diabetes Archives - Active Healthcare

Resilience – The Key to Combatting Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs)

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment   , , , , , , ,

The CDC’s Adverse Childhood Events Study (ACE study) revealed a remarkable connection between traumatic events in childhood and chronic diseases and social and emotional problems in adulthood. High ACE scores may mean significantly higher rates of heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, depression and risk of suicide.

As you would expect, the higher your ACE score, the higher your risk of health issues in adulthood. Studies show with an ACE score of 4 or more your risk of a host of chronic health conditions increases by over 200%. Specifically the risk of depression increases by 400%; the risk of suicide by 1000%. Nearly two-thirds of adults have at least one ACE.

Staggering Statistics

  • An ACE score of 4 increases your odds of getting asthma by 73%
  • A traumatic event during childhood (just one ACE) can triple the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes.

Does a high ACE score sentence you to a life filled with chronic disease? 

Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris believes the answer to that question is a resounding NO. She has personally seen the positive impact of interventional programs where healthcare providers and community resources work together to support those at risk.


Dr. Harris’ approach suggests the following:

  • Screen all patients routinely to determine ACE scores.
  • Provide additional support to families with children with high ACE scores including home visits from professionals, mental health care, nutrition counseling, holistic interventions, and if needed, medications.
  • Educate parents on the negative impacts of chronic stress
  • Increase treatment for patients with asthma or diabetics with higher ACEs scores.

Resilience and Children with Chronic Diseases

Can we train our brains to be more resilient in the face of personal struggles and health problems?  Here are a few tips on how to help your child be more resilient.

Focus on the positive – Encourage your child to connect with friends and other adults.  Support activities and hobbies where your child can build relationships with those with similar interests and build confidence.

Banish Blame –Children may feel guilty that they have a chronic illness. Empower them to live their best life and work through their chronic disease’s challenges.

ACE hugFight Stress – Have your whole family learn a new technique to relieve stress such as yoga, mindfulness, or mediation. Parents need to practice what they preach!

Validate Emotions – Children may have difficulty verbalizing what they are feeling. Listen first and always acknowledge their feelings.

Remain Optimistic – Life is a journey and your child and family may experience setbacks. Help your child set and strive for realistic goals.

Hug Often – Don’t underestimate the value of a hug as a tangible reminder of your love and support. Research shows that giving and receiving hugs reduces stress, and has a host of health related benefits.

We’re All in This Together

ACEs affect all of us directly or indirectly regardless of income level, and impact lifelong health and social well-being. Together, we can lessen these effects by teaching and learning resilience skills, and adopting trauma-informed practices and policies.

Check out some of the resources below for more information about ACE and how to build resilience to combat the effects of chronic stress.

Additional Resources

CDC ACE Study Website
How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime – Ted Talk by Nadine Burke Harris, MD.
ACE Connections Blog
ACEs Quiz link
Six Skills to Help Build Resilience (narrated)
Building Resilience in Children
Wake County NC Resilience Initiative
Benefits of the 20 Second Hug


Halloween Ideas for Kids with Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment   , , , ,

Halloween is a beloved holiday for most kids, especially those with a sweet tooth. However, if you have a diabetic child you may be worried about blood sugar spikes that Halloween candy can bring.

Despite your child’s diagnosis, there are ways for them to enjoy Halloween with their friends and family. All it takes is some preparation and some creativity.

Here are a few ideas for a fun, diabetes-friendly Halloween for you and your family.

enjoy halloween diabetes

Instead of Trick or Treating, try these ideas:

Start a new Halloween tradition: Try a family dinner or movie night for Halloween fun without candy. Even a family board game night can be a great Halloween tradition, especially if the whole family gets dressed up in costumes.

Have a Halloween party: By organizing your own Halloween party, you have control over the treats and activities. This will allow you you to substitute diabetes-friendly alternatives to candy and other sugary snacks. If you offer plenty of spooky games and crafts, even your child’s friends may forget the lack of candy on the buffet table.

