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How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

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Diabetes is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. This occurs because the disease makes it difficult for your body to make enough insulin or use it properly. There are two types of diabetes. Type I diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes and it occurs in children and young adults. This type occurs when the body doesn’t make insulin. The second type is Type II diabetes. This type can occur at any age and it is caused if your body doesn’t make insulin or if it doesn’t use it well.

If not treated properly, diabetes can cause serious health problems including:

  • Kidney disease
  • Food problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Dental problems
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Eye problems

What Is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease is more than one disease that can affect people who suffer from diabetes. People who don’t keep their diabetes under control are at greater risk of eye complications. Also, each of the conditions can cause serious vision loss and even blindness. If you suffer from diabetes, it is important that you understand each of the diseases and what they can do to your eyes.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people who have diabetes. The condition affects the blood vessels in the retina, which lines the back of the eye. If your blood sugar is often high, it can cause damage to the retina’s tiny blood vessels. This can result in the blood vessels bleeding or leaking fluid which can cause distortions in the vision. When the condition progresses, it can result in scarring and cell loss in the retina, causing complete blindness. In many cases, vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy is irreversible. Early detection and treatment can reduce your risk of going blind by 95 percent.
  • Diabetic Macular Edema (DME): DME often occurs in people who have diabetic retinopathy. While it often occurs when the disease progresses, it can occur at any time. It is a build-up of fluid in the macula. This part of the eye is used for seeing straight ahead to read, drive, and recognize faces. Half of the people who develop diabetic retinopathy develop DME. If left untreated, it can cause vision loss.
  • Cataracts: A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. When a person has cataracts, their natural lens would be removed and replaced with an artificial one. Anyone can develop cataracts, however, people with diabetes are two to five times more likely to develop cataracts than those who aren’t diabetic.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma damages the eye’s optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is often the result of high pressure in the eye, and it is very common in people with diabetes. Studies have shown that adults who suffer from diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than those who don’t have the disease.

Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease

The only way to prevent diabetic eye disease is to be vigilant when it comes to your blood sugar levels. You should also see your eye doctor every six months. The sooner a problem is detected, the sooner it can be treated, saving your eyesight. Many of the diabetic eye diseases won’t show any symptoms at first, therefore, it is very important that you see your eye doctor regularly.

Diabetes can wreak havoc on many of the body’s systems including your vision. The only way to prevent permanent vision loss and blindness is to check your blood sugar levels regularly and take the necessary steps to keep it at a healthy level.

 

 

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Benefits of Breastfeeding

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Some mothers decide to breastfeed their babies when they are born while others would rather not embark on this journey. The topic of breastfeeding tends to be a pretty sensitive one as there is a big divide amongst women who breastfeed and those who do not. While there are plenty of benefits to both mom and baby when it comes to breastfeeding, it is not for everyone and that’s ok too. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a mother breastfeeds her baby for the first year of life and there are many benefits of doing so.

Nutrition Basics
Breast milk is made up of all the right amounts of vitamins, fat and protein that a baby needs to thrive. This milk comes in a much more safe and natural form whereas store bought formula can be based off of not so great ingredients such as corn syrup solids and sugar. Not to mention that there is a perfect form of antibodies that help a baby develop a really strong immune system. This can be beneficial in helping fight off bacterial and viral based illnesses.

Development
Breastfeeding benefits are not just nutritionally based. There have been studies that show children who were breastfed for at least the first six months of like had higher IQ scores than those that were fed solely from formula. This isn’t just due to nutrition but also thanks to the physical contact a baby receives while they are nursing. Eye contact, skin to skin contact and being held can all help a child’s emotional and intellectual development. Babies that are breastfed are at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome as well.

Immune Support
The benefits of breastfeeding occur during the period of time that a baby nurses but these benefits can often last a lifetime. Breastfeeding has been proven to reduce a lifetime risk of allergies and asthma. There is a decrease in ear infections, illness and stomach upset when breastfeeding takes place. More research will be done in the future to determine other benefits, but it is suspected that breastfeeding can reduce a number of cancers, diabetes and also obesity later on in life.

