6 LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO CONTROL YOUR DIABETES

6 LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO CONTROL YOUR DIABETES

6 LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO CONTROL YOUR DIABETES

Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD

  1. Eat healthily. This is crucial when you have diabetes because what you eat affects your blood sugar. No foods are strictly off-limits. Focus on eating only as much as your body needs. Get plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Choose non-fat dairy and lean meats. Limit foods that are high in sugar and fat. Remember that carbohydrates turn into sugar, so watch your carb intake. Try to keep it about the same from meal to meal. This is even more important if you take insulin or drugs to control your blood sugars.
  2. Exercise. If you’re not active now, it’s time to start. You don’t have to join a gym and do cross-training. Just walk, ride a bike, or play active video games. Your goal should be 30 minutes of activity that makes you sweat and breathe a little harder most days of the week. An active lifestyle helps you control your diabetes by bringing down your blood sugar. It also lowers your chances of getting heart disease. Plus, it can help you lose extra pounds and ease stress.
  3. Get check-ups. See your doctor at least twice a year. Diabetes raises your odds of heart disease. So learn your numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1c (average blood sugar over 3 months). Get a full eye exam every year. Visit a foot doctor to check for problems like foot ulcers and nerve damage.
  4. Manage stress. When you’re stressed, your blood sugar levels go up. And when you’re anxious, you may not manage your diabetes well. You may forget to exercise, eat right, or take your medicines. Find ways to relieve stress — through deep breathing, yoga, or hobbies that relax you.
  5. Stop smoking. Diabetes makes you more likely to have health problems like heart disease, eye disease, stroke, kidney disease, blood vessel disease, nerve damage, and foot problems. If you smoke, your chance of getting these problems is even higher. Smoking also can make it harder to exercise. Talk with your doctor about ways to quit.
  6. Watch your alcohol. It may be easier to control your blood sugar if you don’t get too much beer, wine, and liquor. So if you choose to drink, don’t overdo it. The American Diabetes Association says that women who drink alcohol should have no more than one drink a day and men should have no more than two. Alcohol can make your blood sugar go too high or too low. Check your blood sugar before you drink, and take steps to avoid low blood sugars. If you use insulin or take drugs for your diabetes, eat when you’re drinking. Some drinks — like wine coolers — may be higher in carbs, so take this into account when you count carbs.

WebMD Medical Reference

HOW DIABETES AFFECTS YOUR EYES

HOW DIABETES AFFECTS YOUR EYES

HOW DIABETES AFFECTS YOUR EYES

Diabetes can make you more likely to have eye problems. Your blood sugar (glucose) levels may be high because your body can’t make or use insulin properly. Too much blood sugar can build up and harm your nerves and blood vessels. Damage to the blood vessels in your eyes can lead to vision loss or blindness. Anyone with diabetes is at risk, so it’s important to get yearly eye exams.

Symptoms of Eye Damage

Diabetes can affect your eyes in different ways. When your blood sugar is high or when you start insulin treatment, you may have blurry vision or other problems. But your eyes can be damaged even if you don’t notice any changes. Don’t wait for symptoms to arise to get your vision checked.

Diabetic Retinopathy

The retina senses light coming into your eye, and it sends messages to your brain about the things you see. Damage to blood vessels inside the retina from blood sugar buildup is called diabetic retinopathy. You might not notice changes at first, but over time the walls of your blood vessels may leak fluid. When you’ve had diabetes for a while, blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of your eye. This can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness.

Treatment — Laser Surgery

Your doctor can diagnose retinopathy during a thorough eye exam. He’ll use a special dye to find leaking blood vessels. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy often can be treated with laser surgery called photocoagulation. The laser seals the blood vessels and stops them from leaking and growing. The procedure can’t restore lost vision. Combined with follow-up care, though, it can lower your chances of blindness by as much as 90%.

 Treatment — Vitrectomy

In the late stages of diabetic retinopathy — if the retina has detached or a lot of blood has leaked into your eye — your doctor may suggest vitrectomy. This surgery removes scar tissue, blood, and cloudy fluid from inside the eye. Vitrectomy can improve your vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy Risk Factors

Eventually, nearly everyone with diabetes will have some degree of retinopathy. Your chances increase the longer you have the disease. The odds will be higher if you don’t have good control of your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

How to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

Keep your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control. A major study found that people with diabetes who managed their disease intensely had much lower rates of diabetic retinopathy than those who followed standard treatment. It also helps to stop smoking. And it’s very important to get an annual dilated eye exam to spot early signs of the disease.