Tips for Diabetes-friendly Trick or Treating

Every family and every child with diabetes is different. If you and your child want to make trick or treating part of your Halloween this year, here are some tips that may help avoid blood sugar spikes.

Give neighbors alternative treats for your child: Before Halloween, you can give your neighbors non-candy treats or small toys for them to give to your child. Then, your child can have the fun of collecting treasures around the neighborhood without the worries that over-indulging in candy could bring.

Have a protein-rich dinner beforehand: Protein can help mitigate the effects of excess sugar. So before heading out for trick or treating, serve a protein-rich dinner to get your child’s blood sugar in the ideal range.

Find another home for the candy haul: Even those of us without diabetes know that eating a lot of candy at once isn’t a good idea. Once your child has collected a bag full of candy, there are many opportunities to re-purpose that extra candy for a better cause.

Save for Low Sugar Days – Pack up excess candy and use to combat low blood sugar. This allows your child to enjoy some candy when they really need it.

Halloween Fairy/Sugar Goblin – Many families have invented an imaginary creature that will exchange candy for a toy at night when your child is asleep. This can be a great way to avoid tantrums from lost candy with the excitement of a new toy.

Donation – Help your community by donating your extra candy to a homeless shelter, assisted living center, or other organization in need.

Start Planning Early for a Memorable and Diabetes-Safe Halloween

Every kid deserves a fun and safe Halloween. With these tips, you can make your child’s Halloween one to remember.

Additional Resources

13 Halloween Ideas for T1D Families – T1 Everyday Magic
Added Sugar Amounts Now on Nutrition Facts Panel


Using a Low Carb Diet to Help Treat Type 1 Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment   , , , ,

For children with type 1 diabetes, snack time isn’t always simple. Diet is an important part of a diabetes management plan to help avoid blood sugar spikes. But new research by endocrinologists at Boston Children’s Hospital suggests that food can be used as a powerful tool to help keep blood sugar under control.

low carb veggies

About the Study

Endocrinologists Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Belinda Lennerz from Boston Children’s Hospital conducted an observational study on diabetic children who follow a very low carb diet. The children’s very low carb diets included on average only 36 grams of carbs a day.

The parents of these children were members of a Facebook group for families with diabetic children. The observational data was confirmed by the child’s doctors and analyzed using the latest techniques.

Here are just 3 possible benefits of a very low carb diet for children with diabetes.

Greater Glycemic Control

Children in the study had what the researchers called “exceptional” glycemic control. The common target range for hemoglobin A1c values are below 7%. However, children in the study had average hemoglobin A1c values at 5.67%, within the normal range for children overall.

Researchers are very excited at the prospect of diabetic children achieving normal hemoglobin A1c values with the help of diet. More research is needed to confirm the connection, but the possibility is an amazing development in the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Less Complications

The study found that children on the very low carb diet had lower hospitalization rates than usual. Only 1% of the children were hospitalized for hypoglycemia and only 2% were hospitalized for diabetic ketoacidosis.

Boost Mental Health

High or low blood sugar is known to negatively impact mood, mental resilience, and overall brain health. For children with diabetes prone to high or low blood sugar spikes, mental health is especially important. For more information and other ways to improve mental health in your diabetic child, see our blog on mental health for teens with type 1 diabetes.

Diet can be a powerful tool in the management of type 1 diabetes.

Ask your doctor about whether a low carb or other specialized diet could be a good addition to your child’s diabetes management plan.

Resources

Very Low Carb Diet can safely curb blood sugar in type 1 diabetes, study suggests – Boston Children’s Hospital
Management of Type 1 Diabetes With a Very Low–Carbohydrate Diet (Original Research) – Pediatrics
New Recommendations from the ADA: Management of Type 1 Diabetes In Children and Adolescents
Added Sugar Amounts Now On Nutrition Facts Panel


Tips For Managing Type 1 Diabetes at School

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment   , , ,

Back to School 3

 

The first day of school will be here before you know it. If your child has type 1 diabetes, there should be a few extra items on your back to school checklist to make sure that your child and their school are ready for the year ahead.

