How To Help Your Child Manage Diabetes

This is a guest post by Cheretta A Clerkley of Hormone Health Network.

When you are the parent of a child with diabetes, the diagnosis can feel like a life sentence. While it is a life-changing diagnosis, it does not have to sentence your family to doom. With the right education and support, you can learn to control your child’s diabetes, and teach him or her how to manage it independently. Here are some strategies and tips to get you started:

Understand How Your Child Feels

Before you start teaching your child to control their diabetes, it’s important to remember how your child feels. The sudden changes brought on by a diabetes diagnosis are unpleasant. Your child now has to deal with food restrictions, injections and constant monitoring. She may think she is being punished — feeling ashamed or guilty. Even young children can fear death, simply because of the name “diabetes” and how it starts with “die.”

Because of these feelings, which particularly young children cannot verbalize, you may find your child acting out toward you. Give your child a little room for misbehavior as you both learn to adjust to this new normal.

Teach Your Child to Embrace Self Care

Because of the frightening consequences that are possible when diabetes is not controlled well, you may find yourself desiring to shelter your child and take over all aspects of care. However, JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, warns against this. Being too protective can actually harm your child’s self esteem and overall ability to cope with the disease.

Your job is to educate, supervise and encourage your child into comfortable self care. Get your child to the point where he can handle his own testing and knows what to do when he has a low blood sugar or high blood sugar episode. Developing proper self-care routines will help your child develop indepenedently with a strong sense of self esteem.

Of course, this has to happen when the child is emotionally and developmentally ready. Also, important tasks, like checking blood sugar levels or insulin injections, need to be properly monitored by you or a trusted caregiver.

Handling the Adolescent Years

If you have a young child with diabetes, you may think that the adolescent years (when your child can handle more of the self-care tasks independently), will be easier. However, many parents find that they are not. Children can rebel against the diabetes routine in these years, may be forgetful and may suffer from blood sugar changes as they go through puberty.

As a parent, be as supportive as possible during this time. Learn to support good self care without judgment, even when you feel frustrated with your teenager’s poor choices. Work with your teenager to decide who will handle which self-care tasks, and provide support when and where it is needed. Work as hard as you can to continue to approach the diabetes as a team, and you will see greater results and better handling of the disease.

Remember, diabetes will change life for you and your child, but it’s important to embrace those changes. Yes, the diagnosis comes with some burdens, but your job as a parent is to teach your child how to embrace those burdens to grow up strong and healthy. Educate yourself, then teach your child how to manage diabetes effectively and independently.

Healthy Changes to Make Around the House

One way you can support your child’s self care is by making changes around your home that will make controlling blood sugar easier.

First, make sure that your child is physically active. Exercise makes insulin work more effectively, so healthy exercise in your family will help the body function better. However, this can also mean that the child will need to adjust insulin or food intake before periods of physical activity.

Next, try to manage stress in your home. Stress can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Do what you can, as a parent, to maintain a peaceful, relaxed home environment, and monitor blood sugar levels more closely during periods of stress.

Finally, consider your food intake as it relates to insulin. Food raises blood glucose levels, and insulin and exercise help to lower them. To keep levels steady, teach your entire family to eat reasonable amounts consistently and on a set schedule. Focus on healthful foods that are low in sugar and simple carbohydrates. Then, monitor your diabetic child’s blood sugar levels regularly, and adjust insulin appropriately.

Remember, you, as the parent, have the power to teach your child self-care routines that will support a healthy lifestyle, even with diabetes, well into adulthood. Educate yourself, be serious about blood sugar control and support proper self care to give your diabetic child the best start in life.

Author Bio:
Cheretta A Clerkley is a strategic marketing health care professional for Hormone Health Network. She oversees patient education programs and services, focusing on issues such as diabetic health.

Decadent Diabetic Presents: “Riced” Cauliflower!

One of the first things I missed after being diagnosed with Diabetes was rice, too many carbohydrates for MY budget. Then I found the answer.


Will the wonders of what you can do with cauliflower never end?
This very simple preparation takes the place of rice on your plate for amazingly few carbohydrates for a very large serving. It has a similar texture to rice but a different flavor that substitutes perfectly!

