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smoking-and-diabetes

Smoking and Diabetes

February 5, 2019

A 2018 study published in the journal Radiology shows that diabetes and smoking cigarettes have something in common. Specifically, both conditions increase risk for brain calcifications.

Calcification

Calcification is a buildup of calcium that occurs in different parts of the body. The same way calcium contributes to the hardness of teeth and bones, it can also harden soft tissue and arteries.

This study showed both smoking and diabetes can lead to calcification in the brain. Specifically, they affect the hippocampus, the part of the brain linked to memory.

One of the reasons this finding is concerning is that damage to the hippocampus can lead to Alzheimer's disease.

Prevention

It's safe to say that if you have diabetes, it's a good idea to quit smoking.

Of course, that's easier said than done.

Something simple you can do is visit your doctor for regular blood tests to evaluate your calcium levels.

Also, ask your doctor if medications you're taking might be increasing your calcium levels. Request personalized advice on your diet and optimal calcium intake.

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Are you currently smoking? What are your thoughts on this study?

To read more about diabetes health, check out Is Diabetic Neuropathy Linked to Back Pain? and Prevention of Foot Ulcers: What Can I Do?

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Numb-feet-neuropathy

Diabetes Health: Why do my feet feel numb?

January 16, 2019

Have you ever noticed numbness or feelings of pins and needles in your feet? This can be a sign of nerve damage, often called diabetic neuropathy. If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. Neuropathy is a health issue that affects more than 20 million people in the United States.

While numb feet are commonly associated with diabetes, neuropathy has many potential causes. Some of them include nerve trauma, alcoholism, and infections like Lyme disease. Find a list of underlying issues here.

When your feet start to feel numb, your first instinct may be to look for reasons why. As it turns out, treating underlying conditions can help manage neuropathy symptoms.

So, if you start to feel any signs of numbness or pain in your hands, fingers, feet or toes, talk to your doctor or CDE. They will be able to help determine the cause of the numbness and provide potential next steps.

 

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Do you currently have feelings of numbness in your feet? Have you seen a podiatrist and been checked for neuropathy? Let us know your story in the comments below.

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Interested in learning more about neuropathy? Read The Truth About Diabetic Foot Numbness

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Can Diabetic Neuropathy Be Reversed? 5 Tips to Help Manage Your Symptoms

August 13, 2018

The simple answer is no. Diabetic Neuropathy, or nerve damage, cannot be reversed. But, the good news is that there are ways to manage it, Here are 5 of the best ways to help manage your symptoms:

Manage your blood glucose levels

Track and monitor your blood sugar levels daily. Your doctor will help figure out where your blood sugar levels should be. Don’t forget to talk to your care team, including your doctor, and podiatrist (more on foot care in a bit).

Monitor stress

Stress and mental health have become big topics in the health world. Studies show that mental and physical pain can be strongly connected

In fact, a recent UK study of people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, 51% of those surveyed had been treated for stress or mental health issues.

People are different when it comes to managing stress. Find what works for you. Start with meditation, yoga or creative projects, and go from there. You can also ask for help from a therapist or counselor.

Medication

There are different medicines that can help with managing blood sugar levels and/or pain. Talk to your doctor and don’t be afraid to ask questions to determine the right choice for you.

Natural remedies

More and more people are seeking out natural treatments or services to help with diabetic neuropathy symptoms. Some things you can try include:

  • Essential Oils - When applied to your skin, some essential oils can relieve stress, pain or sleep issues. They can also be used as aromatherapy by being added to in-home diffusers.
  • Massage - Healing touch has been found to provide a number of benefits, including easing nerve pain, stress, and mobility.
  • Acupuncture - Along with traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture may help you manage your pain.

Note: Before trying natural remedies or treatment talk to your doctor. Some vitamins and herbs may react with your medications.

Foot care

If you have diabetes, you are at risk for foot problems.  That’s why it’s important to give your feet extra love if you have diabetic neuropathy. Here are just a few things you can do:

Most importantly, though living with diabetic neuropathy may mean making some changes in your life, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop doing the things you love with the people you care for. By taking the steps listed above, you’ll be on your way to practicing self-care and continuing to lead the life you desire.