Glaucoma and Diabetes

While anyone over 40 is at increased risk of glaucoma, people with diabetes are 40% more likely to get it. Your chances rise the longer you have diabetes. Glaucoma can cause bright halos or coloured rings around lights, but it usually has no symptoms. Untreated, it can cause an increase in eye pressure that damages the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss and blindness. It can be treated with drops to lower eye pressure, or with laser or conventional surgery.

 Cataracts and Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you’re 60% more likely to get cataracts — and you’ll probably get them at a younger age than people without diabetes. Poor control of blood sugar can speed up this condition. With a cataract, the lens in your eye becomes cloudy. This blocks light and makes everything look hazy. Cataract surgery, where the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an artificial one, can help vision. Sometimes diabetic retinopathy can get worse after cataract surgery, though.

Diabetes can make you more likely to have eye problems. Your blood sugar (glucose) levels may be high because your body can’t make or use insulin properly. Too much blood sugar can build up and harm your nerves and blood vessels. Damage to the blood vessels in your eyes can lead to vision loss or blindness. Anyone with diabetes is at risk, so it’s important to get yearly eye exams.

 Symptoms of Eye Damage

Diabetes can affect your eyes in different ways. When your blood sugar is high or when you start insulin treatment, you may have blurry vision or other problems. But your eyes can be damaged even if you don’t notice any changes. Don’t wait for symptoms to arise to get your vision checked.

 Diabetic Retinopathy

The retina senses light coming into your eye, and it sends messages to your brain about the things you see. Damage to blood vessels inside the retina from blood sugar buildup is called diabetic retinopathy. You might not notice changes at first, but over time the walls of your blood vessels may leak fluid. When you’ve had diabetes for a while, blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of your eye. This can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness.

Treatment — Laser Surgery

Your doctor can diagnose retinopathy during a thorough eye exam. He’ll use a special dye to find leaking blood vessels. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy often can be treated with laser surgery called photocoagulation. The laser seals the blood vessels and stops them from leaking and growing. The procedure can’t restore lost vision. Combined with follow-up care, though, it can lower your chances of blindness by as much as 90%.

Treatment — Vitrectomy

In the late stages of diabetic retinopathy — if the retina has detached or a lot of blood has leaked into your eye — your doctor may suggest vitrectomy. This surgery removes scar tissue, blood, and cloudy fluid from inside the eye. Vitrectomy can improve your vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy Risk Factors

Eventually, nearly everyone with diabetes will have some degree of retinopathy. Your chances increase the longer you have the disease. The odds will be higher if you don’t have good control of your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

How to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

Keep your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control. A major study found that people with diabetes who managed their disease intensely had much lower rates of diabetic retinopathy than those who followed standard treatment. It also helps to stop smoking. And it’s very important to get an annual dilated eye exam to spot early signs of the disease.

Glaucoma and Diabetes

While anyone over 40 is at increased risk of glaucoma, people with diabetes are 40% more likely to get it. Your chances rise the longer you have diabetes. Glaucoma can cause bright halos or coloured rings around lights, but it usually has no symptoms. Untreated, it can cause an increase in eye pressure that damages the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss and blindness. It can be treated with drops to lower eye pressure, or with laser or conventional surgery.

Cataracts and Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you’re 60% more likely to get cataracts — and you’ll probably get them at a younger age than people without diabetes. Poor control of blood sugar can speed up this condition. With a cataract, the lens in your eye becomes cloudy. This blocks light and makes everything look hazy. Cataract surgery, where the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an artificial one, can help vision. Sometimes diabetic retinopathy can get worse after cataract surgery, though.

See Your Doctor

If you have diabetes and have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away:

•    Blurry or hazy vision

•    Spots, floaters, or shadows

•    Severe eye pain or pressure

•    Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes

•    Sense that a curtain is coming down over your eyes

•    Flashing lights, double vision, or blind spots

•    Waviness or distortion of straight lines

Seek emergency care for any loss of vision or double vision.
Courtesy: webmd.com
LDL: THE ‘BAD’ CHOLESTEROL  Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC

LDL: THE ‘BAD’ CHOLESTEROL Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC

 

LDL: THE ‘BAD’ CHOLESTEROL

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC

If you have heart disease or you just want to keep your ticker healthy, you’ve probably heard the saying already: “Watch your cholesterol!” The type that puts your heart at risk is LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.