You can do this with a box grater but it works best and most quickly with a food processor.

I like to add a tsp. of one herb (tarragon, basil, dill, thyme, etc.) to the butter to give the “rice” a light flavor.

Decadent Diabetic Presents: “Riced” Cauliflower!

Serves 2
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 8 minutes
Total time 18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cauliflower florets (about 1-2" each)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot minced (OR 2 scallions minced)
  • 2 clove of garlic (grated or minced very fine)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

Optional

  • 1 teaspoon herb of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine

Directions

Step 1. Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles kernels of rice (this can also be done on the large side of a box grater (Add 6 minutes to prep time if using box grater).
Step 2. Melt butter in a large (12”) frying pan.
Step 3. Add the shallot or scallions and cook until just wilted.
Step 4. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
Step 5. Add the cauliflower, salt, pepper, and herb of choice.
Step 6. Continue to cook over medium high heat for 3- 4 minutes.
Step 7. Add the chicken broth and wine.
Step 8. Cook at medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed into the cauliflower.

Tips For Choosing The Right Diabetic Testing Supplies

diabetic testing supplies

When you are diagnosed with diabetes, there are a lot of factors to consider. Your diet, exercise habits and other lifestyle choices can all affect your blood sugar levels. Although many people with diabetes talk extensively with their doctor about medications or insulin to manage blood sugar, most overlook the importance of choosing the right diabetic testing supplies. When it comes to testing supplies, making the right choice allows you to have comfort in the accuracy of your blood sugar readings.

diabetic testing supplies
 
Maintaining blood sugar levels within a healthy range is essential for all individuals with diabetes. Eating patterns, physical activity levels, and taking medications or insulin can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate. That is why it is so important to frequently test your blood sugar levels.
 
There is a lot of variability in the type and quality of testing supplies available. The good news is that there is a brand (or several brands) for your unique needs. However, this also means that not all diabetic testing supplies are created equal. Getting low-quality supplies can cause your blood sugar measurements to be inaccurate. This can be dangerous, as it could cause you to accidentally enter a hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic state. Poor accuracy of testing supplies may also make it more difficult for you to predict the effects of food or physical activity on your resulting blood sugar levels. This is a challenge for individuals trying to establish a healthy routine.
 
How to Choose the Best Diabetic Testing Supplies

There are many brands of diabetic testing supplies. Choosing the right one will ensure that you stay healthy and continue to manage your diabetes well. Consider some of the following tips to select the best diabetic testing supplies:
 
Experiment with different brands of test strips. When you visit your diabetes doctor, ask for recommendations on types of test strips to purchase. Some doctors even offer sample test strips to allow you to try new brands. It is worthwhile to experiment with several types of test strips to get a sense of what you like and dislike.

Buy more test strips than you think you need. During the experimentation phase, you may try numerous brands of test strips. Don’t worry if you think you have too many. Buying more than you think you will need gives you the flexibility to test your blood sugar frequently, allowing you to gauge whether the test strips are reliable. If you end up with extra diabetes testing supplies, sell them for cash.

Think about size and shape of test strips. The size and shape of test strips can affect the user experience. Curved test strips create more surface area for blood collection. Similarly, larger test strips require more blood to get an accurate reading, while smaller strips require less.

Investigate wicking technology. It is desirable for the blood glucose test strips to quickly absorb blood, allowing you to get a quick measurement from your testing meter. Test strips vary in the type of wicking technology used. Try a few to get a sense of which work best for you.

Read the instructions on blood glucose measurement. Different strips work with meters differently. For some, you must place the blood upon the strip before inserting it into the glucose meter. Other test strips should be placed into the meter before you apply blood to them. Also take note of where on the strip the blood must be placed.

Consider cost and insurance coverage. Insurance coverage for diabetes testing supplies varies by provider. Contact your insurance provider to ask what types of test supplies are covered. Many insurance companies recommend specific supplies or will only reimburse you for a certain dollar amount. This may affect the type of test strips and glucose meter you choose.

