Monday, August 3, 2020

Diabetes and Kidney Disease

September 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

chalkboard with diabetes complications and risk factors

Nearly half of all patients with kidney failure also have diabetes. While other factors such as diet, heredity, and other medical conditions are also shown to lead to kidney failure, high blood pressure and diabetes are the leading cause of kidney failure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2 out of every 5 Americans is expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime. And 1 out of every 3 adults with diabetes will develop chronic kidney disease. Those numbers are staggering, but there is hope. As the country begins to focus on eating more healthy, being more active, and having regular health screenings; scientists are hopeful that the prevalence of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes might decrease.   

High levels of blood glucose levels damage small blood vessels in the body. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, the kidneys cannot properly clean your blood. This will lead to your body retaining more salt and water than it should, which can result in weight gain and ankle swelling. As the kidneys are damaged proteins that would otherwise stay in the blood, slip through the cracks and end up in urine. It can also lead to a buildup of waste materials in the blood that should have otherwise been filtered out.

Detecting kidney disease early relies on two tests. Looking for an increased excretion of albumin in the urine is one way. A healthy kidney will release almost no albumin. So, any increase in the amount of albumin is a sign of kidney disease. This is why it is important that anyone with diabetes is tested for albumin levels on a yearly basis. A yearly blood test to measure the amount of creatine in the blood is also important in screening for kidney disease. Creatine is a waste product that is normally filtered out, and the more creatine in the body, the lower the estimated glomerular rate (eGFR) is. Kidney disease is present when the eGFR is 60 milliliters per minute or less. If caught early, there are steps that can be taken to prevent, lower, and even reverse the risk of developing severe kidney diseases.

People with diabetes best chance of avoiding developing kidney disease is prevention. Yearly tests to measure their A1C, eGFR, and albumin levels are extremely important. As is good diabetes care; keeping your blood glucose levels under control, sticking to a diet, regular exercise, and keeping blood pressure under control are all important factors in maintaining kidney health.

Making Exercise Fun

September 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

group of elderly people doing various exercises

Forming a habit of exercising can be difficult. With a partner and a little fun, it can become an enjoyable part of your day.

Exercise is a key component to longevity. It has many benefits including, weight management, less risk of chronic illnesses, heart health, better sleep, more energy, better mood, and so much more. By exercising more often, you will stay healthy longer enabling you to age well and feel great.

Forming a habit of exercising can be difficult. Here are a few ways of making exercise fun to help you form that habit and stick to an exercise routine.

Have an Exercise Buddy

Pick a friend that is fun and full of energy. If you look forward to spending time with them you will be more likely to exercise. You and your exercise buddy should encourage each other and hold one another accountable.

Join a Gym or Group Class

Group classes are a fun and social workout. Pilates is an excellent low impact exercise. Zumba and other dance classes can be fun as well and there are many classes that cater to people who struggle with mobility. Water aerobics is also a great low impact option. There are many different classes out there, and while you exercise you will probably make some new friends as well!

Spread the Exercise Out

Exercising 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is recommended. But if you don’t have time for 30 minutes at a time just break it up. 10 or 15 minutes here and there when you have time is better than nothing. Just try and make it equal the 30 minutes that are recommended.  

Switch it Up

There are so many forms of exercise. If you find yourself getting bored you will be more likely to quit. Trying different forms of exercise will keep you entertained, and it is also good for your body to exercise in a variety of ways.

Focus on Short-Term Goals

Weight loss and muscle gain are long term goals. They are slow changes that take place over time. When you want to lose a significant amount of weight, losing 2 pounds a week, like is recommended, can be frustrating. Instead focus on goals like increased energy, better mood, less stress. When you exercise endorphins are released that make you feel better. If you focus on how you have improved in those areas, you will be more likely to stick with your exercise routine.

Three Year Old Recovers From Type 2 Diabetes

September 21, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

3D Crossword Stop Diabetes on white background

In what is possibly the youngest case, a three and a half year old girl has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After treatment, she lost weight and the disease was reversed.

In Houston Texas, a three year old Hispanic girl was brought into her doctor for frequent urination. She weighed 77 pounds at the time and was in the top 5% for her age group. Her diet consisted of mainly sugary drinks and fast food. She also rarely exercised. Tests showed that she had high levels of blood glucose. After ruling out Type 1 diabetes, which is commonly diagnosed in young children, it was determined that she had developed Type 2 diabetes, which is also known as adult onset diabetes.

Her doctor put her on a liquid form of the medication Metformin and also put her on a diet. Now eating home cooked meals and exercising more often she has made a remarkable recovery. After 6 months she lost about 20 pounds and her blood glucose levels had dropped to normal levels without medication. This was exciting news, as it showed that Type 2 diabetes could be reversed in children if it is diagnosed early, and proper steps are taken to change eating and exercise habits.  

