Category Archives: Type 1 Diabetes

Category Archives: Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetic Retinopathy: Manage Your Sugars to Savor Each Sunset

Eye-300x201Diabetes is not simply a numbers game. One can’t just monitor blood sugar to feel healthy every day. It’s important to be aware of how diabetes affects each organ in your body and especially how it can damage your vision.

According to the National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, there are three major eye related complications that people with diabetes should be aware of: diabetes retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. (https://nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic/retinopathy)

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness among adults. It causes changes in the blood vessels in the eyes and affects the circulatory system of the retina. Blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. Abnormal blood vessels may grow on the retina’s surface. The retina is at the back of the eye. Sight is processed when light is reflected off of the retina. In retinopathy both eyes are usually affected and unfortunately one might lose sight in both eyes. Cataracts can develop in earlier on in the life of a person with diabetes, causing the lens of the eye to cloud. Increased pressure of fluid in the eye is known as glaucoma and this can also cause damage to the optical nerves and lead to loss of vision.

One type of vision loss is macular edema. The macula is the part of the eye where vision is refined and made sharp. Fluid leaks into the center of the macula which swells and your vision is blurred. Edema (swelling) occurs as retinopathy becomes more progressive.

Proliferative retinopathy is the most advanced stage of retinopathy. It occurs when abnormal, fragile blood vessels develop and leak blood into the pupil which blurs vision. Every person with diabetes is at risk for retinopathy. It’s important that once or twice a year, per doctor’s instructions, you have a comprehensive eye exam where the doctor will dilate your pupils and does a thorough exam of each part of the eye.
The American Optometric Association www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and…/diabetic-retinopathy states that people with all types of diabetes are at risk for retinopathy, especially if a person has had the condition for many years and if the condition is not properly managed.

Also, these three factors increase the risk of retinopathy.
1. Pregnancy brings added stress to the body with more weight and increased fluid retention. It’s crucial that pregnant women have a doctor monitor their eyes for swollen blood vessels.
2. Research has shown that African Americans and Latinos have a higher risk to develop diabetic retinopathy than Caucasians with diabetes.
3. It’s important to monitor cholesterol and blood pressure levels. High numbers of these levels along with a high blood sugar number equals multiple problems with the eyes.
As always the most crucial element in controlling diabetes is monitoring your blood sugar. This is where Dario helps you. It’s crucial to excuse yourself from all of your obligations and make time to monitor your sugars. Dario is the most important tool in managing diabetes.
The Dario device tracks your numbers so you won’t need to remember to take a memo book and pen wherever you go. It also uploads your information to a cloud platform so that a caregiver in another location can check your records and advise you on adjusting insulin levels if necessary. Please see mydario.ca for more information.
When you monitor your health properly you will look and feel great and you’ll be able to see clearly. Take Dario with you and you’ll appreciate the colors of the sunset knowing that you are monitoring your blood sugar and insulin levels with the most accurate device on the market.

Also see: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Diabetic-retinopathy

Sugar Rush or Sugar Crush? The Mind, Body, Sugar, Diabetes Connection

Sugar-Rush-or-Sugar-Crush-300x240For people with diabetes, many are fully aware of the physical symptoms associated with hypo events (shaking, sweating, dizziness, extreme hunger) and hyper events (blurred vision, extreme thirst, nausea). But people tend to pay less attention to the emotional and cognitive effects of low and high blood sugar. It’s just as important to understand and recognize the connections between your mind, body, and the role of sugar and diabetes.

First let’s take a look at how the body uses sugar. Sugar, essentially a group of molecules you can define as carbohydrates, can come in many forms and you can find it almost anywhere in your diet – glucose, fructose, sucrose, and starch. In whatever shape you eat your carbs, be it cookies or a baked potato, after entering the intestine they are broken down into their simplest form glucose. They are absorbed into the blood stream via the intestine to be converted into energy. This is when the pancreas kicks in to secrete insulin to moderate the amount of glucose uptake. The glucose that is not used is then stored in the liver as glycogen. If your body needs more energy later on, your pancreas turns back on to release the hormone glucagon along with your adrenal gland with an added kick of epinephrine (adrenaline) to activate the immediate breakdown of glycogen to glucose. The liver also begins to make new sugar in in response to adrenal cortisol and pituitary response to hydrocortisone or growth hormone, respectively.

In people with Type-1 Diabetes, their bodies cannot produce insulin because the beta cells of their pancreas are impaired or destroyed. For this reason, T1s will need to inject insulin to regulate the level of sugars in the blood stream and avoid the side effects of hyperglycemia. For people with Type-2 Diabetes, they do not respond well or have developed a resistance to the effects of insulin. While treatment for T2s may begin with oral medications in conjunction with diet and exercise, they may eventually need insulin injections to assist them to process sugar and prevent diabetes complications. In other words, what people with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes have in common is that they must take an automatic function of the body to regulate blood sugar and operate it in manual mode.

The main fuel for our brains is glucose, so when our sugar levels are poorly managed the impact on our cognitive functions and mood is greatly affected. Surprisingly, while the brain only accounts for 2% of a person’s total weight, it consumes over 20% of your daily energy intake. When you chow down on a super sugary snack and get that energy boosting sugar rush in a hurry, it can quickly turn into a sugar crash. The neurons in your brain are unable to store glucose and your mind will experience a power emergency. Too low blood sugar can make you feel weak, confused, anxious, or just like you are in outer space. If your sugar levels are all over the place, this can be both physically and mentally exhausting without your even realizing it.