Evaluate user experience for glucose meters. Diabetes often leads to numbness or tingling in the hands, coordination problems and blurred vision. Keep these symptoms in mind when choosing a glucose meter. Look for a meter that is easy to use, a comfortable size, and has large buttons and a large print monitor.

Author bio: Thomas Boston founded Cash Now Offer with the goal to help diabetics get the supplies they need. Boston’s company offers cash for diabetic test supplies in order to help with the financial side of diabetes. 

Oral Health and Diabetes: The Connection

Everyone needs to brush and floss their teeth regularly to prevent cavities and periodontal disease. Plus, emerging scientific evidence suggests that good oral hygiene may impact more than just your mouth, decreasing your risk for cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. Unfortunately, people with Type 2 diabetes are at a significantly higher risk of oral health problems — including periodontal disease. Practicing good oral hygiene is very important among people with diabetes and can prevent significant dental problems.

What Is the Link between Oral Health and Diabetes?
More than 30 million Americans currently have diabetes (both Type 1 and Type 2). Large-scale scientific studies have found that people with diabetes are significantly more likely to have gum disease and other oral health problems. This is in addition to other complications of diabetes, such as damage to the eyes, cardiovascular system and nervous system.

The exact relationship between oral health and diabetes is currently unknown. However, experts in this area believe that there may be a bidirectional relationship between diabetes and gum disease. First, people with diabetes are more susceptible to gum bleeding, gingivitis and periodontitis (serious gum disease). This is consistent with diabetics being generally more susceptible to inflammation and bacterial infections of all kinds. People with diabetes also tend to have immune system issues that prevent them from effectively fighting against bacteria that cause gum disease.

In addition to people with diabetes being more susceptible to gum disease, emerging evidence indicates that serious gum disease may affect the ability to regulate blood glucose. This means that gum disease could increase your likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes. Gum disease causes chronic inflammation of gum tissue. Having chronic inflammation causes a cascade of events — including release of inflammatory markers called cytokines. These cytokines may make it more difficult for your body to control the release of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. Resistance or insensitivity to insulin is a hallmark of diabetes. Thus, uncontrolled oral health problems may make it more likely that otherwise healthy individuals develop diabetes.

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a progressive condition that often begins with mild symptoms that increase in severity over time. Thus, it is important to continually assess your own oral hygiene to determine if you have any warning signs of gum disease. Making frequent trips to the dentist is another good way to ensure that you have not developed oral health problems. If you have any of the following warning signs, you may need to be evaluated for gum disease risk:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
  • Swollen, red or tender gums
  • Gum tissue that pulls away from the teeth
  • Pus that develops between your gums and teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose or moveable permanent teeth
  • Changes in your bite, or the way your teeth fit together
  • An alteration in the fit of a partial bridge or dentures
  • Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Health Problems


    To avoid oral health problems, take good care of your teeth. Remember to gently brush your teeth at least twice per day in a circular motion. If possible, brushing after eating lunch is also a good idea to remove any plaque buildup. Also remember to floss at least once per day, which removes particles that live between teeth or close to gum tissue. These particles attract pro-inflammatory bacteria that may contribute to periodontal disease.

    However, brushing and flossing are just the basics when it comes to good oral hygiene. It is also important to watch the foods you eat. If you have Type 2 diabetes, it is already a good idea to monitor your diet and cut back your intake of sugary foods. This is doubly important for preventing gum disease. Reduce your consumption of processed foods, candy and desserts to keep your gums healthy. Also pay attention to what you drink. Drinking sugar-filled beverages such as sodas, fruit juices or sports drinks can promote the growth of bacteria that negatively affect your gums. Finally, try to drink plenty of water throughout the day to flush away excess bacteria.

    Author Bio: Bonnie Coberly works at Natural Horizons Wellness Centers as a Certified Health Counselor. Natural Horizons Wellness Centers offers a variety of services, including biological dentistry.

    Don’t Let Diabetes Haunt Your Halloween

    diabetes halloween

    This is guest post from Beth Kelly.

    Individuals with diabetes must exercise caution on all major holidays, when an abundance of sugary treats and alcoholic beverages present constant waves of temptation. On no other night of the year is this more evident than on Halloween, a celebration traditionally centered on the consumption of candy.

