Tag: type 1 diabetes

Jun

23

What Is C-Peptide? How Does It Play A Factor In Type 1 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.

Continue Reading

Jun

20

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D3, Is There A Type 1 Connection?

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D3While you’re catching some rays this up coming summer, think about vitamin D. Sometimes its called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight, but what about vitamin D3? Is it as simple as getting out into the sun and voila, vitamin D3!  I mean, what is vitamin D3 anyway? How much vitamin D3 should I take?

Did you know that the human skin makes vitamin D3 when exposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun? According to the National Institute of Health, some of the best food source for vitamin D3 are fish products, such as: cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, and sardines.  With that being said, lets take a closer look at how vitamin D3 can benefit you.

Vitamin D3 Benefits:

Vitamin D3 promotes calcium’s absorption and functions for teen’s and children’s healthy teeth and bones, prevents loss of bone mass, and treats bone disorders.

It protects against adult and elderly muscle weakness and immune system issues, and lowers the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis is improved with vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 has been show to prevent/treat rickets, post menopausal osteoporosis. The vitamin also been show to help treat multiple sclerosis.  Something that I found extremely interesting is that they are still conducting studies (more research is definitely needed) seeing if there is a connection between lack of Vitamin D3 and the development of Type 1 diabetes.

Benefits of D3 in the elderly and fractures are still under investigation. An analysis, reported in August 2007 by the University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center, showed higher doses of vitamin D3 of between 700-800 IU’s per day combined with calcium help prevent hip fractures for institutionalized elderly. The study did not include elderly living independently in the community.

Vitamin D3 And Your Immune System:

Cells of the immune system, such as macrophages, which hunt the body for dangerous pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and cancer cells, have receptor sites for vitamin D3. Research suggest that D3 may play a role in stimulating these cells to be more active in their hunt for disease-causing microbes and act as an immunity booster especially during the winter months when sunlight is more scarce. 

Continue Reading

Jun

13

The Hormone Amylin, Can It Help With Weight Loss & Blood Sugar Regulation:

The Hormone Amylin And Type 1 Diabetes:So after haveing a couple of amazing conversations over on the Facebook page, a lovely young lady asked me if injecting insulin was the reason why she was gaining weight after her type 1 diagnosis.  

While I’ve heard this several times, is it the insulin that is causing the weight gain, or could it be something else?  Perhaps a hormone that as type 1 diabetics we also stop producing since our beta cells have died off.  

Have you ever heard of Amylin? Could the lack of this hormone be the reason why she is seeing an increase in her weight? What is amylin anyway, and is it something we should be concerned with if we are no longer producing it?

These are all great questions and honestly this was news to me as well as I’ve never heard of it.  So lets take a closer look at what this little hormone does and if it has a direct impact on our overall health as type 1 diabetics!

Function Of Amylin?

So what is amylin? Or as its also called, pramlintide, and how can it help us? Amylin is a peptide hormone (insulin’s partner in crime) which is released by the beta cells in response to ingesting food. This hormone, is also released at the same time as insulin, but in different quantities and its primary function is to help aid in the digestive process by helping to control the rate of digestion.

The complete range of functions of amylin is still not fully known, but its main function has been determined to be to help to slow the speed at which food is digested and glucose is released into the bloodstream after a meal. Essentially, amylin keeps too much glucose from appearing in the blood in the first place.

Amylin accomplishes this in a number of ways. It decreases appetite by promoting a feeling of fullness, hence reducing food intake. It slows gastric emptying and inhibits the secretion of digestive enzymes, all of which slow the appearance of glucose in the blood after a meal and it also slows the secretion of glucagon, which otherwise causes additional glucose release by the liver at mealtimes.

In short, the release of amylin minimizes glucose spikes that often occur after meals. I know, frustrating right!  I mean this disease is already hard enough, now this.  Fortunately for us, we do have another option to replace this important hormone that has also died off with our beta cells so go ahead and keep on reading.

 

Continue Reading

Jun

7

Hypoglycemia In Diabetics, Help Share The Warning Signs:

Hypoglycemia In Diabetics, Know The Warning Signs: As diabetics chances are we’ve all experienced those dreaded lows, but what are they? What can we do as type 1 diabetics to avoid them and more importantly, what can we do to prevent them?  Lets take a closer look and examine hypoglycemia!

