Friday, September 27, 2013

The Wake Up Call I Got With Diabetes

I had spent a number of years working toward what finally happened that day. Some of it was my own fault; some of it was the result of the traps around each of us every day with the food we eat and the lifestyle we live. I had a heredity element because my Father had diabetes and his mother had it. So I needed to be careful. But I had gotten cocky and over confident because I'd got to 66 years old and didn't really have any weight or diet related illnesses. I had dodged the bullet for a long time and figured things were going to continue that way.

I had gotten up to a high of 342 lbs. and had a hard time walking a mile at the park without stopping 4 or 5 times to rest. I figured this is the aging process and I mine as well resign myself to getting old. I was in complete denial that there was anything I could really do to make things better. I had tried every diet known to man and could lose weight for 30 days on the artificial life style they demanded and then I was back to old habits and put the weight back on plus some more. They call it the yo-yo process.

When I got the news that I had diabetes that morning my doctor said don't eat after 6 pm and come in tomorrow so we can re-test under fasting conditions. She didn't think it was going to make a difference but at least we would have a proper baseline to start treatment. She later indicated this had been going on for several months and after we talked I realized I had in fact had some symptoms that I didn't realize was diabetes. She told me that my best bet would be to lose weight and exercise regularly.

So I went home depressed and began to do an internet search to educate myself on diabetes. I really didn't know too much about it. I was amazed to find what a high number of people in this country have the disease and that it's on the rise. I was discovered that the number pretty much correlated to the increased number of people over weight. And then later I read how the obesity epidemic was probably directly related to the processed foods we eat.

I was shocked when I came to realize how much nutrition is lost by the time processed food gets to the store shelves. The food industry maximizes their profits with pesticides and herbicides to get bigger yields and add all kinds of preservatives to keep the food from spoiling and then add growth hormones to the livestock feed so they can get them to market faster, and then add appetite enhancers so we can't eat just one, and then put in all kinds of other stuff to make things taste better and everybody turns their heads to what's going on because of the money being made.

Anyway, lucky for me I had the opportunity to fix the diabetes if I choose to lose weight and exercise. Two things came to me to help me get my thinking straight. My friend Dan sent me the book," Younger Next Year", by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, MD, plus I happened to watch the Netflix Video "Fat, Sick, and Dying". They say when the student is ready the teacher appears and I was the student and that book and that video were to be my teachers.

The book is amazing. It explains why it is so important to exercise every day, and how it can greatly improve the last third of your life. I won't try to get into the science behind this idea, but I would recommend the book to anybody retired, or over 50, who is feeling like they are getting old and need to sit in a rocking chair and watch life pass them by. The video tells you about diet and nutrition and how the processed food in our stores is killing us slowly but surely. These two resources lead me to many other information sources that reinforce the idea of proper Nutrition and proper exercise.

To make a long story a little shorter I'm down about 50 lbs. so far and feel better than I have in years. The diabetes wakeup call may well have been my salvation and gave me the extra push I needed to get up and do something. As I'm writing this I just had my 67 the birthday yesterday and have to say I'm feeling better than I have in a long time. People are beginning to comment on the way I look and act, how I have lost weight, look healthier, have more energy, and have begun to get a spring back in my step.

I have a long way to go yet. The blood numbers have begun to improve but I still have high goals and I want to get to the day the doctor tells me I'm no longer diabetic and I can go off the medicine. I guess when you get a wakeup call like I did, and you have to make a decision to do something, and you need a reason you're going to actually do it. My motivation to fix things was because of my 5 grandsons. I decided I wanted to be around to do the funky chicken at their weddings.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Are You Pre-Diabetic?

The question wasn't intended to scare you but rather to bring you closer to the risks one may have of being pre-diabetic.

What is Pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a medical condition in which the blood sugar levels are elevated beyond normal levels, but they aren't high enough to be classified as having type 2 diabetes. Although not everyone with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes, negligence of the condition will lead to higher chances of you becoming diabetic.

It is very important that you learn about diabetes in its earlier stages as research confirms that many long term complications associated with diabetes such as CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) and nerve damage may begin from the pre-diabetic stage.

