Hypoglycemia is the clinical syndrome that results from low blood sugar. The symptoms of hypoglycemia can vary from person to person, as can the severity as I’ve personally dealt with in the past when my severe low was accompanied with a seizure.
This was the first time this as ever happened to me since being diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic over 11 years ago now. While I don’t remember the seizure itself, lets just say we made it a memorable experience for the community as it happened at my sons fall soccer tournament. So what is a hypoglycemic seizure and what are the warning signs of having a seizure? Lets take a closer look!
What Is A Hypoglycemic Seizure:
So what causes a seizure? A hypoglycemic seizure may be triggered by injecting too much insulin, or failing to eat soon enough after using a fast acting insulin (exactly what happened to me); excessive use of alcohol, skipping meals,or exercising vigorously without adjusting insulin dosages or eating properly.
A seizure may also be triggered by oral diabetes medications that cause the pancreas to produce more insulin. Whatever the cause of the seizure, it needs to be treated as a medical emergency. To identify the onset of ahypoglycemic seizure,look for the following warning signs of seizures and symptoms:
- Feeling faint or too sleepy
- Feeling cold or clammy
- Unexplained emotional behaviors
- Uncontrollable crying
- Unaware of surroundings
- Changes in vision
- Loss of ability to speak clearly
- Loss of muscle control
- Muscle weakness
The 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.
So I was chatting with a friend the other day and she asked me if I have ever heard of…”forbidden rice“.
At first I thought she was joking, but as I was chuckling she proceeded to ask if I have ever tried it at home cooking for the kids or if I ever incorporated it into my diet.
Needless to say I haven’t, and as she proceeded to tell me that I absolutely need to buy some, I thought I would do a little more research to see what this “forbidden rice” was all about, so lets take a closer look!
What Is Forbidden Rice?
Forbidden rice is nothing more than black rice, and to be completely honest with you, I never even knew black rice was a thing. When it came to rice I was only familiar with a few…White, Aborio, Jasmine, Wild and Brown to be specific.
What separates black rice from the pack? Well, like brown rice, black rice is unpolished, meaning that the hull of the grain (which is also a fantastic source of insoluble fiber) is still intact. Black rice provides a whopping 3 grams of fiber per half of scoop.
Even better than the high fiber content, only black rice contains anthocyanins, the same antioxidant compounds that make blueberries and blackberries such valuable additions to our diets. These compounds are what turn the rice a deep purple as it cooks.
Black Rice And Heart Health:
As diabetics we all know how important it is to eat a healthy lifestyle and even incorporate exercise to not only help our blood sugars, but to keep our heart healthy and in peak performance.
Per the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US for both men and women, accounting for one in every four deaths.
So how does black rice help in this area?
Well, per a study by the Journal of Nutrition:
Black rice has been show to decrease atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries. When this plaque builds up, it causes the arteries to harden and become blocked.
It’s a major risk factor for both heart attack and stroke. In this particular study, male rabbits were injected with high levels of cholesterol in order to cause this plaque formation. They were then divided into five groups, four of which were fed high cholesterol diets, one without rice and the others with various types of rice, including black.
The plaque was 50% lower in rabbits fed black rice (or red rice) than in those fed with white rice. Researchers conclude that the antioxidants in black rice may play a role in reducing atherosclerosis.
You can read about the entire study here
Did you know that your body produces its very own fat burning hormone? A wonderful little hormone called leptin! Yes that’s correct, you do not need to be buying these “fat burning supplements” (which are highly processed and ironically enough, never seem to work) to lose those couple of pounds that you’ve been wanting to.
As diabetics we all know how vitally important it is to maintain a proper weight to ward off potential complications as well as help maintain proper blood sugar levels.
So lets take a look at leptin and see how you can increase levels in your very own body and start burning fat!
So what is leptin?
Leptin, also referred to as the hunger hormone, is a protein that performs a major part in the human body. This hormone oversees consumption of energy as well as expenditure of it. It plays an important role in metabolism and appetite.
The creation of leptin comes from our fat cells or adipose tissue. There’s a primary link between leptin levels and appetite. If leptin levels are higher, you feel less hunger. Probably the most interesting aspect about this hormone that quite a few individuals are not aware of is that when your exercising and dieting to shed those extra pounds, it actually has adverse effect and actually lowers the amount of leptin that we carry around. Here is an interesting study done by the NIH, you can read about it by clicking here.