Benefits For Mom
In addition to breastfeeding being beneficial for the baby that is receiving the mother’s milk, nursing can also benefit the mother as well. With all of those extra calories being given to the baby, those post partum pounds can be shed quite fast. Oxytocin is a hormone that is released during the nursing process and the uterus reacts by shrinking faster than normal. As for long term benefits, breastfeeding can decrease the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer throughout the rest of the mother’s life, not just the months where breastfeeding occurs.

The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the benefits of formula feeding is nursing is something you can accomplish. It’s not an easy journey to embark on but it is worth the work that you put into it. Utilizing the services of a trusted and reputable lactation consultant can help you address any issues that might be going on whether it be an issue with latching, staying latched or milk production. It is important to remember that only you can decide what is best for your baby. You may want to enlist the help of your medical professional as well when determining what is best for you and baby. Certain prescription medications can be harmful to a baby if passed through the breast milk, so always check with your doctor regarding this fact as well.

 

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Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

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Image is from Diabetes Research

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which is characterized by, among other symptoms, a high concentration of sugar in the blood. With the myriad of disorders, the beta cells located in the pancreas find it hard to produce enough insulin to assist in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Diabetes occurs in two types, type 1 and type 2. Type one is caused by an autoimmune reaction that usually occurs in the pancreas while insulin resistance characterizes type 2. Type 2 can develop and result in the loss of beta cells. Both types of diabetes are chronic and incurable. However, they are treatable with insulin injections and dietary adjustments.

Diabetes is often seen in those who are over 30 years of age. The number of people who are diagnosed with these conditions keeps rising each day. This is attributed to the unhealthy lifestyles and dietary decisions that they take up. It is imperative to have some information on these conditions as it will be easy then to help the patients lead a better life. To get to know about these two closely related diseases, you must learn the difference between the two. Usually, people tend to confuse the two types of diabetes. However, they have different causes, and as such, different treatments. Taking medication for one type if you have the other, can be detrimental to your health and even lead to death in some instances.

Test for insulin levels

To begin with, you must discern the difference between the two types of diabetes. First, the level of the c-peptide of type 1 diabetes is very low while I type 2, the same is either normal or elevated. The level of c-peptides is a determinant of insulin levels in the blood. It is a more reliable way than just measuring the level of insulin itself.

Let’s look at the functional difference between diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2

Type 1 diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, insulin is no longer produced by the pancreas since the beta cells have been destroyed through the process of autoimmune response. This is, essentially, to say the person’s body has rebelled against them and, particularly their pancreas, leading to the destruction of something that is desperately needed by the body. Without insulin, it ‘s hard for your cells to absorb the sugar into the bloodstream. This basically means the cells will be starved. If your body lacks insulin, your cells will no longer function properly, or worse, stop working at all. The people with diabetes in this category need to get regular insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes

People with Type 2 diabetes have almost similar effects as type 1s although the type 2 patient gets the effect for a different reason. Here, the individual’s body is still producing. However, the insulin may not be absorbed properly. At other times, the absorbed insulin may not be sufficient for the amount of sugar present in the blood. Unlike with type 1, the patient in this type of diabetes may not even need insulin at all. Here, the primary factor that causes it is lifestyle choices including the kind of food you take. A significant percentage of people with type 2 are overweight though are factors have a hand too. The person often takes food high in calories and lives a sedentary lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes can, in many cases, be readily managed.

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Understanding Diabetes Awareness Month

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Image is from CEAP

If you are fighting diabetes, no one knows your fight better than another person who is fighting the same battle. If a person is not battling the war on diabetes, more than likely they do not give this illness a second thought.

Is it possible you do not know what an insidious illness diabetes really is to those fighting this illness? During National Diabetes Awareness Month it gives individuals time to reflect, considering their own risks?

Are you even aware of National Diabetes Awareness Month?

Did you know that diabetes affects people in any age group, children, and adults?

Were you aware of the impact diabetes has on your vital organs?

  • Heart Attack
  • Kidney Disease
  • Vision Loss
  • Amputation of an extremity
  • Stroke

Do you know what health care options are available for you if you have diabetes?