    While most trick-or-treaters go from house to house collecting goodies, diabetic children (and adults!) must watch their intake closely. But even so, diabetes doesn’t have to preclude enjoyment of the festivities as long as a few simple steps are taken. (These are, of course, in addition to the recommended safety precautions for everyone to follow).

    diabetes halloweenBy preparing beforehand and indulging in moderation, it’s possible to enjoy tasty Halloween treats alongside friends and family. It’s safe for diabetics to eat some candy, but it’s important to keep the carbohydrate count in check — which can be tough to manage during all the excitement.

    In consultation with your doctor, you can establish limits on how much candy can be consumed and how frequently it would be safe to do so. It may be possible to combine candy with extra insulin doses to allow the patient to have fun without sending his or her blood glucose levels skyrocketing. If you’re going to be handing out treats to the little ghouls who stop by your door, consider buying small inedible items (stickers, bouncy balls, glow sticks, etc) instead. If you’re working to manage your own diabetes, it won’t be a struggle to resist the urge to appropriate pieces from the stash, and every child can enjoy the hand out.

    For parents, effective candy deployment strategies are crucial. If you’re the parent of a small child, try to organize the candy stash, and exchange less preferable sweets for something non-food related. Dole out favorite savory delights according to the schedule you’ve established in advance, and don’t leave the goodies lying around where they’ll pose a temptation to even the most strong-willed youngster.

    For older children, one way of dealing with a large collection of accumulated sweets is by offering to “buy” them back, making the entire exercise a combination of a sweepstakes and a collectible trading game. Other rewards could include a day at the movies, a trip to the zoo or a new toy for trading in a large volume of candy. Whatever strategies you employ to deal with your Halloween candy situation, be sure to clearly communicate them with the other members of your household ahead of time. That way, there won’t be any confusion or accusations of unfairness when you enforce the candy rules.

    Of course, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the festive spirit that have nothing to do with sugar-filled snacks. Haunted houses and hayrides, costume contests, and trips to the pumpkin patch are all creative alternatives that don’t put the focus on food. Scary movie marathons leading up to All Hallows Eve last all month long (DirecTV’s “Horrorfest” and Syfy’s “31 Days of Halloween Spook-a-Thon” are two to try), giving you plenty of opportunities to sit through all the Scream sequels you missed as a teenager.

    Hosting a Halloween party is another great way to participate in diverting activities, such as fall-themed crafts and pumpkin carving, without having to cram down mindless sugars and carbs. Because you’ll be in charge of these events, you can arrange to have healthier foods present for the merrymakers to dine upon. Parties are a great way of passing a pleasant time with friends and family, and you can adjust the tone and ambiance of the event based upon the ages of the participants. Whether your guests are barely out of diapers or about to begin their retirements, a spooky-themed gathering is a good time for everyone.

    Just as with other holidays throughout the year, Halloween is flexible enough to accommodate most of the challenges faced by diabetics. It might be the most candy-heavy day on the calendar, but you can make this night a treat without the sweets by including costumes, scary movies and jack-o-lanterns in the mix. Use your best judgment to find out what works for you and your loved ones and have a happy, safe, and healthy Halloween!

    5 Easy (And Tasty!) Food Swaps For Diabetics

    diabetes food swaps

    This is a guest post from Dr. Shinde, owner and physician at Aayu Clinics Lakeview Immediate Care.

    diabetes food swapsType 1 diabetes often develops before adulthood, but Type 2 diabetes usually manifests itself later in life, once the patient has long been set in his/her own eating and lifestyle habits. This can make bad habits really hard to let go. Holidays can become overwhelming as you try to keep track of your carbohydrate intake and deftly avoid making direct eye contact with the dessert table. But diabetes doesn’t have to put a damper on your diet. Start slowly replacing unhealthy snacks with these healthier morsels, which help lower your blood sugar, and promote health without getting in the way of what you love to eat.

