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Jul

28

eAG And A1C, Understanding Both To Decipher Blood Sugar Readings:

eAG And A1C, Understanding Both To Decipher Blood Sugar Readings:When it comes to diabetes management, blood sugar control is always the central theme. After all, keeping by keeping our blood sugars in check can help us live a long and healthy life.  One of the central themes when it comes to glucose control is maintaining a good A1C.  

By now most of are aware of what an A1C and eAG test is but why are they so important?  What does an A1C actually measure?  How about an eAG?  Can one make it easier to understand your overall numbers or provide better insight as to what’s going on?  All great questions, so lets take a closer look!

What is An A1C?

This one you are probably most familiar with.  You know, you go into the endo’s office and the first thing they do is sit you down and take a finger stick, only to zoom off into another room to measure the results and report back. An A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood sugar over a 3 month period, but how does it all work? 

Per the National Institute of Health:

The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the body, red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.

So what is this hemoglobin that they are talking about?  Well, hemoglobin is the protein specifically found in red blood cells and is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the entire human body. When blood sugar levels are elevated, some glucose attaches to hemoglobin and since red blood cells normally have a lifespan of 120 days, the A1C test is useful because it offers an indication of longer term blood sugar levels.

So how about an eAG?

What Is An eAG?

eAG also know as estimated average glucose is a newer term you may see talked about by your doctor. The American Diabetes Association introduced this term in order to help us translate our A1C tests into numbers that would more closely represent our daily glucose meter readings. How does this all work?

Well, your eAG number is calculated from the result of your A1C test. Like the A1C, the eAG shows what your average blood sugars have been over the previous 2 to 3 months, but instead of a percentage, the eAG is in the same units (mg/dl) as your blood glucose meter.

Below is small reference guild that will help you calculate your estimated average glucose level from your A1C result.

tab

Or if your looking to calculate your very own, after your next doctors visit feel free to do so by using the following formulas:

28.7 x HbA1c – 46.7 = eAG (in mg/dl)

1.59 x HbA1c – 2.59 = eAG (in mmol/L)

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Jul

16

Kale, The Health Benefits For People With Diabetes

Kale, The Health Benefits For People With DiabetesOk, lets face it, the majority of us (me included) don’t even come close to getting our recommended daily allowance of vegetables each day. One vegetable that we should really try to incorporate into our diets is kale! There are not to many super foods out there, but this is certainly one that packs a nutritional punch.

Many people ask, what is kale? The health benefits of are being reported in major outlets, whether the general media or scientific journals. The light that is currently being shed on kale is that it is one of the most potent health promoting vegetables known to man. Kale is similar to other nutritional powerhouses, especially cabbage relatives like broccoli. However, it doesn’t resemble broccoli in appearance, having lovely dark green leaves instead of a miniature tree-like look.  Kale is also a low-glycemic food. If someone is trying to lose weight, then this vegetable should be part of their diet.

Why Should Kale Vegetable Be In Your Diet?

The health benefits of kale are attributed to sulfur-containing phytonutrients. These substances, according to research, appear to be able to reduce the occurrence of numerous types of cancers. The exact mechanism is unclear, but researchers have concluded that such compounds in kale may trigger enzymes in the body that help to counter cancer promoting substances.

Kale, therefore, seems a great addition to any anti-cancer diet.Its benefits don’t just end there, however. Kale is also an excellent source of fiber, which is an important consideration for the millions of people who suffer from elevated cholesterol levels and in helping cleanse the colon. Many people, when they think of sources of calcium, believe dairy products are the best choice. But the truth of the matter is that dark leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach are better sources of calcium. Another important consideration is that kale is extremely sparse on calories, has no saturated fat, and does not cause widespread allergic reactions like many diary products do. In short, with kale, you can obtain your needed calcium without the guilt.

