Tag: type 1

Apr

13

Insulin Basics: What Is Insulin & Stop With Cinnamon Claims.

Insulin Basics: What Is Insulin?

Over the past couple of days, we’ve been discussing several diabetes related topics but what about one of the most important ones, especially when it comes to keeping us type 1 diabetics alive. No I’m not talking about okra, some exotic fruit, cinnamon, or essential oil I’m talking about insulin! 

Before we go there though, for those of you who make these claims (especially about okra and cinnamon) in regards to treating or as many of you like to say “cure” type 1 diabetes, you really need to stop. Over the past year I’ve been getting bombarded with sales pitches and I’m honestly tired of it. Cinnamon is a great antioxidant and comes with some fantastic health benefits but when it comes to type 1 diabetes, don’t you think if it was that easy, it would be mainstream information and the millions of us that battle with this disease day in and day out would avoid the BS that we deal with daily?  

Or perhaps the miracle lies within the specially formulated product you are trying to sell me? Its utterly ridiculous, and the fact that you know nothing about the disease itself or how it works, you need to take a step back and take your products with you.

I mean, you realize that you produce insulin naturally, its a normal human bodily function.  What makes you think that okra, cinnamon, or your essential oil is going to magically wake up my dead beta cells (these are the cells that actually produce insulin, feel free to google, its a fascinating read).  Perhaps your cinnamon, shake or oil defies all science and type 1 diabetes research?  

Or perhaps you have magic okra that you purchased from the same person who sold Jack his beanstalk beans? Perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist in your potent concoction? Either way you need to stop before you seriously put someone in a very bad predicament.

Now I can only talk about type 1 diabetes as this is what I  eat, breath and live with daily. With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientists are not sure why, but the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. This attack is known as autoimmune disease.

Insulin is vital for survival because without it, simply put, life would cease to exist (including yours).  So what is insulin and why is it so important for type 1 diabetics, lets take a look!

What Is Insulin?

So the most basic question, what is insulin? When you digest food, your body changes most of the food you eat into glucose (a form of sugar). Insulin allows this glucose to enter all the cells of your body and be used as energy. When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin (zero in the case of type 1, unless your in your honeymoon phase) or can’t use it properly, so the glucose builds up in your blood instead of moving into the cells. Too much glucose in the blood can lead to serious health problems.

All people who have type 1 and some people who have type 2 diabetes need to take insulin to help control their blood sugar levels. The goal is to keep your blood sugar level in a normal range as much as possible so you’ll stay healthy. Insulin can’t be taken by mouth. It is usually taken with injections (shots). It can also be taken with an pre filled syringe or an insulin pump.

Types Of Insulin:

Manufactured insulin comes in several types that differ in the way in which they act inside the body. Each type differs in three ways:

  • Onset: The length of time after injection that the insulin begins to work
  • Peak: the length of time after injection that the insulin takes to reach its maximum effectiveness
  • Duration: the length of time in which it remains effective

The four basic types and their respective onset, peak and duration are as follows:

  • Rapid Acting: begins to work after 15 minutes, peaks in 30 to 90 minutes, and has a duration of three to four hours.
  • Short Acting: begins to work in 30 to 60 minutes, peaks in two to three hours, and has a duration of three to six hours.
  • Intermediate Acting: begins to work in 90 minutes to six hours, peaks in four to 14 hours, and has a duration of up to 24 hours.
  • Long Acting: begins to work in six to 14 hours and remains effective for 24 to 36 hours.

Continue Reading

Mar

13

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, stroke, provide more stable blood sugar readings, and help lower blood pressure ~ 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.

Continue Reading

Feb

28

The Cost Of Fast Acting Insulin, Are There Cheaper Alternatives?

Fast Acting Insulin Side Effects As diabetics, we are all well aware of fast acting insulin and the vital role it plays when it comes to keeping us alive and upright, but for those newly diagnosed diabetics (type 1 and type 2), Insulin is secreted by the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, a small organ between the stomach and liver. This hormone regulates the sugar levels in the human body. When the pancreas stops secreting insulin, it results in hyperglycemia which is a common and lethal symptom of diabetes.

There are several rapid acting insulin brands, and  as a type 1 diabetic, I am extremely reliant upon fast acting insulin, Novolog in particular. When discussing a topic over on The Organic Diabetic Facebook page, we got onto the subject of all the negative side effects associated with insulin and blood sugar regulation.  So for all you newly diagnosed type 1’s, lets take a peek at some of the most dangerous side effects associated with fast acting insulin.  Also, what drives the cost of insulin and are there programs to help defer the costs?  Lets take a closer look! 