The body’s most important fuel is glucose, a type of sugar. When you digest most foods, sugar is released, and that sugar ends up in your bloodstream as glucose.

Your body, particularly your brain and nervous system, needs a certain level of glucose to function — not too much, and not too little. If your blood glucose level isn’t right, your body will react by showing certain symptoms.

Hypoglycemia occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are abnormally low, and it’s a potentially serious condition. If you know someone who has diabetes, you may have heard them talk about “insulin shock,” which is the common name for a severe hypoglycemic reaction.

People with diabetes may experience hypoglycemia if they don’t eat enough or if they take too much insulin — the medicine most commonly used to treat diabetes with those who suffer from type 1.

Causes Of Hypoglycemia:

Most cases of hypoglycemia in adults happen in people with diabetes mellitus. Diabetes has two forms, type 1 (loss of all insulin production) and type 2 (inadequate insulin production due to resistance to the actions of insulin).

People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to control their glucose level; if they skip meals or have a decreased appetite without changing their insulin dose, BAM, you guessed it, bring on the low!

Insulin is also used to treat some people with type 2 diabetes. If a person with type 1 diabetes accidentally takes too much insulin, or a person with type 2 diabetes accidentally takes too much of their oral medications or insulin, he or she may develop hypoglycemia.

Even when a diabetic patient takes medications correctly, improper meals, odd mealtimes, or excessive exercise may result in hypoglycemia.

Classic Signs Of Hypoglycemia:

Symptoms of a low blood sugar will vary depending on the individual, but here is a list of most of the common ones that I’ve personally experienced.  It should be noted that low blood sugars can occur suddenly and the most common low sugar symptoms include:

  • blurry vision
  • rapid heartbeat
  • sudden mood changes
  • sudden nervousness
  • unexplained fatigue
  • pale skin
  • headache
  • hunger
  • shaking
  • sweating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • skin tingling
  • trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
  • loss of consciousness

If you have hypoglycemic unawareness, a condition in which you do not know your blood sugar level is dropping, your blood sugar can drop so quickly you may not even have warning symptoms. When this occurs, you can faint, experience a seizure, or even go into a coma.  I had the unfortunate experience of a seizure a couple of years ago, definitely not something that I want to deal with again.

Continue Reading

May

10

Ketoacidosis In Diabetics, Know The Warning Signs.

Ketoacidosis In Diabetics, Know The Warning Signs.As a type 1 diabetic I am quite familiar (unfortunately) with the signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis.  Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) results from lack of insulin associated with high blood levels and your body starts to produce high levels of blood acids called ketones.  Diabetic ketoacidosis is associated with significant disturbances of the body’s chemistry, which resolve with proper therapy.

This usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes, but DKA can develop in any person with diabetes.  Since type 1 diabetes typically starts before the age of 25, diabetic ketoacidosis is most common for this age group, but it may occur at any age with both males and females are equally affected. So is DKA something that we should be worried about? Lets take a closer look!

What Causes Ketoacidosis ?

So what’s the deal when our results come back showing ketones in urine? Circumstances arise for people with type 1 diabetes when the individual does not have enough insulin, a hormone the body uses to break down sugar (glucose) in the blood for energy. When glucose is not available to feed our cells due to high blood sugars, fat is broken down and used as fuel vs glucose and this is particularly not a good thing.  As fats are broken down, acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine.  In high levels, ketones are extremely poisonous.  This condition is known as ketoacidosis.

Blood glucose levels rise (usually higher than 300 mg/dL) because the liver makes glucose to try to combat the problem.  However, the cells cannot pull in that glucose without insulin.

DKA is often the first sign of type 1 diabetes in people who do not yet have other symptoms.  It can also occur in someone who has already been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  Infection, injury, a serious illness, missing doses of insulin, or surgery can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis in people with type 1 diabetes.

Although not common, people with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but it is rare and typically triggered by a severe illness.

What Are The Warning Signs Of DKA?

DKA usually develops slowly. But when vomiting occurs, this life-threatening condition can develop in a few hours. Early symptoms per the American Diabetes Association include the following:

  • Thirst or a very dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • High blood glucose (blood sugar) levels
  • High levels of ketones in the urine

Then, other symptoms appear:

  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
    (Vomiting can be caused by many illnesses, not just ketoacidosis. If vomiting continues for more than 2 hours, contact your health care provider.)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fruity odor on breath
  • A hard time paying attention, or confusion

Any of these symptoms should immediately be discussed with your doctor and they will let you know the next course of action, including treatment options or better yet, a trip to the ER may be in order especially if you can flush them from your system.  Speaking of treatment options, what can you expect?  Lets take a closer look.

