Monday, September 06, 2004
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Diabetes is having a devastating effect on the African American community. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in African Americans and African Americans' death rates are twenty seven percent higher than whites.
Over 2.8 million African Americans have diabetes and one third of them don't know they have the disease. In addition, twenty five percent of African Americans between the ages of 65 - 74 have diabetes and one in four African American women, over the age of 55, have been diagnosed with the disease
The cause of diabetes is a mystery, but researchers believe that both genetics and environmental factors play roles in who will develop the disease.
Researchers believe that African Americans and African Immigrants are predisposed to developing diabetes. Research suggests that African Americans and recent African immigrants have inherited a "thrifty gene" from their African ancestors.
This gene may have enabled Africans to use food energy more efficiently during cycles of feast and famine. Now, with fewer cycles of feast and famine, this gene may make weight control more difficult for African Americans and African Immigrants.
This genetic predisposition, coupled with impaired glucose tolerance, is often associated with the genetic tendency toward high blood pressure. People with impaired glucose tolerance have higher than normal blood glucose levels and are at a higher risk for developing diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes, commonly know as “sugar diabetes", is a condition that occurs when the body is unable to properly produce or use insulin. Insulin is needed by the body to process sugar, starches and other foods into energy. Diabetes is a chronic condition for which there is no known cure; diabetes is a serious disease and should not be ignored.
Diabetics often suffer from low glucose levels (sugar) in their blood. Low blood sugar levels can make you disorientated, dizzy, sweaty, hungry, have headaches, have sudden mood swings, have difficulty paying attention, or have tingling sensations around the mouth.
Types of Diabetes
Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels is higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type II diabetes. Pre-diabetes can cause damage to the heart and circulatory system, but pre-diabetes can often be controlled by controlling blood glucose levels. By controlling pre-diabetes you can often prevent or delay the onset of Type II diabetes.
Type I or juvenile-onset diabetes usually strikes people under the age of 20, but can strike at any age. Five to ten percent of African Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes are diagnosed with this type of the disease. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body produces little or no insulin and this type of diabetes must be treated with daily insulin injections.
Type II or adult onset diabetes is responsible for ninety to ninety-five percent of diagnosed diabetes cases in African Americans. Type II results from a condition where the body fails to properly use insulin. According to the American Diabetes Association, “Type II is usually found in people over 45, who have diabetes in their family, who are overweight, who don't exercise and who have cholesterol problems." In the early stages it can often be controlled with lifestyle changes, but in the later stages diabetic pills or insulin injections are often needed.
Pregnancy related diabetes or gestational diabetes can occur in pregnant women. Gestational diabetes is often associated with high glucose blood levels or hyperglycemia. Gestational diabetes affects about four percent of all pregnant women. The disease usually goes away after delivery, but women who suffer from gestational diabetes are at a higher risk for developing diabetes later in life.
Symptoms of Diabetes
The most common symptoms of diabetes include:
•excessive urination including frequent trips to the bathroom
•unusual weight loss
Complications from Diabetes
Diabetes can lead to many disabling and life threatening complications. Strokes, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and amputations are common complications that effect African Americans who have diabetes
“Diabetes is the second leading cause of end stage kidney disease in African Americans, accounting for about thirty percent of the new cases each year," says the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. Up to twenty-one percent of people who develop diabetes will develop kidney disease.
Diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations in the United States. More than sixty percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations in America occur among people with diabetes and African Americans are almost three times more likely to have a lower limb amputated due to diabetes than whites. According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 82,000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations were performed among people with diabetes in 2001.
African Americans are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes related blindness. Diabetics can develop a condition called “Diabetic Retinopathy", a disease affecting the blood vessels of the eye, which can lead to impaired vision and blindness. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in people from 20 - 74 years of age and up to 24,000 people loose their sight each year because of diabetes.
People with diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop heart disease as people who don't have diabetes. Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is more common in diabetics and can lead to increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, and poor circulation throughout the body.
Diabetes Risk Factors
You have a greater risk for developing diabetes if you have any of the following:
Family history of diabetes
Low physical activity
Age greater than 45 years
High blood pressure
High blood levels of triglycerides
HDL cholesterol of less than 35
Previous diabetes during pregnancy or baby weighing more than 9 pounds
Diabetes has had a devastating effect on the African American community; it is the fifth leading cause of death and second leading cause of end stage kidney disease in African Americans.