Do you know the warning signs of diabetes if you or a loved one gets this disease?

Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have of this disease it helps you protect yourself and your family.

Do you know what your risk factors are for contacting this disease?

  • Heredity from a family member
  • Unhealthy eating patterns
  • No exercise
  • Overweight

Did you know that diabetes cases are spiraling out of control throughout the world?

National Diabetes Awareness Month gives you knowledge, and this knowledge gives you the power to fight diabetes, monitor its warning signs, and affords you ways to protect yourself and loved ones.

Diabetes Awareness Month was born in the late 1970’s, proclaimed by the president and Congress as a special day and month to help make everyone aware of diabetes. Now this day is celebrated all over the world on November 14th.

Were it not for the tireless efforts of a Dr. Frederick Banting, your fight with diabetes would be terminal. Dr. Banting discovered insulin, so if you have diabetes, you can control your blood sugar levels, preventing damage to your vital organs.

Twenty years later in the early 1990’s The Diabetes Foundation proclaimed, “World Diabetes Day,” for the sole purpose of informing people. Many special events are set aside in the month of November, such as but not limited to,

  • Public Diabetic Screening
  • Special Educational Materials and Events

When you see a blue and gray ribbon with a drop of blood or a small heart, this is the symbol for diabetes. The blue circle stands for vitality, health, and life.

If you have diabetes, you need to educate and re-educate yourself so you can help yourself and others regarding living with diabetes, maintaining diabetes, and discovering healthy options for diabetes.

Keep in mind that fighting diabetes lasts a lifetime. Diabetes involves making a lifestyle change in the way of regular screenings, proper diet, exercise, education, and a close relationship with your doctor.

National Diabetes Awareness Month wants to make sure you can sort out all the myths concerning diabetes such as,

  • Never let anyone tell you that diabetes is not a serious disease.
  • If you are overweight, you will develop diabetes.
  • If you eat too much sugar, you will develop diabetes?
  • If you have diabetes, you need to eat diabetic foods.
  • Starchy foods do not cause diabetes.
  • If you have diabetes, you cannot eat sweets or chocolate.
  • People with diabetes become sick more often.
  • Diabetes is catchy.
  • If you have diabetes and suddenly need to start insulin, it means you are not taking care of your diabetes.
  • Since fruit is good for you, you should eat as much fruit as you want if you have diabetes.

Get your gray ribbon in November and pass the word on to others.

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Risk factors of type 2 diabetes

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Image from the liberatehealth.us

Factors Listed

As a brief checklist, run over the following items and see how many describe your lifestyle:

  • Diabetes In The Family History
  • Gestational Diabetes In Family History
  • Ethnicity
  • Bad Nutrition In Pregnancy
  • High Blood Pressure
  • IGT
  • Increasing Age
  • Poor Diet
  • Lack Of Physical Activity
  • Being Overweight

Should you or a loved one be described by more than two or three of these items, consulting a physician about being at risk for Type II Diabetes makes sense.

Family History

If your family has a long history of diabetes, it is likely there are habits in eating which have sentimental or psychological value that could have been passed down to you. Additionally, you or a loved one may have genetic disposition which trends the direction of diabetes. Knowing whether or not this affliction has been part of your family’s history is a great way to determine whether or not there is inherent risk for the condition’s development.

Gestational Problems

If there is a history of gestational diabetes in your family, this is a very big indicator that the condition definitely exists in your family, and that you may be at increased risk of developing it.

Ethnicity

Believe it or not, your ethnic background could be a contributing factor for the same reason a history of diabetes in your family could be. Ethnicities are basically just expanded families, when the tree is traced back far enough; so this is really just an extension of that point.

Bad Nutrition During Pregnancy

There are a number of ways you can have poor nutrition throughout the course of a pregnancy. Ways to accidentally do this to yourself include eating too much junk food, not getting enough physical activity at key times during the pregnancy, or not getting fed well enough due to conditions like poverty. Again, and as a general rule, the more natural something is, the less likely you’ll develop a condition like diabetes by eating it in healthy amounts.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can indicate a lot of things. One of them happens to be Type II Diabetes.