Continue Reading

Apr

27

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

Continue Reading

Sep

28

Type 1 Diabetes & Pregnancy For Women

Type 1 Diabetes & Pregnancy For WomenI fielded a question on my Facebook page the other day in regards to pregnancy and type 1 diabetes.  First off, If you are reading this article, I want to personally congratulate you as well as your significant other!  As a stay at home dad of 4, being a parent is an amazing experience, something I wouldn’t trade for the world!  Its a exceptional time, even if you are up several times a night, listening to priceless cries, changing a dirty diaper or just watching your little one sleep peacefully out of pure enjoyment.  

With all the medical advancements today, being a parent should be something that everyone gets to experience and just because your diabetic, that shouldn’t deter you from starting your own family.  I’m sure you have plenty of pregnancy questions, so lets take a closer look at what you might experience as a type 1 and becoming pregnant! 

Pregnancy Information and Blood Sugar Levels:

We all know that having tight control of our blood sugars is vital in order to reduce risks of complications, but this is even more essential during the second and third trimesters to prevent fetal macrosomia (excessive growth of the baby) as well as a premature or complicated delivery. Throughout pregnancy, expectant moms with type 1 can see major changes in their insulin requirements, typically decreased needs in the first trimester followed by steadily increasing needs in the second and third trimesters. Through frequent reviews of self-monitoring data, our team will work with you to make the necessary adjustments and keep you on track.  Our lifestyle specialists will also coach you on nutrition, physical activity and weight issues, and prepare you for “the big day

Pregnancy And Exercise:

Exercise is important to your overall health and that doesn’t change once you are pregnant.  Include physical activity in your daily routine, but before you do, get your doctor or health care provider’s OK to exercise, then choose activities you enjoy.  Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity.  If you haven’t been active for a while, start slowly.  Check your blood sugar level before and after any activity, especially if you take insulin.  You might need to eat a snack or adjust your insulin pump’s basal rate before exercising to help prevent low blood sugar.

Type 1, Pregnancy And Food Choices:

Good food choices is vital for women who are pregnant with diabetes include those with fiber and whole grains, which not only pack more nutrients but may help control blood sugar levels and cravings for longer.

Some quality foods include leafy greens, low-fat fortified breads like ezekiel, beans, and fresh fruits like citrus (be careful here though). Even when carb choices are healthy, carb binging can cause rapid rises and falls in blood sugar levels, which can spell trouble for a developing baby.  Medline Plus suggests pregnant women with diabetes eat a steady level of carbohydrates throughout the day rather than eating a large amount of carbs at one sitting and few at the next.  In addition, they recommend limiting concentrated sweets, such as pastries and sugary drinks (a good idea anyway, even if your not pregnant).
Continue Reading

Aug

23

What Is HHNS And Why Are Type 2 Diabetics More At Risk?

What Is HHNS (Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome)?I fielded a question the other day on my Facebook page asking if I’ve ever head about a condition called HHNS or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome.  HHNS can happen to people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes that is not being controlled properly.  What is HHNS though, and is it really similar to DKA or is it just your typical run of the mill high blood sugar?  Lets take a closer look!

 

 

What Is HHNS?

People over the age of 65 with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS).  Even though it is possible, it is very rare in people with type 1 diabetes can develop HHNS. HHNS is a medical emergency caused by a very high blood sugar, typically over 600 mg/dL due to poor control. Your kidneys try to get rid of the extra blood sugar by putting more sugar into the urine. This makes you urinate more and you lose too much body fluid, causing dehydration.

As you lose fluids, your blood becomes thicker and your blood sugar level gets too high for the kidneys to be able to fix. With the high blood sugar and dehydration there is also an imbalance of minerals, especially sodium and potassium in the blood. The imbalance of fluids, glucose, and minerals in the body can lead to severe problems, such as brain swelling, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, coma, or organ failure. Without rapid treatment, HHNS can cause death.

Signs & Symptoms Of HHNS?

