Driving with Diabetes

Once you are diagnosed with diabetes there are certain steps you will need to go through before you can begin driving again. You will need to be evaluated every few months by your doctor to ensure that your diabetes is under control and you can operate a motor vehicle without problems. While this may make driving more tedious, it is required for the safety of yourself and others. As accidents involving diabetics who experience low or high blood sugars on the road aren’t uncommon.

Staying safe while on the road

Studies have shown that those with type 1 diabetes have had more collisions related to hypoglycemia problems. This is why it is important to always check your blood sugar before you drive and to make sure to have some carbohydrates should you experience low blood sugars while on the road. Most people don’t realize how dangerous it can be to have a hypoglycemic episode while driving; it can cause you to lose focus or worse, faint which can lead to a major accident.

It is required by law to have medical evaluations for diabetics before they can drive. These aren’t only limited to diabetics, other disorders or diseases also require medical evaluations to drive.

Remember if you are ever experiencing an unusual low blood sugar or very high blood sugar and are not feeling well DO NOT drive to the hospital. If possible have someone drive you or call for an ambulance. This is not only for your safety but the safety of others as well.

Medical ID’s
One thing you should always carry with you is a medical id bracelet or necklace. This should include your information such as address, emergency contact, your name and it should state that your have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This is important in case you should lose conscious and require medical assistance. It will be easy to identify that you have diabetes and the proper medical assistance can be given. These come in many styles and are very affordable all diabetics should be required to have one with them at all times.

Are sugar-free foods really better?

Someone told me that sugar-free foods does not raise or affect a diabetics blood sugar levels in anyway. You might have also heard that diabetics can only eat special diabetics foods that have no sugar in them. This is not true at all, sugar-free foods have carbohydrates and can still raise your blood sugar levels if consumed excessively. Diabetics are not required to only consume special diabetes food as these foods are not really different from the other foods. In fact a lot of times those special sugar free foods may be worse for your overall health than their normal counterparts.
Sugar-free foods usually contain something that is called sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohol is a form of alcohol that is made from sugar. You may notice in the nutrition facts on sugar free food, under sugars there’s sugar alcohols.

sugaralcohols

The advantages of having sugar alcohols in food instead of normal sugar are lower calories, which can help reduce weight gain, and better blood glucose level management. Now you may think well that sounds great it’s the same food I like that is healthier than its normal counterpart. Unfortunately foods made with sugar alcohol instead of normal sugar have a slightly different taste than normal food. You might think that is not so bad since it has great benefits such as better diabetes control. However that is not the case as not only does it have a different taste, but in order to have it taste better extra sodium or fat is added. That’s right sugar free foods have more fat and sodium in them than the normal food. So if you are trying to avoid a certain amount of sodium or fat sugar-free foods are worse than normal food.
Next time you are out shopping and notice something that is sugar-free try and compare both the nutrition facts from its normal recipe you will notice the extra amount of fat or sodium added. Sugar-free food is also more expensive, sometimes it’s best to reduce the portion size of a normal recipe for yourself than substituting for sugar-free foods.

Early History of Diabetes

Diabetes was first described in an Egyptian manuscript back in 1500 BCE. It was described as “too great emptying of the urine”. The first cases of diabetes described were believed to be from type 1 diabetes. Some Indian physicians identified the disease around the same time and classified it as madhumeha which means honey urine. This is because they noticed that the urine from people with the disease would attract ants. The word “diabetes” or “to pass through” was used in 250 BCE by the Greeks. Later both type 1 and type 2 diabetes were identified as separate diseases. Type 1 diabetes was associated with young people and type 2 diabetes with obesity.

Diabetes’ first complete description was noted by the Greek doctor Aretaeus of Cappadocia during the first century. He also noted the excessive sugar that passed through the kidneys in the urine. In these times diabetes seems to have been a death sentence for anyone who had it. Aretaeus did attempt to treat it but the results were never good. He commented that those who had diabetes experienced short, disgusting and painful lives. Diabetes was also very rare in ancient times.

Avicenna, an ancient Persian polymath and who some consider to be the father of early modern medicine, wrote a detailed account in The Cannon of Medicine. He described the abnormal appetite and reduced sexual function of those with diabetes. He also confirmed the sweet taste of diabetic urine like Aretaeus. Avicenna also noted there were 2 forms diabetes a “primary” and “secondary”, these later became known as type 1 and type 2. Avicenna also described diabetic gangrene and treated diabetes using a mixture of lupine, trigonella, and zedoary seed. This was able to reduce the excretion of urine by a considerate amount. This treatment works so well that it is still prescribed in modern times. Avicenna was also the first person to give a very precise description of diabetes for the first time.