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Jul

13

Non Diabetics Guide To Supporting People With Diabetes:

Non Diabetics Guide To Supporting People With Diabetes:When it comes to diabetes management, blood sugar control is often the central theme. After all, keeping your blood sugar level within your target range can help you live a long and healthy life. Speaking of a long and healthy life, do you know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall, especially when it comes to supporting a loved one? Below, I’ve listed a couple of examples that have always helped me during my 10 year journey with type 1.  Hopefully you can use some to help you support your loved one. 

Diabetes Diet & Eating:

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of any diabetes management plan. But it’s not just what you eat that affects your blood sugar level. How much you eat and when you eat matters, too.

What to do:

  • Keep to a schedule. As most people with diabetes know, your blood sugar level is highest an hour or two after you eat, and then begins to fall. This predictable pattern can work to your advantage. You can help lessen the amount of change in your blood sugar levels if you eat at the same time every day, eat several small meals a day or eat healthy snacks at regular times between meals.
  • Make every meal well-balanced. As much as possible, plan for every meal to have the right mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats.  It’s especially important to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack because they have a big effect on blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor, nurse or dietitian about the best food choices and appropriate balance.
  • Eat the right amount of foods. Learn what portion size is appropriate for each type of food. Simplify your meal planning by writing down portions for the foods you eat often. Use measuring cups or a scale to ensure proper portion size.
  • Coordinate your meals and medication. Too little food in comparison to your diabetes medications — especially insulin — may result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high (hyperglycemia). Talk to your diabetes health care team about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.  Typically I take my insulin about 15 minutes before sitting down to eat.

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Jul

12

Skin Conditions And Type 1 Diabetes, What Is NLD?

NLD (Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum) And Diabetes:As diabetics we all know how important it is to stay on top of our heath, especially when it comes to keeping an eye on our skin.  Things such as cracks, blisters, and rashes can very easily escalate into troublesome situation.  

I fielded a question the other day about a condition called Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (NLD) which is a skin condition that can effect both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.  Never hearing about this particular skin condition before, I thought it would be a great topic to discuss, so lets take a closer look! 

 

What Is Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum:

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum is a rash that typically occurs on the lower legs.  It happens to be more common in women, and upon examination, there are usually several spots. They are slightly raised shiny red-brown patches and the centers are often yellowish and may develop open sores that are slow to heal.  

NLD typically develops when when collagen breaks down, deposits of fat build up and the blood vessel walls thicken. As a chronic condition, NLD might progress slowly and might sometimes scar the skin. The condition might not bother you for a while, while at other times, might flare up.

Causes Of Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum:

The underlying cause of NLD is unknown, but the latest understanding tends to focus on microangiopathy – which occurs when blood vessels become damaged.  As diabetics, we know this is a risk factor that occurs with high blood sugar readings, and usually associated with poor glycemic control. Improved management of blood glucose levels can improve or prevent the disorder all together so this is another factor in a very long list of reasons why its so important for us to maintain proper control.

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Jul

11

Uncontrolled Diabetes, Protect Your Long Term Health!

Uncontrolled Diabetes, Protect Your Long Term Health!Ok, so everyone knows that I’m an upbeat, positive person overall, but I’m not going to sugarcoat anything when it comes to this blog post.  Whether it be type 1 vs type 2 diabetes we all know that we can be up against some serious, long term complications when it comes to battling diabetes on a daily basis 24/7/365.  Its ruthless, its relentless, and probably worse of all, it never takes a day off.

Even when we feel like breaking down, giving up and throwing out the dreaded F-bomb because we’ve just had enough of the finger sticks, insulin injections, 2am lows, I’m here to show you why that is never a good idea.  Why you need to push through and dig deeper even when you feel like giving up.  Always remain vigilant and push through even when you don’t feel like doing so, here’s why!

Glaucoma And Diabetes:

When fluid inside the eye does not drain properly from a buildup of pressure inside the eye, it results in another eye problem with diabetes called glaucoma. The pressure damages nerves and the vessels in the eye, causing changes in vision.

Treatment of open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma requires lowering the eye’s pressure by increasing the drainage of aqueous humor or decreasing the production of the fluid. Medications can accomplish both of these goals.