Diabetes And Insulin:

Less common, but potentially more serious, is generalized allergy to fast acting insulin, which may cause rash (including pruritus) over the whole body, shortness of breath, wheezing, reduction in blood pressure, rapid pulse, or sweating. Severe cases of generalized allergy, including anaphylactic reaction, may be life threatening. Localized reactions and generalized myalgias have been reported with the use of cresol as an injectable excipient (preservative to keep insulin potent).

Fast Acting And Hyperglycemia:

Hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, or diabetic coma may develop if the patient takes less fast acting insulin than needed to control blood glucose levels. This could be due to insulin demand during illness or infection, neglect of diet, omission or improper administration of prescribed fast acting insulin doses.

A developing ketoacidosis will be revealed by urine tests which show large amounts of sugar and acetone. The symptoms of polydipsia, polyurea, loss of appetite, fatigue, dry skin and deep and rapid breathing come on gradually, usually over a period of some hours or days. Severe sustained hyperglycemia may result in diabetic coma or death.

Fast Acting Insulin And Lipodystrophy

Long-term use of fast acting insulin, can cause lipodystrophy at the site of repeated insulin injections or infusion. Lipodystrophy includes lipohypertrophy (thickening of adipose tissue) and lipoatrophy (thinning of adipose tissue), and may affect insulin absorption. Its extremely important to rotate insulin injection or infusion sites within the same region to reduce the risk of lipodystrophy.
Continue Reading

Sep

6

Type 1 Eating Disorders, What Is Diabulimia?

Type 1 Eating Disorders, What Is Diabulimia?Honestly, when it comes to dealing with type 1 diabetes, eating disorders is not the first thing that comes to mind. As a type 1 diabetic, I was shocked when I first heard about the eating disorder (diabulimia) and its association with type 1 diabetics.

Most people are familiar with the more widely known eating disorders anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and even binge eating disorder, but few recognize the link between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and eating disorders (and yes, I was one of those people).

Curious about what this eating disorder was all about, and thanks to Amy (a frequent visitor of the website) and her sharing her empowering story about her personal battle with diabulimia, I decided to do a little research, so lets take a closer look!

Diabulimia Symptoms:

Although not yet officially recognized as a medical condition, diabulimia is nevertheless a serious and emerging problem.  Experts predict that as many as one-third of young female diabetics could be suffering as a result of this condition.  Diabulimia is an eating disorder in which people with type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need for the purpose of weight loss.  When insulin is omitted, calories are purged through the loss of glucose in the urine.  Individuals with diabulimia manipulate insulin as an inappropriate behavior to prevent weight gain.

How Does Diabulimia Effect The Body:

The side effects of manipulating and omitting insulin from the body can be serious and dangerous.

Blood sugar levels can surge and reach an unhealthy level, leading to fatigue, dehydration and eventually wearing of the muscle tissue. Over a long-term, the symptoms are the same as badly managed diabetes.  Although diabulimia is not a new condition, medical and mental health professionals are becoming more aware of the symptoms of diabulimia.  The following are a few of the warning signs that an individual with diabetes may also be developing an eating disorder:

  • Changes in eating habits (e.g., eating more but still losing weight)
    Rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • Poor metabolic control despite the appearance of compliance
  • Low self-esteem or preoccupation with body image, weight or food intake
  • Frequent urination, excessive thirst or high blood sugar levels
  • Low energy, fatigue, shakiness, irritability, confusion, anxiety or fainting
  • Purging behaviors (e.g., excessive exercise or the use of laxatives)
  • Discomfort with eating or taking insulin in front of other people
  • Hoarding food
  • Unwillingness to follow through with medical appointments
  • Recurrent diabetic ketoacidosis

Continue Reading

May

20

Agave Nectar – Safe for Your Blood Sugar?

Agave Nectar - Safe for Your Blood Sugar?Last week I fielded a question on my Facebook page on the pro’s and con’s of artificial sweeteners and a product was brought up that I was not all to familiar with, that product, agave nectar. As a type 1 diabetic and not a fan of any artificial sweetener (hello sucralose), I decided to take a look and see what this “natural” alternative is all about.

Agave nectar is a natural sweetener, valued as a vegan alternative to honey and touted for its low glycemic index. Foods with a higher glycemic index (GI) tend to trigger a greater surge in blood sugar and insulin—the hormone that helps the sugar get into cells—just after eating. (These spikes can be particularly problematic for those with diabetes. High-GI foods also tend to make you hungry again sooner because they’re digested quickly.)

According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, agave’s GI value is about five times lower than table sugar’s. Currently no studies compare how, relative to other sugars, agave may affect blood-sugar control, but based on the buzz agave’s been generating, we’ll likely see research in the near future.