Here are a few important tips for an easy adjustment back to school:

1. Make a Diabetes Management Plan

Your child’s Diabetes Management Plan is an essential tool. Work with your doctor to draft a plan containing all important information concerning your child’s diabetes care. Include all medication details, symptoms of low blood sugar, target blood sugar range, and other important details those caring for your child should know.

2. Connect with the school nurse and other staff

Provide a copy of your child’s Diabetes Management Plan to the school nurse, administration, and all of your child’s teachers, coaches, and other supervising adults. If your child’s school does not have a full time nurse, figure out which staff members are best equipped to help if the nurse is not present.

All your child’s teachers should be aware of symptoms of low blood sugar, what your child needs to do to manage their blood sugar, and what help your child will need with those steps, if any.

In addition, your child should wear a medical notification bracelet or necklace that indicates their diabetes diagnosis. This guarantees that even substitutes or other rotating staff will be aware of your child’s condition in case of an emergency.

If needed, consider creating a 504 plan. A 504 plan is an official document that details the exact responsibilities of the school and ensures that your child has the same opportunities as all other students.

3. Pack their backpack with the essentials

Make sure your child has the tools they need for diabetes management during the school day. Build a compact kit full of testing supplies, antiseptic wipes, and backup insulin, as well as glucose tablets or other fast-acting snacks for raising blood sugar.

4. Get your child involved (as age appropriate)

As your child gets older, they should take on more responsibility for their diabetes care. Depending on the age of your child, help them identify their symptoms of low blood sugar. When your child has a greater understanding and more responsibility in their own care, they will have more confidence in the face of adversity at school and beyond.

Give your child the foundation they need to succeed in the New Year

With careful preparation, you can ensure that your child gets the most out of their school days, minimizing the stress from managing their diabetes.

Additional Resources

Tips for Managing Diabetes at School from the CDC
Monitoring Diabetes at School
Diabetic Tips: Making Sure It’s in the Bag


New Type of Immune Cell Discovered in Connection to Type 1 Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment   , , , , , ,

immune cellFor many years, researchers have theorized that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, where the body attacks healthy insulin producing cells in the body instead of bacteria and viruses. However, the exact reason why the autoimmune response occurs had not been discovered.

Recently, researchers at John Hopkins have discovered a new type of immune cell that may be the source of the autoimmune reaction that causes type 1 diabetes.

How the immune system works

The immune system consists of T cells and B cells, known as lymphocytes. These cells seek out, identify, and destroy antigens that are harmful for the body, including bacteria and viruses.

When an immune cell identifies an antigen, it alerts other cells to create antibodies and eliminate the threat. However, when immune cells wrongly identify a healthy cell in the body as a antigen, it triggers an autoimmune response, causing disorders including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.

What is the hybrid X cell?

However, groundbreaking new research has identified a different sort of hybrid immune cell with properties of both T cells and B cells. Researchers call these X cells. The dual structure of the X cells means the cells can activate both T and B cells, making them uniquely powerful actors in the immune system.

What is the connection between X cells and Type 1 Diabetes?

X cells are able to create a special protein called x-Id peptide. Scientists believe this protein mimics the signature for insulin, which wrongly identifies insulin as a dangerous antigen. Since X cells have a  hybrid structure, both T and B cells are alerted to attack insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

Researchers compared the immune cells of both patients with and without type 1 diabetes. While both diabetic and non-diabetic patients had X cells, diabetic patients had substantially more X cells present.

In addition, only diabetic patients had X cells with the genetic code for producing the x-Id peptide. This leads scientists to believe that the production of this protein could be connected to the diabetic autoimmune response .

What are the next steps for diabetes research?

With the discovery of X-cells and the x-Id peptide, it is possible that a early detection procedure for type 1 diabetes could be developed. The genetic code for the production of the x-Id peptide in X cells could serve as a bio-marker, indicating a higher chance of developing the condition. Early detection can lead to better treatments and healthier lives for children with type 1 diabetes.

