Understanding Diabetes

A condition that affects how your body uses energy in the form of glucose from food, diabetes can be successfully managed through proper self-monitoring, medication and lifestyle changes. People with diabetes have a high level of glucose in their blood, which can be caused by either too little insulin being produced by the pancreas or the body not accepting or using the insulin it produces, or a combination of both.

People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Blood sugar levels are controlled through diet, physical activity and, for some people, a combination of medication and insulin injections.

Understanding Insulin

Insulin is a hormone your cells need to store and use energy from food, and it is responsible for getting glucose into your cells. If you have diabetes, insulin is not able to do its job. Meaning, glucose is unable to get into your cells, which causes it to build up in your blood. High levels of glucose then circulate through your body, damaging cells along the way.

Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 Diabetes: The pancreas cannot make insulin or makes very little. Type 1 diabetes often begins in childhood (it was previously known as “juvenile diabetes”), and the onset is sudden. People with Type 1 diabetes need daily insulin injections or an insulin pump.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: The pancreas makes insulin, but it does not make enough or your body doesn’t use the insulin it makes and usually develops slowly. Eight in 10 people with this type of diabetes are overweight. In fact, Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children and teenagers because of the increase in obesity within these age groups. Blood sugar levels are controlled through diet and physical activity. Oral medicines may be used to help your body respond to the insulin you make. Insulin injections or a pump also may be needed.
  • Gestational Diabetes: The cause is unknown but may be the result of hormones during pregnancy blocking the action of insulin. Gestational diabetes often disappears after the baby is born. However, women who experience diabetes while pregnant have a much greater chance of having Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Going to the bathroom frequently
  • Being unusually thirsty
  • Losing weight
  • Feeling tired
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent illness or infection
  • Poor circulation, such as tingling or numbness in the feet or hands

If you think you have diabetes, see a doctor immediately. Only a doctor can confirm a diabetes diagnosis and will most likely recommend one of these blood tests: a fasting plasma glucose test (FPG), an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), an A1c test (also called hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c or glycohemoglobin test) or a random plasma glucose test (RPG).

Goals for Managing Diabetes

Whether you have been diagnosed with Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes, your overall goals for managing the disease are similar.

  • Keep blood glucose levels within the target range determined by your doctor. This can prevent or reduce complications.
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, since people with diabetes are at risk for both. Keep blood pressure under control and achieve healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Adopt a healthful eating pattern and lifestyle that are enjoyable and doable for you and can help prevent, or at least slow, complications from diabetes.

To successfully manage diabetes, you need to understand how foods and nutrition affect your body. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, seek the expert advice of a registered dietitian nutritionist to help you manage the disease while ensuring you get the nutrients your body needs.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Video: Why Does Food Make Your Mouth Water?

You’re sitting in your favorite restaurant when a waiter walks by with a hot plate of your favorite food, and your mouth starts to water.

But why? What causes drooling in the first place, and why do we only sometimes salivate?

This video explains the chemical mechanisms behind dinner time drooling.

Watch video at You Tube (3:10 minutes) . . . .

Exercise May Keep Your Brain 10 Years Younger, Study Suggests

Older adults who exercise regularly could buy an extra decade of good brain functioning, a new study suggests.

The study found that seniors who got moderate to intense exercise retained more of their mental skills over the next five years, versus older adults who got light exercise or none at all.

On average, those less-active seniors showed an extra 10 years of “brain aging,” the researchers said.

The findings do not prove that exercise itself slows brain aging, cautioned senior researcher Dr. Clinton Wright, a neurologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

It’s possible, he said, that there are other reasons why active older adults stayed mentally sharper.

The researchers accounted for some of those other explanations — including people’s education levels, smoking habits and health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

And exercise levels were still connected to the participants’ performance on tests of memory and “processing speed” — the ability to digest a bit of new information, then respond to it.

Plus, Wright said, it’s plausible that exercise would affect those mental skills. Other research has shown that physical activity boosts blood flow to the brain, and may enhance the connections among brain cells, for example.

Exercise can also help manage “vascular risk factors,” such as high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and diabetes, Wright pointed out.

That’s important because many studies have suggested that some of the same risk factors for heart disease and stroke also boost the odds of dementia.

The new study findings were published in the journal Neurology.

Dr. Ezriel Kornel, a neurosurgeon who was not involved in the study, agreed that the findings don’t prove that exercise will keep you thinking clearly.

“It could simply be that people who are drawn to exercise are also at lower risk of cognitive decline,” said Kornel, a clinical assistant professor of neurological surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, in New York City.

That said, he called the study “important,” because it at least suggests that exercise could have a big impact on people’s mental function as they age.

“We already know that exercise is highly valuable for cardiovascular health,” Kornel said.

The potential to add extra years of healthy brain function might motivate more people to get moving, he said.

The findings are based on nearly 900 older adults who took standard tests of memory, attention and other mental skills at an average age of 71. They repeated the tests five years later. At the time of the first test, they also underwent MRI scans of the brain, which allowed the researchers to look for changes associated with early mental impairment.

Overall, 10 percent of the group said they regularly got moderate to high-intensity exercise — which meant activities such as jogging, aerobics and calisthenics.

It turned out that those men and women showed substantially less mental decline over five years than the rest of the group — who were either sedentary or got light exercise, like walking.

When it came to tests of episodic memory — remembering words from a list — less-active and sedentary seniors showed the equivalent of 10 extra years of brain aging.

According to Wright, the results suggest that a casual walk around your neighborhood is not enough to preserve brain function as you age.

“It seems like we’re not going to get off easy,” he said. “There’s increasing evidence that it needs to be exercise that gets your heart rate up.”

However, Wright added, the necessary exercise regimen is far from clear. Seeking some answers, his team is running a trial testing the effects of exercise on stroke survivors’ brain function over time.

According to Kornel, exercise could theoretically benefit the brain in a range of ways. “Improved blood flow to the brain is one logical assumption,” he said.

But, he added, exercise can also keep people mentally engaged — by making them learn new things or concentrate, for example. And if you exercise with other people, Kornel noted, there’s a social aspect, too.

“If you’re out in the world, physically active, there are many things going on that are probably not happening when you’re just sitting on your sofa,” he said.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Frittata Sandwich

Ingredients

4 pieces sun-dried tomatoes, dry packed
1 tbsp butter or margarine
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
6 eggs
2 tbsp water
vegetable spray
4 (9-inch) submarine bun or large crusty rolls, split
4 slices Havarti cheese, regular or light
1/2 cup bacon pieces
lettuce leaves

Method

  1. Soak tomatoes in very hot tap water until softened. Drain and chop. Set aside.
  2. In a nonstick, 10-inch skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until almost brown, without stirring, about 7 minutes.
  3. Stir and continue cooking until onions are golden brown.
  4. Add vinegar and cook until brown. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
  5. Whisk eggs and water. Stir in cooled onions.
  6. Spray a 9-inch square pan with vegetable spray. Pour in egg mixture. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 15 minutes or until set. Let stand a few minutes before cutting into 8 triangles.
  7. Place lettuce leaf and two triangles overlapping on each roll bottom. Top with 2 tbsp bacon pieces, 1 tbsp dried tomatoes, 1 slice cheese, 1 lettuce leaf and remaining half roll.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Source: Style At Home

In Pictures: Toasts


Today’s Comic