Just like type 2 diabetes, a person may suffer from the underlying symptoms without even knowing about it. Hence, it is important to be aware of the risk factors and which screening tests one may need to undergo. This is particularly true if you suffer from pre-diabetes being a part of 'metabolic syndrome'. If you have been enduring high blood pressure levels, have elevated levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) i.e. bad cholesterol and triglycerides, low levels of HDL (high-density lipoproteins) i.e. good cholesterol and a tendency to put on weight around the abdominal region, then you are at risk of being pre-diabetic.

Risk factors may include:

1. Having crossed the age of 40 years.

2. A close relative, parent or sibling diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

3. Belonging to a high risk group of people such as Asians, South American, Hispanic or African descent.

4. Having a family history of insulin resistance or impaired glucose tolerance.

5. Presence of some diabetes related complications such as eye, nerve or kidney disorders.

6. Having a history of heart disease.

7. Having a medical history of gestational diabetes mellitus.

8. High blood pressure.

9. High cholesterol levels.

10. Having excessive layers of abdominal fat.

Research suggest that control over blood glucose levels in the earlier stages can help lower the chances and even delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. One can easily reduce the chances of developing further complications by making simple lifestyle changes such as increasing the levels of physical activity and eating a low-fat based meal. A reduction of even a small percentage of body weight i.e. even 5 to 10 % of total body weight through eating of healthy foods and following a regular physical activity regime can make a huge difference to your health and lifestyle.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Eyesight?

If you have diabetes you may want to be concerned about vision problems now or in the future. Vision problems and diabetes are not abnormal. So how does diabetes affect your eyesight? The longer you have diabetes, the higher your chances are of having complications with your eyesight.

Is it true that diabetes can lead to blindness? Yes, if you have diabetes your risk is higher of blindness than people without diabetes. But most people who have diabetes do not have major eye disorders.

By having regular eye checkups, you should be able to keep your eye problems minor. If you do develop a major problem, there are treatments that work well if you begin them right away.


    High blood sugar (glucose) increases your risk of eye problems.
    Three major eye problems related to diabetes. Cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy.
    If you have type 1 diabetes you should have a dilated eye exam within three to five years after diagnosis.
    If you are a type 2 diabetic you should have a dilated eye exam shortly after diagnosis.
    Annual eye exams should be done for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics more frequently if necessary.

For diabetic's that are concerned about their vision, the first thing is controlling your high blood sugar. High blood pressure places a strain on the blood vessels in your eyes, causing the blood vessels to narrow or bleed when there is too much blood pressure. It may also cause the optic nerve to swell affecting your ability to see well.


Cataracts is not limited to those who just have diabetes. Diabetics will usually get cataracts at an earlier age than most people and the condition can progress more rapidly than with people without diabetes.

Cataracts are the clouding or fogging of the lens of your eye. In most cases you will notice this in one eye only. The lens is what allows you to see clearly and focus on an image without blurred vision.


Neovascular glaucoma is when new blood vessels grow on the iris of your eye. That is the colored part of your eye. These new blood vessels can start closing off fluid flow in your eye and raise the eye pressure.

Glaucoma can be a difficult disease to treat. Laser surgery is one option that reduces the blood vessels on the iris and on the retinal surface. There also has been some success by using drainage implants.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Processed Foods: The Pros and Cons - A Balanced View

In food processing, harvested crops or butchered animals are used as the raw ingredients for making and packaging food products that are attractive, marketable and have long-shelf lives.

Attractive means that the product both tastes and looks good. To be marketable, it must match the kinds of food being demanded by consumers. Food products that have a long-shelf life reduce the costs of wastage for producers, distributors and retailers.

Development of food processing

Food processing dates back to our prehistory -- when fire was discovered and cooking invented. The various ways in which food can be cooked are all forms of food processing.

Food preservation also began in prehistory, and the first 'long shelf-life' foods were produced by drying food in the sun and by preserving food with salt. Preservation with salt was common with soldiers, sailors and other travelers until canning was invented in the early 19th century.

The ancient Bulgarians invented the first instant food (bulgur) nearly 8.000 years ago, when found a way to parboil and dry whole wheat so that the grain only has to be reheated before it can be eaten.