Researchers also explained that these discoveries about the possible mechanics of type 1 diabetes has pushed science closer to an eventual cure. Immunotherapy could be the new frontier of diabetes treatment.

Scientific discoveries lead to better diabetes treatment

With the effort of countless researchers, we have gained a deeper understanding of how diabetes works in the body. This greater understanding helps patients with type 1 diabetes get better care and pushes the medical field closer to a cure.

Additional Resources

Medical News Today – Could this unusual immune cell be the cause of type 1 Diabetes
The Scientist – Novel Type of Immune Cell Discovered in Type 1 Diabetes Patients
Five Misconceptions About Diabetes
5 Natural Remedies to Aide Diabetes


The Dangers of Hypoglycemia – New Educational Resources

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment   , , ,

One of the biggest fears of people living with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and their caregivers is a low blood sugar event, also known as hypoglycemia. While people with T1D may not recognize the signs of dropping blood sugar, most know how dangerous it can be if left unnoticed or untreated.

What is Hypoglycemia?

  • Low blood glucose levels – outside of your target range
  • Typically less than 70 mg/DL
  • Triggers your fight/flight response due to a release of adrenaline
  • If left untreated, may lead to seizure or coma.

What is Hypoglycemia Unawareness?

Diabetes Blood Glucose TestingHypoglycemia unawareness is a complication of T1D where the patient misses the typical symptoms of a blood sugar drop (palpitations, sweating, anxiety, etc.). When their body does not release adrenaline there are no warning symptoms and then they are at risk for life threatening complications.

Online Interactive Resource – Hypoglycemia Education

We recently came across a new educational resource about hypoglycemia from the ‘Diabetes Sisters.’ This online resource includes basic information about hypoglycemia as well as video-based and interactive learning, infographics and more. Topics include “What Does Hypoglycemia Feel Like?” and “How to Talk to Your Doctor About Hypoglycemia.”

Each topic includes videos, quick tips and a quiz to test what you’ve learned. Visit the website to test your knowledge and share with family and friends so that they can be familiar with the signs of low blood sugar and help you if needed. It is important that people with diabetes know the risks of hypoglycemia as part of your diabetes management plan.

Additional Resources

Diabetes Sisters – visit this online community to read stories of how others deal with the real life challenges of diabetes.

411 on the CGM

American Diabetes Association – Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose)


Added Sugar Amounts Now on Nutrition Facts Panel

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , ,

Nutrition News: Added Sugar Now on the Nutrition Facts Panel

FDA_Nutrition_Facts_Label

By U.S. Food and Drug Administration [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

You may have already seen an updated Nutrition Facts label on products you’ve recently bought. Effective July 2018 the FDA will require that the Nutrition Facts label include a new category – added sugar. This category will be shown in the Total Carbohydrates section – on a separate line.

The FDA says that added sugars, “include sugars that are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such (e.g., a bag of table sugar), and also includes sugars from syrups, honey, and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.”

This is another step in a series of efforts to help all of us make better food choices and minimize our risk of obesity and chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Many medical studies have shown that those chronic diseases of adulthood often begin in childhood. The American Heart Association (AHA) also believes there is strong evidence that atherosclerosis starts in childhood – and a poor diet, especially one with a high sugar intake may be the culprit.

How Much is Too Much?

American Heart Association Recommendations on Sugar Intake for Children

AHA guidelines suggest a limit of 25 grams or less of added sugars per day for children – only 6 teaspoons. These new recommendations also advise limiting the intake of sugar sweetened beverages to one or fewer 8 oz. servings per week.

Furthermore, for kids under age 2 the recommendations are even more stringent – the AHA recommends avoiding all added sugar. For perspective, one 12 ounce sweetened beverage could contain 40 grams of sugar (9 teaspoons.)

How does that compare with the typical intake of added sugar by children? Studies show that most kids are consuming an average of 80 grams of added sugar per day – more than 3 times the recommended amount.