Disclaimer: Diabetic neuropathy symptoms can be different for everyone. Be sure to talk to your doctor before doing something new. 

 

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emergency-plan-diabetes-siren

Diabetes Emergency Plan: 3 Ways to Prepare

August 9, 2018

This summer, hundreds of fires across California have resulted in large-scale evacuations. Many people have been forced to leave their homes on short notice. Other disasters have forced people to stay inside, and no go outside until it is safe. Are you prepared to evacuate if you only have 5 minutes to spare? Are you prepared to stay home and not go to the store? Having a simple plan and emergency kit in place can help you prepare for large-scale and everyday emergencies. Here are 3 ways you can plan ahead for emergencies:

Keep Emergency Supplies

We have a full checklist of emergency supplies here. It's important to think about what your specific needs are when coming up with an emergency supplies kit. Talk to your doctor, and look at the items you use every day.

Have an Emergency Plan

In most emergency situations two things will happen 1) you have to stay in your home 2) you have to evacuate. It's important to have a plan for both situations. The plan you have to stay home (shelter-in-place) and the evacuation plan you have will be different. When you have diabetes, you also have to think about your medical needs and what you can and cannot do.

  1. Create a Shelter-in-Place Plan: Do you have a radio to hear emergency information? Do you have supplies in an easy-to-reach area? Do you have an emergency contact list? Answer these questions and think about what you will need in order to safely stay in your home for 3-5 days. Gather supplies, and set up your house to make it a safe place.
  2. Create an Evacuation Plan: Do you know where local shelters are in case you need to evacuate? Do you know where you would go in an evacuation? What could you take with you if you only had 5 minutes? Create a checklist for if you have 2 minutes to evacuate, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, and 1 day. What would you take with you in each instance?

Here are some resources to help you create a plan:

Create a Communication Plan

Do you know where to get emergency information? Or who to contact if you need help? A communication plan is especially important if you have diabetes. You will want a list of local hospitals, emergency numbers, family members, and friends who you can get help from in an emergency. Some helpful resources to help you develop a plan:

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How do you prepare for everyday emergencies and natural disasters? Let us know in the comments below.

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siren-diabetes-foot-care

Diabetes Health: 5 Steps Toward Healthy Feet

June 26, 2018

When you have diabetes, you are more at risk for problems with your feet. You may experience pain, tingling, and burning in your feet and toes. All of which can be a sign of nerve damage and a larger problem. It's important to take steps to actively protect against problems before they turn into something larger like an ulcer. Here are 5 easy steps to help you protect your feet that you can do every day.

Wear Socks Everyday

When you have nerve damage in your feet, you may not be able to feel your feet or toes. This puts you at more of a risk of injuring yourself. You may get a small cut or wound on your foot or toe that you don't notice. When you continue to walk on that small injury it may become severe. Socks provide an additional layer of protection to your feet. When you have diabetes and neuropathy you should never walk barefoot. Wearing socks both with and without shoes can help you protect your feet from potential problems.

Siren Diabetic Socks go beyond standard socks. Not only are the socks moisture-wicking and non-binding, they also use technology to monitor the health of your feet. Each sock has six sensors embedded into the fabric. The sensors monitor temperature continuously. Learn why this is important here. The socks connect to your phone and/or computer and alert you to potential problems with your feet. This allows you to take action before a potential problem like an ulcer develops.

Visit the Doctor Regularly

You should go to the doctor regularly to make sure that you are reaching your health goals. Your doctor may order different tests, give you a diet and exercise plan, or even refer you to a specialist. It's important to stay on top of your health so that you can prevent and catch problems early. Some things you may want to discuss at your next doctor's appointment include:

  • Your recent A1C and blood sugar levels
  • If you experience pain, tingling or numbness in your feet
  • Your current exercise and diet program
  • Any health symptoms that you're experiencing

Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Diet, exercise, medication and other factors can all help you manage your blood sugar levels. It's important to talk with your doctor to set realistic goals so that you can manage and maintain your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will know what's best for you so that you set both measurable and realistic goals.

Check Your Feet Daily

Checking your feet should become a part of your daily routine. You'll want to check both feet and toes every day for any signs of injury or infection. Do you notice any redness? Is there a cut or wound? Are there any signs of infection?

