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'You Can Still Do What You Want To': Theresa May On How Diabetes Has Changed Her Life

'You can still do what you want to': Theresa May on how diabetes has changed her life

'You can still do what you want to': Theresa May on how diabetes has changed her life

When she came down with a heavy cold in November 2012, former Home Secretary and Prime Minister Theresa May’s first thought was that she should get it checked out by her GP.
Her husband had just had a similar cold that had developed into bronchitis, so it made sense for her to get it looked at before the same thing happened to her. But she had no idea that this was a visit to the GP that would change her life forever.
While she was there, she mentioned to her GP that she had recently lost a lot of weight, though she hadn’t thought much about it and had put it down to 'dashing about' in her role as Home Secretary. But the GP decided to do a blood test anyway. Suddenly, she was being told that she had diabetes.
The news came as a shock, though looking back she realises she had some of the classic symptoms. As well as the weight loss, she was drinking more water than usual and making more frequent trips to the bathroom. But, it wasn’t something she thought about much at the time.
“That summer was the Olympics, so life was in a different order,” she says. “There was a lot more going on, so I didn’t really notice.”
She was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, but, when the medication didn’t work she went for further tests and, eventually, the news came back that she had Type 1.
The more people can see that people with diabetes can lead a normal life doing the sort of things that other people do, the easier it is for those who are diagnosed with it to deal with it
“My very first reaction was that it’s impossible because at my age you don’t get it,” she says, Continue reading

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Pasta: To Eat, or Not to Eat?

Pasta: To Eat, or Not to Eat?

One of my favorite foods is pasta. I think I could eat pasta every day and never tire of it. And when I’ve had a rough day, nothing comforts me as much as a plate of pasta with butter (or trans-fat-free margarine), Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.
Yet pasta is much maligned in the diabetes world. I’ve noticed that people who have diabetes become very passionate when discussing this food. There’s the camp that is indignant at the idea that pasta even exists — it spikes up blood glucose, causes weight gain, and may just be responsible for global warming (OK, that’s an exaggeration). There’s another camp who still eats pasta, but feels horribly guilty for doing so, and will swear with their right hand in the air that, “I really only ate a half a cup” (and 99% of the time, it’s just not the case).
I don’t mean to trivialize the subject. Pasta can be tricky to fit into one’s diabetes eating plan. But not because it sends blood glucose levels to the moon. My belief (and you’re welcome to disagree with me) is that most of us struggle with portion control. It’s been engrained in us that pasta is a main dish: that it should be piled high on the plate and smothered in red sauce, with a crusty, buttery slice of garlic bread resting on the side. This is where the problems come in. Here’s what I mean. Take a look at the calories and carbs in the pasta meal that I just mentioned:
3 cups of pasta: 135 grams of carbohydrate, 663 calories
1 cup of sauce: 30 grams of carbohydrate, 185 calories
1 slice of garlic bread: 24 grams of carbohydrate, 170 Continue reading

What to Know About Long-Term Diabetes Complications

What to Know About Long-Term Diabetes Complications

Living with diabetes brings many daily challenges and frustrations. You have to watch your blood glucose levels, pay close attention to what and when you eat, and take medications, including insulin. Added to that burden is the realization that if you don’t, your health could be seriously compromised in years to come.
Poorly controlled diabetes can lead over time to a number of complications. Some — like heart disease, stroke and kidney disease — can be life-threatening.
“The biggest one is cardiovascular disease,” said Arch Mainous III, a diabetes researcher and chair of the department of health services research, management and policy at the University of Florida’s College of Public Health and Health Professions.
Unfortunately, some damage may even occur before an individual is diagnosed with diabetes.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of people with diabetes; those with diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
“The problem is diabetes takes a long time to develop, and by the time somebody becomes symptomatic, they’re kind of down the road on some of these target complications,” Mainous said.
Prediabetes Is a Growing Threat
Because diabetes may hide in the body for years, millions at risk for the disease are not aware of it, Mainous said. In fact, a huge proportion of the American population — 39 percent, or 86 million adults — have prediabetes. And about 90 percent of those cases are undiagnosed, Mainous said.
“So there’s a whole lot more people at risk for developing diabetes, [but] if you identify these peop Continue reading

Medical World News®: Diabetes Data

Medical World News®: Diabetes Data

The CDC reports that more than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and an analysis of new Gallup-Sharecare data on diabetes by occupation.
CDC Report: US Diabetes Population Tops 30 Million
More than 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and 100 million are living with diabetes or prediabetes, the CDC says in a new report that shows how this growing health emergency hits hardest those least able to manage the disease or its effects. At current trends, 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by 2050.1
Type 2 diabetes (T2D), in particular, is most common among the poor, minorities, those with less education, and those living in the South and Appalachia, including several states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.2 CDC updates diabetes data approximately every 2 years. The report released on July 18, 2017, includes data as of 2015 and shows that 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes, including T2D and type 1 diabetes (T1D).
The good news is that the rate of increase seems to be slowing, Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, stated. “Diabetes is a contributing factor to so many other serious health conditions,” said Albright, who has made it a priority to find people with prediabetes, a condition that leads to T2D if left untreated.3
The CDC report predicts there are 84.1 million prediabetic individuals, which is about 2 million less than previous estimates.4 Working with the American Medical Association, Albright has made prediabetes the focus of a massive publi Continue reading

No More Finger Pricks for Some With Diabetes

No More Finger Pricks for Some With Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, chances are you prick your finger once a day or so to check your blood sugar.
But a growing body of evidence shows that for most type 2 diabetes patients, routinely tracking your blood sugar, or glucose, doesn’t make any difference for your health.
The exception is patients taking insulin or a sulfonylurea drug such as glipizide (which goes by the brand name Glucotrol) or glimepiride (Amaryl), which stimulates beta cells in the pancreas to produce insulin. That’s according to Dr. Jack Ende, president of the American College of Physicians, a professional organization of internal medicine specialists.
Both insulin and the sulfonylureas can lead to hypoglycemia, or too-low blood sugar, so it’s important to perform self-monitoring, said Ende, an assistant dean at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
Good News for Many with Diabetes
“If you’re diet-controlled alone, or you’re just on metformin (a widely prescribed diabetes medication), which does not cause hypoglycemia, and you’re not interested in testing, there’s really no reason to do it,” he said. “It’s expensive [test strips alone cost around $1 each]. It’s burdensome.”
But, Ende said, he has some patients who, even though they’re controlling their blood sugar by diet alone, continue to prick their finger regularly to check their glucose.
Some health-care providers think self-testing makes patients feel empowered, thus enhancing their motivation to maintain control of their blood sugar.
— Dr. Laura Young, University of Nort Continue reading

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