    1. Fork it
    Burgers are a big part of barbecue season, and a popular item on most restaurant menus, but the buns are loaded with refined sugars. If you eat a burger, wrap it in a large slice of romaine lettuce, or opt for low-carb buns and bread. You can also avoid carb overload by simply using a fork and a knife to eat hamburgers and hot dogs. Decrease fat and cholesterol consumption while you’re at it by subbing a vegan or vegetarian alternative for the meat.

    2. Try baking instead of frying
    If french fries are your favorite go-to snack, you don’t need to give up hope just because you’re restricting carb and fat content. Baked sweet potato fries are a tasty alternative, especially when drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with cinnamon, a spice that’s been shown to decrease blood glucose.

    3. Brown is better
    White bread is considered almost as harmful as sugar because it’s made from refined grains that have been stripped of much of their nutritional content. Instead of slowly absorbing into the bloodstream, these starches take no time at all to process, so their impact on blood sugar is fast and extreme. Reach for brown rice and whole grain breads instead. Their high-fiber content will further improve how your body metabolizes sugars.

    4. Ditch the chips
    That greasy handful of potato chips can seem really tempting at the end of a tough workday, but it’s loaded with carbs and fats, which can wreak havoc on a diabetic’s glucose readings. What should you do if you’re craving something salty and crunchy, but relatively healthy? Grab a handful of raw almonds or walnuts to satisfy your chomping reflex, or chop some bell peppers or cucumbers, and dip them in fat-free hummus. The dip — made of chickpeas — can be found in a variety of flavors, and is packed with sugar-regulating protein.

    5. How sweet it is
    The worst time for a diabetic patient is that moment at dinner when a server asks you if you’d like to order dessert. Most diabetics have no other option than to drool over the dessert menu, or to compensate for their sugar intake by taking a large amount of insulin. Birthdays can be especially tempting, with all the cake and ice cream on hand. As an alternative to ice cream, you can freeze fat-free cool whip. Serve it with fresh strawberries or blueberries for additional flavor.

    Whether you’ve had diabetes for a long time, or are newly diagnosed, you can keep your blood sugar regulated by swapping your food with these tasty alternatives. After a while, you’ll get the hang of it and put your own spin on recipes. These changes can do a lot to boost everyday health, and they may also help reverse Type 2 diabetes — if combined with a regular exercise regimen. Patients can also help fend off diabetes-related complications that range from heart disease and kidney failure, to an increased risk of stroke.

    About the author:
    Dr. Abhijit Shinde, owner and physician at Aayu Clinics Lakeview Immediate Care, has a long history of experience in primary care, urgent care, and ER. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Aayu Clinics, immediate care clinic in Chicago, is invested in every patient’s health, staying open 365 days a year to help patients when they need it.

    Managing Diabetes On A Budget

    diabetes cost

    The following is a guest post by Brandon Cruz of GoHealth Insurance.

    diabetes costAccording to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, diabetes affects nearly 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population. If you’re one of the millions of people suffering from diabetes, you may be looking for ways to save money on health insurance and other diabetes-related health costs. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to keep your diabetes and your health care costs under control.

    Get Covered

    If you’ve applied for individual health insurance in the past and have been denied due to your diabetic condition, or if the premiums quoted were extremely unaffordable, you’ll be happy to know that things have changed. Under the Affordable Care Act, you can no longer be denied coverage or charged more for pre-existing conditions, including diabetes.

    If you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored group health plan through your job, and your income level disqualifies you from being eligible for programs like Medicaid, your best bet may be to purchase an individual health plan. Depending on your age and where you live, there are likely a variety of insurance plans from which to choose. You may want to consider using a third-party service to help streamline your search for health insurance and to provide guidance on which plan is best for your needs.

    Shop Smart

    Whether it’s your insulin, your oral medication, or even your testing supplies, there’s no denying that diabetes comes with a slew of ongoing medical costs. To help save money on your overall health care expenditures, it’s important that you perform some due diligence to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

    Diabetic supply manufacturers sometimes offer coupons and rebates for their products; you can find these on the manufacturers’ websites, as well as on pharmacy websites and in weekly drugstore sales circulars. Take advantage of these savings opportunities, and consider joining a loyalty program offered by your drugstore or diabetic supply manufacturer.