With open-angle glaucoma, there may be no symptoms of this eye problem at all until the disease is very advanced and there is significant vision loss. In the less common form of this eye problem, symptoms can include headaches, eye aches or pain, blurred vision, watering eyes, halos around lights, and loss of vision.

Treatment of this eye problem in diabetes can include special eye drops, laser procedures, medicine, or surgery. Surgery and laser treatments are directed at improving the eye’s aqueous drainage. You can prevent serious eye problems in diabetes problems by getting an annual glaucoma screening from your eye doctor.

Increase In Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease includes blood vessel disease, heart attack and stroke. It is the leading cause of death in Australia. The risk is greater for people with diabetes, who often have increased cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Smoking, having a family history of cardiovascular disease and being inactive also increase your risk.

To reduce your risk and pick up any problems early:

  • Have your blood pressure checked at least every six months, but more often if you have high blood pressure or are taking medication to lower this.
  • Have your cholesterol checked at least yearly, as well as an HbA1c (average blood glucose over the past three months).
  • Further pathology tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or exercise stress test may also be recommended by your doctor.

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Jul

8

Blood Glucose Control and Exercise, Get Moving!

Blood Glucose Control and Exercise, Get Moving!Most of you already know that I love to exercise.  My day starts out at 4am, early yes, but its the only time that I get to myself during the day.  As a stay at home dad of 4, I consider this a small sacrifice for my sanity as well as to benefit my bottom line as a type 1 diabetic, my health!  

What makes exercise so important?  Well I think we all know the answer to that question as there are so many benefits including better control of our overall blood sugars.  There is a list of exercises you can do, but lets take a closer look at how you can exercise safely for better control!

Diabetes And Exercise:

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, diabetes and exercise should go hand in hand, at least when it comes to the management aspect of the disease. Not only can exercise can help you improve your blood sugar control, boost your overall fitness, it can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, all risk factors that we face.

While exercise is great for us and the benefits are well documented, as diabetics it also poses some unique challenges. To exercise safely, it’s crucial to track your blood sugar before, during and after physical activity. You’ll learn how your body responds to exercise, which can help you prevent potentially dangerous blood sugar fluctuations.

Exercise And High Blood Sugars?

This was one of the biggest hurdles for me when I was first diagnosed.  My numbers would skyrocket after a workout or even during a gym session.  The issue is that exercise triggers the body to release stress hormones, like adrenaline. Adrenaline tells the liver to release glucose, or cortisol which makes you more resistant to insulin, and since strenuous activity triggers an increase in these stress hormones,  chances are (even temporarily) your blood sugars are often increased.

That being said different exercises affect us differently and we also know that we’re all very unique, and lets face it, type 1 diabetes effects everyone differently and no situations are ever the same. Our blood sugar response to exercise will also depend on our level of physical fitness and personal exertion. Generally speaking, 30-40 minutes of high intensity interval training will bring different results than an hour of running, doing the stair climber or even walking the dog so it will be important to closely monitor your blood sugars during exercise and see how these activity levels effect you.

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Jul

7

Diabetic Nephropathy, How Diabetes Effects The Kidneys:

What Is Diabetic Nephropathy:Ok, so over the past couple of weeks, I’ve received several questions relating to the issues diabetics face in relation to kidney problems and how diabetes affects the kidneys, also known as nephropathy.  

Diabetic nephropathy is the most common cause of renal failure, accounting for more than half of all cases of end-stage renal disease in the United States. Renal disease will affect between 20-40% of diabetics in their lifetime, so lets take a closer look at what its all about and more importantly, what we can do to avoid it!

 

Nephropathy Causes?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but as we’re aware, diabetes can affect many parts of the body, including the kidneys. In healthy kidneys, many tiny blood vessels filter waste products from your body. The blood vessels have holes that are big enough to allow tiny waste products to pass through into the urine but are still small enough to keep useful products (such as protein and red blood cells) in the blood.