African Americans suffer from complications from diabetes at a much higher rate than the rest of the population. African Americans are three times more likely to have a lower limb amputated because of diabetes and twice as likely to suffer from diabetes related blindness.
If you have any of the diabetes risk factors you should contact your physician and have a blood glucose test. Also discuss with your physician lifestyle changes you can take to lower your chances of developing diabetes.
Credits: Drahcir Semaj
Monday, August 16, 2004
The following types of diabetes and some of their risk factors are quoted from the National Diabetes Fact Sheet: National estimates and general information on diabetes in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, 1997):
Type 1 diabetes was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes. Type 1 diabetes may account for 5% to 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Risk factors are less well defined for type 1 diabetes than for type 2 diabetes, but autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are involved in the development of this type of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops in 2% to 5% of all pregnancies but usually disappears when a pregnancy is over. Gestational diabetes occurs more frequently in African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and people with a family history of diabetes than in other groups. Obesity is also associated with higher risk. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for later developing type 2 diabetes. In some studies, nearly 40% of women with a history of gestational diabetes developed diabetes in the future.
Other specific types of diabetes result from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses. Such types of diabetes may account for 1% to 2% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
Credits: analyzers to measure blood glucose
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Dental Tips For Diabetes:
Diabetes can cause serious problems in your mouth. You can do something about it.
If you have diabetes, make sure you take care of your mouth. People with diabetes are at risk for mouth infections, especially periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease can damage the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place and may lead to painful chewing problems. Some people with serious gum disease lose their teeth. Periodontal disease may also make it hard to control your blood glucose (blood sugar).
Other problems diabetes can cause are dry mouth and a fungal infection called thrush. Dry mouth happens when you do not have enough saliva—the fluid that keeps your mouth wet. Diabetes may also cause the glucose level in your saliva to increase. Together, these problems may lead to thrush, which causes painful white patches in your mouth.
You can keep your teeth and gums healthy. By controlling your blood glucose, brushing and flossing everyday, and visiting a dentist regularly, you can help prevent periodontal disease. If your diabetes is not under control, you are more likely to develop problems in your mouth.
Take steps to keep your mouth healthy. Call your dentist when you notice a problem.
If you have diabetes, follow these steps:
* Control your blood glucose.
* Brush and floss every day.
* Visit your dentist regularly. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.
* Tell your dentist if your dentures (false teeth) do not fit right, or if your gums are sore.
* Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse. Your physician or dentist can help you quit.
Take time to check your mouth regularly for any problems. Sometimes people notice that their gums bleed when they brush and floss. Others notice dryness, soreness, white patches, or a bad taste in the mouth. All of these are reasons to visit your dentist.
Remember, good blood glucose control can help prevent mouth problems.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
- Get proper medical advice before embarking on a new exercise training program.
- Monitor blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise, especially in the early stages of exercise training. Check twice prior to exercising; 30 minutes before and immediately before. If your blood glucose level is 300mg/dL or higher do not exercise.
- Don't exercise when you're sick. Exercising when you are sick can make your blood glucose levels fluctuate dramatically and it may take longer to get well.
- Keep fluid levels well up before, during, and after exercise, especially when hot. Dehydration can affect blood glucose levels and heart function.
- Have a carbohydrate-based snack or drink handy in case your blood glucose levels drop.
- Avoid injecting insulin in a muscle that is about to be used for exercise.
- Wear correct footwear. Peripheral vascular disease is relatively common in people with diabetes and often affects the feet.
- Exercise at the same time each day. Exercising at a similar time, intensity, and duration each day helps you to get to know your own blood glucose response to exercise training.
- In case of emergency, wear an identification bracelet or shoe tag while exercising.
- Be aware of signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) during and after exercise. Signs include feeling shaky, having an unusually rapid heartbeat or experiencing vision changes.
Now go and search for free diabetes information
Sugar is one of the simplest forms of carbohydrate. It is made up of the simple sugars, fructose and glucose. Sugar can take many forms - such as white, raw or brown sugar, honey or corn syrup.
Sugar has many properties, both aesthetic and preservative, that make it highly desirable in the processed food industry. It adds taste, colour, bulk and viscosity to food products. It also prevents mould formation and microbiological activity. There are food safety concerns with some formulated low sugar products.
