Monthly Archives: March 2014

Is There Self Test For Diabetes?

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Sixteen million Americans have diabetes, yet many are not aware of it. African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans have a higher rate of developing diabetes during their lifetime. Diabetes has potential long term complications that can affect the kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels and nerves. A number of pages on this web site are devoted to the prevention and treatment of the complications of diabetes. (see Diabetes Symptoms)

In diagnosing diabetes, physicians primarily depend upon the results of specific glucose tests. However, test results are just part of the information that goes into the diagnosis of diabetes. Doctors also take into account your physical exam, presence or absence of symptoms, and medical history. Some people who are significantly ill will have transient problems with elevated blood sugars which will then return to normal after the illness has resolved. Also, some medications may alter your blood glucose levels (most commonly steroids and certain diuretics (water pills)).

The TWO main tests used to measure the presence of blood sugar problems are:

1. Direct measurement of glucose levels in the blood during an overnight fast

2. Measurement of the body’s ability to appropriately handle the excess sugar presented after drinking a high glucose drink.

Self Testing Methods

Regular self-testing of your blood sugar tells you how well your combination of diet, exercise, and medication are working. Tests are usually done before meals and at bedtime. More frequent testing may be needed when you are sick or under stress.

A device called a Glucometer can provide an exact blood sugar reading. There are different types of devices. Usually, you prick your finger with a small needle called a lancet, which gives you a tiny drop of blood. You place the blood on a test strip, and put the strip into the device. Results are available within 30 to 45 seconds.

A health care provider or diabetes educator will help set up an appropriate testing schedule for you. You will also be taught how to respond to different ranges of glucose values obtained when you self-test.

The results of the test can be used to adjust meals, activity, or medications to keep blood sugar levels in an appropriate range. Testing provides valuable information for the health care provider and identifies high and low blood sugar levels before serious problems develop. Accurate record keeping of test results will help you and your health care provide plan how to best control your diabetes. There are 20.8 million children and adults in the US with diabetes, and nearly one-third of them (or 6.2 million people) do not know it!

March 31, 2014

Is Hypoglycemia Just Diabeties in Reverse?

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Hypoglycemia is a medical term referring to a pathologic state produced by a lower than normal amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The term hypoglycemia literally means “low blood sugar”.

Hypoglycemia can produce a variety of symptoms and effects but the principal problems arise from an inadequate supply of glucose as fuel to the brain, resulting in impairment of function. Derangements of function can range from vaguely “feeling bad” to coma and (rarely) death. Hypoglycemia can arise from many causes, and can occur at any age. The most common forms of moderate and severe hypoglycemia occur as a complication of treatment of diabetes mellitus with insulin or oral medications.

Presence or absence of effects: are symptoms more important than the number?

Research in healthy adults shows that mental efficiency declines slightly but measurably as blood glucose falls below 65 mg/dl in many people. Hormonal defense mechanisms, adrenaline and glucagon, are activated as it drops below a threshold level which is about 55 mg/dl for most people, producing the typical symptoms of shakiness and dysphoria.

On the other hand, obvious impairment does not often occur until the glucose falls below 40 mg/dl, and up to 10% of the population may occasionally have glucose levels below 65 in the morning without apparent effects. Brain effects of hypoglycemia, termed neuroglycopenia, determine whether a given low glucose is a “problem” for that person, and hence some people tend to use the term hypoglycemia only when a moderately low glucose is accompanied by symptoms.

Diabetic hypoglycemia represents a special case with respect to the relationship of measured glucose and hypoglycemic symptoms for several reasons. Although home glucose meter readings are sometimes misleading, the probability that a low reading accompanied by symptoms represents real hypoglycemia is higher in a person who takes insulin. Second, the hypoglycemia has a greater chance of progressing to more serious impairment if not treated, compared to most other forms of hypoglycemia that occur in adults. Third, because glucose levels are above normal most of the time in people with diabetes, hypoglycemic symptoms may occur at higher thresholds than in people who are normoglycemic most of the time. For all of these reasons, people with diabetes usually use higher meter glucose thresholds to determine hypoglycemia.

Disclaimer – The information presented here should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor for more information about Hypoglycemia.