Leptin And Obesity:
An individual whose hypothalamus (area of the brain that regulates our appetite) is responding appropriately has a built-in check against excessive weight gain, the leptin induced feeling of satiety.
However, if a person is obese, their hypothalamus gland can become resistant to the effects of leptin. As they accumulate more fat cells, the fat cells produce ever greater amounts of leptin, all the while making a hypothalamus that weekly responds to the hormone. Why does this happen?
How Leptin Works:
Leptin is secreted by fat cells and is received by receptors in the hypothalamus. If leptin is absent, feeding is uncontrolled and relentless. In normally healthy people, if leptin is present and receptors are sensitive, feeding is inhibited. More body fat means less food is required, and so leptin is secreted to inhibit feeding and the accumulation of excess adipose tissue. Overweight people generally have higher circulating leptin, while leaner people have lower levels. A severe caloric deficit will result in reduced leptin secretion – this is your body’s way of getting you to eat when you need energy. It’s the hunger hormone. Overfeeding temporarily boosts leptin, reducing hunger.
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.
The 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.
So here we are with another artificial sweetener hitting the market, swerve sweetener! Let me first start out by saying the words “all natural” just flat out scare me and here’s why. Unfortunately, in most cases, its a marketing ploy and most companies just throw in the term “all natural” because there is no laws, or regulations that prevent them from doing so. I mean lets face it, certain street drugs that are manufactured in basements around the world can be considered “all natural”. Would you go around adding them to your favorite baked goods or coffee, probably not. So what about Swerve the “all natural” sweetener? How does it stack up against all the other safe “artificial sweeteners” on the market, lets take a look!
What is Swerve?
Perhaps you’ve seen it while strolling down the baking aisle at your local health food store, Swerve, the “all-natural sweetener” with no synthetic chemicals, no aspartame, and no genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), but is Swerve really a healthy sweetening alternative for diabetics and health-conscious individuals trying to cut refined sugars from their diet?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not necessarily a simple yes or no. While preferable to artificial sweeteners like Equal, Sweet’N Low, and Splenda, Swerve sweetener is still a highly-refined sweetening agent made primarily from erythritol a type of sugar alcohol naturally found in plants.
As diabetics, we need to stay on top of our health period, but one of the most important is our eye health. The eyes contain hundreds of tiny blood vessels that effect our vision and the overall health of our eyes.
Wet macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease that causes vision loss in the center of your field of vision. Wet macular degeneration is generally caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into the region of the macula (MAK-u-luh). The macula is in the center of the retina (the layer of tissue on the inside back wall of your eyeball).
Wet macular degeneration is one of two types of age-related degeneration’s. The other type — dry macular degeneration — is more common and less severe. Wet macular degeneration almost always begins as dry macular degeneration. It’s not clear what causes wet macular degeneration.
Symptoms Of Wet Macular Degeneration:
Wet macular degeneration symptoms usually appear and progress rapidly. Symptoms may include:
- Visual distortions, such as straight lines appearing wavy or crooked, a doorway or street sign looking lopsided, or objects appearing smaller or farther away than they really are
- Decreased central vision
- Decreased intensity or brightness of colors
- Well-defined blurry spot or blind spot in your field of vision
- Abrupt onset
- Rapid worsening
- Hallucinations of geometric shapes, animals or people, in cases of advanced degeneration
I have to admit, I’m a sucker for pickled beets, but are beets really healthy for you? Not only is beetroot great for boosting stamina and making muscles work harder, it also contains potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid
Beets also contain carbohydrates, protein, powerful antioxidants and soluble fiber. What’s more, just three baby beetroot equal one of your recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Read on to find out more about how ruby red beets can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle
Helpful To Reduce Blood Pressure & Strokes:
Research has shown that beetroot can help reduce blood pressure as well as its associated risks such as heart attacks and strokes. This is because the high content of nitrates in beetroot produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. A daily dose of 250ml of beetroot juice or 1 to 2 cooked beetroot (approx. 100g) can help dramatically reduce blood pressure and its associated risks.
Beetroot And Diabetes:
As diabetics, we are already sweet enough, but hey, we are still human and have sugar cravings just like everyone else. Step away from the chocolate! A great alternative for us diabetics or anyone recently diagnosed with diabetes to help fulfill those sweet craving is a little beetroot. Since it contains sugars, is fat free, low in calories and has a medium glycemic index it can be a perfect alternative and just what the doctor ordered. A medium glycemic index means that it releases sugars slowly into the blood. This in turn will help prevent spikes in our blood sugars as well as help with our sugar craving.