Focus on Natural Sugars: Reducing Sugar Consumption for Children with Diabetes

fruitChildren with diabetes already need to monitor their food intake to manage their condition. By moving focus away from processed foods with lots of added sugar to whole foods like fruits, vegetables and dairy items, children will get better nutrition. Whole foods with naturally occurring sugars also provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants instead of empty calories.

Remember to read nutrition labels as you shop and try out new fruits and vegetables. Watch portion sizes and limit sugar sweetened beverages. Why not get your entire family on the healthy eating bandwagon for a healthier future?

Additional Resources

The New and Improved Nutrition Facts Label – Key Changes

AHA Statement on Added Sugar Consumption by Children

Diabetes Rates Rise Among Children and Teens


Diabetes Rates Rise Among Children and Teens

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment   , ,

The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported that new cases of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are on the rise in youth. Estimates indicate that in the United States, 29.1 million people live with diabetes. About 208,000 of those are younger than 20. While Type 2 diabetes has a strong correlation with excess weight, type 1 diabetes is an auto immune condition.

The study’s goal was to reveal trends in newly diagnosed cases of diabetes within various ethnic groups. Research revealed that from 2002 to 2012 the rate of new cases of type 1 diabetes in youth went up approximately 1.8 percent each year. During the same time period, the rate of new cases of type 2 diabetes went up quicker, at 4.8 percent.

Diabetes Rates Rise: Other Findings in the Report:

  • Higher Type 1 Rates in Male Participants. Across all groups, the rate of new cases of type 1 diabetes increased more annually from 2003-2012 in males (2.2 percent) than in females (1.4 percent) ages 0-19.
  • Hispanic Youth Showed Largest Increase of Type 1. Among ages 0-19, the rate of new cases of type 1 diabetes increased most in Hispanic youth, a 4.2 percent annual increase.
  • Type 2 Rates Highest Amongst Native Americans. Among ages 10-19, the rate of new cases of type 2 diabetes rose most sharply in Native Americans (8.9 percent), Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (8.5 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (6.3 percent).
  • White Youth Showed Smallest Type 2 Increase. The smallest upturn was seen in whites (0.6 percent).
  • Higher Type 2 Rates in Female Participants. The rate of new cases of type 2 diabetes rose more sharply in females (6.2 percent) than in males (3.7 percent) ages 10-19.

Increased Health Care Burdens and Reduced Quality of Life

Living with diabetes from a young age sets up a longer lifetime of increased health care costs. It also creates potential for diabetes related complications. Efforts are underway by organizations like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to find ways to prevent or delay youth from developing Type 2 diabetes, which has become more common in recent years.

Since the cause of Type 1 diabetes is still unknown, more work is needed to find out possible disease triggers that leave the body unable to produce adequate insulin. This study’s insights into the varying rates of diabetes by ethnic group may lead to new research directions.

Additional Resources:

New England Journal of Medicine Incidence Trends of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes among Youths, 2002-2012

CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program

Exercise and Blood Sugar Control for Kids with Diabetes


Diabetic Resolutions to Start 2018 off Right

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes, Men's Health, Women's Health Leave a comment   , , , ,

ShutterstockThe New Year is right around the corner. This is a time for reflection and planning. Have you thought about what you would like to change in the coming year? Many people resolve to get more exercise, eat healthy, lose weight, spend more time with family and friends, etc. at the beginning of a new year. Diabetics usually are a little more specific with their resolutions. Here are some ways to start the year in optimal health.

Check in With Your Doctor

  • If you aren’t already, make sure to see your doctor two to four times this year
  • Review and continue to follow your testing schedule, tweaking if necessary
  • Make note of your most recent A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers
  • Start or review your meal plan with your diabetes educator, tweaking if necessary
  • Don’t forget to get a renal function and microalbumin test

 

Get Moving!