Research finds sugar innocent of past allegations
Until recently, sugar was implicated in many disorders, including obesity, micronutrient deficiencies, diabetes, heart disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Current research, however, is finding that sugar is probably more benign than previously believed. In fact, a moderate intake of refined sugars - about 10 to 12 per cent of total energy - in an otherwise healthy diet is not thought to have any detrimental health effects, apart from tooth decay. In fact, adding sugar or high sugar foods to more nutritious grain foods, such as wholegrain bread and cereals, may encourage people to eat more of these foods by increasing their palatability.
About five per cent of energy intake can be in the form of table sugar; this is equivalent to about one teaspoon per day. This also applies to diabetics, although it is preferable to distribute this amount throughout the day.
Sugar and micronutrients
The micronutrient deficiencies that sucrose and fructose have commonly been associated with are copper and magnesium. Very large doses of fructose and sucrose appear to reduce the absorption, and thus availability, of copper and magnesium. This indicates that there may be an interaction between nutritional status, and fructose and sucrose intake.
Carbohydrates and glucose
The body breaks down carbohydrates into a simple sugar called glucose. This form of ready energy is absorbed from the small intestine into the blood, where it is delivered to each and every cell. The supply of glucose needs to be constant and dependable, so the body has devised a number of fail-safe systems to ensure this supply. For instance, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Insulin allows glucose to enter body cells and helps with the storage of excess glucose in the liver, which supplements blood sugar levels if they start to wane. A person with diabetes has either insufficient or inefficient insulin, which means their blood sugar levels tend to be too high.
Fats add more weight than sugar
Sugar has been called a source of 'empty calories' because it offers taste but has no nutrients. It has long been advised that if you want to lose weight, you should cut out all sweet and sugary foods from your daily diet. However, there is no evidence to suggest that eating foods high in sugar is associated with excessive food intake or obesity.
Overweight and obesity are caused by regularly consuming more kilojoules (calories) than the body uses. The current thinking is that overeating, in general, causes excess weight gain and obesity, with no one food or food group being solely to blame for the condition.
Watch out for fats in sweet foods
Sugars are often associated with a high fat content in foods and can increase the palatability of fat. It is fat that is associated with obesity. Some studies suggest that people who are overweight or obese have a 'fat tooth' rather than a 'sweet tooth'. They tend to eat more fat and less sugar than normal weight people. Fats contain approximately double the amount of kilojoules per gram than sugar, other carbohydrates and protein. Fat (especially saturated fat as opposed to fats from unsaturated sources, such as fish and olive oil) may be the culprit that causes obesity rather than sugar. This is something to worry about because many commercially produced sweet foods, such as cakes and biscuits, contain high levels of predominantly saturated fat.
A food's 'glycaemic index' (GI) refers to the time it takes for the carbohydrates to be absorbed into the bloodstream and how much it causes blood glucose to rise (glycaemic response). High glycaemic foods enter the bloodstream more quickly than other foods.
Recent studies have suggested a link between foods with a high glycaemic index and conditions like:
* Abdominal obesity
* Elevated blood lipids (high cholesterol)
* Heart disease.
Foods high in sugar don't necessarily generate higher glycaemic responses. Latest research indicates that other, more starchy foods - such as potato, refined bread and breakfast cereals - are much more readily absorbed than sugar and other high sugar foods. This suggests that it is not sugar but a diet with a large proportion of high glycaemic foods, which may contribute to negative health outcomes.
Sugar is safe for people with diabetes
There is no evidence that a diet high in sugar directly causes either Type I or Type II diabetes. Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for diabetes Type II, and perhaps someone who eats too much may also consume high amounts of sugar.
Diabetics in the past were told to avoid eating foods high in refined sugar, based on the idea that sugar would adversely affect blood glucose levels. However, more recent research on the GI indicates that sugar affects blood sugar levels to less of an extent than other more starchy foods, such as refined bread and breakfast cereal. Sugar is now viewed far less negatively in diabetes control. The GI has become a useful tool for diabetics to use in the regulation of blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes need low GI foods
People with Type II diabetes benefit from a slow absorption of glucose, which means they need to eat a diet of foods with a low GI. At least one low GI food is recommended at each meal. A little sugar (equivalent of two tablespoons or 50g over a day) added to otherwise healthy and lower GI foods, such as spreading honey on wholegrain bread, is generally acceptable and will not adversely affect blood sugar levels.