Going bungee jumping with your sugars can put you on an emotional roller coaster. Changes in mood due to a hypo can include irritability, nervousness, aggressive behavior, and crying spells. Long term effects of unbalanced blood sugar can increase your risk for developing mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that poor control of blood sugar can also lead to cognitive and memory issues. Too much sugar can lead to blocked membranes which slow down the communications between neurons. Realistically, it is not possible to always “control” your blood sugars and it is not always “controlled” by what you eat. Outside factors such as stress, changes in routine, and diabetes burnout can get you off track. At the end of the day it can be hard to figure out if high and low bloods sugars are caused by the “chicken” or the “egg”.

Many people take for granted the things that our bodies do for us instinctively, so imagine how physically and mentally exhausting it can become to have to manage your blood sugars on your own. The Dario Personalized Smart Meter and Management System can help you track and take out some of the guesswork about managing your Diabetes. Awareness of your physical and emotional reactions is important to improving your balance of in-range glucose days. With your Dario personalized Smart Meter, after taking a BG measurement you have the option to tag your mood or make a note right in the Dario app. Overtime, you will be better able to recognize your hypo and hyper symptoms by the way you think and feel and help get your health on track.

Resources:

  • http://www.eufic.org/page/en/page/faq/faqid/how-is-sugar-absorbed-used-in-the-body/
  • http://www.brainfacts.org/about-neuroscience/ask-an-expert/articles/2012/how-does-the-brain-use-food-as-energy/
  • http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/understanding-hypoglycemia/

Life is Cool and Sweet, Even With Diabetes!

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In the summer, there are some days that are so hot that the most appealing thing to do is to float on a raft in a pool while slowly enjoying an ice cold treat. For people living with diabetes, staying cool and refreshed is important but you should also be mindful about what you eat to keep cool. Don’t just grab the first thing you see coming off the ice cream truck! Besides the refined sugar, these items are full of preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients. The solution? Make your own frozen treats! If you’re a parent, keep making batches throughout the summer. They are cool and healthy and these treats will keep your kids satiated and hydrated.

Judy Kizer, M.S. is a nutritionist who studied dietetics at Georgia State University. Judy states that a fruit is a carb and there is a limit to daily servings. All serving sizes of fruit have approximately 15 grams of carbohydrate. Your doctor will let you know how many portions of fruit are permitted per day. To keep track of your fruit servings, puree a whole fruit instead of using concentrate. This way you know the portion size. Check with your doctor if it is permissible to use agave or maple syrup instead of artificial sweetener and if so how much is the right serving size for you. You can also spice things up with a dash of cinnamon which some studies have shown helps to regulate blood glucose levels.

Here are some great summer treats for you to make at home!

The nutrition information below was provided by Miriam Botwinick, a Jerusalem-based dietician with experience in helping clients with diabetes.

Fruity, Fantastic and Frozen

In a glass bowl, mix:

1 box Alpro or other no-sugar soymilk

½ cup pureed mango

1 cup blueberries

1 tsp. cinnamon

Agave or maple syrup in acceptable amounts

After mixing the ingredients together, put into freezer and freeze until almost firm.

Take out, let soften, then whip it and freeze again.

Once more, soften and whip. Serve immediately or separate into molds. Keep these ingredients in stock and you’ll always have a cool treat on hand!

Servings per recipe: 12
per 1/2 cup serving, it provides:
66 calories, 1.8 g total fat (0.33 g saturated fat), 8.8 mg sodium, 9.5 g carbohydrates (1.1 g fiber, 8.1 g sugar), and 3.2 grams of protein

Bumped-Up Bananas

If you want to freeze bananas with an extra kick, melt a bar of non-sugar-added chocolate. Put bananas on skewers, then dip in chocolate and roll in nuts. Freeze until firm.

1 medium banana
398 calories, 23.7 g total fat (13.6 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 3.8 mg sodium, 51.8 mg carbohydrate (3.7 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar), 5.1 grams of protein

Yogurt Yummies

Pour four small containers of plain yogurt into a bowl. Add maple or agave syrup and mix well. Stir in berries, chopped cherries or pieces of peach or pineapple and mix. If allergies aren’t an issue add either chopped walnuts or almonds. And ½ tsp cinnamon. Mix all ingredients, pour into molds, and freeze.

Servings per recipe: 8
per 1/2 cup serving: 108 calories, 3.5 grams of fat (0.17 grams saturated fat), 55.7 mg sodium, 14 grams carbohydrate (1.5 grams fiber, 8.4 grams sugar) and 5.5 grams of protein

Judy cautions that it’s important to be aware of your glycemic response after eating a new type of food. Of course the most important way to monitor your health is to check and record blood sugar. And the easiest way to do that is with Dario.

The Dario Diabetes Management Solution records your blood sugar number and uploads your information to a cloud platform. It stores all of your numbers to help you notice when your levels spike or drastically drop. An endocrinologist can check the medical information from any location and advise you on any need to modify your diet or increase your aerobic exercise level.

It’s time to beat the heat! With Dario. at your side and these recipes you can keep your cool in more ways than one. When you start serving these sweet, natural and delicious treats you’ll find yourself hosting a lot of company this summer!

Bon appetite and beat the heat!

 


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