It collects in the walls of your blood vessels, where it can cause blockages. Higher levels of LDL raise your chances of a heart attack. That’s because of a sudden blood clot that forms there

Get a simple blood test to check your LDL levels. If they’re high, healthy foods and medicine can help you get them down.

What Is LDL?

Cholesterol isn’t all bad. It’s an essential fat the cells in your body need.

Some cholesterol comes from the food you eat, and your liver makes some. It can’t dissolve in blood, so proteins carry it where it needs to go. These carriers are called “lipoproteins.”

LDL is a microscopic blob made up of an outer rim of lipoprotein and a cholesterol center. Its full name is “low-density lipoprotein.” It’s bad because it becomes part of plaque, the stuff that can clog arteries and make heart attacks and strokes more likely.

What LDL Cholesterol Test Results Mean

Heart attacks are unpredictable, but higher levels of LDL raise your odds of heart disease. Until recently, guidelines for cutting those odds put an emphasis on lowering this “bad” cholesterol to a specific number.

Nowadays, you and your doctor work together to develop a personal strategy to lower your LDL by a certain percentage. It’s based on your how likely it is you’ll have heart disease or a stroke. To figure it out, doctors use a calculator to estimate your chance of those problems in the next 10 years.

The calculator considers several things, including:

Your cholesterol level

Your age

Your blood pressure

Whether you smoke

If you take blood pressure medicine

All of these things affect your chance of having a heart problem. Other risks include:

Diabetes

A history of heart disease in your family

Your doctor will set up a plan of lifestyle changes or medication that can lower both your cholesterol and overall risk.

What You Can Do

Healthy foods and exercise can cut your LDL levels. Eat foods low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and simple carbs. (Simple carbs include foods like sugar, white bread, and white crackers.) You can lower your numbers even more if you add fibre and plant sterols (margarine or nuts) to your diet.

Regular exercise, the kind that gets your heart pumping, also lowers your levels.

If healthy foods and exercise aren’t enough, your doctor may suggest medications. Some drugs, like statins, help block your body from making cholesterol. Other medicines lower the amount of cholesterol your body gets from the food you eat.

There are also drugs that you take a shot rather than as a pill. These meds block a protein that interferes with the way your liver removes LDL from your blood. They’re recommended for people who can’t use statins or who have a severe form of high cholesterol.

Remember, many other things affect your chances of getting heart disease. Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and lack of exercise also raise the risk. It’s important to lower your LDL, but don’t ignore these other health issues.

Sources: WebMD Medical Reference. Check our website at www.rohsi.org and at www.facebook.com/rohsi3

DO YOUR HEART A FAVOUR AND SAY GOODBYE TO TOBACCO Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC

DO YOUR HEART A FAVOUR AND SAY GOODBYE TO TOBACCO Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC

DO YOUR HEART A FAVOUR AND SAY GOODBYE TO TOBACCO

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC

Whether you’re a long time smoker or you just picked up the habit, do your heart a favour and say goodbye to tobacco. As far as your ticker’s concerned, it’s never too late to quit. Your body starts to heal as soon as you smoke your last cigarette.

There are many reasons your heart will thank you for not lighting up. Every time you inhale cigarette smoke, your heart rate and blood pressure go up temporarily. That puts extra stress on your ticker and forces it to work harder.

Over time, smoking damages you in other ways, too. It:

Clogs your arteries

Increases clotting

Fills your lungs with tar

Thickens your blood

Weakens your bones

Increases inflammation

Weakens your immune system

Quit smoking now and you’ll see fast results. Just 20 minutes after you stop, your blood pressure and heart rate go down. In 2 to 3 weeks, your blood flow starts to get better.

Your odds of heart disease will go down, too. After a year without cigarettes, you’re half as likely to get it as you were when you smoked. After 5 years, it’s about the same as someone who never lit up.

How Smoking Hurts Your Heart: The chemicals in cigarettes harm your heart in many ways.

There’s carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that enters your lungs and then your bloodstream. It steals oxygen from your red blood cells, so less of it gets to your organs and tissues. It also makes your artery walls hard and stiff, which can put you on the path to a heart attack.

Don’t forget nicotine, an addictive chemical in both tobacco and e-cigarettes. It makes your blood vessels narrow. It jacks up your blood pressure and heart rate, too. Your heart has to pump harder and faster than normal.

Smoking also causes chemical changes in your body. Cells in your bloodstream called platelets clump together when they react with toxic cigarette ingredients. This makes your blood thicker and stickier. It becomes harder for your heart to push it through your blood vessels.