One of the first ready-to-eat meals was devised by the ancient Celts when they invented the haggis and what is now known as the Cornish pasty.

Another processed food, cheese, was invented by the nomads of Arabia when they noticed how milk curdled as they jogged along all day on their camels and ponies.

The prehistoric methods of cooking and preserving food remained largely unchanged until the industrial revolution.

The development of modern food processing technology began in the early 19th century in response to the needs of the military. In 1809 a vacuum bottling technique was invented so Napoleon could feed his troops. Canning was invented in 1810 and, after the makers of the cans stopped using lead (which is highly poisonous) for the inner lining of the tins, canned goods became common throughout the world. Pasteurisation, discovered in 1862, advanced the micro-biological safety of milk and similar products significantly.

Cooling decreases the reproductive rate of bacteria and thus the rate at which food spoils. Cooling as a storage technique has been in use for hundreds of years. Ice-houses, packed with fresh snow during the winter, were used to preserve food by chilling from the mid-18th century onwards and worked fairly well most of the year round in northern climates.

Commercial refrigeration, using toxic refrigerants which made the technology unsafe in the home, was in use for almost four decades before the first domestic refrigerators were introduced in 1915.

Fridges in the home gained wide acceptance in the 1930s when non-toxic and non-flammable refrigerants such as Freon were invented.

The expansion of the food processing industry in the second half of the 20th century was due to three needs:(a) food to feed the troops efficiently during World War II, (b) food that could be consumed under conditions of zero gravity during forays into outer space, and (c) the pursuit of the convenience demanded by the busy consumer society.

To respond to these needs food scientists invented freeze-drying, spray-drying, and juice concentrates among a host of other processing technologies. They also introduced artificial sweeteners, colouring agents and chemical preservatives. In the closing years of the last century they came up with dried instant soups, reconstituted juices and fruits, and the 'self-cooking' meals (MREs) so beloved of military brass but not the grunts.

The 'pursuit of convenience' has lead to the expansion of frozen foods from simple bags of frozen peas to juice concentrates and complex TV dinners. Those who process food now use the perceived value of time as the foundation of their market appeal.

Benefits of processed foods

Initially, processed foods helped to alleviate food shortages and improve overall nutrition by making new foods available globally. Modern food processing delivers many additional benefits:

    De-activating the pathogenic micro-organisms found in fresh vegetables and raw meats (such as salmonella), reduces food-borne diseases and makes food safer.
    Because processed foods are less susceptible to spoilage than fresh foods, modern processing, storage and transportation can deliver a wide variety of food from around the world, giving us choices in our supermarkets that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors.
    Processing can often improve the taste of food, though it can also have the opposite effect.
    The nutritional value of food can be increased by the addition of extra nutrients and vitamins during processing.
    The nutritional value can also be made more consistent and reliable.
    Modern processing technologies can also improve the quality of life for people who have allergies by removing the proteins that cause allergic reactions.
    The mass production of food means that processed foods are much cheaper to produce than the cost of making meals from raw ingredients at home.

Processed foods are also extremely convenient. Households are freed from the time-consuming tasks of preparing and cooking foods that are in their natural state... the food processing industry makes everything from peeled potatoes ready for boiling to prepared-meals that just have to be heated in a micro-wave oven for a few minutes.


Processed foods are undoubtedly a great boon. But all is not sweetness and light.

Generally speaking, fresh unprocessed food will contain a higher proportion of naturally occurring fibre, vitamins and minerals than the same food after processing by the food industry. Vitamin C, for example, is destroyed by heat and so fresh fruit will contain more vitamin C than canned fruit.

Indeed, nutrients are often deliberately removed from food during processing in order to improve taste, appearance or shelf-life. Examples include bread, pasta and ready-made meals.

The result is empty calories. Processed foods have a higher ratio of calories to other essential nutrients than fresh, unprocessed foods. They are often energy-dense while being nutritionally poor.