IGT

IGT isn’t a supermarket, it’s an abbreviation for Impaired Glucose Tolerance. This is a condition wherein a person develops higher-than-normal levels of glucose in the blood. It’s not quite at the threshold of diabetes, and is a clear warning sign that Type II Diabetes is near.

Age

Your pancreas is a bodily component subject to entropy like you. The older you get, the greater your likelihood of developing diabetes.

Diet

If all you eat is meat and sugar, you’re on the diabetic train. Get minerals and vitamins in you. Fruits, vegetables, wheat that is not made from enriched flower, bananas (a good source of potassium)–in general, anything natural and/or unprocessed.

Physical Inactivity

You do not have to be fat and unhealthy in your diet to develop diabetes, excessive physical inactivity may also contribute to the condition.

Being Overweight

Not all diabetic people are morbidly obese. Some are actually quite muscular. Everybody has a different body, and factors inducing diabetic reaction are definitely variable. But one big indicator is being overweight. This can be combated with healthy diet and exercise, however.

Warning Signs

There are a lot of indicators which may indicate you or someone you love is at risk for Type II Diabetes. Diabetes can be prevented with proper diet and exercise, even if it is in a family’s history. At least, Type II Diabetes can. Type I diabetes is understood to be too severe. If you pay attention to available warning signs, you could save yourself years of discomfort and at-risk living.

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Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes is a life-long disease that affects the way your body handles the glucose in your blood. There are 27 million people in the United States who suffer from this condition and 86 million people with prediabetes.

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

There are several things that cause type 2 diabetes. Usually, it is a combination of a few of the causes.

  • Genes: Recent studies have shown that different parts of you DNA can affect the way that your body makes insulin, resulting in type 2 diabetes.
  • Being overweight or obese: If a person is carrying extra weight, it can cause insulin resistance, causing type 2 diabetes.
  • Metabolic syndrome: People who are insulin resistant often have high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and extra weight around the waist.
  • A liver that doesn’t function properly: If you have low blood sugar, your liver produces glucose. After you eat, your blood sugar will go up and the liver will slow down. Some people’s livers don’t function properly, so it keeps cranking out sugar even when it is not necessary.
  • Poor communication between cells: If the cells in the body send the wrong signals or they don’t pick up the signals, it can affect the way that the cells make insulin or glucose, causing diabetes.

Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors that won’t cause you to develop type 2 diabetes, but they can increase your chances of developing it.

  • If you are 45 years or older
  • If a parent, sister, or brother suffers from diabetes
  • People of certain ethnicity are more prone, including African-American, Pacific Islander-American, Alaska Native, Native American, Hispanic, Asian-American.
  • Prediabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Having a baby over 9 pounds
  • Having gestational diabetes during pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Too much sleep

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Many of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are so mild that they are unnoticeable. There are millions of people who have it and don’t know it. This is because many of the symptoms can be blamed on something else.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Irritability
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Recurring yeast infections

Long Term Effects of Type 2 Diabetes

Over time, high blood sugar can cause damage and lasting problems. These include:

  • Heart and blood vessels
  • Eyes
  • Kidneys
  • Nerves
  • Would healing
  • Pregnancy

Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes

There are a variety of tests that your doctor can perform to confirm your type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

  • A1C: This test determines the average of your blood glucose over the last 2 to 3 months.
  • Fasting plasma glucose: This test measures your sugar when your stomach is empty. You cannot eat or drink anything but water for 8 hours before the test.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): This is a test that checks your blood glucose before and two hours after you consume a sweet drink. It tests the way that your body handles sugar.

How to Manage Your Type 2 Diabetes

You can still live a healthy life as long as your take the necessary steps to manage your diabetes.

  • Take your insulin faithfully
  • Take your diabetes medications that are prescribed by your doctor
  • Check your blood glucose often
  • Eat a proper, diabetes-friendly diet
  • Don’t skip meals
  • See your doctor for regular checkups and make an appointment if you are not feeling well

Type 2 diabetes can be a very serious condition if it is not diagnosed and treated properly. When managed properly, you can live a full and healthy life with this disease.

 

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