Your cholesterol levels get out of whack, too. Cigarette smoke raises levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and a blood fat called triglycerides. Those cause waxy plaque to build up in your arteries. At the same time, it lowers HDL, or “good” cholesterol — the kind that prevents plaque from forming.

When your blood pressure is high, like it is while you’re smoking, arteries get stretched and scarred. Their lining gets damaged, which lets plaque grow and combine with sticky blood cells. All of this raises your risk of blood clots, which can block blood flow to your heart or other organs. That can cause heart attacks or strokes.

Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder to breathe, too. That can keep you from exercising as much as you should. You need to get about 150 minutes of physical activity each week to keep it fit and strong.

Reap the Benefits of a Smoke-Free Life

Luckily, most of the damage tobacco does to you is reversible. When you quit, your risk of blood clots gets lower. Your “bad” cholesterol will go down and your “good” cholesterol will go up. That’ll help slow the buildup of new plaque deposits.

Within 2 weeks, you may notice it’s easier to exercise without feeling short of breath. Over the next few months, you’ll be able to breathe deeply again. Your hacking cough should disappear, too.

Don’t worry if you put on a few pounds at first. Many people swap food for smoking when they first quit. After a little while, you and your body will get used to a smoke-free life. When you get more exercise and improve your diet, you’ll get your weight under control.

If you have heart disease, it’s not too late to make a difference. If you give up cigarettes after a heart attack, you can cut your risk of having a second one in half. Quitting after you’ve had bypass surgery can keep your arteries healthy and help prevent further clogs and disease.

When you quit, you’ll also protect your friends and family from the health risks of second hand smoke.

Talk to your doctor to get suggestions on how to end your tobacco habit. He can also put you in touch with programs that offer tips and support.

Source: WebMD Medical Reference check our organization website for more resources at www.rohsi.org ; www.facebook.com/rohsi3

ARE YOU GETTING TOO MUCH SALT?

ARE YOU GETTING TOO MUCH SALT?

ARE YOU GETTING TOO MUCH SALT?

Most of us get more than we need. Recommendations from the American Heart Association and the range from 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. If you want to cut back, you need to do more than ease up on the shaker on your table. Watch what you eat. You may be shocked by some of the foods that are high in salt.

Frozen Dinners

They’re quick. They’re easy. And they’re loaded with sodium. A 5-ounce frozen turkey and gravy dinner packs 1,255 milligrams.

Tip: A “lighter” version may have less salt, but it’s no guarantee. Read the labels to be sure. It’s possible that “lighter” refers to fat only.

Ready-to-Eat Cereals

Check out the nutrition facts label. Some brands of raisin bran have up to 210 milligrams of sodium in each cup.

Tip: Puffed rice and wheat don’t have salt. Mix half of your favourite cereal with half of a salt-free choice. Or look for companies that make low-sodium cereals.

Vegetable Juices

They help you get the 2 to 2.5 cups of veggies you need a day. But they can have a lot of sodium. One cup of vegetable juice cocktail has 615 milligrams.

Tip: Shop around. There are low-salt versions.

Canned Vegetables

They often have preservatives, sauces, or seasonings that add extra sodium.

 Tips: Rinse canned veggies thoroughly, or look for labels that say “no salt added” or “low sodium.” Check the freezer section, where you may have more luck finding an unsalted choice.

Packaged Deli Meats

One look at the salt content in packaged meats should stop you in your tracks. Two slices of dry salami made of beef or pork can have 362 milligrams of sodium.

Soup

It’s a warm comfort food on a cold day, but watch out. It can be loaded with salt. A cup of canned chicken noodle soup can have 831 milligrams of sodium.

Tips: Look for reduced-sodium versions of your favourites. And always check the label carefully. You might find that one brand’s “Healthy” version actually has less sodium than the “25% Less Sodium” variety.

Marinades and Flavourings

Some of your favourites may be super salty. One tablespoon of teriyaki sauce can have 879 milligrams of sodium. The same amount of soy sauce may have up to 1,005 milligrams.

Tips: Even “lower-sodium” soy sauce can have a lot, so use it sparingly. Go for vinegar and lemon juice for flavour, since they naturally have less salt. Try orange or pineapple juice as a base for meat marinades.

Spaghetti Sauce

Half a cup may have 577 milligrams of sodium, and that’s barely enough to coat a helping of pasta.

Tip: Look for “no salt added” versions.

 Spicing It Up

Adding spices to an entrée can be an easy way to forgo the salt shaker. Just make sure there’s no hidden sodium in your selection. For example, canned jalapeno peppers (1/4 cup, solids, and liquids) have about 434 milligrams of sodium.