Diabetes is becoming an epidemic. People have become more sedentary. Sitting at desks all day and coming home to sit on the couch and watch tv or play video games. They have become disconnected with their food, and many no longer cultivate or prepare it. Eating healthy has become something we think we cannot afford, even though it is actually cheaper than eating out at high calorie, low nutrition restaurants. Fast food is too easy and is wrongly perceived as a cheaper option. We must evaluate our eating and exercise habits if we are to reverse the amount of people who will develop Type 2 diabetes. If we continue on our current course, 1 in 3 U.S. adults will have Type 2 diabetes by 2050. That is a scary and expensive thought.

Taking Medications Properly

September 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

Taking Medications Properly


An elderly woman with medications looking overwhelmed

As you age the the amount of medications you take can increase. Properly using your medications will help you to live a healthier and happier life.

Older people tend to have more long-term chronic illnesses. As we age conditions like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many more effect older people more than any other age group. Many of these conditions require medication to manage them, and keeping everything straight can be confusing. Here are some tips to make sure you are taking your medications safely.

Understand Your Medication

When you are prescribed a medication make sure that you clearly understand

  • Why you need it
  • How you should take it
  • When you should take it
  • What the possible side effects are
  • Will the new medication interact with my other medications

This information is available through multiple sources

  • Your doctors and nurses
  • Your pharmacist
  • The pamphlet that comes with the medication
  • Several websites that track medications, their side effects, and possible drug interactions.

Take the Medication Properly

When you have several medications, it can be hard to take them all properly. It is important that you take the properly to ensure they have the best chance of helping you manage your condition. Here are some tips to make sure that you take your medications properly.

  • Read and save any written materials about your medication as a reference in case you have questions in the future
  • Check the label on the medication to make sure you are taking the correct medication and it is prescribed to you.
  • Take the medication according to the schedule on the label
  • Do not take more or less of the medication
  • Check your medication’s expiration dates and properly dispose of them if they have expired
  • If swallowing pills becomes hard, ask your doctor or pharmacist if a liquid version is available or if you can crush the medication
  • Get into a routine for taking your medications
  • Set an alarm if you need a reminder

Health Screenings

September 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

Remember Health Screenings Today written on a yellow sticky note.

Health screenings look for diseases before you notice symptoms of the disease. They can find diseases early when they are easier to treat.

As you age health screenings are going to be an important tool to help you live a longer healthier life. Some of the conditions that doctors commonly screen for include

  • Breast and cervical cancer in women
  • Colo-rectal cancer
  • Dental Problems
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Hearing problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Prostate cancer in men
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Vision problems

How often you should have various health screenings is a decision you and your doctor must make together. There are several factors that determine the likelihood of you developing a disease. Age, family and personal health history, ethnicity, sex, substances you have been exposed to, and many other factors should all be taken into account.

There are many ways to perform a health screening, and not all of them are covered by insurance companies. Make sure find out why you need the screening, if it is covered by insurance, how much it will cost, and what are the possible side effects.


Turmeric the Anti-Inflammatory Superfood

September 17, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

image of turmeric in raw and powdered form

Turmeric is used to treat a myriad of medical problems. It has a warm, peppery, and bitter taste and is also used to add flavor and color to a variety of foods.

Turmeric has been used as a treatment for arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, gallbladder disorders, headaches, bronchitis, colds, infections, depression, disease, pain, teeth whitening, inflammatory diseases, and many other conditions. It has been used for centuries in Indian and Chinese medicine and is now gaining notoriety in Western medicine as well.

Turmeric is a great source of manganese, iron, vitamin B6, fiber, copper, potassium, and curcumin. Curcumin is a volatile oil that gives turmeric its yellow or orange pigment. It is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. There have been numerous studies that have shown the anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin. It’s benefits are comparable to steroids and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, without the toxic side effects. Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant, it neutralizes free radicals that would otherwise damage healthy cells and cell membranes in the body.  

There are several ways of adding turmeric to your diet. Here are a few examples to get you started.