  •  Ramp up physical activity.  Remember something is better than nothing at all.
  • Take your medications exactly as they are prescribed

 

Care for Your Whole Body

  • Get an annual eye exam
  • Go to the dentist twice per year
  • Examine your feet for cuts and/or sores daily
  • Brush and floss daily
  • Get your flu shot

 

Don’t Bottle Up Stress! Deal With It Right Away Using One of These Techniques

  • Deep breathing
  • Learning to say no
  • Asking for help when you need it
  • Making time for you
  • Getting enough sleep (7-8 hours is ideal)
  • Exercising (with other people if that motivates you)
  • Seeing a counselor or social worker if none of the above approaches are effective

 

Although this is a long and possibly daunting list, it is realistic and doable.  With the help of your doctor, you can get 2018 started off on the right foot.  Share your resolutions with someone to hold yourself accountable.


Budget Your Calories for a Bountiful Thanksgiving

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes, Men's Health, Women's Health Leave a comment   , , , ,

budget your caloriesThe year has flown by and Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. For many, this holiday means overindulgence. For diabetics, it can be a very difficult time for many reasons. The hardest is resisting temptations. Who doesn’t love seconds or even thirds of their favorite dishes; i.e., mashed potatoes? An important thing to remember is “everything in moderation.” Here are a few tips to budget your calories and manage your blood sugar while still enjoying this wonderful time with family.

Stay on Schedule – Never Miss a Meal or Dose of Insulin

Set reminders on your smartphone for:

  • Meals and snacks to avoid a blood sugar dip
  • Blood sugar testing
  • Insulin doses

 

Budget Your Calories: Indulge in Sweets and Treats in Moderation

You can indulge in a few treats, but make sure to budget for those calories. Work treats into your existing carbohydrate budget instead of adding to it. Stick with proteins, vegetables and salad at dinner. Pick your favorite carb or treat and enjoy it with your calorie budget for the day.

Enjoy Alcohol in Moderation

Never drink on an empty stomach, as this lowers your blood sugar. Research nutrition information in advance for your favorite libations to make good choices. It is recommended that women with diabetes have no more than one drink per day and no more than two per day for men. The serving sizes vary depending on the type of drink.

One serving is:

  • 4 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 1 ounce of distilled spirits

 

Download Mobile Apps

Look for apps that help you count carbs for your favorite dishes, as well as how much insulin you need to take before meals.

Look for Lighter Menu Options When Eating Out

Choose dishes with less saturated fat, limit fried foods and sugars. Ask about substitutions. Most restaurants can accommodate your requests. Swap out butter with olive oil. Enjoy a baked or boiled potato in lieu of mashed potatoes or French fries.

If Asked to Bring a Dish, Cook a Light and Healthy One

This can put you at ease knowing that you can enjoy what you’ve prepared and takes out the guesswork of whether or not it is within your calorie budget.

Tips for Holiday Parties

Scan the table and look for vegetable-based options first, followed by meat or cheese. Use a napkin instead of a plate to keep your portions in check. Don’t socialize in front of the food table. Stay hydrated. Keeping water or a club soda in hand will also keep you and your hands full so you are less likely to overindulge.

Stay Active

Make it a priority to stick with your regular fitness routine while you are away from home. The holidays are generally the busiest time of the year for many people. You can break up your activity into 10-15 minute segments if it is not possible to get 30 minutes all at once.

Remember that there is a lot more to Thanksgiving and the holiday season than food. Focus on spending quality time with family and friends. Enjoy what you do eat and relax.


Can Diabetes Give You The Blues?

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes, Men's Health, Women's Health Leave a comment   , , , , ,

diabetes depressionThe number of Americans that suffer from depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder is increasing all the time. Depression is more than being sad or in a bad mood. This condition is a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated. As it turns out, diabetics are especially vulnerable to this condition.

Diabetics At Double the Risk of Depression

Several studies have found that diabetics are at double the risk of suffering from depression due to the physical and emotional stress of their chronic disease. A depressed diabetic is more likely to neglect his/her diet or medication plan, which is critical to their well-being. The cause is unclear, however if a patient’s depression is stress induced, a diabetic may be a greater risk because of a metabolic imbalance that already exists.

