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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Basics'

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A Vitamin D Surprise for People with Diabetes

May 18th, 2014 · No Comments

We have known for a long time that vitamin D is important for our health. Recently scientists discovered that it helps us stave off heart disease and regulate our diabetes. But until now they couldn’t tell us how much vitamin D we need to get each day to help us manage our blood sugar levels.

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The Sunshine Vitamin on the Yellowstone River

Just a week ago I pointed out in my most recent article here, “Best Vitamin D Choices for Diabetes,” that “the experts still haven’t decided on precisely how much vitamin D we need.” They just did.

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Posted in: Basics

Best Vitamin D Choices for Diabetes

May 17th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Scientists and doctors have begun to recognize that almost all of us need to get more vitamin D. Those of us who have diabetes often have very low levels of vitamin D in our systems.

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The experts still haven’t decided on precisely how much vitamin D we need or the best ways to get it. But two massive new studies have shed much needed light, including a finding that the type of vitamin D that doctors usually prescribe doesn’t help at all.

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Sleep More, Weigh Less for Diabetes Control

May 14th, 2014 · No Comments

The twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity might be connected with our increasing sleep deprivation. But how?

A professor at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine and her colleagues determined to find if they might be related. Ruth Patterson, Ph.D., led a unique study that just came out and finally offered some tested answers.

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Diabetes Help on the Internet

April 11th, 2014 · No Comments

Recently a fellow passenger asked me what I missed most about home. We were on a small ship and were out of contact with the rest of the world.

I realized that besides missing my friends and my usual food and drink, being able to use the Internet was what I wanted most. In fact, just as my shipmate asked that question, a devastating rainstorm had hit my hometown. I didn’t learn about it until the end of the week, when I could check my email and found messages from several friends.

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Posted in: Basics, Psychosocial

Prepare to See Your Diabetes Doctor

March 15th, 2014 · No Comments

When we learn how to manage diabetes without drugs, we rarely need to see an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in diabetes and the rest of the endocrine system.

I haven’t had an appointment with an endocrinologist in more than 10 years. I do have regular checkups that we all need with an opthamologist, a dermatologist, a podiatrist, and a dentist. I also go to my primary care physician at least once a year to get an annual physical examination and to help me manage my other chronic medical condition, hypothyroidism.

Not all of us who have diabetes need to see an endocrinologist, but certainly some of us do. All children with diabetes need a pediatric endocrinologist, and other people will benefit from a referral to an endocrinologist in eight different situations. My friend and colleague at HealthCentral, Dr. William Quick, suggests “When to Go to an Endocrinologist.” He is both an endocrinologist and someone who himself has diabetes.

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Beginning Anew With Diabetes

February 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Each of us has the opportunity every day to begin life anew. But we usually grab that chance only at the beginning of the year. This is the time for resolutions. We make our resolutions in January, but to avoid breaking them in February, we have to accept where we are and know where we want to go.

The key to resolution success is to set our sights low. When we focus on one goal for one resolution, we are much more likely to achieve success than if we adopt the usual scattershot approach. We can concentrate on only a limited number of objectives at one time. That’s why people who meditate generally focus on the breath alone.

Take, for example, the very common resolution of losing weight this year. If we decide that we want to lose a lot of weight, exercise more, stop smoking and drinking, and get along with our mother-in-law, all at the same time, we are setting ourselves up for failure. That’s the main reason studies show that we generally keep on track for one month just 55 percent of the time, and for six months only 40 percent of the time.

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The Top Ten Diabetes Terms

November 5th, 2013 · 4 Comments

This post is a text preview of a slideshow that my associates at HealthCentral will be preparing next week. This is my way of explaining the most important terms that we have to live with non-technically in 65 words or less each.

Insulin Resistance
When you need more insulin than the beta cells of your pancreas can provide, glucose builds up in your blood instead of going into the cells in the rest of your body. This resistance to your own insulin causes high blood glucose, which doctors call hyperglycemia. It can lead to prediabetes, which in turn can lead to diabetes, if you don’t change your lifestyle.

Type 2 Diabetes
When the cells of your body are resistant for several years to the insulin that the beta cells of your pancreas makes, they compensate by making more insulin. Eventually, however, they works so hard that they can’t keep up and begin to die off. That’s when you get type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes. But now, even children are getting it.

Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes), you usually aren’t resistant to the insulin that your beta cells make. Instead, something else, perhaps an infection, kills most of the beta cells so the rest of the cells in your body get little or no insulin that your body makes. To make up for this lack you have to take insulin shots.

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Cutting the Cost of Diabetes

September 7th, 2013 · 5 Comments

The experts tell us that diabetes is the most expensive disease we can get. But it can be the cheapest.

The costs are not just the oral medications and insulin, the blood glucose meters and test strips, and the visits to the doctors. But the financial drain can also include income lost from missing work. And the biggest costs have to be the poorer quality of life that so many of the complications of diabetes can bring in their wake.

So then how can I write that we could be so lucky as to have a disease that costs us practically nothing?

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Easy Summer Living with Diabetes

August 23rd, 2013 · 2 Comments

Ah, summertime when the living is easy! Sometimes it can be too easy for those of us who have diabetes.

Rest and relaxation is much of the reason why we love summer so much. We need relief from the stress of work, relationships, and city living. Stress produces cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone, and it increases the amount of blood sugar that we have.

But, like anything else, the rest and relaxation can go too far for our own good. When we rest so much that we are lying down or sitting most of the time, our bodies don’t get the activity they need by standing or walking. When we relax so much that we relax our standards of diabetes management, our blood sugar levels can go through the roof.

Summer vacations don’t have to mean eating so much food that we gain weight or eating those foods that we know from our experience will do a number on our levels. Wise eating for those of us who have diabetes is all about delayed gratification.

This means resisting the temptation for an immediate reward and waiting for a later reward. Delayed gratification is connected with resisting a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later in life.

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Successful Diabetes Resolutions

February 12th, 2013 · No Comments

Everybody who has diabetes is going to change in the year 2013. The change coming to each of us will be significant or minor, planned or haphazard, for the better or for the worse.

But it’s coming, ready or not.

Change is an integral part of life. Scientists tell us that except for the neurons in our cerebral cortex the very cells that compose our bodies change every few years. Nothing is permanent and whatever lives changes more quickly and profoundly than inanimate objects.

We change our minds and habits a lot more often than our cells change. We can direct the change in what we do by putting our minds to it.

This is reason for the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions. The trick is to keep the resolutions that we make so for us it’s not an empty, meaningless, and ultimately disappointing tradition.

We can start on the path to a healthier new year but setting aside a few minutes on New Year’s Day for reflecting on where we want to go and how we intend to get there. Each year a group that I belong to starts the near with the “Beginning Anew” ceremony, a ritual that Thich Nhat Hanh created to help us let go of the past and to set a clear, strong intention for the coming year.

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Posted in: Basics