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On A Sugar High? Diabetes Rates Are On The Rise For African Americans

On a Sugar High? Diabetes Rates Are on the Rise for African Americans

On a Sugar High? Diabetes Rates Are on the Rise for African Americans

So often I hear from patients that they are tired of getting the same prescriptions to ward off any number of chronic conditions affecting Americans today. While it may sound like a broken record, don’t tune it out. Yes, a good diet, ample exercise and shedding those extra pounds will reduce your risk for developing heart disease and high blood pressure, but did you know these healthy living strategies can all but prevent diabetes?
Most people don’t, and that helps to explain why the prevalence of diabetes is on the rise. Nearly 30 million people are living with diabetes today, and African Americans are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed than whites. Alarmingly, the problem is even bigger than that statistic would have you think. Once diagnosed, African Americans are far more likely to suffer the most severe complications from diabetes, making the disease that much more devastating.
Untreated, diabetes patients are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and they have a higher risk for developing kidney disease, high blood pressure, eye trouble and nerve damage. Still, African Americans with diabetes fare much worse than the rest of the population. We are far more likely to suffer blindness and amputations, for example, and more than two and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with end-stage renal disease.
Why the discrepancy? As it turns out, there are many factors. Here’s a look at what’s happening behind the scenes, and what you can do to avert this largely preventable disease.
Awareness gaps. This is true for all racial groups, but African Am Continue reading

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Sensitive Feet and Diabetes: Why My Feet Hurt?

Sensitive Feet and Diabetes: Why My Feet Hurt?

What is nerve damage from diabetes?
Diabetic neuropathies are nerve damage caused by diabetes. Neuropathy is one of the most common long term complications of diabetes. It can occur anywhere in the body, and in any organ.
Symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and loss of protective sensation can be found in the hands, arms, fingers, feet, legs, toes, and lips. You may also have symptoms of nerve damage in the digestive system (gastroparesis), in the heart, or in sexual organs (erectile dysfunction, or vaginal dryness).
In this article, we will be mainly looking at peripheral neuropathy in the feet, also commonly known as sensitive feet.
What are sensitive feet?
Patients complain about numbness and tingling in their feet and toes, or elsewhere, with a frequency that is more often than in similar reports of other diabetes complications they experience. It’s no wonder these patients with diabetes have complaints of neuropathy symptoms.
Other than the tingling sensation or the numbness usually associated with neuropathy, those who have it complain about how much it hurts to put their socks and shoes on. The skin is sensitive to touch, to a point where one can’t even brush up against anything.
It is likened to an over-sensitivity and mild pain that is uncomfortable. If it goes on day in and day out, it can be frustrating. Sometimes, a person with diabetes may also get other related foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis. This condition affects the heel of the foot, and can be extremely painful. You will find it too sore to walk with plantar fasciitis. Even without heel prob Continue reading

New diabetes treatment could eliminate need for insulin injections

New diabetes treatment could eliminate need for insulin injections

A cell-based diabetes treatment has been developed by scientists who say it could eliminate the need for those with the condition to inject insulin.
The therapy involves a capsule of genetically engineered cells implanted under the skin that automatically release insulin as required. Diabetic mice that were treated with the cells were found to have normal blood sugar levels for several weeks.
Scientists said they hope to obtain a clinical trial licence to test the technology in patients within two years. If successful, the treatment would be relevant for all type 1 diabetes patients, as well as those cases of type 2 diabetes that require insulin injections.
Martin Fussenegger, who led the research at the ETH university in Basel, said: “By 2040, every tenth human on the planet will suffer from some kind of diabetes, that’s dramatic. We should be able to do a lot better than people measuring their glucose.”
Fussenegger said that, if confirmed as safe and effective in humans, diabetes patients could be given an implant that would need to be replaced three times a year rather than injections, which do not perfectly control blood sugar levels, leading to long-term complications including eye, nerve and heart damage.
In Britain, about 400,000 people have type 1 diabetes and three million have type 2 diabetes, about 10% of whom need to inject insulin to control the condition.
Type 1 diabetes normally begins in childhood and is an autoimmune disease in which the body kills off all its pancreatic beta cells. The cells respond to the body’s fluctuating glucose levels by relea Continue reading

5 Things You Need to Know About Insulin-Dependent Diabetes & Illness

5 Things You Need to Know About Insulin-Dependent Diabetes & Illness

Vigilance is the watchword for caregivers of people with insulin-dependent diabetes. What do you need to know when illness strikes?
The body requires more energy when it is sick. That energy fuels the immune system’s fight against infection. People who are sick are often not interested in eating. With type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes and illness, there is a risk of not maintaining enough glucose in the blood for this to occur. This decrease in food intake can lower blood sugar and increase the risk of fat burning. Fat burning leads to ketone production and ketoacidosis–a serious, life-threatening condition.
When your loved one with insulin-dependent diabetes is sick, its important to take blood sugar readings more frequently. You should also monitor ketones. Ketones are the byproduct of fat burning: when the body goes into “starvation” mode cells begin to burn fat. In time, the tissues of the body and the blood stream become acidic. According to Mayo clinic, untreated diabetic ketoacidosis can be fatal. Remember, diabetic ketoacidosis can occur in a person with normal blood sugar readings. Monitor ketones every 6 to 8 hours using home blood and urine testing kits.
Offer your loved one lots of fluids with simple, easy to digest carbohydrates in them. It’s important to drink lots of fluids when sick with stomach illness and respiratory illness. For stomach illness, fluids are lost through vomiting and diarrhea. Increasing fluids during respiratory illness thins mucus. Ginger ale, apple or pear juices are all good choices. Avoid milk and caffeine. Warm b Continue reading

Diabetes and Feminine Health: What Women Need to Know

Diabetes and Feminine Health: What Women Need to Know

Anyone who has experienced a yeast infection knows how unpleasant the condition can be. Abnormal vaginal discharge, itching and burning, painful intercourse and urination, and redness and swelling — any of these common symptoms can put a dent in a woman’s sex life or simply impact her daily comfort level. For women with type 2 diabetes, combating this issue and maintaining feminine health overall can be of particular concern, especially if their blood sugar is poorly controlled.
A Greater Risk of Yeast Infections
“Control of blood sugars is important for the whole body,” says Mache Seibel, MD, a gynecologist and obstetrician at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “But an area that isn’t much talked about is how elevated blood sugars seep into vaginal tissues and set up an environment that’s more favorable for yeast infections.”
Vaginal tissue contains a balance of microorganisms, like yeast and bacteria, Dr. Seibel explains, but excess sugar in the blood can fuel the growth of yeast, potentially leading to an infection.
“Think about baking bread and how yeast thrives much better when you add sugar,” says Susan Renda, CDE, doctor of nursing practice and assistant professor in the department of community–public health at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore. “I tell patients, ‘You have a nice little balance in your body, but when you throw a cake and cookie party, all the yeast comes to the party and just starts to go nuts.’”
Frequent urination, which can occur when glucose levels are high and the body works to rid itself of exce Continue reading

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