Managing a chronic condition like diabetes can be overwhelming, leaving less time and energy for dealing with life’s other challenges. The financial burden of treating diabetes may also be a contributing factor to higher rates of depression. The rising medical costs of their life sustaining treatment adds another burden.

Studies also suggest that diabetics who have a history of depression are at a higher risk of developing diabetic complications than those without. This is because depressed individuals have elevated levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which can affect blood sugar metabolism and increase insulin resistance.

What to Watch for: Symptoms of Depression

People suffering from depression may not want to get out of bed in the morning. They neglect their diet and don’t exercise. Depressed people shun social gatherings and have trouble staying motivated at work or school.

Seek help if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

• Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness and poor decision making
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
• Insomnia or excessive sleep
• Irritability or restlessness
• Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
• Overeating or not eating enough (dangerous for diabetics)
• Aches and pains including headaches, cramps, and digestive problems
• Persistent sadness, anxiety, and feelings of emptiness
• Thoughts of suicide or attempting suicide

Depression can be brought on by a number of factors including genetics, life circumstances, trauma, side effects of medication, stress, or other environmental factors. It is treatable with psychotherapy, as well as medication. As with most medications, anti-depressants (often called SSRIs, which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) come with side effects including nausea, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, dry mouth, dizziness, irritability, and anxiety.

You may have chalked your feelings of sadness up to the fact that you’re diabetic when you may also be depressed. Depression should be treated as a separate condition. Getting treatment for it can help you take better care of your diabetes, putting you in optimal health.

Additional Resources:

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/mental-health/depression.html

https://www.childrensdiabetesfoundation.org/diabetes-and-depression/


Diabetic Tips: Making Sure It’s “In the Bag”

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes, Men's Health, Women's Health Leave a comment   , , ,

Emergency Diabetes BagAs a diabetic patient or parent, you are well aware that you need an emergency diabetes bag. This is one project that can’t be put off.

Advance planning is key to successful management of your diabetes. Don’t “live and learn,” coming up with a Plan B on the fly.

Here are some ideas for filling your emergency diabetes bag

Your Medical History and Contacts List

Take the necessary time to gather this information, which should include your health conditions, allergies, medications and dosages. Also, include contact information for your doctor, pharmacy, and emergency contact. Carry one in your wallet and smartphone.  Don’t forget to store a copy in an easy-to-locate area of your home, such as attached to the fridge.

Glucose tablets or gels are great to have in your bag in the event of a blood sugar nosedive.

But don’t forget a glucagon injection kit, you may need this depending on the severity of your episode. On that note, it would also be a good idea to keep a list of signs and symptoms at work and home so others can identify these and know how to assist.

Extra Medications – Include three days’ worth of your medications.

When you are ready to head out, keep your insulin cold with reusable frozen gel packs.

Snacks to keep blood sugar stable.

Always have some non-perishable snacks such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whole-grain crackers, trail mix, or dry cereal on hand.

Testing Supplies – so you can test as many times as you need to.

Being out and about can raise your stress level, causing your blood sugar to fluctuate more than usual. Therefore, it may be necessary to test a little more frequently.

Include the following:

  • Meter
  • Test Strips
  • Batteries
  • Lancing Device
  • Lancets
  • Needles
  • Alcohol Swabs
  • Hand Sanitizer

Let a Medical Alert Bracelet Speak For You When You Can’t

Always remember to wear a Diabetes ID bracelet. In the event you lose consciousness or cannot speak, bystanders and first responders will know that you are diabetic and can help accordingly. This bracelet should clearly state your diagnosis and any other key health information. You can find these at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) website at www.shopdiabetes.org.

Advanced Planning is the Key to Peace of Mind

Once you have your emergency bag packed, you can relax while on-the-go. For additional peace of mind, consider using a Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system or an insulin pump if you are not already benefiting from one of these devices.

More information about how CGM works can be found in our previous blog The 411 on CGM.


  • Have a question or comment?
     
    You can contact us via email button below or submit an online contact form

    Contact

css.php