pressure and cholesterol, can help prevent the health problems that can occur when you have diabetes.
How can I manage my diabetes?
With the help of your health care team, you can create a diabetes self-care plan to manage your diabetes. Your self-care plan may include these steps:
Ways to manage your diabetes
Manage your diabetes ABCs
Knowing your diabetes ABCs will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Stopping smoking if you smoke will also help you manage your diabetes. Working toward your ABC goals can help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems.
A for the A1C test
The A1C test shows your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7 percent. Ask your health care team what your goal should be.
B for Blood pressure
The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90 mm Hg. Ask what your goal should be.
C for Cholesterol
You have two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL. LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. Too much bad cholesterol can cause a heart attack or stroke. HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels.
Ask your health care team what your c Continue reading

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Improving Blood Flow to the Feet

Improving Blood Flow to the Feet

The Power of Relaxation and Biofeedback
Many people with diabetes experience discomfort in their legs and feet, with symptoms such as cramping, numbness, tingling, and pain. The culprits may be poor circulation, nerve damage, or both, and the underlying causes are referred to as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and peripheral neuropathy. While both appear to be triggered by high blood glucose levels and some of their symptoms overlap, they are two distinct conditions.
In the most common form of PAD, arteries in the legs (and sometimes arms) narrow and harden as a result of fatty plaque deposits, leading to decreased blood flow in the legs and feet. This disorder affects 8–12 million Americans and is far more common in people with diabetes than in the rest of the population: About one-third of people with diabetes over the age of 50 have PAD, although many of them are undiagnosed. Symptoms of PAD include intermittent claudication (cramping leg pain that develops while walking and stops with rest); numbness, coldness, or tingling of the legs and feet; and slow healing of cuts and sores on the affected extremities.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes in which nerves in the feet and legs (and sometimes hands and arms) are damaged, resulting in pain and/or loss of sensation. While the exact mechanism by which neuropathy develops is not known, the condition usually develops after years of exposure to high blood glucose levels. Weakened nerve fibers may give off false sensations in the extremities, often experienced as pain or burning; cramps and Continue reading

Diabetes and erectile dysfunction: What is the connection?

Diabetes and erectile dysfunction: What is the connection?

Erectile dysfunction, also called impotence, is not being able to get and maintain an erection for long enough to have sexual intercourse.
There are many causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) which can be physical, psychological, or both. One of the most common causes of ED is diabetes.
Studies suggest that 35-75 percent of men with diabetes will go on to develop ED. They will also tend to develop ED some 10-15 years earlier than men without diabetes.
Why can diabetes cause erectile dysfunction?
Diabetes can cause ED because it can damage the blood supply to the penis and the nerves that control an erection.
When a man becomes sexually aroused, a chemical called nitric oxide is released into his bloodstream. This nitric oxide tells the arteries and the muscles in the penis to relax, which allows more blood to flow into the penis. This gives the man an erection.
Men with diabetes struggle with blood sugar level swings, especially if their condition isn't managed poorly.
When their blood sugar levels get too high, less nitric oxide is produced. This can mean that there is not enough blood flowing into the penis to get or keep an erection. Low levels of nitric oxide are often found in those with diabetes.
Other causes of erectile dysfunction
Listed below are some other reasons for ED:
nervous system problems including damage to spinal cord or brain
smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and using some illegal drugs
some medications such as those taken for high blood pressure and depression
Pelvic injury or surgery on the prostate, bowel or bladder may cause damage to nerves connect Continue reading

Adults Can Get Type 1 Diabetes, Too

Adults Can Get Type 1 Diabetes, Too

David Lazarus had just moved to Los Angeles to start a new job as a business and consumer columnist for the Los Angeles Times when he suddenly developed some of the classic signs of diabetes: extreme thirst, fatigue and weight loss. He dropped close to 15 pounds in two weeks.
Lazarus was in his early 40s. "The weight loss was the first big red flag. It happened really fast," he says. He consulted a physician, who diagnosed him with Type 2 diabetes and recommended a "monastic" low-carb, macrobiotic diet.
When he continued to feel lousy a few days later, Lazarus spoke with another physician. That doctor suggested that Lazarus might have Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition in which the insulin-making cells in the pancreas are attacked and destroyed. But that physician didn't take insurance.
Finally Lazarus made his way to the diabetes center at the University of California, Los Angeles. There, an endocrinologist diagnosed him with Type 1 diabetes and immediately put him on the correct treatment, insulin.
Without insulin injections or infusion via a pump, people with Type 1 diabetes typically fall into a coma and die within days to weeks, although sometimes adults may have a small amount of reserve insulin that keeps them going longer. Still, eventually all people with Type 1 diabetes must receive insulin.
Lazarus' story is not uncommon. It has long been thought that Type 1 diabetes arises primarily in childhood or adolescence and only rarely in adulthood. In fact, Type 1 diabetes was formerly called "juvenile" diabetes, and that term is still widely used, even though the Continue reading

“Sugar Does Not Cause Diabetes”: Did the Film What the Health Get it Right?

“Sugar Does Not Cause Diabetes”: Did the Film What the Health Get it Right?

The documentary What the Health is receiving a huge amount of attention and most of it is positive. Many reports of people attempting to eat better are filling social media. I discussed the film on a local TV station in Detroit after two reporters indicated that the movie had made a big impact on their diets. There have even been reports that restaurants serving healthier fare have seen an uptick in customers attributing the change to the film. I have seen this in my own plant-based restaurant and have a What The Health Happy Hour that has been very popular.
Naturally, there have been critics of the movie defending their viewpoint that meat based diets are healthy, but most have rallied around a statement in the film by Neal Barnard, MD that “sugar does not cause diabetes”. As the answer to this question may be important to you, I have done some research and share it here but this is in NO way an endorsement to add back soda and candy bars to your diet. In a world stressed by growing obesity and its medical consequences, limiting sugar is a universal recommendation from all health experts.
1) Type 1 diabetes is not caused by sugar. All agree on this as type 1 diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease leading to destruction of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. However, patients with type 1 diabetes can develop and reverse insulin resistance (IR) in their muscles and liver so understanding the origin of IR is important.
2) Who is Neal Barnard, MD? Dr. Barnard is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Medicine and an adjunct associate profes Continue reading

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