High levels of sugar in the blood can damage these vessels over time if diabetes is not controlled. This can cause kidney disease, which is also called nephropathy (say: nef-rah-puh-thee). If your not well controlled and  the damage is bad enough, your kidneys could stop working.

Signs And Symptoms Of Nephropathy:

Early signs and symptoms of kidney disease in patients with diabetes are typically unusual.  However, signs and symptoms listed below may manifest when kidney disease has progressed:

  • Albumin or protein in the urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Ankle and leg swelling, leg cramps
  • Going to the bathroom more often at night
  • High levels of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine
  • Less need for insulin or antidiabetic medications
  • Morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting
  • Weakness, paleness, and anemia
  • Itching

The differential diagnosis of diabetic nephropathy are extensive, but they include the following in a patient with known type 1 and type 2 diabetes:

  • Primary or secondary glomerular disease
  • Nephrosclerosis
  • Renovascular hypertension
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • Renal vein thrombosis
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Cholesterol embolization
  • Chronic obstruction
  • Interstitial nephritis
  • Amyloidosis

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Jul

6

What Is C-Peptide? How Is It Used To Diagnose Diabetes

What Is C-Peptide? How Is It Used To Diagnose DiabetesIts a fantastic question and was a test that was run on me to confirm my type 1 diagnosis. A c-peptide!  What is it?  What is the purpose and why do they use this particular test in order to confirm a type 1 diabetes diagnosis?  Lets take a closer look! 

What Is C-Peptide?

C-peptide, similar to the hormone insulin is produced in the pancreas.  Both are released simultaneously from the pancreas where a compound called pro-insulin is split into two pieces.

As we are aware by now, Insulin is responsible for regulating the body’s glucose levels. Glucose, the body’s main source of energy, is a sugar that comes from foods.  After a meal, our bodies break down the foods we eat into glucose and other nutrients, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream to give us the energy we need in order to fuel our bodies. Glucose levels in the blood rise after a meal and trigger the pancreas to make insulin and release it into the blood, and when insulin is released, so is C-peptide.

Although both are released into the blood stream simultaneous, C-peptide has zero effect on our blood sugar levels. That being said, it is extremely useful as its used as a marker of insulin production, since the pancreas typically releases C-peptide and insulin in about equal amounts.

In a nut shell, high C-peptide levels are associated with increased insulin production, while low C-peptide levels indicate decreased insulin production.

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Jul

5

Celiac Disease And Type 1 Diabetes, Is There A Connection?

Celiac Disease And Type 1 Diabetes, Is There A Connection?So the other day I fielded a question about celiac disease and if there is a direct correlation between having celiac and type 1 diabetes.  A great question as more type 1 diabetics seem to be diagnosed with celiac disease after their type 1 diagnosis.  So what’s the deal with celiac disease?  What is it exactly and what can be done to help alleviate the symptoms?  Lets take a closer look!

 

What Is Celiac Disease:

Celiac disease is a digestive illness that occurs due to the ingestion of gluten. If you have celiac disease, your intestines cannot tolerate the presence of gliadin, which is a component of gluten. Gluten is present in wheat, barley, and rye. When a person with celiac disease eats foods with gluten, such as bread or cereal, their immune system inappropriately reacts to the ingested gluten and causes inflammation and injury to the small intestine. This results in symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and weight loss, as well as an inability to absorb important food nutrients.

Celiac Disease And Type 1 Diabetes:

So what’s the deal when it comes to type 1 diabetes and a celiac disease diagnosis?  While there doesn’t appear to be a direct link between type 2 diabetes and celiac that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to type 1. 

Per the celiac disease foundation:

“The link between type 1 diabetes mellitus and celiac disease was first established in the 1960s. The estimated prevalence of celiac disease in patients with type 1 diabetes is approximately 8%, and about 1% in the general population. Most patients with both conditions have asymptomatic celiac disease, or symptoms that may be confused for symptoms of their diabetes. For this reason, and the significantly higher prevalence rate of celiac disease in diabetes patients, many doctors recommend getting screened for celiac disease after a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, as well as celiac patients getting screened for type 1 diabetes.