Processing can introduce hazards that are not found in unprocessed foods, due to additives, preservatives, chemically-hardened vegetable oils or trans-fats, and excessive sugar and salt. Indeed, the additives in processed foods... flavourings, sweeteners, stabilisers, texture-enhancing agents and preservatives among other... may have little or no nutritive value, or may actually be unhealthy.

Preservatives used to extend shelf-life, such as nitrites or sulphites, may lead to ill-health. In fact, the addition of many chemicals for flavouring and preservation has been shown to cause human and animal cells to grow rapidly, without dying off, thus increasing the risk of a variety of cancers.

Cheap ingredients that mimic the properties of natural ingredients, such as trans-fats made by chemically-hardening vegetable oils that take the place of more-expensive natural saturated fats or cold-pressed oils, have been shown to cause severe health problems in numerous studies. But they are still widely used because of their low-cost and consumer ignorance.

Sugars, fats and salts are usually added to processed foods to improve flavour and as preservatives. As diabetics, we are all well aware of the effects of excessive sugar, fat and on our already damaged systems. Eating large amounts of processed food means consuming too much sugars, fats and salts, which, even if you a in full health, can lead to a variety of problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, ulcers, stomach cancer, obesity, and of course diabetes.

Another problem with processed foods is that, where low-quality ingredients are used, this can be disguised during manufacturing.

In the processing industry, a food product will go through several intermediate steps in independent factories before it is finalised in the factory that finishes it.

This is similar to the use of sub-contractors in car manufacturing, where many independent factories products parts, such as electrical systems, bumpers, and other sub-systems, in accordance with the final manufacturer's specifications. These parts are then sold to the car plant where the car is finally assembled from the bought-in parts.

Because the ingredients in processed foods are often made in large quantities during the early stages of the manufacturing process, any hygiene problems in the facilities that produce a basic ingredient that is used widely by other factories in the later stages of production can have serious effects on the quality and safety of many final food products.

Despite the hazards, everyone eats processed foods almost exclusively nowadays. As a result, people eat more quickly and no longer seem aware of the way food is grown and how it is a gift of nature.

It seems to me, also, that food has become more of a necessary interruption in our busy lives and less of a social occasion to be enjoyed.

Eating processed foods

You can't get away from eating some processed foods... the convenience is irresistible.

When you eat processed foods you reduce the likelihood of being poisoned or picking up a food-borne disease. The nutritional value of what you eat may be more consistent and you will probably be ingesting more nutrients and vitamins than you would get by eating only unprocessed food.

On the other hand, by eating processed foods you are exposing yourself to a potential loss of heat-sensitive vitamins and nutrients that are removed to improve shelf-life, taste and appearance. You are also exposing yourself to the potential adverse effects on your health of various additives and preservatives, some of which can be very serious indeed.

The calorie-dense nature of processed foods, due to the large quantities of sugars and fats they contain, makes them extremely problematic for diabetics and those with high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

The only solution is to choose the processed foods you buy with extreme care -- by reading the labels on the packaging -- and to focus your diet on fresh or frozen produce as much as possible.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Types of Diabetes Discussed

Diabetes or Diabetes mellitus is a state where the blood sugar shoots up or the glucose level is higher than normal. A person suffering from diabetes may be experiencing frequent urination, usually hungry or thirsty. High blood glucose is usually caused by inadequate insulin supply or the body is not responding to insulin at all.


1. TYPE 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is common among teenagers, young adult or those before approaching 40 years old. Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes. This is also a group of people who are insulin dependent or simply would inject insulin for the rest of their life. It is also prescribed by doctors that a person who suffers from Type 1 diabetes must bring blood test equipment with them all the time.

2. TYPE 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a state when the body is not reacting to insulin, also called insulin resistance. This type of diabetes can be controlled by losing weight, proper diet, plenty of exercise and close monitoring the glucose level. If not monitored closely, a type 2 diabetes may lead to type 1 diabetes where in a person will become insulin dependent.

Those who are obese and overweight are at high risk of having this type of diabetes. Belly fat and even unwanted fats in the body releases chemicals that will cause cardiovascular diseases and problems with metabolism.

