Healthy BMI does not mean Immunity from Diabetes

February 12th, 2014

Diseases and measures tend to have trends these days. People tend to check themselves with measures and other indices to check if they are at risk of an infection or a disorder or a disease. Earlier people were weight conscious and tended to fast and starve till they became a stick.

Now it is all about BMI

BMI or Body Mass Index is a measure by which one can check if the weight distribution in the body is correct. So depending on where the fat rests, one could tell if they suffer from any disease or would be prone to it.

Obesity is definitely a factor but not the only one

An obese person is an overweight person. This person would have accumulated a lot of fat leading to problems like blocked arteries, veins and other such problems. Both types of diabetes tend to make the body lose weight. With type I, the muscles simply lose their detection to allow sugar to accumulate in them. So, they would not allow the person to gain weight. This person would have weight loss and a slim frame. The person still has problems of diabetes. Is it not?

One should see where the fat is distributed

As such, a person with a thin frame but a pot belly could be the perfect example for a person with a not so good health. When fat accumulates in the legs or the arms, it is not considered to be harmful. The fat that accumulates in the heart or the liver or the kidney tends to cause the harm.

This fat could slowly accumulate, leading to swelling of the organs and blocking proper blood flow and hence progressive degeneration of the organ due to lack of oxygen availability.

The pancreas is a typical example

Whenever the fat accumulates on an organ, it tends to lose the flexibility and functionality. The pancreas has a lock like system which detects glucose and produces insulin. This insulin breaks down the glucose.

Imagine what will happen if the lock system fails? Of course the pancreas will lose its ability to produce insulin properly. This would lead to increased sugar levels and hence other complications which lead to diabetes type II.

Similarly think of what will happen to the lungs, heart and the kidneys? What if they all fail to do their work and not serve their purpose? The entire system and body will collapse and lead to undesired consequences.

So, a BMI alone does not indicate it all

From this, we can see that the BMI cannot be indicative of absence of any problem. The weight might be ideal to the height but, if there is fat in the abdomen and other areas like the heart or other places, then one could face problems of diabetes and other disorders.

As such, it would be great to follow a good lifestyle, healthy eating habits and exercise regularly. One need not worry much about new trends in indices and indications.

How You can Manage Diabetes in Holidays?

January 14th, 2014

Holiday season is the best time in the entire year where you connect and enjoy with your family, friends and close acquaintances. It is really tough for anyone to resist overeating and drinking during holiday time by sticking to a diet plan. For millions of people avoiding cookies and chocolates during the holiday break is not less than a challenge, especially when they are all around. All the plans and schedules that you follow tend to change completely during this time. Hence, it becomes really tough to cope up with diabetes and enjoy the holiday eve at the same time. By following some simple tips you can easily control your diabetes without keeping yourself away from the holiday parties.

Keeping an eye on very basics

An inconsistent blood sugar level during this time is not pleasing and can ruin your precious holiday season. Keep a check on the blood sugar levels and make some extra efforts to control it even along with enjoying the parties.

• Eat consistently instead of taking heavy meals at one go. Taking small and balanced meals in controlled portions of the day is usually advised.

• People are unable to stick to their daily routines during holidays. Substitute your daily workout with shorter exercises like a 10 minute walk.

• People on insulin medication should frequently check their blood sugar levels. Try adjusting your work, eating and exercise schedules. A bedtime check of your glucose levels is also necessary.

• Remain stressed down and manage your sweets and savouries consumption by making them a part of your carbohydrate budget not an addition to it.

Party healthy

Proper planning before going into the parties can avoid your glucose from shooting up. This can take time but if you keep it as your priority, it can have huge payoffs.

• Try not skipping meals during parties. This leads to overeating later and reduced blood sugar reactions. Eat throughout the day at regular intervals of time.

• Fill your plate with healthy food that is less on calorie. Calories rich food like turkey can be taken in little quantities. Fruit is yet another healthy option.

• Before going into the dinner party, try having some light snacks. This will surely help in eating less at the party.

• Watch out on your alcohol intake. Never consume alcohol based drinks when you are empty stomach. Restrict the number of wine glass to one.

• Diet sodas, sparkling water and unsweetened tea are good replacements for wine.

• Food is a big distraction. Try focusing more on the people and activities around in the parties.

Travelling wisely

Planning ahead is very essential when you are travelling out during holidays.

• Don’t forget to carry sufficient medications like insulin with you. Ensure that they are stored at proper place.

• If your journey includes an air travel, try taking packed foods. Request for a diabetes friendly food when you are on-board.

• Follow a strict schedule for taking medications. If you are travelling by road, avoid the unhygienic roadside food.

Choosing Between Insulin Injections or Pumps

December 31st, 2013

If you're considering switching from insulin injections to insulin pump therapy, each each method offers pros and cons. Here are some things to consider.

Insulin injections

Interested in simplicity? Injections win hands down. Less education and training is required. Many people do not understand this significant difference. An insulin pump requires professional training.

Injection therapy is also cheaper than using an insulin pump. So, cost-effectiveness and simplicity are two major pros.

On the the flip side, however, injections have a few significant drawbacks. If your treatment plan involves frequent injections, you may develop areas of the body that become resistant to absorbing insulin properly. Also, If you are using different types of insulin, low blood glucose levels can easily occur.

What about an insulin pump?