Asian countries also recognized the sweet urine symptom of diabetes, the Chinese described it as táng niǎo bìng which means sugar-urine disease. Matthew Dobson was a famous English physician who is now remembered for his work on diabetes. Matthew also confirmed the sweet taste in urine came from the excess amount of sugar in the urine and blood.
Diabetes has been recognized since ancient times and over the eras there have been different treatments known throughout the ancient world. Diabetes treatments were only understood experimentally. It was not until 1921 when Frederick Banting and Charles best first used insulin.

Why is it important to exercise regularly?

Exercise, the very word a lot of people dread to hear. Most people would rather sit down all day and watch TV or play video games. Heck I think it would be so nice to sit around all day and do nothing either it’s so much easier to be lazy. So why should we exercise? There are many reasons one should exercise, some may exercise because they want to lose weight others because they want to have a healthy lifestyle. There are many reasons to do it especially for diabetics.

So why should a diabetic exercise? Well having an active lifestyle helps lower and maintain good healthy blood glucose levels. People who tend to have trouble with their blood glucose levels usually do not exercise as much as they should. You do not always have to go hard when you work out a simple jog or maybe a walk can do wonders to help lower your blood glucose.

Seeing the numbers on the weight scale go down is also a reason to exercise. Sometimes losing weight may be what you need to drastically improve your life with diabetes. Being overweight may lead to an increased risk in diabetes complications. Being overweight can lead to insulin resistance, which lowers the effectiveness of insulin in your body. Insulin resistance can potentially lead to higher blood glucose levels and in turn this can lead to other complications due to high blood sugar.

Do you feel like you need more energy? Well believe it or not exercising also helps you feel more energized. Have you ever spent the whole day laying down on your bed or sitting on the couch doing nothing? Then after a few hours you want to do something but you feel sluggish and have no energy. Exercising regularly helps not only your body but your mind as well. You will feel revitalized and more energetic after a workout than after sitting down all day in front of a screen.

exercise

Why are New Year’s resolutions so hard to stick to?

It’s nearing the end of the 2nd week of the New Year, during this time most people are already over their new year’s resolutions. New Year’s resolutions tend to fail quickly due to the big drastic changes people pursue right away. This may be either a big weight loss goal or they may want to begin working out 5 days a week when before they wouldn’t even do it one day a week! This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to change your life in the beginning of the New Year if anything I think it’s a great time. However you should always start with smaller goals that over time will lead to a grand goal you have in mind.

As a diabetic some of these new goals you may try to go for are to reach a lower target blood glucose level, exercise more, or maybe even loss a bit of weight you might have gained over the holidays. For example let’s say you want to start to exercise more. Going from 0 to few workout days to 5-6 days a week for 1 hour each day can seem overwhelming. The first week may be easier since you are motivated but once that runs out it may be difficult to continue. Instead you should try 2 days week for 30 minutes each day. The activity you do may be something simple like jogging or even playing some sports with friends. Once you have made a habit of those 2 days of exercise a part of your lifestyle you may then either add more days or extend the amount of time you spend exercising daily.

The trick is to make you sure you are setting up smaller goals that in the end lead to one grand goal. This works well with anything you wish to improve on in your life. Yes some people may be able to do go after big goals and stick to them right away, but this is something I believe everyone can do. You will see once you stick to your goals and eventually reach whatever it is you were trying to do. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment and realized that there were many things you learned on the road to your goal.

Drinking Alcohol with Diabetes

Alcohol some people hate it others love it. Some claim it is beneficial to have 1 drink every day others swear its poison to your body. No matter what you believe one thing is certain. Alcohol has different effects on patients with diabetes. While a few drinks may make a person without diabetes feel a bit tipsy, to a person with diabetes those few drinks can drastically change the levels of glucose in their blood. It’s important for a diabetic to moderate themselves when drinking alcohol and to take extra precautions

Before going out to drink diabetics should always check their blood sugars to make sure it is in their target range. Drinking alcohol lowers your blood sugar so be sure to take a snack with you if you will be drinking. It is recommended to only drink 1 drink of alcohol and to avoid using sweeteners or substitute them for sugar free sweeteners. If you will be drinking beer try and stick to the light beers as they have lower carbohydrates than the normal ones. Most people don’t how much alcohol is 1 drink. Different alcohol is measured different, 1 drink of hard alcohol is 2 oz. and beer is 12 oz.

This may seem like a very small amount of alcohol but it is what is recommended for diabetics. Here are a few tips to make help you enjoy your alcohol.
• Be sure to drink your alcohol with food
• Enjoy your alcohol with friends
• Savor your alcohol don’t gulp it all down at once.

