Archive for October, 2013

How Diabetes Damages Your Eyes

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Diabetes affects many important organs, including the eyes. If you are diagnosed to have Type I or Type II diabetes, regular eye checkups are needed to prevent diabetes eye problems. The uncontrolled elevation of blood sugar due to insufficient production of insulin or insulin resistance in diabetics is harmful to the blood vessels that support the parts of the eyes essential for normal vision. According to statistics, diabetes eye problems are the primary cause of blindness in people ages 20 to 74.

The retina is the most common part of the eye damaged in people with diabetes. The retina is the lining at the back of the eyes. The function of the retina can be compared to that of a movie screen, which translates light rays into electrical signals transmitted to the brain. When the brain receives these signals, it translates into images and vision. A healthy retina is nourished by tiny blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen, and as mentioned in previous article, diabetes is also known as the “small vessel disease”. In people with diabetes, their blood becomes so sticky because of too much blood sugar. The very viscous blood has reduced capacity to flow and thus needs high blood pressure. The increased pressure inside the blood vessels that forces the blood to flow causes diabetes eye problems. Read more »

Let’s talk “lows”, or Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia, let's talk "lows".

Generally,  hypoglycemia affects Type 1 diabetics much more than Type 2.  Insulin can always drop glucose too low if not correctly adjusted to carbohydrates consumed.  Most type 2 meds do not cause this action, although more do now than previously.

Everyones’  “low”  is different.  Normal blood glucose levels in my childhood (1960 – 1970s)  which used to be from 90 to 120 mg/dl used to be fine,  have recently been lowered by the FDA making just about every adult a diabetic.  Yes, there was sarcasm in my tone as the FDA has done the same with normal blood pressure ranges and cholesterol, assuring everyone is taking prescription meds.  O.K., sorry, back to my point…..   Our bodies become accustom to new lower levels if we frequently allow them to go there.  Used to be at 70mg/dl I would know I needed a “fix”  (orange juice, fig newton, Nab crackers), anything to bring my sugar back up.   Year after year of continued  lower numbers, always attempting to maintain a “normal”   glucose reading made my body adjust to my new norms.

My symptoms changed over the years, first warning signs used to be shakes, sweats and confusion,  things obvious to others around me.  Then, as my lows became lower, symptoms changed,  in the late 1980s  my arms would jerk or twitch, later I would start seeing double,  I have even forgotten whole moments in small segments.   After I thought I had gotten a handle on it,  things got worse; driving a friend home from classes one afternoon, just feeling “wrong”,  I stopped at a convenience store for crackers and juice.  Next thing I  new I was driving, it was now dark outside, and I had an empty bottle of juice and crushed up crackers in my lap.  Didn’t have a clue where I was.  This finally scared me enough to try to make changes.   I did  not have insurance due to “pre existing”, however, started visiting an internist who could not understand these extreme lows as I was on such a low amount of  insulin.  I was tested to make sure I “really was” diabetic?   Over the years, MDs were thrilled with my AICs because they were in the low 6. something ranges, however  I knew this was due to my blood sugars averaging out to normal from such extreme highs and lows.

Many evenings I would feel my husbands hand on my skin to check if I was sweaty.  He always sensed, through my  movements or  how I would answer a simple question, if I was needing  a “fix”.   He has saved me numerous evenings, as this is when I would drop, sometimes as low as 13mg/dl.  I would hear him pacing around the bed, repeatedly saying he was sorry but “I have to call for help”.  I would usually be coming out of it once they had arrived,  and I can hear him tell the EMTs her sugar was 14,  however, I’m talking to them like we are now, and they would say that’s impossible, they would check and I’d be up to 16  or 18mg/dl at this point.  They still could not believe the sensibility I had at this measure.   I laugh at my old endocrinologist from years ago who insisted my numbers should be no different  than  someone without diabetes.  My new endo is more realistic,  however, I am not comfortable with some of my readings now, BUT I have recently been more aware of my lows when they are floundering around 50mg/dl.   Here’s hoping we can all find our “happy place” in the numbers game,  with levels we can live with,  and be comfortable with,  and doctors who will listen to what we are saying.

Reliable Tips to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

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In order to prevent type 2 diabetes, people should make some basic lifestyle changes. Maintaining good health is one excellent way to guard against an array of adverse health conditions. Men and women who are overweight should first speak with a certified medical professional, who can help them find a path to weight loss and healthy meal planning. People who work closely with a personal trainer should be able to shed those excess pounds. In the process, they will be lessening their chances for diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer. If any of these health issues run in the family, then individuals should be especially careful with their overall health and fitness.

Some experts indicate that incidences of type 2 diabetes are higher among people who eat meat. This does not mean that men and women have to give up meat completely. However, replacing beef and chicken with beans and leafy green vegetables a couple of times per week certainly will not hurt. Nutritionists can supply interested parties with some exact charts that will show people what they should be eating on a daily basis. Leafy greens, in particular, are chalk full of antioxidants, which minimize free radicals within the body and ultimately promote better health. Read more »

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