Wear Proper Fitting Shoes

Whenever you're at home, exercising, or outside you must wear the right shoes. It's important to make sure that your shoes are the right size for your feet, and that they aren't rubbing or irritating your feet in any way.

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smoking-diabetes

New Study: Smoking and Diabetes Results in Brain Problems

June 19, 2018

A new study published in the journal Radiology shows that people with diabetes who smoke are at an increased risk for brain calcifications. Calcification happens when there is a build-up of calcium in the brain. Particularly, this study showed that there was a build-up of calcium in areas linked to memory.

The reason this study is important is that calcium deposits in the area that impacts memory may be linked to Alzheimer's disease. There are many things we still don't know about Alzheimer's but it's thought that buildup of calcium may result in problems with the brain and memory over time. What this study shows us is that if you have diabetes, it's a good idea to quit smoking.

 

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Are you currently smoking? What are your thoughts on this study?

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heart-health-diabetes

New Study: Diabetes and Cardiovascular Health in Women

June 14, 2018

The next time you have a doctor, it might be a good idea to get a full physical if you have diabetes. A new study shows that both women and men with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Results of the study showed that having diabetes tripled the risk of death from ischemic heart disease or stroke in women and doubled the risk for men. This study did not look at individuals with any previous cardiovascular disease, only new events.

Having diabetes may increase your of other conditions like cardiovascular disease. It is important to have regular checkups with your medical doctor to find out your specific risk factors, as well as, the specific precautions you need to take to prevent problems. If you notice any chest pain and/or shortness of breath contact your doctor immediately, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital if you believe it is a life-threatening condition.

If you have concerns about your risk of having a heart attack or stroke talk to your doctor or CDE. They will be able to tell you if you are at risk, the steps you can take to stay healthy and prevent complications, and how to recognize the signs of a heart attack or stroke.

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diabetes-summer-recipes

5 Diabetes-Friendly Recipes for Summer

June 11, 2018

As the temperature heats up, there's more time for you to spend at the beach or pool. It's a great time to take advantage of the warm weather, hanging out with family and friends, and eating delicious food. We've got you covered with some delicious diabetes-friendly recipes for both sharing and keeping to yourself.

Sheet-Pan Orange-Apricot Drumsticks

This recipe from EatingWell, includes fresh summer ingredients that are an ideal meal for entertaining or meal prep. If you're prepping meals for the week, simply make a single batch and partition out portions for a healthy and delicious meal. The great thing about this recipe is that it's not time-consuming, just throw everything together and pop it in the oven.

Grilled Scallops With Chunky Salsa Verde

This healthy seafood recipe from Diabetes Forecast can be altered to suit your preferences. You can serve the scallops over a salad, rice or whole-grain pasta dish, or simply eat them on their own. Stick toothpicks in the scallops and they make a great party appetizer.

Agua Fresca de Pepino (Cucumber Limeade)

This incredibly refreshing summer drink has some extra secret health benefits - vegetables! You can customize the level of sweetness, or not add any zero calorie sweetener at all.

Light & Easy Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is a must-have for any potlucks or family picnics.

Strawberry, Lime, Cucumber and Mint Infused Water

While water may not sound like a real recipe, this infused water is a great way to get enough hydration into your body during the hot summer months. It's important to stay hydrated and actively prevent dehydration!

 

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eating and diabetes

Does the time of day that you eat impact your BMI?

June 6, 2018

Have you ever skipped breakfast, or opted for a late night snack? A new study says that people with Type 2 diabetes who eat breakfast later are more likely to have a higher BMI. Researchers led by Dr. Sirimon Reutrakul at the Chicago College of Medicine wanted to figure out if the time of day that you eat impacts your BMI.

The study found that people who waited to eat breakfast until later in the morning and thus ate the rest of their meals later in the day were linked to a risk of a higher BMI.

This isn't the first study that links time and frequency of eating to BMI changes. Another study, led by Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, recommends eating breakfast and lunch, skipping supper, avoiding snacks, making breakfast the largest meal of the day.

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What are your thoughts? Have you noticed that frequency of meals and the time you eat impacts your BMI or your overall weight? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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