When going out drinking be sure to always wear your medical ID Bracelet. Alcohol has the habit of lowering your blood sugar. Having your medical id bracelet lets others know should you ever faint from low blood sugars of what medical aid should be administered. Remember just you are diabetic does not mean you cannot enjoy alcohol anymore. you may not be able to consume it as much as you used to, but this is all for your health. Remember to drink in moderation and NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE.

alcohol

Cold weather and diabetes

While December may bring candy canes, presents, and fun times with the family it also brings cold and chilly weather. What some diabetics don’t realize is that the cold weather may also affect your blood glucose levels. Cold Temperatures may also affect the hands and feet. Extra care is needed to stay safe and protected.

Keep your diabetic supplies out of extreme cold.
It is important to not let your blood glucose monitor and test strips out in cold temperatures. Cold weather affects the reading and effectiveness of the test strips. Any damage to these could result in incorrect blood glucose readings. It is also important to keep insulin and medication out extreme cold weather as the insulin may freeze and reduce its effectiveness.

Avoid getting sick.
When you are sick your body is stressed and this may lead to higher or irregular blood glucose levels. Being sick might also change your eating habits further affecting your blood sugar. It also takes longer for patients with diabetes to recover from a cold or flu which can increase the chance for complications. If you get sick it is important to take a day or 2 to recover and avoid any further complications.

Watch your feet
The cold weather may make your toes and feet numb. Wear protective clothing to keep them warm especially in the snow. Be sure to apply moisturizer to keep your feet skin healthy. Inspect your feet regularly and check for any injuries or cuts if you notice any injuries not healing seek medical help right away.

Keep your hands warm
Cold hands may make it harder to get a good blood glucose reading. Be sure to warm your hands before testing your blood glucose, wash your hands with warm water prior to testing if you have cold hands.

Stick to your workout routine
It may be hard to stay on track with your workout schedule during the cold weather. Staying on track is important for your health and diabetes management. If need be change up your workout to something indoors if it is too cold to go outside.

Happy Holiday Season!

The holidays are here! It seems every year they just come by faster than the last with the nippy weather, presents and delicious food with the family. Who can forget the delicious sweets as well candy canes, gingerbread cookies, and eggnog. It can be easy to lose track of what they are eating and can lead to a few problems with managing ones blood glucose levels during the holidays. Here are some helpful tips to be able to enjoy the yummy holiday foods without raising your blood glucose level too high.
• Remember to know what your limits are. Everyone’s body is different and figuring out a good balance between all the different foods may be difficult. However you should already have an idea of what carbohydrate combinations and fats work best for you

• Plan ahead and anticipate what kind of food will be served at a party or gathering. If you know someone will be baking a pie plan your meals and medication throughout the day so you do not have to deny yourself that slice of dessert.

• If you are worried that there will not be any food that you can eat at a party, think about eating a meal or snack before you go.

• You may also consider bringing a dish that you know you can eat. There are many recipes and cookbooks for diabetics, there will be plenty of options to choose from. You may also want to reduce sugar or use a sugar substitute in recipes and use pureed fruit as a substitute in baked goods. The host will surely appreciate the gesture and you will be more at ease and enjoy the party knowing there is something you can eat.

Last but not least it certainly wouldn’t feel like Christmas time without some delicious gingerbread cookies. Here is a recipe for a delicious batch of sugar free gingerbread cookies.
Enjoy the festivities and remember Santa is watching you to make sure you are being good boys and girls and have a safe and healthy holiday season.

It’s that time of the year again

It’s flu season which means time for that yearly flu shot, and if you have diabetes a flu shot is especially important. This is because influenza can greatly affect your blood glucose levels and the recovery time is longer for those with diabetes. Influenza and Pneumonia are more likely to have complicated effects in those with diabetes.
Even if you still catch the flu after receiving a flu shot the vaccine lowers the risk of the respiratory tract complications as well as lowering other complications that can result in hospitalization or death.

Check with your Doctor or health care provider to schedule a visit for your flu shot. Some pharmacies also have walk-ins appointments for flu shots. Flu and pneumonia vaccinations are both covered by medicare part B.

In addition to a flu shot to help prevent catching and spreading the flu.

-Wash you hands with soap and water often.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
-When you sneeze or cough use a tissue or cover your mouth with your elbow.
-If you get sick stay home and avoid contact with others to avoid infecting them

Is a permanent cure for type 1 diabetes on the horizon?

Over the years many alternative type 1 diabetes treatment plans have been created, some more conventional and easier to adjust to. For years scientists have been struggling to create a cure for type 1 diabetes. Well now it seems that cure is almost here. Recently a group of scientists have been able to recreate adult insulin producing beta cells through stem cell research. The beta cells may then be transplanted to patients with type 1 diabetes to help their pancreas start producing insulin again. while there still is the threat of the body’s immune system attacking the beta cells but they think they may have a way to fix this problem by encasing the cells in a sheath to protect them. This is truly a groundbreaking discovery in medical science and would help millions of people all over the world.

Research teams work to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.