Diabetes in 2013

Diabetes in 2013

Diabetes in 2013 is a bit different from what it was just a few decades ago. And it is light-years from what it was when I was in college studying nursing in the 1970s.

From having only two drug classes (sulfonylureas and insulin) to having six drug classes (and likely more by the time you read this) today, Diabetes care in 2013 is much different and much more targeted to the causes of high blood glucose levels.

History of Diabetes in 2013

Before the late 1990s, diabetes was diagnosed with blood tests done in a medical lab on two separate dates — usually fasting for at least 8 hours. The cut off value that indicated diabetes was 140mg/dL.  Many people (including my own daddy) walked around with blood sugar levels just below the cutoff and thought they were “fine.”

Diagnosing Diabetes in 2013

Today, the cut off is 126 mg/dL…and it only has to be ONCE.  Also new with the newly released diabetes care guidelines is the option to use the A1c test for diagnostic purposes. For diabetes to be diagnosed with the A1c test the value has to be higher than or equal to 6.5%. These cutoff point reflect the research showing a sudden increase in the occurrence of diabetic retinopathy.

In an effort to catch the disease earlier when it is easier to control, the recommended lower cut points will indeed find more people.  In turn there will be a greater need for diabetes education and support for more people with diabetes for longer periods in their lives.

Have you had your blood glucose checked in the last three years?  If you are over the age of 45, you should definitely have it check every three years or more often based on several factors.  You doctor can guide you on the frequency of screening if you do NOT currently have a diagnosis of diabetes.

If you DO have diabetes, you need to be testing at least ONCE per day.  In some situations, it may be necessary to test much more often. Again, your doctor or diabetes coach can help you sort out what is needed in your unique situation.

Take responsibility for your own health. Be proactive.

Ask for a test for diabetes the next time you see your doctor for any reason.

Visit back frequently. I will be writing on more topics to help you get and stay healthy!!!

To your health – physical, emotional, fiscal, and spiritual

Zona B. Taylor

 

 

Nutrition Simplified – Major Nutrients

Nutrition – Major Nutrientsnutrition simpliveid - major nutrients - protein, fat, carbs

Protein – Building Blocks of Nutrition

The first major nutrient is protein. Protein provides the building blocks for your
body. Proteins in their simplest form are called amino acids. Amino acids are arranged in different ways to make different parts of the body. For example, amino acids (protein) used to make the brain and nerves are arranged differently than the ones that make up bones. Or teeth. Or hair. Or muscles. Each of these tissues and organs are made of amino acids. They are just arranged differently to make different proteins. Although protein’s primary job is to be used to build, protein can also be turned into fuel for the body…as a backup plan…in a pinch.

Fat – Nutrition for the Long Haul

The second major nutrient is fat. Fat breaks down during digestion into fatty acids. Fatty acids are used in a variety of ways in the body. Most hormones made in the body start with fatty acids. Our nerves require fatty acids to work correctly. As most of us already know, if you have more fatty acids than your body can use, the extra fat is stored in the body as fuel to be used in case of food shortage.  For fat to be used as fuel, there must be a prolonged period of demand for fuel when carbs are in short supply.

Carbs – Powerhouse of Nutrition

Carbohydrates (carbs) are the third major nutrient.  The main job of carbs is to provide fuel for the body.  The simplest form of carbohydrates is glucose (i.e. blood sugar). Glucose is the form of fuel that every cell in your body is able to use well. Some cells in the body, i.e. the brain, cannot use any other form of fuel.

You may be wondering why your body needs fuel. Your body is made up of more than three trillion cells. Each of those cells has a job description. In order to carry out its assigned tasks, each cell must have energy. That energy is provided by the food you eat.

When you eat a meal, there is a period of time following the meal when your body is very busy breaking down the food you just ate.  Once the food breaks down enough, it enters the blood stream in its simplest form. Protein as amino acids. Fat as fatty acids. Carbs as glucose.

When your body detects the rush of nutrients following a meal, your body responds to use the nutrients to the best advantage. Various hormones (including insulin) are needed for use and storage of the nutrients. If your body does not make enough insulin, or cannot use it correctly, the level of glucose in your blood rises too high and we call that “Diabetes Mellitus”.

If you are interested in finding out more about diabetes, click on the following link to begin receiving a series of lessons by email.   “I want to know more about diabetes and how to control it.

Diabetes – Is It Really What You Think It Is?

Diabetes – What Is It Anyway?

Diabetes is often misunderstood. Some people refer to diabetes as “sugar” or “sugar diabetes.” When you hear the word “sugar,” do you think of that white granular stuff that you sprinkle on your strawberries. Or use to make cookies. Or frosting. The medical term for diabetes is diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes occurs when the level of sugar in the blood is too high. The medical word for blood sugar is glucose.  Glucose is a form of fuel for the body. Just like your car, your body cannot run well without the proper fuel.

Let’s back up a little. The food you eat goes to your stomach. Digestion begins there. When the food breaks down to its simplest form, it can be used by your body. Different foods are used for different purposes in the body.  One of the uses for food is to provide fuel for your body.What Is Diabetes?

In fact, all foods have the ability to serve as fuel.  Some fuels are better suited to certain parts of your body than others. For instance, your brain can use only ONE kind of fuel, glucose. No other fuel will work for feeding your brain cells.

However, we have all heard that you “can get too much of a good thing,” right? Well, this is definitely one of those situations. You need a certain amount of glucose to keep your body healthy and working.  However, if you have too much glucose (blood sugar) floating in your blood stream, you run into trouble. That trouble is called  diabetes.

There are hormones that aid in proper use of fuel in your body. One of these hormones is called insulin. When diabetes is present, there is one of two problems with insulin. Either there is not enough insulin produced by the body. Or the body is not able to use the insulin properly.  Either way, the end result is a rise in the level of glucose in the bloodstream – especially right after eating.

The Bad News about High Blood Sugar

Too much glucose floating in your bloodstream damages the cells in your eyes, in your kidneys, and the large blood vessels of the heart and brain. The results of high blood sugar over a long time can be blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes.

The Good News about Diabetes

Fortunately, we know that controlling the levels of glucose in the blood can lower the risks of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. The closer the levels are to normal – the lower the risk of complications!

Learning to control your blood glucose is not as hard as it sounds. Once you know how, you can take charge of your own diabetes care most of the time. It is important that you know when to call in the professionals, though. If you can attend a class approved by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, you will learn the basics of self-care. If you need on-going encouragement and assistance in dealing with the day-to-day issues of blood sugar control, you need a diabetes coach. If your blood sugars start doing something unexpected, be sure you call your doctor or your coach.

Future Diabetes Topics

In future blogs, we will discuss more about what diabetes is and how to control diabetes. If you would like to be notified when a new blog is posted, please sign up below.