    Additionally, do some comparison shopping for both your prescription and non-prescription supplies; what you pay for medication at one pharmacy may be radically different than the cost of the same items at a pharmacy down the road. Rather than assuming your pharmacy has the best prices, spend the time to shop around. Also, be sure to utilize the Internet: Prescription price comparison sites let you compare drug prices from the comfort of your own home, and offer discount cards and coupons that can bring your costs down even further.

    Save More Once You Get Covered

    If you are one of the millions of Americans suffering from diabetes, it’s important that you effectively manage both your diabetes and your financial health. Ensuring that you have health insurance is a big step in the right direction, especially if you’ve been denied in the past. Doing your research — including taking advantage of discounts and rebates and using the Internet to help compare prices — is another smart move that has the potential for big savings.

    Author Bio:
    Brandon Cruz is the President of GoHealth Insurance. GoHealth powers one of the nation’s leading private health insurance exchanges for individuals and families.

    Health and Wellness Services for Older Americans Announced at WHCOA

    The following is a guest post by Beth Kelly.

    white house conference on aging

    In the years ahead, America will experience a considerable growth in its population of seniors above the age of 65. Changes in the country’s age structure will affect all aspects of our society, as this demographic transition means new responsibilities for families and medical professionals, as well as the national government. With the number of seniors set to nearly double by 2050 there are numerous issues on hand that demand immediate attention.

    On Monday, President Obama attempted to address many of these concerns at the sixth White House Conference on Aging. Using the event as an opportunity to recognize the fact that our nation is graying at an ever-increasing pace, he shone a spotlight on perhaps the biggest challenge associated with this massive age shift: access to proper health and nutritional assistance for all who need it. Of course, for the 25% of older individuals with diabetes and their caretakers, this is a topic of very special importance.

    In prior years the WHCOA has served to zealously urge older adults to “exercise, eat right, and socialize”, largely placing health-related responsibilities on the shoulders of seniors themselves. At the 2015 event, however, the need for stronger federal initiatives and better state-level policies and programs received greater (and much needed) attention. Basic caregiving support, essential to good public health, is severely underfunded and unrecognized to the point at which many elderly diabetic people’s lives are at risk. Caregivers themselves face the problem of completing daily tasks effectively and compassionately, while preserving their own health amidst the stressful and trying circumstances presented by a chronic disease.

    Most older diabetic adults will eventually require some level of basic daily living assistance. As such, the availability of long-term home health services is key. A study completed by University of California-San Francisco researchers recently estimated that at least 2.5 million additional health and personal care aides will be needed to accommodate the needs of aging seniors by 2030. In his brief on the topic of long-term care, the President stressed the importance of support for caretakers, pledging $50 million in new funding for aging programs which focus on care providers themselves. Another major health-related announcement came in the form of a proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which aims to overhaul and improve the quality of care given to seniors in nursing homes.

    Sylvia Burwell, Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, also spoke at the conference to urge Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which expired in 2011. The law would provide funding for many senior services and senior centers. President of the board of the National Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), Joe Ruby, spoke out saying he was “especially happy” to hear that Obama would be working with Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act. Many attendees, however, felt that not enough attention was given to the fact that health research funding also continues to fall far below what’s needed to combat the continual rise in chronic conditions among Americans.

    Months of public discussion led up to the event, which received no public funding (a change from prior years) and instead used technology and social media to unite interested participants and viewers. Over 600 “watch parties” were held nationwide, and thousands more tuned in to view the conference online. Because there were zero appropriations for thousands of older people to flood the conference floor with their ideas and arguments, the conference had to “come to them” as a virtual experience.

    The topic of seniors and technology received some attention from the President, who touched on the digital and communication technologies which present numerous opportunities for older individuals. While numerous advancements in the diabetic technology space and the increased automation of health and home security systems succeeds in relieving some of the burden from care providers, better technology for seniors is not a panacea. But experts in aging tend to agree that digital innovations can help the elderly stay connected to relatives, caregivers, and healthcare providers, helping them access critical services and remain independent for longer.