  • Add some to your vegetables. Turmeric’s warm and peppery flavor compliment root vegetables, cauliflower, leafy greens, and potatoes.
  • Add some turmeric to your soups. The peppery taste will enhance that warm feeling you enjoy while eating a bowl of soup.
  • Blend it into a smoothie. It will change the color of the smoothie, but the flavor will be masked by the fruits and vegetables already in the smoothie.
  • Use it in dishes you would use pepper in. Pepper and turmeric compliment each other, and pepper enhances the bioavailability of the turmeric.
  • Add some to plain looking dishes. Turn your boring rice into a colorful addition to your plate, making meals more enjoyable.
  • Brush your teeth with it. Occasionally dip a wet toothbrush in some turmeric and brush your teeth. Let it sit on your teeth for 3-5 minutes. Rinse out your mouth and brush your teeth with your normal toothpaste. Make sure you rinse the sink and toothbrush well. They might be stained yellow, but your teeth will be shiny and whiter!
  • Make golden milk. This is a great treatment for digestive problems and sleeping problems. First make a turmeric paste; Simmer ½ cup of water and add ¼ cup ground turmeric. stir constantly until a thick paste is formed. This mixture can be refrigerated for two weeks. Then when you are ready for bed; combine ½ tsp of the paste with 1 cup of milk in a saucepan. Cover and cook on medium low for 5 minutes. Stir in ½ tsp of coconut oil before you drink it. You can also play around with other spices to adjust the flavor, I suggest honey, ginger, cinnamon, or pepper.

There are many ways add turmeric to your diet. Play around with it and figure out which way you enjoy it best and you should be feeling better in no time!


Diabetes Education Programs

September 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

white board with diabetes education written on it

Diabetics that utilize diabetes self-management education support manage their diabetes better, live healthier lives, and experience less diabetes related distress.

A diagnosis of diabetes comes with many questions that your primary care provider or endocrinologist will not have the time to answer. There are programs that can help you learn about diabetes, necessary lifestyle changes, how to set up and stick to eating plans, how to count carbohydrates, how to set behavior-change goals, and offer to support you and your family.

Accredited diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) programs are covered by Medicare Part B and many private health insurance plans. Typically up to ten hours are covered in the first year after a diagnosis. A primary care doctor can also prescribe up to 2 hours of DSMES each subsequent year. You may also be referred to up to three hours of Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) the first year after a diagnosis and two hours in subsequent years.

If your are looking for accredited programs in your area, there is a list on the ADA and AADE websites. Once you find one close to you, ask your primary care provider for a referral. If you can’t find one, your healthcare provider should be able to give you a reference.

Typically private health insurance plans follow Medicare Part B’s standards in regards to what they cover, but not all do. To find out if DSMES and MNT education is covered by your plan go to your health insurance plan’s website. Look in the benefit coverage area. In the diabetes case management area, something similar to “diabetes education classes” should show whether your plan covers the education programs or not.


10 Minute Seated Exercise to Increase Stability

September 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

seniors learning seated exercises

There are several seated exercises that you can do to help with stability if you are not comfortable standing up.

You will need three things to do these exercises, a sturdy chair, an elastic exercise band, and ankle weights when you are comfortable using them. Always sit up as straight as possible to improve posture. It is very important to breath while you are exercising. Breath out when you are extending your arms or legs, and breath in when you are lowering them. When you are comfortable an exercise ball can be used instead of a chair, to help strengthen your core even more!

  • Warm Up
    • Sit up as straight as you can with your feet flat on the floor. Lift 1 leg and the opposite arm up at the same time like you would if you were walking. “Walk” in place in your chair for 30 seconds to get the blood flowing.
    • Sit up as straight as you can with your feet flat on the floor. Gently lift your arms up and down like you were flying for 30 seconds to relax the shoulders.
    • Put your arms straight out in front of you. Open your arms as wide as you can. Continue opening and closing your arms for 30 seconds.
  • Lower front leg muscles
    • Sit up as straight as you can with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your toes off the floor. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
  • Calf Muscles
    • Sit up as straight as you can with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your heels off the floor. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
  • Thigh Muscles
    • Sit up as straight as you can with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your leg off the floor and straighten it as far out as you can. Repeat this exercise 10 times per leg. Ankle weights can be worn once you are able.  
  • Hip Flexors
    • Sit up as straight as you can with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your knee up as high as you can. Repeat this exercise 10 times per leg.
  • Outer Hip Muscles
    • Sit up as straight as you can with your feet flat on the floor. Place an elastic band around your thighs. If you are not ready for an elastic band yet, just move your leg out as far as you can without it. Swing each leg out to the side as far as you can. Repeat this exercise 10 times per leg.
  • Upper Back Muscles
    • Sit up as straight as you can with your feet flat on the floor. Hold an elastic band at chest height. Pull your arms back pinching your shoulder blades together. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Diabetic Neuropathy

September 11, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

Diabetic Neuropathy

High blood glucose levels can damage your nerves. That damage, called neuropathy, can be very painful.