Agave Nectar Glycemic Values By Comparison:

Organic Agave Nectar 27
Fructose (fruit sugar) 32
Lactose (milk sugar) 65
Honey 83
High fructose corn syrup 89
Sucrose (sugar) 92
Glucose 137
Glucose tablets 146
Maltodextrin 150
Maltose 150

Health Benefits Of Agave Nectar:

Agave nectar contains saponins and fructans. According to Dr. Sahelian, saponins, which are found on quinoa and many plant roots, including ginseng, have anti-inflammatory and immune system-boosting properties, including antimicrobial capability. In fact, the Aztecs used agave syrup to treat wounds because of its antibacterial properties. Inulin is a type of fructan or fiber that has many health benefits. Studies suggest that inulin can be effective in weight loss because of its low impact on blood sugar and its ability to increase satiety and decrease appetite. Inulin is also associated with lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of certain cancers, and increasing the absorption of nutrients, such as isoflavones, calcium and magnesium. Inulin can also be found in some varieties of yogurt.

Continue Reading

Mar

3

Benefits Of Spinach For Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics

Benefits Of Spinach ~ Type 2 DiabetesThe American Diabetes Association denotes spinach as a superfood for type 1 and type 2 diabetics. Low in calories and high in vitamins, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. One cup of the leafy green vegetable contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement. It is a good, very good or excellent source of more than 20 different measurable nutrients, including dietary fiber, calcium and protein. And yet, 1 cup has only 40 calories and is an excellent choice for nutrition without high calories.

Spinach and Antioxidants:

Lutein and zeaxanthin are potent antioxidants and have a vital role in protecting the macula and the retina in general. Research suggests that this amazing superfood can play a vital role in prevention of age related eye problems such as macular degeneration. Spinach is an excellent source of many other antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. Medical science knows that oxidative stress is a key contributor to numerous health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and an overall decrease in longevity.

Continue Reading

Feb

11

Health Benefits Of Lentils!

Health Benefits Of Lentils!Let me just start out by saying that I love lentils and as a fellow type 1 diabetic, so should you!  Add these little gems to your meals and increase your fiber and protein intake. Lentils are inexpensive, easy to prepare and contain many vitamins and minerals.  Eat the low-fat food and help prevent chronic conditions, such as heart disease.  Serve them as a main meal or as a side dish and satisfy your hunger while providing your body with lasting energy.

 

Lentils And Dietary Fiber:

Lentils are a high-fiber food.  One cup of plain and cooked provides 230 calories and just under 40 grams of complex carbohydrates, of which 15.6 grams are fiber, an amount equivalent to 62 percent of the daily value for fiber.  While lentils contain significant amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, they’re especially rich in the soluble type.  Soluble fiber dissolves into a substance that binds to cholesterol and other fatty acids and promotes their excretion through waste.  Soluble fiber also slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream to promote normal blood glucose levels.  A 2009 analysis of several related studies published in the journal “Diabetologia,” found that lentils and other legumes improve blood glucose management in diabetics.
Continue Reading

Feb

8

Health Benefits Of Tempeh!

Health Benefits Of TempehThe other day, someone on my Facebook page posed a question to me about tempeh (pronounced “temp-a”).  Honestly I didn’t know much about the product, but always heard the health benefits of tempeh are plentiful.  As opposed to many other soy foods tempeh is made from whole soybeans, and possesses all the health benefits of soybeans.  Also the tempeh fermentation changes the properties of the soybeans.  So lets take a closer look at this nutritional powerhouse! 

 

Tempeh And Protein:

Looking to add protein to your diet, then tempeh could be the perfect choice!  Each 1-cup serving of tempeh contains 31 grams of protein, which is 55 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 67 percent for women, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Tempeh contains high-quality complete protein and provides all the amino acids you must obtain from your diet.  Its protein content helps you maintain muscle tissue, and also make enzymes your cells need to function.  Tempeh is also easily absorbed and utilized as protein from animal sources, such as eggs or meat, so it makes a particularly welcome addition to vegetarian and vegan diets.

Tempeh & Blood Sugars:

The protein source is excellent for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics, who tend to have problems with animal sources of protein.  Like the majority of protein sources, the protein and fiber content in tempeh can also help in regards to ones blood sugar by keeping levels under control by preventing rapid spikes in one’s glucose.  Why is this? Simply stated, the 31 whopping grams of protein in just one cup!  

Just make sure your looking at the fermented tempeh vs non-fermented as fermented soy stops the effect of phytic acid and increases the availability of isoflavones. The fermentation also creates the probiotics, the “good” bacteria the body is absolutely dependent on, such as lactobacilli that increase the quantity, availability, digestibility and assimilation of nutrients in the body.