Foods with a high GI also have a useful role in managing blood glucose levels, especially when blood glucose falls below normal levels. High glycaemic foods can quickly deliver glucose to the bloodstream to restore blood glucose to normal levels.
Sugar and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
There's no evidence to suggest a direct link between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the consumption of sugar.
The association between sugar and tooth decay has long been established but it still sparks discussion. Dental plaque is a clingy film made up of food particles, bacteria and mucous. The bacteria in plaque depend on sugars in order to produce acids, which break down the enamel and start tooth decay. However, carbohydrates in general contribute to this process, not just sugar. For instance, nutritious foods (like dried fruits) also allow the bacteria in plaque to produce acids. Furthermore, tooth decay occurs in populations that do not use sugar or other processed food, showing that sugar is not the only cause of caries (teeth cavities). Sticky sugars that cling to the teeth are worse than sugars that are easily swallowed, such as sweetened drinks.
Ways to reduce the risk of tooth decay include:
* Cutting down on sticky sugary foods.
* Drinking water after consuming sugary foods and drinks.
* Allowing a period of at least two hours between meals.
* Brushing and flossing regularly and after meals.
* Chewing gum for around 20 minutes after meals.
* Drinking fluoridated water or using fluoride treatments.
* Visiting the dentist.
Where to get help:
Things to remember
Sugar is a form of carbohydrate that is converted by the body into glucose.
Contrary to popular belief, sugar doesn't directly cause heart disease, diabetes or obesity. Small amounts of sugar, as part of a meal, are not likely to have a detrimental effect on health. Sugar, like all carbohydrates, is a contributing factor in tooth decay. It is OK to sprinkle a little sugar on healthy foods to improve their flavour; however, limit the intake of added sugar to about five teaspoons per day and choose foods with naturally occurring sugars in preference to those with added sugar.
Blood glucose levels are normally regulated by a hormone called insulin, which is made by the pancreas.
Insulin stimulates the body's cells to use glucose as energy. When a person has diabetes, the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, or the cells don't respond to the hormone.
Latest research has shown that in the Australian population aged 25 years or older, 7.5 per cent have diabetes. The risk of diabetes increases with age, from 2.5 per cent in people aged between 35-45 years to 23.6 per cent in those over 75. Aboriginal people have one of the highest rates of Type II diabetes in the world.
There are two main types of diabetes
Type I (insulin dependent diabetes mellitus):
Is caused by an autoimmune destruction of insulin-making cells in the pancreas, which means insulin is no longer made.
Is one of the most common childhood diseases in developed nations.
Can occur at any age.
Type II (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) is:
Caused by either inadequate levels of insulin or insulin that doesn't work effectively in the body.
Most common after the age of 40, although the age of onset can be earlier.
Often, but not always, associated with obesity, particularly around the abdomen or upper body.
Found in families, but no specific genes have been found.
Responsible for 85 to 90 per cent of all diabetes in developed countries.
Symptoms of high blood glucose
When there are high levels of glucose in the blood, the body loses its main source of energy, even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose. The build-up of glucose in the blood can cause distressing symptoms and actual harm to the body's cells. Symptoms include:
* Extreme tiredness
* Excessive thirst
* Blurred vision
* Increased risk of infections.
Get help immediately if these symptoms occur
Occasionally, the onset of diabetes - particularly Type I - can be abrupt. It can lead to a condition called 'keto acidosis', which is a medical emergency. The symptoms of this condition are loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, excessive passing of urine, altered consciousness and, finally, coma. Seek medical help immediately if these symptoms occur.
Untreated diabetes can cause long term damage
If untreated, high blood glucose levels can be life threatening. The damage to the body's cells can cause:
* Kidney damage
* Eye damage
* Nerve damage to feet and other parts of the body
* Heart disease and circulation problems in the legs
* Types of help available
There is no cure for diabetes, but the symptoms can be controlled. The treatment depends on the type of diabetes. The aim of all treatment is to control blood glucose levels, blood pressure, weight and blood fat levels. Treatments can include:
* A low fat, high carbohydrate diet.
* Regular exercise.
* Avoiding cigarettes.
* Insulin injections or tablets to control blood glucose levels.
Where to get help:
* Your doctor
* Your local community health centre
Things to remember :
* People with diabetes have high blood glucose levels, caused by a problem with the hormone insulin.
* Diabetes is a common chronic condition.
* There is no cure, but the symptoms can be controlled with diet, exercise and medication.