There are four types of neuropathy associated with diabetes. They are peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal. When blood glucose levels are elevated, nerve fibers throughout your body can be injured. Typically the nerves in your legs and feet are injured, but the whole body can be affected. Problems with the digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart can arise. These problems can range from mild to painful and can even be fatal. The best way to avoid developing or controlling diabetic neuropathy is with strict blood glucose control and a healthy lifestyle. Here is a brief overview of the four types of diabetic neuropathy:

Peripheral Neuropathy

This type usually affects the feet and legs, however the arms, back, and abdomen can also be affected. Symptoms include:

  • A burning sensation, especially in the evening
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Tingling

If you have these symptoms, you should check your feet daily, ask your doctor if you need to see a podiatrist, and wear shoes that fit well to avoid injury.

Autonomic Neuropathy

This type usually affects the digestive system, but it can also affect the blood vessels, urinary system, and sex organs. Symptoms include:

  • Blacking out when you stand up quickly
  • Dizziness
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Feeling full sooner than normal
  • Inability to have or keep and erection and/or dry ejaculations
  • Incontinence
  • Less Vaginal Lubrication and/or fewer orgasms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you have any of these symptoms it is important that you talk with your doctor. There could be other causes beyond diabetes. You should avoid standing up too quickly, try compression stockings, and possibly take a medication to treat the symptoms.

Proximal Neuropathy

This type causes in the hips, thighs, or buttocks. It is usually on one side of the body, and can lead to weakness in the legs. Treatment for this condition generally includes medication and physical therapy.

Focal Neuropathy

This type typically comes on suddenly. It affects specific nerves often in the head, torso, or legs. It can cause muscle weakness and pain. Typically this will resolve itself over a few months or weeks, but you should discuss the pain with your doctor to see if you need any kind of a treatment.  


10 Diabetic Superfoods

September 10, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

diabetic superfoods

These 10 diabetic superfoods are vitamin and nutrient packed to help you maintain a healthy body.


  • Beans – Beans are naturally low in fat and are free of saturated fat and trans-fat. They are a cholesterol-free source of protein and may reduce your risk of heart disease. They are a natural source of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which can reduce your risk of cancer. Beans are low on the glycemic index, which will help maintain a normal blood glucose level. Beans are full of fiber which helps you feel fuller longer, and may assist you in losing weight. They are an excellent source of folate, manganese, potassium, protein, iron, phosphorous, copper, and magnesium.
  • Berries – All berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. They may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Berry extracts have been shown to inhibit tumor growth  and decrease blood clotting. In animal studies, blueberries were shown to improve memory.
  • Citrus Fruits – Lemons, limes, and oranges are chock full of vitamin C. They also aid in the absorption of iron, produce collagen to help heal wounds, regulate blood sugar levels, and have antioxidants which fights cancer and reduces the risk of heart disease and cataracts. They are also an excellent source of potassium and fiber which gives you energy and helps you feel fuller longer.
  • Dark Green Leafy Veggies – Spinach, kale, collard, parsley, and other dark leafy greens are a mineral rich food. They are essential for building muscle and strength. They also contain high levels of chlorophyll which detoxes the lymphatic system, blood, and the lover.
  • Fat-free Milk and Yogurt – Milk is a great source of calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Yogurt is high in calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, zinc, and vitamin B. It is also full of good bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotics aid with digestion and decreases the risk of colon cancer. Yogurt is also easier to digest than milk, so if you are unable to tolerate milk, yogurt might be an excellent choice for you!
  • Fish – Fish oil has been proven to help with a multitude of conditions including, heart disease, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, ADD, menstrual pain, and weight loss, diabetes, dyslexia, pain, swelling, and much more!.
  • Nuts – A single serving of cashews provides 10% of your daily value in iron. They are also a good source of folate and vitamin K which helps keep bones strong and blood clotting normally. Walnuts are a great source of fiber, protein, magnesium, and brain boosting omega-3 fatty acid. Almonds lower cholesterol and are a great source of fiber, calcium and vitamin E. Pistachios are a low calorie and high potassium nut that are also rich in lutein which is important for vision and skin. Pine nuts are loaded with manganese which helps stabilize blood glucose levels.
  • Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene and vitamin A. Purple sweet potatoes are have important antioxidants that lower heavy metal and oxygen radicals in the digestive tract
  • Tomatoes – Tomatoes are low fat, low calorie, and high in fiber. They also are a good source of vitamins A and C. The most important benefit is from lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to protect against prostate, lung, colon, esophagus, breast, and skin cancers.
  • Whole Grains – Eating whole grains lowers cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels. They are low on the glycemic index, so they take longer to digest and will help you to feel fuller longer. Quinoa, spelt, amaranth, and teff are all excellent whole grains to include in your diet. 

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