Permission is granted to reprint this article as long as no changes are made, and the entire resource box is included.

March 30, 2014

Are generic drugs as good as name brands when it comes to generic Cialis

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You can get a variety of responses when you mention to someone that they are getting a generic form of medication. Some may start adding up the cost savings in their minds because they recognize that generic medications are usually less expensive. On the other hand, other people may get worried because they think they won’t be getting something as effective as what they were hoping for. So, how do generic drugs stack up against the name brand version?

Are They The Same Thing?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Generic medications do contain the same active ingredient, which is the main ingredient responsible for the benefits the medication provides. For the “no” part of the answer, the generic drug may have different inactive ingredients. These are ingredients that help provide other facets of the medication. For example, they may affect the color of the drug. They do not influence the health benefits that the medication provides.

What the FDA Says

In the United States, the Federal Drug Administration or FDA regulates both name brand and generic medication and offers several rules for generic medications:

  • The generic drug must be identical in dosage, strength, safety, method of administration, and intended use.
  • Generic drugs do not have to be the same color or shape as the name brand.
  • Packaging must also be held to the same level of quality with generic drugs as with their brand counterparts.

Generic medications are regulated in each country where they are sold by the same set of regulations and laws as the brand counterpart.

Not all medications have generic versions. Usually when a drug is new, it is protected by a patent to prevent other manufacturers from making it. This patent often lasts 20 years in the US. Once that patent has ended, other manufacturers can create the drug with the same active ingredients. At this point they are much cheaper to manufacture, resulting in a lower cost to the consumer.

Myth for Generic Drugs

One popular myth is that a drug such as generic Cialis won’t work as fast or as well as the brand name. However, this is not the case. It is required by the FDA to work exactly like the brand name, including having the same side effects.

One reason for this myth is that the flavor, color or shape is often different than the brand version. The differences are due to a trademark issue. Trademark laws protect the brand name from having an exact copycat. This is in fact often the reason that the generic medication has different inactive ingredients, to ensure it doesn’t infringe on the trademark.

You can rest easy if your doctor suggests generic Cialis and know that it will work the same for you as the brand name. The only difference is in the savings you will enjoy.

March 30, 2014

Tadacip and Other Tips for Improving Your Sex Life

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It’s no secret that the sexual inventiveness is one of the first things to suffer in a long-term relationship, especially after decades of marriage. Yet, sexual intimacy is one of the foundations of a strong connection with your partner. What are some things you can do to help revive your sex life?

Schedule a Date Night

Think date nights are just for the getting to know you phase of a relationship? Think again. Setting aside special time with your special someone is a great way to remind him or her that you care. It’s fun to put on nice clothes for a change and heading out to eat instead of sitting around in your sloppy lounge wear watching reruns in front of the television set. There are some great ways you can get creative with date activities too:

  • Go to a midday matinee, followed by drinks with a late lunch (and a very early bedtime!
  • Try a round of mini golf. Sure, it’s goofy, but it’s a great way to interact in a playful way with your mate.
  • Take a class together in something that interests both of you like ceramics or learning a language.
  • Go on a nature hike together.

Remember, the goal is to interact and try to revamp your connection with each other, so try to think outside the box.

Take a Weekend Getaway

Getting away for a weekend together is like the amped up version of a date night. Even if you’re both really too busy to head out of town, you could certainly get a nearby hotel room (preferably with a hot tub), leave your cell phones at home and just focus on each other. Find a place with room service too and you’ll get some seriously intense couple time squeezed into those two days alone together.

Break Out of Your Routine

By nature, humans fall into habitual routines, and that means in the bedroom too. If the actual act of sex has become pretty predictable and hum-drum, it’s time to mix things up a little. This can be as simple as buying some sexy lingerie, or enjoying a bottle of bubbly in bed. Other easy ways to make sex a little more interesting include:

  • Making love in the afternoon instead of at bedtime for a change
  • Choose a new location, like a hotel or even your own guest room
  • Watch a steamy romance film together, or read erotic literature to each other
  • Try to improve your sexual performance with tadacip if reliable erections are a concern

Making Time for the Greatest Aphrodisiac of All

Above all, be sure to practice the greatest foreplay of all: open and honest communication. If you’re not feeling sexual because of a physical concern like erectile dysfunction, talk to your partner and your doctor about the possibility about medication like tadacip. You should also talk to your partner about any ideas for improving your sex life together. With time and effort from both partners in a marriage, you should be able to get your sex life back on track again.

