Tag Archives: Diabetes

Deciphering Diabetes

Diabetes 101

Diabetes’ Reach

Diabetes affects 29.1 million people in the U.S., a whopping 9.4% of our population. That number has doubled in the last 10 years. And each year, it costs Americans more than $245 billion.

Worldwide, it affects more than 380 million people.  And the World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, that number of people living with it will more than double.

Diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure, and stroke.

What Is Diabetes?

When you eat food, your body turns it into sugar. Then, your body releases a chemical called insulin, which opens up your cells so they can take in that sugar and turn it into energy.

Diabetes is a group of diseases that breaks that system, causing there to be too much sugar in your blood, or high blood glucose.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is normally diagnosed in kids, and it’s the more serious kind. Its is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the cells that create insulin.

Without insulin, sugar builds up in the blood, starving your cells. This can cause eye, heart, nerve, and kidney damage, and in serious cases, can result in comas and death.

 Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common kind of diabetes, and it’s frequently called adult-onset diabetes because it’s usually diagnosed when you’re over 35.

People with this form of it produce some insulin, just not enough. And sometime, the insulin isn’t able to open the cells, which is called insulin resistance.

While many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or inactive, there is a new group of patients emerging—young, slim females. Molecular imaging expert Jimmy Bell, MD, calls this condition TOFI, thin outside, fat inside.

Instead of building up below the skin’s surface, fat gathers on their abdominal organs, which is more dangerous. Risk factors for these women include a lack of exercise, daily stress, and yo-yo dieting.

Gestational Diabetes

Some pregnant women who didn’t have diabetes before and won’t have it after develop a form called gestational diabetes.

Your high blood sugar can cause your baby to make too much insulin. When this happens, their cells can absorb too much sugar, which their bodies then store as fat. This can raise their risk of a difficult birth and breathing problems.

Symptoms

Early detection is key to preventing serious complications from diabetes.

These are some common symptoms:

  • Peeing often
  • Feeling very thirsty or hungry, even though you’re eating
  • Extremely tired
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss, even though you are eating more (for type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet (for type 2)

There are often no symptoms for gestational diabetes, so it’s important to get tested at the right time.

Does any of this sound like you? Learn more about how your doctor can test and diagnose you. And learn more about the different treatments.

Healthy Breakfast

Avoid the Morning Slump with Breakfast

No matter how many times you hear, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” in the decision between skipping breakfast or being late to work, breakfast tends to lose.

Coffee may get you through an 8 a.m. meeting, but by 10, the mid-morning slump hits, and rightly so. Your body has now been on a fast for eight to 10 hours, often fueled by coffee alone.

Studies show those who skip breakfast are more irritable, restless, and tired. Not to mention, that if you have diabetes, this can be extremely dangerous to your blood sugar levels.

While to you, breakfast might mean pancakes and eggs, any healthy food is a good choice to start your day. Try stocking foods that are easy to grab and go or preparing breakfast the night before.

Make Breakfast Easy

Here are some easy breakfast ideas from the American Diabetes Association:

  • Breakfast shake: 1 cup fat-free milk or non-fat yogurt, blended with ½ cup fruit (fresh or frozen), 1 teaspoon wheat germ, 1 teaspoon nuts or nut butter, and 1 cup ice.
  • Baked potato and cheese: Top last night’s potato with low-fat cheddar cheese and a spoonful of salsa.
  • Ham sandwich: Toast a whole wheat English muffin or pita and top with 1 ounce lean ham and a squirt of mustard. Add fruit or ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese on the side.
  • Egg Beaters burrito: Microwave ¼ cup Egg Beaters (or egg whites), add low-fat feta cheese, 2-3 sliced cherry tomatoes, and cubed lean ham.
  • Rice and beans: Warm ½ cup brown rice, add a spoonful of black beans, peppers, and cilantro. For even more flavor, top it off with your favorite salsa.
  • PB and banana sandwich: Two slices of toasted whole grain bread, 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, and a sliced banana.
  • Maple oats: Microwave ½ cup oatmeal, and add ½ cup skim milk. For sweetness, add 2 tablespoons of sugar-free syrup.
Diabetes and Your Teeth

Caring for Your Teeth with Diabetes

We’re taught the importance of brushing and flossing from a young age. Although we no longer brush with bubble gum-flavored toothpaste and a vibrating cartoon toothbrush, it’s still just as important. In fact, it’s more important as your teeth age. Caring for diabetes and your teeth and gums at the same time needs even closer attention.

Diabetes and Your Teeth

High blood glucose promotes germs’ growth. When bacteria constantly attacks your teeth and gums, you can get red, sore, and swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss.

If you have diabetes, you may have trouble keeping your blood sugar levels steady. High levels are not only bad for your health, but also your teeth. Teeth and gum problems occur more often when your levels stay high.

Smoking also makes it more likely for you to get a bad case of gum disease, especially if you have diabetes and are 45 or older.

If you have one or more of these problems, you may have tooth and gum damage from diabetes:

  • Red, sore, or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Gums pulling away from your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Your dentures no longer fit correctly

Caring for Your Diabetes and Your Teeth

To avoid permanent damage to your smile:

  • Keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible.
  • Use dental floss at least once a day. Using a sawing motion, gently bring the floss between your teeth, scraping from bottom to top several times.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal or snack using a soft toothbrush.
  • If you wear false teeth, keep them clean.
  • Get your teeth cleaned and your gums checked by your dentist twice a year.

When you do to the dentist, it’s important to plan ahead. If you’re taking a diabetes medicine that can cause low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, talk with your dentist before the visit about the best way to take care of your blood sugar during long procedures. You may need to bring some diabetes medicine or food to the dentist’s office.

If your mouth is sore after dental work, you might not be able to eat or chew right away. Talk to your doctor about how best to adjust your normal routine while your mouth is healing.