As mentioned earlier, HHS can happen to anyone, but is more common in older individuals who have type 2 diabetes. Symptoms may begin gradually and worsen over a few days or weeks. A high blood sugar level is a warning sign of HHS. I also found it very interesting that the symptoms are very similar to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) so its extremely important to be aware and if you suspect anything out of the ordinary, its imperative that you call 911 or get yourself into your doctors office.

Symptoms include:

  • excessive thirst
  • high urine output
  • dry mouth
  • weakness
  • sleepiness
  • fever
  • warm skin that doesn’t perspire
  • nausea, vomiting
  • weight loss
  • leg cramps
  • vision loss
  • speech impairment
  • loss of muscle function
  • confusion
  • hallucinations

Continue Reading

Jun

1

Metformin: Side Effects, Type 2 Diabetes

Metformin: Side Effects, Type 2 Diabetes

So what’s the deal when it comes to metformin?  We are all aware of the great job it does when it comes to helping type 2 diabetics better control their blood sugars and studies are even beginning to show that it can actually help you live longer compared to those without the disease, but what about the negative side effects?  We were discussing on my Facebook page the other day about the long term side effects, so lets take a closer look!

 

What Is Metformin?

So what does metformin actually do?

Metformin is used alone or with other medications, including insulin, to treat type 2 diabetes (just to recap, a condition in which the body does not use insulin normally and, therefore, cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood). Metformin is in a class of drugs called biguanides. It helps to control the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. It decreases the amount of glucose you absorb from your food and the amount of glucose made by your liver.

Metformin also increases your body’s response to insulin, a natural hormone that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. I’m also beginning to see where metformin is used in addition to insulin to treat type 1 diabetes (again to recap, a condition in which the body does not produce insulin and therefore cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood) and fellow type 1 diabetics are actually gaining better control when introducing metformin to their regular treatment plan.

Metformin has been show to be a great/effective treatment option for helping control ones blood sugar, but what about the associated side effects that some experience?  Lets continue reading.

Metformin And Lactic Acidosis:

Although rare, lactic acidosis is potentially the most serious of the side effects. The uptake of lactate by the liver is effected in a negative way. If the kidneys do not process the excess lactate the blood of the patient will acidify which can lead to a whole slew of problems. Most of which are similar to the feeling one gets after an intense workout. For example: anxiety, hyperventilation, irregular heart rate nausea and in some cases vomiting. This is the reason that it is generally only prescribed to people with a healthy kidney function. This side effect is potentially lethal and when you experience any of the symptoms you should immediately contact your doctor or a local hospital.

Metformin And Hypoglycemia:

Since the primary role is to reduce high levels of blood sugar, it has the potential to lower glucose below what is considered the normal levels. With minimal amounts of glucose in the bloodstream weakness, dizziness, shaking and sweating are all signs of low blood sugar. In a situation in which a person feels some or all these symptoms, they must raise the blood sugar immediately to avoid complications such as coma. Therefore, individual need to always have available hard candy or natural juice or glucose tabs to counter this side effect.
Continue Reading

Feb

20

What Are the Health Benefits of Alfalfa Sprouts?

What Are the Health Benefits of Alfalfa Sprouts?Alfalfa benefits us in so many ways.  These sprouts make a great addition to many delicious dishes and also has much medicinal value and helps prevent and manage a wide variety of illnesses.  They are also known to help one maintain their skin quality, age and overall health very effectively.  Let us now look at what Alfalfa is, how it benefits us, and how they help us prevent or manage certain diseases, so lets take a closer look!

Alfalfa And Digestion:

It’s effective in eliminating digestive problems that include nausea, stomach ulcers, gastritis and indigestion.  Alfalfa can also help improve your appetite.  If you suffer from digestive conditions such as diverticular disease or chronic constipation, sprouts may help to ease some of your symptoms.  A serving of alfalfa sprouts contains roughly one gram of fiber, which is three percent of an average adult’s daily need.  Try including sprouts in your daily diet to improve your digestive regularity.
 

Sprouts And Cholesterol:

There is convincing evidence that alfalfa lowers cholesterol and improves the cholesterol panel (HDL vs. LDL).  Several studies confirm that alfalfa supplementation reduced blood cholesterol levels, particularly for people suffering from a type of high cholesterol known as type II hyperlipoproteinemia.  Fibers and chemicals in alfalfa stick to cholesterol, so that the cholesterol cannot stay in the blood and hence cannot be deposited on blood vessel walls. Alfalfa also lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while leaving good cholesterol (HDL) alone.

Continue Reading