March 30, 2014

Is Diabetes Linked To Nutrition?

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Perhaps no other disease is as closely linked to nutrition as diabetes. Not only does nutrition play a role in its development, nutrition is also one of the disease’s most powerful treatments.1 Because of this strong and critical connection to nutrition, researchers have carefully studied the use of nutritional supplements in the treatment of the disease. They found that many vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, minerals such as chromium, as well as herbs like Gymnema sylvestre, can safely, effectively, and naturally lower blood sugars and help prevent diabetic complications. What is even more important, however, is that these vitamins, minerals, and herbs can be combined together in a scientifically validated diabetic formula to work synergistically.

People with type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin in order to stay alive.

If uncontrolled for many years, diabetes mellitus can lead to more serious health problems:

1. Blood vessel damage within the eye (retinopathy). This can lead to blindness.

2. Kidney disease (nephropathy) or kidney failure.

3. Nerve damage (neuropathy) especially of the hands and feet, causing tingling, numbness and weakness.

4. Narrowing of the blood vessels due to fatty deposits (atherosclerosis). This increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and poor blood flow in the legs.

Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can result in a large baby and a difficult birth. It can also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Diabetes – Circulation problems

High blood sugar damages blood vessels. When high levels of sugar are continuously in the blood, the blood vessels become thicker and less flexible, causing poor circulation. Poor circulation can impair healing, especially on the feet and lower legs. High blood sugar also causes higher levels of fat in the bloodstream. The fat clogs and narrows the blood vessels. Partial blockages deprive the heart of some necessary nutrients. A complete blockage can result in a heart attack, heart pain (called angina), or stroke.

Magnesium

Although the relationship between magnesium and diabetes has been studied for decades, it is not yet fully understood. Studies suggest that a deficiency in magnesium may worsen the blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes. Scientists believe that a deficiency of magnesium interrupts insulin secretion in the pancreas and increases insulin resistance in the body’s tissues. Evidence suggests that a deficiency of magnesium may contribute to certain diabetes complications.

March 29, 2014

Insulin Pumps – Get Better Control, Get Your Life Back!

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In recent years an alternative to manual insulin injections has emerged. Enter the Insulin Pump. The first Insulin Pumps were quite bulky, but modern ones are about the size of a small Cellphone or Pager. The pump is worn unobtrusively on a belt or in a pocket and it delivers insulin through a thin plastic tube (or Infusion Set) that is inserted under the skin.

WHY AN INSULIN PUMP IS BETTER

In a healthy person, the pancreas produces insulin constantly at low levels, keeping blood glucose levels stable. When a meal is eaten, the pancreas will send larger amounts of insulin into the blood stream to handle the food. Using a standard injection regime, slow and fast acting insulin is used to try and mimic the pancreas. An insulin pump much more closely copies the pancreas. The pump delivers a low level of background insulin (called basal) and at meal times can deliver a “bolus” dose at the touch of a button, to cover the food.

Just like a real pancreas, if you are ill, or exercising, the basal insulin rate can be reduced. If you skip a meal, the bolus is not delivered. In this way, the pump fits into your lifestyle, rather than planning your life around your injection schedule!

CHOOSING AN INSULIN PUMP

Most insulin pumps on the market today have all the basic features. Choosing one

is much like chosing a Cellphone, it is a mixture of personal taste and what you

plan on using it for. If you are a water sports fan, waterproof ones area available!

If you love analysing data to improve your control, you can get one with PC download

capability and analysis software. If you are new to the world of Insulin Pumps,

here are some key points to think about:

Choose a pump that allows you to set up different basal levels. For instance at night time, if you are sick or exercising. This is an important feature to help you live a full life.

Pumps that use a standard “Luer Lock” infusion sets are better. This means cheaper consumables.

Alerts to remind you to check your blood glucose level make life easier.