A pump is designed to deliver insulin throughout the day more consistently which produces fewer highs and lows in blood glucose levels. The secret to these consistent blood glucose levels is the fact that the insulin is being delivered in a more accurate and precise fashion.

Obviously, there will be less needle sticks. Whereas, you may have only one injection every three days with the pump, the same three-day period could require up to 18 needles if your method of choice is insulin shots.

Finally, if a patient is thoroughly trained on how to use an insulin pump and receives proper management, a more flexible lifestyle could be a wonderful side benefit.

A Possible downside to the use of an insulin pump is an increased risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication. When the body produces high levels of blood acids called key tones, a long list of symptoms can occur including excessive thirst, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting abdominal pain, weakness, a fruity scented breath and even a state of confusion. Monitoring blood glucose levels frequently and understanding what to do if this occurs is an important part of the training required before using an insulin pump.

Lastly, pump supplies are more expensive than injections and are not always easy to hide. The pump has to remain attached your body all day which could be an unwelcome reminder to you and others that you are indeed a diabetic.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut choice between insulin pumps and insulin injections. Weighing the overall cost, effectiveness and convenience will in the end be a personal choice.

The Link between TB and diabetes

October 28th, 2013

There is a clear link between diabetes and TB. A person who has diabetes is at a much higher risk - almost 2 to 3 times higher of developing TB or Tuberculosis than others. It has also been noted that almost 10% of all Tuberculosis cases are linked with diabetes.

Double burden of the diseases globally

The increasing number of diabetes patients is a huge challenge in controlling TB. In most low and middle income countries such as regions in Asia and Africa where TB is a huge public health issue diabetic cases are increasing fast.

How to Treat and Screen both the diseases?

Diabetes weakens the immune system and affects the metabolic processes of the fat tissues - thereby making the body succumbs to the attack of infectious disease like TB. Study has shown that a patient with diabetes is more prone to fail treatment of TB and also is more likely to die during a treatment. Someone with diabetes who has a good control over the glucose levels are at a lesser risk to get TB. Also the treatment of TB helps to decrease the blood glucose levels in the body.

Studies to prove this

Megan Murray and Christie Jeon from the Harvard School of Public Health have been working on this subject for a while and have used data from the last 40 years to do 13 different detailed studies with more than 1.7 million people participating and 17698 cases of TB. Their in-depth study summarized that Diabetes mellitus greatly increases the risk of developing active tuberculosis.

Recently at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge there was a researcher’s symposium that aimed at sharing thoughts and studies to unravel the linkage. Many eminent speakers (like Melvin J., Sarah Fortune and L. Glimcher) from the Harvard School of Public Health opened by saying that the number one risk of developing Tuberculosis isn’t HIV but diabetes. The aim of this meet was to discuss the development of new age drugs and treatments to cure and control such diseases.

An effort to address this issue

A four year innovation and research project called the TANDEM with the aim to answer a lot of questions between the relationship of these two disease has been launched a few months back (April 2013). It is run by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The idea is to get different disciplinary partners and sites together in Romania, Indonesia, Peru and South Africa with labs in Netherlands, Romania, UK, South Africa and Germany. This project has been setup to find the best way to diagnose TB in diabetic patients and vice versa and also to analyse why some people with both the disease do not respond to treatments and whether genes are related to the linkage between these diseases.

How to manage both the diseases?

In countries like Egypt, Mexico, USA and Saudi Arabia where the number of diabetic cases is higher, diabetes is seen to be a significant contributor to TB case numbers.

Since it is clear that there is link, it becomes very important to manage the diseases effectively, by aiming to detect them in early stages so as to avoid serious complications, offering well guided public treatments and a good drug supply to cure them. These steps will aid in effective detection and treatment of diabetes as was done to globally control TB.

Beware of Foot Sores If You Have Diabetes

October 11th, 2013

Did you know that every thirty seconds someone suffering from diabetes loses a lower limb? What is it about diabetes that renders wounds to be so dangerous to the patient? The fact of the matter is even a minor wound, if you have diabetes, can become serious enough to warrant eventual amputation.

Diabetes clearly places patients at a risk of foot sores resulting in amputations that is ten times greater than non diabetics. Those statistics alone should carry a huge warning sign.

Why are diabetics at such risk?

Diabetics suffer from decreased blood flow. That means that any injuries require a longer healing time. Furthermore, many diabetics also have neuropathy. This condition makes it difficult to feel the pain from an injury which means the treatment needed is often postponed.

What's so special about your feet?

Your poor, old, tired feet are often neglected. However, a diabetic really can't afford this sort of negligence. Regular self-examination of your feet should be part of a preventive protocol.

Good news

The good news is that most amputations can be avoided. With proper foot care and timely wound treatment wounds can be kept in check and healed.

Taking care of your feet

Keeping your feet clean and dry are an important piece of a daily routine. That means the use of soap and water as well as thoroughly drying between your toes. If you struggle with dry, cracked feet then daily application of a foot cream is important. Any fungus, infection, athlete's foot or nails that appear to be changing in color and thickness should be examined by a podiatrist. Wearing sensible shoes with plenty of room for your feet and toes is just good common sense. Sure, you may not always look the most stylish when you're hanging out with your friends, but in the end you will save your feet.

Once again, most amputations can be avoided! That is the good news. However, due diligence is required in order to keep your feet as healthy as possible.