Tips: Go for the pepper in its natural form to ditch the sodium used in processing. Or use herbs and salt-free spices instead.

Aw, Nuts!

Rethink those salty peanuts. An ounce of most dry-roasted brands has 116 milligrams of sodium.

Tips: For about the same amount of calories, an ounce of oil-roasted, salted peanuts has only 76 milligrams of sodium. Or better yet, buy the unsalted variety, which is practically sodium-free.

Salty Snacks

They’re hard to resist, but they may have a lot of sodium. Potato chips have 136 milligrams per ounce, cheese puffs 263 milligrams per ounce, and pretzels 352 milligrams per ounce.

Tip: Even “baked” or fat-free snacks can have the same amount of sodium or more, so check the label.

Pre-packaged Foods

Rice, potatoes, and pasta in their natural forms are low in salt. But if you get the convenient “all-in-one” box and add the flavour packet, you may end up eating more than half of your daily allowance of sodium in just one serving.

Tips: Choose a plain, fast-cooking rice and add your own seasonings. Or microwave potatoes to serve with your choice of fixings.

Condiments Count

If you think those little extras you add to your food aren’t a source of salt, think again.

Ketchup (1 tablespoon) = 154 milligrams

Sweet relish (1 tablespoon) = 122 milligrams

Capers (1 tablespoon) = 202 milligrams (drained)

Tip: Go for low- or sodium-free versions. Or get creative with substitutions: Try cranberry relish or apple butter for a naturally lower-salt choice.

Watch Serving Sizes

The amount of sodium you see on a nutrition label isn’t for the whole package. It’s for one serving. Check to see how many are in each container.

Food Label Claims

They can be confusing, but you can figure them out with this cheat sheet:

Sodium-free: Less than 5 milligrams a serving

Very low-sodium: 35 milligrams or less per serving

Low-sodium: Less than 140 milligrams per serving

Reduced sodium: 25% less sodium

Unsalted, no salt added, or without added salt: Made without the salt normally used, but still has the sodium that’s a natural part of the food itself.

What’s in a Name?

When you’re scanning a food label, don’t just look for the word “salt.” Watch out for various forms of sodium or other names for the same thing:

Sodium alginate

Sodium ascorbate

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

Sodium benzoate

Sodium caseinate

Sodium chloride

Sodium citrate

Sodium hydroxide

Sodium saccharin

Sodium stearoyl lactylate

Sodium sulfite

Disodium phosphate

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Trisodium phosphate

Na

Check Your Medicine Cabinet

Surprise! Some headache and heartburn medications have sodium carbonate or bicarbonate. Read the ingredient list and warning statement to be sure.

Restaurant Pitfalls

When you eat out, some menu choices can be a huge source of hidden salt. Soups, appetizers with cheese or meat, casseroles, and rice pilaf are some dishes to watch out for. If you ask, most restaurants will prepare your food without added salt.

Better Choices

Fish can be a lower-sodium option, as long as you pay attention to how it’s seasoned. Steamed veggies, prepared without salt, are another smart choice. Also, try a salad with dressing on the side. Low-sodium desserts include fruit, ice cream, sherbet, or angel food cake.

Dining Out ‘Dos’

Ask how the cook prepares your meal.

Choose a restaurant where dishes are made to order.

Ask the chef to make your dish without any type of sodium, then add a dash of salt-free seasoning from home or a squeeze of lemon or lime.

When You’re Eating Fast Food, try these helpful tips:

Get rid of the toppings except for veggies like lettuce and tomatoes.

Skip the cheese, go easy on condiments, and don’t add salt.

Don’t supersize. Order off the children’s menu for smaller portions.

Eat a low-sodium diet for the rest of the day.

Ask for a nutrition fact sheet at the restaurant, or find it online before you go, to help you make the best possible low-sodium choices.

Who Should Go Low-Sodium?

Guidelines call for about half of our citizens to limit sodium to 1,500 milligrams or less per day, including:

People ages 51 and older

African-Americans, Blacks

People with high blood pressure, diabetes, or long-term kidney disease

Cutting back on salt can cut blood pressure in some people. It can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage in those who have high blood pressure.

Track Your Salt

Don’t know how much you get every day? Keep a daily tally of what you eat and drink. Then look up how much sodium is in each item. You may be surprised at what you find. The average American takes in 3,592 milligrams of sodium each day, well above the limits recommended for good health.

Courtesy webmd.com like our page too at www.facebook.com/rohsi3

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