A recent study in 2013, contributed to by Dr. Peter Green, a member of Celiac Disease Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board found that there were no standard uniform practices for screening type 1 diabetes patients for celiac disease. Of the facilities in the study that did screen for celiac disease, 60% of them only did so if there were symptoms present. The authors of the study suggested that a uniform protocol for screening should be in place, as well as a need for further education on the gluten-free diet in patients with type 1 diabetes for dietitians.”(1)

The unfortunate part of this is that once you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, such as type 1 diabetes, you become prone to developing others.  As for the signs, symptoms and treatment options, lets take a look.

Symptoms Of Celiac Disease:

Celiac disease symptoms typically involve the intestines and digestive system. They can also affect other parts of the body and children as well as adults tend to have a different set of symptoms.  Those symptoms are as follows:

Celiac Disease Symptoms in Children:

Children with celiac disease can feel tired and irritable. They may also be smaller than normal and have delayed puberty. Other common symptoms include:

  • weight loss
  • vomiting
  • abdominal bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • persistent diarrhea or constipation
  • pale, fatty, foul-smelling stools

How To Diagnose Celiac Disease In Adults

Adults with celiac disease may experience digestive symptoms. In most cases, however, symptoms also affect other areas of the body. These symptoms may include:

  • iron-deficiency anemia
  • joint pain and stiffness
  • weak, brittle bones
  • fatigue
  • seizures
  • skin disorders
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
  • pale sores inside the mouth
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • infertility and miscarriage

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Jul

1

The Dangers Of Sucralose, Why Is It Considered Diabetic Friendly?

Is Sucralose Safe For Diabetics?With all the negative media I’ve been reading lately in regards to sucralose, it started to make me think…can sucralose really be that bad for you?

As a type 1 diabetic, lets just say I had a lot of WOW moments when deciding to research what was going into my body. If you think sucralose is safe, you may want to think again. Why they consider and promote this as safe for the diabetic community disturbs me on a lot of levels, lets take a look why!

When it comes to sucralose and diabetes, it seems like a perfect match. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is nearly 600 times sweeter than the ordinary (table) sugar. It contains zero calories and hence, is popular as a zero-calorie sweetener. It is widely used by diet and weight conscious people all over the world. Sucralose is sold under the brand name Splenda, which is commonly available in the market. It is also better than other artificial sweeteners as it can be used in baking. Most of the artificial sweeteners cannot be used in baking due to their instability. But, this is not the case with sucralose as it remains stable even when exposed to heat for a longer time. This additional property makes it a favored choice among other artificial sweeteners including aspartame. Also, due to its extra sweet property, it is used for making a variety of sweets and desserts like jams, jellies, candies, sweet fillings, fruits juices, etc. However, you should be aware of the negative side effects that sucralose can pose.

Sucralose And Chlorine:

One possible side effect from Splenda unrelated to allergies is the possibility of chlorine poisoning. Sucralose is one of the few artificial sweeteners that claims to be made from sugar; chlorine atoms are added, that’s right Chlorine! Ingesting too much chlorine can lead to chlorine poisoning. In most cases, using Splenda won’t be harmful because the amount of chlorine is so small, but constant consumption of sucralose, compounded daily, year after year can reek some major havoc on your body.

Sucralose And Organ Damage?

Sucralose is also a chlorocarbon, a substance that is often responsible for causing long-term damage to internal organs like the liver and kidneys. The sugar substitute can cause the kidneys and liver to swell significantly, and cause a buildup of calcium in the kidneys. According to Dr. James Bowen, ingesting a small amount of Splenda — even a lesser amount that what it approved by the FDA — will shrink the thymus by 40 percent. The thymus is a glandular organ that is part of the immune system and produces T cells — a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight off diseases and infection.  You can read more about that right here
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