Tag: alcohol



Diabetes, Hypoglycemia Unawareness & Low Blood Sugar. Know The Signs

HypoglycemiaSo we’ve all dealt with the symptoms, shaky, lethargic, confused, sweaty and the list goes on and on but what happens when we don’t realize or notice these symptoms? People who don’t have diabetes start to feel hypoglycemic when their blood glucose reaches 50- 55 mg/dl.  In people who have diabetes, hypoglycemia can’t really be defined as a specific blood glucose level, because the point at which they feel “low” changes, depending on their usual BG level.

So, individuals who are not properly controlled can “feel low” at normal or high BG levels, and individuals whose blood glucose runs consistently in the low-normal range and have frequent hypoglycemia may not “feel low” until their BG falls to a dangerously low level.  This has happened to me once and it was not fun.  So lets take a look at what hypoglycemia unawareness is and what we can do prevent it!

Hypoglycemia Unawareness Causes:

Hypoglycemia unawareness is actually quite common. It happens to me and that’s why I am so grateful for my dexcom. Studies show that 17 percent of us with Type 1 diabetes suffer from some sort of hypoglycemia unawareness.  Symptoms of a low blood sugar become less obvious after having diabetes for several years because repeated lows tend to impair the body’s release of stress hormones.  As we are probably aware at this point, or maybe not if your newly diagnosed, the major counter-regulatory hormone that causes glucose to be released by the liver to raise the blood sugar is glucagon, but is reduced in most people who have Type 1 diabetes within the first two to ten years after diagnosis.

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of an unacknowledged low because the mind becomes less capable of recognizing what’s happening, the liver is blocked from creating glucose needed to raise the blood sugar, and free fatty acid (the backup to glucose for fuel) release is also blocked. These factors make symptoms milder and harder to recognize and personally after a couple trips to the ER due to severe low blood sugars…lets just say I’m not a fan of alcohol any longer.

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Diabetes And Hypertension, Know The Signs

Diabetes And Hypertension, Know The SignsThe other day I was asked a question if diabetics were more susceptible to developing high blood pressure? After doing a some research, it appears that diabetes and hypertension frequently occur together and there seems to be a direct correlation between the two.  

Certain factors such as obesity, inflammation, oxidative stress, even insulin resistance are thought to be the common causes, but recent advances have shed new light as to what causes high blood pressure and what should be done to make it more manageable.

Physical activity plays an important protective role in the two diseases and knowing the common causes and disease mechanisms allows for a more effective and proactive approach in managing both diabetes as well as high blood pressure, so lets take a closer look!

What Causes Hypertension?

High blood pressure that has no known cause is termed primary hypertension (or essential hypertension). This is more common than secondary hypertension, which has an identified cause such as chronic kidney disease.

Primary hypertension is unlikely to have a specific cause but multiple factors, including blood plasma volume and activity of the renin-angiotensin system, the hormonal regulator of blood volume and pressure – and primary hypertension is affected by environmental factors.

Secondary hypertension has specific causes – that is, it is secondary to another problem. One example, thought to be the most common, is primary aldosteronism, a hormone disorder causing an imbalance between potassium and sodium levels.

Common reversible causes are things such as excessive intake of alcohol and use of oral contraceptives, which can cause a slight rise in blood pressure.  Also, hormone therapy for menopause (while it might be slight) has also been shown to raise blood pressure, so make it appoint to chat with your doctor.

Additional examples also include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Pheochromocytoma (a cancer)
  • Cushings syndrome (which can be caused by use of corticosteroid drugs)
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (disorder of the adrenal glands, which secrete the hormone cortisol)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)

Symptoms Of Hypertension:

Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels, which can be kind of scary.

A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.

Ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years starting at age 18. If you’re age 40 or older, or you’re age 18-39 with a high risk of high blood pressure, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every year. Blood pressure generally should be checked in both arms to determine if there is a difference.

Hypertension, What Should Your BP Be?