Many studies have shown traditionally fermented soy, which is the form that is very popular in many Asian cultures-aids in preventing and reducing a variety of diseases including certain forms of heart disease.

I will definitely be checking this out on my next trip to the supermarket!

Tempeh And Probiotics:

Tempeh is full of healthy probiotics or “good bacteria” which you would typically associate with yogurt because it’s fermented.  The enzymes produced by tempeh’s fermentation process helps your body fight bad bacteria, better absorb important nutrients like iron, and aid in the digestive process.  Not only does tempeh’s fermentation process produce natural antibiotic agents, but it leaves desirable soy isoflavones intact.  Soy isoflavones have many health benefits such as strengthening bones, easing menopausal symptoms, and reducing risk of coronary heart disease and some cancers.
Continue Reading

Oct

13

STEVIA: Uses, Side Effects, Warnings

STEVIA: Uses, Side Effects, WarningsTurn on the news, bring up internet or just patrol through your local paper (actually, do people still read newspapers?) and you will certainly come across an article pertaining to sucralose and stevia. There is a lot of negative media around sucralose lately but what about Stevia? Is Stevia any safer? As a type 1 diabetic, I feel its important to know, so lets take a look!

Stevia, a plant native to Paraguay, has been used for more than 200 years to sweeten foods and beverages. Today, manufacturers extract the sweet-tasting compound rebiana from the leaves and process it so it can be added to foods and beverages or made into a powder for home use. The FDA approved this as an herbal supplement safe for use in foods and beverages late in 2008. Companies that use stevia steep the leaves and extract the rebiana. The plant is reported to be 10 to 15 times sweeter than sugar, but once the extracts are refined, they can be 200 to 300 times sweeter. This requires the rebiana to be used in extremely small amounts. Therefore, it must be mixed with maltodextrin or erythritol as a carrier to make the sweetener into a powder or other usable form.

Potential Dangers of Stevia:

Scientists studying the potential toxicology and toxicity of stevia have several main concerns, but it should be noted that more research needs to be done: The top three noted side effects of stevia are as follows:

  1. Energy Metabolism: Large amounts of stevioside can potentially interfere with absorption of carbohydrates in animals. It can further disrupt the metabolizing/conversion of food into energy.
  2. Cancer: Steviol has successfully been converted into a mutagenic compound, which may promote cancer by causing genetic mutation of a cell’s DNA. The catch? Scientists have yet to confirm that this can/will happen in human cells.
  3. Reproductive problems: European scientists cite potential adverse side effects to the male reproductive system when consuming stevia. When fed high doses of stevioside for nearly two years, sperm production in male rats was noticeably reduced and the weight of seminal vesicles declined. Likewise, when female hamsters were fed large amounts of a stevioside derivative called steviol, their offspring were found to be fewer and smaller. Again, it should be noted that this has been neither tested nor proven in humans.

Continue Reading

Sep

22

What Are Diabetic Blisters

What Are Diabetic BlistersAs a type 1 diabetic for the past 9 years, I’m always trying to stay on top of the latest news and trends when it comes to diabetes complications.  Did you know that every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone loses a lower limb as a result of diabetes. That’s because diabetes and wounds are a dangerous combination.

If you have diabetes, there’s no such thing as a minor wound to the foot — even small blisters or foot sores can turn into an ulcer that, if not properly treated, can lead to amputation. The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for those who don’t have the disease.

There is no single known cause for diabetic blisters. Many of those who have diabetic blisters may also tend to suffer from neuropathy and nephropathy. Some researchers think that a decreased ability to sustain an injury may play a role. Also in people with heart failure, the swelling that can result from that condition may be enough to cause the blisters. Many people who develop the diabetic blisters have had diabetes for many years or have several complications from the disease.

What Is A Diabetic Blister:

Symptoms of diabetic blisters include intense itching and burning sensation of the skin. When the mucous membranes of the mouth are affected, it can cause pain, burning, peeling away of affected inner lining tissues, and sensitivity to acidic foods. Eating can be difficult, and involvement in the deeper areas of the throat can cause coughing. Involvement of the inner nose can cause nosebleeds. The disease typically worsens (exacerbates) and improves (remits) over time.

Treatment For Blisters:

In many cases, the blisters heal by themselves, within two to four weeks, and no treatment is needed other than keeping them clean.

On occasion, though, the blisters may burst. If this happens, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment or something to help dry the blister. If the blister becomes infected or develops an ulcer, it will be treated more like a wound. Antibiotics may be used. In very severe cases, skin may need to be removed to help the healing process.

Continue Reading