    “As long as you can keep moving, you can keep kicking” – words of advice from one attendant stressed the importance of physical activity and exercise among older adults, words which ring especially true for those with diabetes. At the WHCOA event, the National Institutes of Health showed their support for plans which aim to increase the fitness levels of seniors. Through its Go4Life exercise and physical activity campaign, the NIH is funding activities and educational materials to promote healthy nutrition and physical activities.

    The purpose of the WHCOA is primarily to give a voice to the seniors in our communities, whose health and financial problems are also our own. As thousands of “boomers” enter old age every day, there must be action from younger generations to ensure that those in their golden years aren’t neglected. With the next conference another ten years away, its important to keep the conversation going. You can share your own input on the future of healthy aging in America by commenting with the #WHCOA hashtag on Twitter, getting involved on Facebook, or sending comments directly to info@whaging.gov.

    Diabetes And Pregnancy: What To Expect

    diabetes pregnancy

    The following is a guest post from Cheretta A Clerkley of Hormone Health Network.

    diabetes pregnancyPregnancy is an exciting yet frightening time for most women — but for women with diabetes, pregnancy brings a whole new level of apprehension. Controlling blood sugar levels well is essential to maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and serious complications can occur when women do not maintain their blood sugar levels. A safe pregnancy for the diabetic woman is possible, but it requires careful monitoring and planning prior to conception for the best result.

    Risks of Diabetes to Your Baby
    Why is diabetes a problem during pregnancy? According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes increases the risk of several complications for your baby, including:

      • Premature delivery
      • Miscarriage
      • Birth defects
      • Macrosomia (large birth weight)
      • Low glucose levels at birth
      • Respiratory distress
      • Prolonged jaundice

    Risks for pregnant moms with diabetes include: worsening diabetic eye and kidney problems, as well as a preeclampsia and difficult deliveries.

    Planning Before Pregnancy
    Many women know they want to become pregnant long before they actually do. The time period between deciding to start a family and actually becoming pregnant is a good time to get proper control over your health. This planning starts with a thorough checkup with a team of health care providers who understand the risks of diabetes during pregnancy, including your diabetes specialists and endocrinologist, as well as an obstetrician and, if possible, a dietitian.

    At this meeting, the health care team will discuss healthy blood sugar ranges and hemoglobin A1C levels. The health care providers will offer suggestions on how to maintain healthy blood sugar and A1C levels throughout pregnancy.

    Women on insulin therapy may need to make a change to their insulin routine. Sometimes an insulin pump or changing to multiple injections per day will help keep blood sugar levels more stable. Women who are diabetic and overweight may also be advised to lose weight to help prevent further complications. Finally, your team may encourage you to get an eye exam to check for retinopathy, which should be treated before trying to conceive.

    Because diabetes can affect other parts of a woman’s health, your doctor may also recommend a thyroid function test and a screening test for blocked arteries. Ruling out thyroid problems and heart problems, or treating them if they are present before pregnancy decreases the risk of complications.

    Diabetes Care During Pregnancy
    After making the necessary changes to your health before conception, your health care team will give you the OK to start trying to conceive. Once you are pregnant, you will be monitored closely for any signs of complications or danger to your baby.

    First, your doctor will want you to carefully check your blood glucose levels, often asking you to test more frequently than you did before you became pregnant. Follow the testing protocol carefully, so you are aware of any problems that arise that could put your baby at risk.

    Next, make sure to use your insulin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Continue using the delivery mechanism you were using prior to getting pregnant — unless it proves to be ineffective. Remember, pregnancy can throw your blood sugar levels off, so you may need to make some changes as the pregnancy progresses, but only do so under the care of an obstetrician or endocrinologist.

    Your diet will also be closely monitored during pregnancy. You will work with a dietician to create a healthy eating plan customized to your needs. You may be asked to limit the number of carbs you consume while pregnant to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

    As with all pregnant women, you will take an additional vitamin with high levels of folic acid, which help your baby’s brain development.