Blood pressure readings vary, but most people with diabetes should have a reading of no more than 140/80. The first, or top, number is the systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when your heartbeats and fills the arteries with blood. The second, or bottom, number is the diastolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when your heart rests between beats, filling itself with blood for the next contraction.

When it comes to preventing diabetes complications, normal blood pressure is as important as good control of your blood sugar levels.

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What Is GERD? Recognize The Signs And Symptoms

What Is GERD?Last week I fielded a question on my Facebook page about gastroesphageal reflux (aka GERD) and if there was a connection related to type 1 diabetes.  Great questions but first off, what is GERD?  Well, in a nutshell, acid reflux occurs when the stomach contents reflux or back up into the esophagus and/or mouth.  I’m sure we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives.  That burning sensation in the middle of our chest or perhaps that sour taste in our mouth after eating certain meals that just don’t agree with us.  Reflux is a normal process and fortunately most episodes are brief and do not cause bothersome symptoms or complications, but what can we do to avoid those awful flair ups?  Lets take a closer look! 

Severe GERD Symptoms:

The symptoms of GERD may include persistent heartburn, acid regurgitation, and nausea. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest that can be sever enough to mimic the pain of a heart attack, hoarseness in the morning, or trouble swallowing. Some people may also feel like they have food stuck in their throat or like they are choking. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.

Avoiding GERD Flair Ups:

According to Joslin Diabetes Center, there are a handful of foods that you may want to limit or avoid all together to limit flair ups:

  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Fatty Foods
  • Mint
  • Alcohol
  • Citrus
  • Tomatoes
  • Spicy Foods

Joslin also recommends that people living with GERD should try their best not to eat three hours prior to bedtime. This may be difficult when living with diabetes if you typically need a snack to hold your blood sugar overnight.

Adjusting your diabetes medication with your healthcare practitioner may help to decrease low blood sugar and the amount of foods you need to consume prior to bed. If you do need a snack, make it appoint to avoid those particular foods that can cause flair ups.

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Dangers Of Hand Sanitizer

Dangers Of Hand Sanitizer As most of you already know, I’m a  stay at home dad with 4 little ones, and let me just say that hand sanitizer is a staple in just about every room and vehicle in our household! Not only that, I was always using hand sanitizer to “clean” my hands and body before attaching a new insulin pump, CGM or just for checking my blood sugars.

Watching the news the other night I was shocked about what I was watching and how dangerous hand sanitizer really was and I was so relieved that I switched to a toxic free sanitizer almost two years ago now.  Are you aware of how dangerous hand sanitizer really is?  Lets take a closer look!

Using hand sanitizer(s) is an effective way of keeping germs and other harmful pathogens from affecting the body and causing infections or diseases. There are a number means through which we can sterilize and deter the spread of disease-causing germs. One such popular method is the use of hand sanitizer is designed to destroy the infestation of these harmful pathogens. Owing to the recent outbreak of swine flu, hand sanitizers have gained quite a wide acclaim across the globe. Since most of the sanitizers are alcohol based, they are quite effective in clearing out the germs and keeping a number of infectious diseases away from the body. However, most of the companies vouch that nothing can replace soap and water. Sanitizers are usually used during the unavailability of soap and water, as it is quite handy and can be carried around.

Types Of Personal Hand Sanitizer:

Not all hand sanitizers are created alike. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers kill more types of germs than most of the other forms on the market. Other active ingredients include triclosan and benzalkonium chloride, but bacteria can develop resistance to these ingredients. In general, alcohol has more reliable disinfectant properties than other antibacterial ingredients. It kills germs by structurally destroying them rather than by poisoning them, a similar effect to that of hand washing.

Additional Uses For Hand Sanitizer:

Here are some additional uses for hand sanitizer. I found some of these rather shocking and is one of the reasons why I personally go with an organic brand of hand sanitizer that is 100% chemical free and toxic free.
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