Check what batteries it takes, standard AA or AAAs are cheaper and easier to buy.

More advanced pumps include a carbohydrate calculator to help you figure out what your meal Bolus dose should be.

Coming to the market are integrated Insulin Pump/Glucose meters. The meters readings are automatically transferred to the pump which can use them to recommend an insulin dose.

Other features to look for include, being waterproof, having a carbohydrate food database and alerts to warn you if you have missed a meal, or the infusion set needs changing. In short, Insulin pump manufacturers are making

their products ever easier to use and automating more and more features. Life is getting better for diabetics!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q What if I don’t get on with the pump, can I switch back to injections?

A Yes. It is not a one way ticket, but most people do notice an improvement in their blood glucose control and find their lives improved.

Q I have a really hectic lifestyle, is a pump for me?

A Yes. Infact people who are extremely busy often see the biggest improvement. If you struggle to remember to test and inject at the right time – perhaps meal times vary from day to day, then a pump could really help you.

Q I am considering a pump but may get pregnant, is that ok?

A Yes. As pumps usually improve your blood glucose control, using a pump through pregancy and beyond is generally a good thing. Having as close to normal blood glucose levels reduces the chances of complications during pregnancy.

Q What are the costs?

A The initial outlay is in the order of a few thousand dollars, but prices are coming down all the time. Infusion sets need changing regularly too. The latest prices can be found from various diabetes suppliers on the web.

March 28, 2014

How To Stop Diabetes From Stealing Your Vision!

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In the past, diabetes was never such a big epidemic like it is today. People often thought of diabetes as simply a body condition where one must reduce one’s sugar and fat intake. Little did people know that diabetes could end up causing blindness!

Now that diabetes is reaching epidemic levels in most of the western world, this problem is becoming more and more serious. Vision is one of our most critical senses and in this “need for speed” information era, over 70% of our sensory information comes through our eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetics are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those who are not diabetic.

With diabetes already being the number one cause of blindness in the United States, it’s no wonder eye care professionals are predicting a devastating increase in vision loss as the diabetic epidemic grows alarmingly.

People newly diagnosed with diabetes often have nothing more than minor vision fluctuations which settle when blood sugar levels improve with treatment. Early on it’s easy to believe everything is fine. After some years though, continuing high blood sugar can gradually damage the blood vessels at the back of the eye in the retina. This causes a problem called diabetic retinopathy and the longer you have diabetes the more likely you are to have retinopathy. The risk increases further when there is poor control of blood sugar levels. More than 70% of diabetics develop some changes in their eyes within 15 years of diagnosis.

Now, what exactly is retinopathy? There are 2 types of retinopathy. Retinopathy is graded as Non-proliferative or Proliferative. Non-proliferative retinopathy is the common milder form, where small retinal blood vessels break and leak. There may be some mild retinal swelling but it rarely requires treatment unless it causes hazy central vision or straight lines appear bent.

On the other hand, proliferative retinopathy is the less common, but more serious form where new blood vessels grow abnormally within the retina. If these vessel scar or bleed they can lead to potentially serious vision loss including blindness. Early laser treatment can seal leaking vessels and slow the progress of diabetic retinopathy, but can’t reverse existing vision loss.

Although there is no real cure or method to eliminate the risk of diabetic eye damage, you can do two important things to help prevent the more serious complications. The critical first step is making sure you stabilize and control your blood sugar with a healthy diet and regular exercise. The second step is to make sure you have a yearly diabetic eye examination.

Diabetes is a disease that mostly affects blood vessels and in it’s extreme forms can lead to serious heart disease, stroke and kidney damage. Clearly these life threatening diabetic vascular diseases deserve priority attention, but high on the critical list for diabetics is the risk of serious eye disease and loss of vision. Make sure you check up with a qualified doctor to prevent diabetes-related eye problems! An experienced eye care professional can pick up subtle diabetic eye changes long before you notice any vision change, and more importantly, early enough to do some good.

If you suspect that you or a close one has diabetes or if diabetes is already present now is the time to seek a doctor for a detailed eye check up before it’s too late! Don’t let diabetes claim another person’s vision!

March 27, 2014