Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Recently Answered

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    AWilliam Lee Dubois, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    If your blood glucose level is above 200 mg/dl, you need to take insulin to reduce blood sugar. If your blood glucose level is below 75 mg/dl, you will need to swing into action and get some sugar into your system. In general, good blood glucose target numbers are:

    • 90-115 mg/dl in the morning when you wake up

    • Under 150 mg/dl two hours after eating

    Or wherever your doctor says they should be!
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    AWilliam Lee Dubois, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    With many meters, the machine needs to know stuff about the strips—the one-shot meter “food” that sucks in the drop of blood for testing. The vial of strips will have a code number printed on it. It is vital that the meter knows what this number is.

    Some meters use a chip that plugs into the back of the meter, some make you enter the code number using the keypad on the meter, and the newer models are self-coding so you don’t have to worry about it at all.

    That said, you need to know which kind your meter is. If you have a model that needs to be coded and you don’t code it, your numbers can be way off. If you don’t have the energy to read through the manual that came with the meter, call the toll-free phone number printed on the back of the meter. The folks that make the meter will be happy to talk you through the process.
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    AWilliam Lee Dubois, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    If testing hurts like hell, you’re doing it wrong.

    Your meter came with a little plastic, pen-like contraption called a lancing device. Its job is to poke a very small hole in your fingertip, so you can get a drop of blood to test. It has a dial with numbers on it.

    The larger the number, the deeper the needle goes into your fingertip. So the lowest number is for babies and rich high-society ladies who wear silk gloves.

    The highest number is for lumberjacks with calloused hands. You are neither and need to be somewhere in the middle. If you find using the lance hurts a lot, set the number lower. If you find you’re milking your finger and praying for a blood drop, you need a higher number. It’s that simple.

    Oh, and by the way, most lances come with both a clear plastic top and a solid top. The clear one is for forearm testing and the solid is for fingertips. If you use the clear one for your fingers, it will always hurt, no matter the setting!
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    AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    Diabetes can be a hard condition to manage alone. Educating your loved ones about it can make it easier for them to understand what you're going through and to support you. They may be able to help you stay on track with your self-care goals and help you feel better when your mood dips. Make it easier for your loved ones to learn about your condition by talking about it, inviting them to go to the doctor with you or help you prepare healthy meals, and finding places to walk together.
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    AKate Myerson, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered

    Sugar free, calorie free beverages are a good choice if you have diabetes. However sugar free foods are a different story. Food marketers don't make navigating sugar free foods very easy. There are a variety of cookies and ice creams that all say they are sugar free. And while they do not in fact contain sucrose or table sugar they do often contain flour like in baked goods or lactose, the milk sugar in ice cream and they contain carbohydrates which will effect your blood glucose.

    Also look out for the sneaky claim "no sugar added, juices might say they have "no sugar added" that does not mean they will not effect your blood sugar.

    Instead of looking at the sugar on the food label, look at the Total Carbohydrate, which is in bold on the label because it includes both the sugar and the fiber, which are indented underneath Total Carbohydrates on the label.

    Now, if you see sugar alcohols on the nutrition label, know that they are not completely absorbed by our bodies and can cause upset stomach, cramping and diarrhea. Because they are not completely absorbed however, we can subtract HALF of the sugar alcohol grams from the Total Carbohydrate grams, IF the sugar alcohol is greater than 5 grams. 

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    AWilliam Lee Dubois, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    Anything that used to run, walk, crawl, slither, fly, or swim will have little effect on your blood sugar. Basically, a properly sized serving of meat or fish has no effect on your blood sugar.

    Now if you take a piece of fish and batter-and-deep-fry it, it becomes a white food. If you don’t have a gas grill yet, this would be a good time to buy one.

    Cheese is another freebie, having little or no effect on your blood sugar. Same for the green veggies.

    Fruit can raise your blood sugar, but it can also be very healthy for you, especially fresh fruit. You’ll just have to use your meter to see how various types of fruit affect you. Beans are middle of the road, and nuts tend to treat blood sugar well, but are high in calories, so too many can cause you to put on weight.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Gila Monster
    Ever think that a venomous lizard like a gila monster could be good for your health?

    Watch as Julie Scardina from SeaWorld and Dr. Oz discuss the health benefits of the gila monster, in this video.


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    AAmy Campbell, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered

    The quick answer is that you don't have to completely avoid eating any food just because you have diabetes. However, some foods are healthier than others. What you'll likely need to focus on is how much carbohydrate you eat. Carbohydrate is found in starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, and cereal), fruit and fruit juices, milk and yogurt, beans and peas and sweets. You don't need to stop eating these foods but you will need to control how much you do eat. Also, choose the healthier carbs -- these are the carbs that are whole grain, such as brown rice or whole wheat bread, and/or higher in fiber, like fresh fruit and beans.

    Go for nonfat or low-fat milk and yogurt. For heart health, choose leaner protein foods, like skinless poultry, seafood, lean red meat, eggs and tofu. And for fat choices, go with healthy fats like olive and canola oil, nuts, seeds and avocado. Limit saturated fat, found in butter, stick margarine, red meat and whole-milk dairy foods. Also, limit the sugary/sweet foods, mostly because they contain empty calories and may also be high in fat. These foods may also raise your blood glucose more quickly than whole grain or unrefined carbs.

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    Ask your dietitian and doctor about the use of caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners during pregnancy. Unless you have special needs, it is safe to use the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame-K during pregnancy. You need to avoid saccharin during pregnancy and when breast-feeding. Alcohol is generally not recommended for anyone during pregnancy and can increase the risk of hypoglycemia among women with diabetes.

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    AWilliam Lee Dubois, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    Diabetes medicine levels and treatments can vary significantly between individuals. Now, if your neighbor takes the same diabetes medication that you do, but takes more of it, that does not make her sicker than you are. Everyone’s diabetes is a personal affair and there are all kinds of different things that dictate how much and what kind of medication you need. Some medications are pills, some are shots. Medication, dosage and and desired effects are all to be set by your doctor.