3. Gestational Diabetes

The gestational diabetes is diabetes that happens during pregnancy. If the mother is not closely monitoring her diet, high glucose level may happen during pregnancy and may lead to diabetes. Gestational diabetes may lead to complications during childbirth, both to the baby and the mother. Gestational diabetes can only be diagnosed during pregnancy.

Regardless of what type of diabetes you are concerned about, everything can be prevented by having proper diet, exercise or simple by just taking good care of your health. In fact, even those people who are suffering from diabetes, always include diet, exercise and food supplements to maintain a normal glucose level or even at least diminish the impact of high glucose level to their body system. Unfortunately, diabetes are not only present among teens, young adult and adult but even to babies. Just like the third type of diabetes - Gestational diabetes.

Life is difficult for these children because they can't eat the food they love or even drink their favorite juices because of the sugar in it. This is another reason why women should always make sure that their glucose level are at normal level so as to prevent Gestational diabetes to occur during their pregnancy. The risk will not only impact their children but even them - the mothers.

Researches in the past conducted a lab test on mouse. Mouse A has normal testosterone level while mouse B has lower testosterone level. The research showed that a lower testosterone level may put the mouse at risk to insulin resistance. Thus, in men who are older and who have low testosterone levels have greater risk of having diabetes than younger men and those men who have normal testosterone levels.

A doctor in the University of Edinburgh's Endocrinology unit - Dr. Kerry Mclnnes - said that men who have low testosterone are really at risk of having diabetes and regardless of age.

People nowadays should always be conscious about their health. These types of diabetes can be prevented by proper food intake, plenty of exercise and even by taking trusted food supplements. There are people who are suffering from diabetes but are able to maintain a better glucose level by practicing those methods mentioned above - diet, exercise and food supplements. Do not attempt to delay your health program as time is infinite in terms of when to have or not to have a problem with your glucose level. It is even best to start a support group who will help you succeed with your diet and exercise plan.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Type 2 Diabetes - Regular Exercise Is Vital for Diabetics

Apart from managing your intake of carbohydrates and reducing, or preferably avoiding table sugar all together, did you know there is another simple but really effective way to help you lower your blood sugar levels without drugs?

That simple but hugely often overlooked way is exercise.

Regular, frequent exercise suited to what you as an individual can handle, is vital for everyone's health but especially diabetics striving to come off all medication.

How exercise helps to lower blood sugar levels: When you exercise it creates an increase in sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for helping your body to absorb the glucose, broken down food that is now 'energy' into the cells, which in turn helps to lower blood sugar levels. So, people living with Type 2 diabetes are actually suffering with insulin resistance, which is where the muscle, liver and fat cells do not respond as they should to insulin which is why more insulin is needed to help 'mop up' the excess glucose in the blood stream.

By exercising you are helping your body to kick-start its response to insulin again. Exercising aids your muscle cells to increase its uptake of glucose which, as a result, leaves less of it circulating in your bloodstream both during and after doing the physical activity. So when it comes to testing your blood sugar afterwards you should get a lower blood sugar reading than before you started.

Obviously the effects of exercise on blood sugar levels are going to be different from person to person as we are all individual on a genetic level - but either way this is a very simple and easy way to start feeling more in control of your diabetes day by day.

Make new changes slowly: If you are new to exercising and/or are overweight, it would be wise to start off very gently, something like a 10 minute gentle walk daily at first is a good place to start if you currently do not exercise at all. Then work at gradually increasing the duration of the walk each week if you continue to feel good from it.

I would recommend speaking with your doctor though and even a personal trainer if your bank balance allows, as both can help devise an exercise plan that suits your body and can help to monitor your heart rate and blood sugar appropriately. I would also advise anyone who has or thinks they might have urine ketones, to speak to their doctor before exercising or making any changes to their current exercise regime - as you should not exercise if these are present.

Whether you are a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic or a pre-diabetic, regular exercise is vital for positive blood sugar control, and will help you to stop simply relying on your medication. If you embark in the correct type of regular exercise you should not only see some great results in your lower blood sugar levels, but you will also lose weight.

Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. By making simple changes to your daily routine, its possible to protect your heart, kidneys, eyes and limbs from the damage often caused by diabetes, and eliminate many of the complications you may already experience. You may find you can even eliminate your medications.