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 healthy 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.
I fielded a question the other day on my Facebook page regarding the effects gestational diabetes has on the body. Well, I’ll be honest with you. Even as a type 1 diabetic, dealing with the daily highs and lows, I wasn’t 100% sure, so lets take a closer look!
Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that comes on during pregnancy. It affects about 4% of all pregnant women, according to the American Diabetes Association. Gestational diabetes is often diagnosed on screening tests done between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.
While doctors aren’t sure what causes gestational diabetes, it is believed that hormones from the placenta may block the action of insulin in the mother. This means that the mother needs more insulin and sometimes her pancreas cannot make enough to transport the sugar in the blood into the cells for energy. The mother’s blood has high levels of glucose, which can cross the placenta, giving the growing baby a high blood sugar level.
Gestational Diabetes & Pregnancy:
Gestational diabetes is caused by a change in the way a woman’s body responds to insulin during pregnancy. Insulin is a hormone. It moves glucose out of the blood and into the body’s cells where it can be turned into energy. During pregnancy, a woman’s cells naturally become slightly more resistant to insulin’s effects. This change is designed to increase the mother’s blood glucose level to make more nutrients available to the baby. The mother’s body makes more insulin to keep the blood glucose level normal. In a small number of women, even this increase is not enough to keep their blood glucose levels in the normal range. As a result, they develop gestational diabetes.
Signs & Symptoms:
The symptoms of gestational diabetes are not very prominent and are similar to that of pregnancy. Hence, they are not easily distinguished. Listed below are few of the symptoms you can experience during pregnancy.
- Feeling thirsty often
- Frequent urination
- Bladder infection
- Vaginal infection
- Blurred vision
- Visible loss of weight
I 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).
Apples are undeniably good for you, especially if you have diabetes. Apples are high in the soluble fiber pectin, making them good at controlling blood sugar by releasing it a little more slowly into the bloodstream (no this does NOT replace insulin) nor do I recommend you stop taking your insulin, so lets just clear that up right now. In addition to helping to regulate blood sugar and bowel function, soluble fiber is thought to have an anti-inflammatory affect that may help diabetics recover faster from infections.
Apple Vitamin C Benefits:
Apples benefit your health by boosting your intake of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C helps you make collagen, a protein found abundantly in your skin. Collagen is a crucial structural component of skin and helps maintain your skin’s waterproof barrier. Low collagen production caused by vitamin C deficiency affects your skin, leading to a re-opening of old wounds and skin tearing. A large apple contains 10.3 milligrams of vitamin C, 14 percent of the daily vitamin C requirements for women, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, or 11 percent for men.
Apple and Cancer:
Lab studies have shown that several compounds in this juicy fruit curb the growth of cancer cells — but apples are most potent when eaten whole (minus the stem and seeds, of course). People who munch more than one a day lower their risk for several cancers (oral, esophageal, colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and others) by 9 to 42 percent, Italian researchers found.
Every organ in the body especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys needs the mineral magnesium citrate. It also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Most important, it activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate calcium levels, as well as copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body.
You can get magnesium citrate from many foods. However, most people in the United States probably do not get as much magnesium as they should from their diet. Foods rich in magnesium include whole grains, nuts, and green vegetables. Green leafy vegetables are particularly good sources of magnesium.
Magnesium And Diabetes:
As one of many individuals who suffer from type 1 diabetes, I was curious to find out how magnesium could help my diabetes management. The health benefits of magnesium extend to diabetic patients because research has shown this mineral helps to regulate the insulin reaction to blood sugar levels. Magnesium supplements are vital for all diabetic patients as many of them suffer from magnesium deficiency. Magnesium aids in regulating blood sugar status, thus promoting normal blood pressure. Hypertension is one of the major reasons for an impending heart attack, and it has been found that many people with high blood pressure also have a magnesium deficiency. Therefore, extra nutrients and mineral supplements with magnesium content are vital in order to avoid any medical complications.
Magnesium And Stronger Bones:
Magnesium citrate helps to fix calcium properly. It may blow some people’s mind that the calcium supplements they’re taking are not only useless, but are actually contributing to osteoporosis! There are actually about eighteen essential nutrients that contribute to bone health; Magnesium citrate is definitely one of the most essential, because it stimulates a particular hormone called calcitonin. And, it also suppresses a hormone called parathyroid that breaks down bone.
Ah yes, there’s that magical word again that all type 1 diabetics love to cringe and roll their eyes at (me included). Lets take a closer look at why Okra is a great addition to a healthy diet and why ITS NOT going to magically cure type 1 diabetes. Are you ready? Ok, lets go!
Okra also known as gumbo or lady fingers, is a common vegetable in southern cooking, where it is fried, boiled or pickled, often along with tomatoes, corn or onions. Sliced, cooked okra releases a juice that thickens fluids, making it an essential ingredient of gumbo, a traditional Creole stew. Regardless of the cooking method, okra is a good low-calorie, fat-free, nutrient-dense addition to any diet.
Okra And Fiber:
A 1/2-cup serving of sliced, cooked okra provides 2 grams of dietary fiber. This amount supplies approximately 10 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of fiber for healthy adult men and women adhering to a 2,000-calorie diet. Okra’s fiber content is made up of both soluble and insoluble fiber. According to Mayo Clinic.com, soluble fiber may help prevent diabetes and high blood cholesterol, while insoluble fiber regulates digestive system functions. A 2009 “Nutrition Reviews” article adds that fiber may also lessen your risk of obesity, stroke, heart disease and hypertension..
Okra And Kidney Disease:
One study published in the October 2005 Jilin Medical Journal found that regular consumption of okra can help prevent kidney disease. In the study, “those who ate okra daily reduced clinical signs of kidney damage more than those that simply ate a diabetic diet.” This also ties in with diabetes, as nearly 50% of kidney disease cases are caused by diabetes.
Okra And Healthy Skin:
Vitamin C helps keep the skin looking young and vibrant. The vitamin aids in the growth and repair of bodily tissues, which affects collagen formation and skin pigmentation, and helps to rejuvenate damaged skin. Okra is full of vitamin C.
Topical tip: Boil a handful of okra until soft. After letting it cool, mash it, and apply it to your face. After 5 minutes, your skin should feel smooth and rejuvenated