alzheimer's care

Tag Archive for diabetes

Sugar is at the Root of Many Health Problems

Too much sugar is bad at any age. Here are seven good reasons to avoid it:blood sugar

 

  1. Sugar contains added calories with no essential nutrients

There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar – just pure energy. A diet that includes 10 – 20 percent of calories as sugar can contribute to nutrient deficiencies. When up to 10 – 20% or more of your calories come from sugar, this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.

 

  1. Sugar can overload your liver

Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars – glucose and fructose. If we don’t get glucose from the diet, our bodies produce it. Fructose,however, is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it. If the liver is full of glycogen, eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn the fructose into fat. This can lead to fatty liver and a number of serious health problems.

 

  1. Sugar can lead to diabetes

Insulin is a very important hormone in the body. It allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin. When our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, the beta cells in the pancreas make more of it. As insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand of producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down. At this point, blood sugar levels skyrocket (which leads to the diagnosis of diabetes). It is not surprising that studies show that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages increase their risk of diabetes by more than 80 percent.

 

  1. Sugar can cause cancer

Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells – and insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth. Many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer. In addition, the metabolic problems associated with sugar consumption are a known driver of inflammation, another potential cause of cancer.

 

  1. Sugar is highly addictive

Sugar can be addictive. Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain. People who have a susceptibility to addiction can become strongly addicted to sugar and other junk foods.

 

  1. Sugar is a leading contributor to obesity

Not surprisingly, people who consume the most sugar are the most likely to become overweight or obese. One of the most important things you can do if you need to lose weight is to significantly cut back on your sugar consumption.

 

  1. Sugar raises your cholesterol and gives you heart disease

The evidence is mounting that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease. Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL, raise blood glucose and insulin levels, and increase abdominal obesity – all major risk factors for heart disease.

Caring for Diabetic Foot Problems Begins with Prevention

Home Care

If you have type 2 diabetes, one of the biggest concerns you’re likely to face is diabetic foot ulcers.

As many as 70 percent of diabetics have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage which can cause impaired sensation or pain in their feet. Of all lower limb amputations in the U.S., nearly 70 percent are the result of diabetes – with four out of five of these amputations preceded by a foot ulcer.

Effective foot care management can make a big difference. This begins with routine foot care and evaluation, as it’s easier to fix something before the condition worsens.

Part of the problem is that diabetics, because of nerve system damage, don’t necessarily feel foot pain and so tend to ignore a problem until it’s too late. Since normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the feet is often impaired, abnormal pressure on the skin, bones and joints of the feet during walking can lead to a breakdown of the skin and foot sores. Bacterial infection of the skin, connective tissues, muscles and bones may then occur. Since diabetics are prone to poor circulation, antibiotics cannot get to the infection site easily.

Prevention starts with inspecting your feet daily, seeing if there are cuts, cracks, redness, bruises, or swelling. Medical guidelines recommend that diabetics routinely see a foot specialist for an examination at least once a year. Experts can evaluate and get you the proper shoes to prevent breakdowns.

Recent studies have shown that a proper foot care program can reduce amputations by as much as 85 percent. This includes the use of therapeutic footwear.

Here are some other recommendations:
  • Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water and dry them gently.
  • Carefully trim your toenails regularly (and follow-up with a foot specialist).
  • Keep the skin on your feet soft and smooth.
  • Don’t go barefoot (even around the house).
  • Wear clean, dry socks – made from such fabrics as cotton and acrylic fibers (that pull sweat away from the skin); avoid nylon socks or those with tight elastic bands.
  • Buy shoes that fit properly (and speak to a foot doctor about special shoes that fit the exact shape of your feet, cushion them and evenly distribute your weight).
  • If you smoke, stop – smoking impairs circulation and reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • Take any foot injuries or changes to the skin very seriously.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and carefully monitor your blood sugar.
Although the treatment for diabetic foot problems has greatly improved in recent years, it all starts with prevention. And, should a foot problem occur, get prompt medical care.

Plan a Snack

This post is not just for those with diabetes, however, more than 25% of adults age 65 years and older deal with diabetes.  Individuals with type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar with insulin, while many of those with type 2 are able to manage through diet and exercise alone.

Mixed Nuts

 

Even those who do not have diabetes benefit from regular eating to maintain alertness, energy and blood sugar levels.  If a senior ever loses their appetite for an unexplained reason, alert their physician. “It’s important to alert doctors to medical conditions that have prevented eating for a day or more (such as illness)…the elderly, even without diabetes, are most vulnerable to developing hypoglycemia and other imbalances.”Cases of type 2 has shown a recent increase in nursing homes from 16 to 23% as “more people live longer and grow heavier.” Read More