    Throughout the pregnancy, you may be monitored more closely, particularly if you have signs of trouble or are having difficulty maintaining your blood sugar levels. As your due date nears, you may have more ultrasounds and non-stress-tests performed by your obstetrician to detect any signs of distress from the baby before they can cause permanent damage.

    Diabetes Care After Pregnancy
    Once your baby is born, your diabetes care will continue. Hormone fluctuations post birth can cause blood sugar fluctuations, so you will need to check your blood sugar levels closely until your body balances from the stresses of birth. If you plan to breastfeed your baby, go ahead and do it! It is healthy for you and your baby, and can help with post-pregnancy weight loss. You can continue to take your diabetes medications while breastfeeding.

    Entering pregnancy while dealing with diabetes requires careful planning. Check with your endocrinologist now, and start making the changes you need to protect the health of your pregnancy right away. Soon you will be holding a new bundle of joy — a tribute to all of your hard work.

    Author Bio:
    Cheretta A Clerkley is a strategic marketing health care professional for Hormone Health Network where she oversees patient education programs and services. These education programs focus on diabetes and other hormonal conditions.

    Connectivity and Convenience: “The Internet of Things” and Diabetes Care

    diabetes technology

    The following is a guest post by Beth Kelly.

    diabetes technology In recent years, healthcare entrepreneurs have tapped into the latest tech developments to help people with chronic conditions improve the quality of their daily lives. Communication between medical devices, mobile apps, and home automation platforms enables diabetes patients to monitor and manage their condition in a variety of new ways. There’s been talk of systems for automatically delivering insulin to Type 1 diabetes for years, but modern technology and the “Internet of Things” are going to yield untold advantages for the diabetic community.

    Eating “Smarter”

    Dietary management is imperative for all diabetic patients. But beyond merely accounting for caloric content, certain food apps allow shoppers to scan the barcode of products and probe a little deeper. Fooducate is one of the most helpful for diabetic people, as it examines the nutrient contents of the product and uploads the data into the cloud. The device will also recommend substitutions for certain ingredients, making traveling less of a pain. The app can even decode the names listed for different additives, and catch some of the deceptive tactics that food producers/marketing companies employ to deliberately deceive consumers.

    Developers are currently working to create more advanced software for future apps, which will be able to send your food and lifestyle data directly to physicians in a consolidated “activity profile.” From this information, doctors hope to establish more accurate information about each individual patient, as well as chart larger trends in populations.

    “Smart” fridges, a hot topic on the home automation front for years, are also futuristic solutions to some of the daily challenges of battling diabetes. There are already several refrigerators on the market with computer-like capabilities, which allow consumers to confirm the contents of their fridge remotely, plan shopping lists, and make sure nothing’s gone bad. The information stored by the “smart fridge” can be accessed online, and incorporated into the overall functionality of a smart home automation system. There has also been research done on several refrigerator prototypes that will provide additional nutritional and medical insight.

    Better Connected

    Today’s “smart home” automation systems are taking advantage of the latest tech developments and bringing homeowners closer than ever to their personal appliances. Even standard home products, like toilets, watches, and belts, are being brought “online” to monitor their wearer’s health metrics. While these tools are useful for anyone keeping a close watch on their health, they’re of particular interest to anyone following a diabetes management plan.

    Home automation systems, offering a variety of options for alerts, can monitor everything from your home’s safety and security to its overall energy efficiency. While you monitor your heating and cooling bills – this resource can help – your home will also keep an ever-watchful eye on your blood sugar. Dexcom has developed a tool that can sync with your home system, and will alert you or a loved one to dangerous lows or drastic drops in blood sugar via a smartphone app.

    New technology is also paving the way for innovations like the MyGlucoHealth Smart Blood Glucose Meter, a blood glucose meter that is equipped with BlueTooth. What this means is that the device is capable of recording and transmitting extensive data about a patient’s glucose level. Patients can review their own data from a portal online, and the device also provides users with a new way of transmitting data to their physicians. The interface is intuitive, and it can relay data in an emergency situation to care providers.

    Communication between medical devices and home automation platforms can improve the quality of life for diabetes patients of all ages, and rapid advances in the “Internet of Things” promise to push medicine forward for future generations. Stay tuned for future updates!