With so many instructions on how to manage your blood sugar, it is easy to forget to take care of your feet. However this is an important area to create a care regimen so that other, more risky diabetes complications don’t occur. Take a look at this video and write down any questions that you may have to take to your doctor.
An article recently published in Annals of Internal Medicine has many people wondering what role fats, including saturated fat, should play in their daily diet. In a nutshell, researchers did not find any relationship between total saturated fat intake and heart disease risk. This seems to contradict everything we have read for the last 40 years! So is it time to break out the pizza and ice cream?! To get to the bottom of this, let’s take a look at the different types of fats and dietary sources:
Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) can be beneficial to your health, when eaten in moderation. They can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Examples include olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil and sesame oil. Other sources are avocados, peanut butter and many nuts and seeds.
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) can help improve cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. Omega-6 and omega-3 (types of PUFAs) are essential fats your body needs but can’t produce, so they must be consumed through foods you eat. Sources of PUFAs include soybean oil, corn oil and safflower oil, some nuts and seeds, as well as fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and trout.
Saturated fats are generally thought to increase your cholesterol and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels and this can increase your risk of cardiac disease. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products like fatty meats and full fat dairy. According to the Harvard School of Public Health “pizza and cheese are the biggest food sources of saturated fat in the U.S. diet.”
Trans fats sometimes occur naturally in foods, but are mostly made from oils through a process called partial hydrogenation. Trans fats can increase your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and lower your HDL (“healthy”) levels, thus increasing your risk for cardiac disease. Trans fats are often found in commercially baked goods such as cakes and cookies. Other sources are fried foods, shortenings and margarine. You can determine the amount of trans fats in packaged food by looking at the nutrition label.
We’ve read about the heart, but what about diabetes? According to Mayo Clinic consuming MUFAs may “benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control.” They also state PUFAs may “also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.”
The bottom line is fat is an important and necessary part of your diet but should be limited. At 9 calories per gram, it provides nearly double the amount of calories per gram of protein or carbohydrates. In general, consuming an excessive number of calories from any dietary source will result in weight gain, and excessive weight increases risk for heart disease and diabetes. Heart disease is a risk factor for kidney disease and kidney disease is a risk factor for heart disease because the heart and kidneys are interconnected.
Before you pick up the phone to order pizza for dinner, talk to your health care provider to find out what kind of diet, including what type of fats, will work best for you!
There are so many observances throughout the year that several of them happen simultaneously. However April’s pairing of National Minority Health Month and National Donate Life Month is not pure happenstance.
National Minority Health Month
African Americans and other ethnic minorities are plagued by a number of chronic illnesses that may not be an immediate threat to life itself; however neglect of these chronic and often preventable conditions can surely lead to an early death. Perhaps the biggest of these chronic illnesses that disproportionately plague African Americans is hypertension and diabetes.According to the National Institute of Health,
“The most common causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure, together accounting for about 70 percent of new cases.”
That bears repeating, 70 percent of new cases of chronic kidney disease is caused by uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension—both controllable conditions. Controllable in large part by good decision making: diet and exercise, and medication prescribed by a doctor. And this brings us to the next April observance.
National Donate Life Month
National Donate Life Month promoted largely by the Gift of Life Foundation encourages people to make the decision to become organ donors, either living or at the time of death so that those waiting on the transplant list, can live. There are currently more than 110,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. Millions of organs are wasted daily when people die without donating their organs. It is a simple process to sign up on the national organ donor registry: http://donatelife.net/register-now/
In the case of kidneys, while African Americans make up 12% of the population, we make up 32% of those on dialysis.
In April and beyond, join with me to make smart and healthy decisions to improve minority health, and please “Donate Life”—my brother Jeff (my kidney donor) and another individual (my pancreas donor)’s decisions to donate life are why I live today!
Because diabetes is a disease affecting many parts of the body, successful management requires a team approach. Today’s podiatrist is an integral part of the treatment team and has documented success in preventing amputations:
More than 65,000 lower limbs are amputated annually due to complications from diabetes.
After an amputation, the chance of another amputation within three to five years is as high as 50 percent.
Including a podiatrist in your diabetes care can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation up to 85 percent and lowers the risk of hospitalization by 24 percent.
The keys to amputation prevention are early recognition and regular foot screenings performed by a podiatrist, the foot and ankle expert.
If you have diabetes, follow these foot care tips:
Inspect feet daily. Check your feet and toes every day for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration.
Wear thick, soft socks. Avoid socks with seams, which could rub and cause blisters or other skin injuries.
Exercise. Walking can keep weight down and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.
Have new shoes properly measured and fitted. Foot size and shape may change over time. Shoes that fit properly are important to those with diabetes.
Don’t go barefoot. Don’t go without shoes, even in your own home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great for those with diabetes.
Never try to remove calluses, corns, or warts by yourself. Over-the-counter products can burn the skin and cause irreparable damage to the foot for people with diabetes.
See today’s podiatrist. Regular checkups by a podiatrist—at least annually—are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.
Halloween is a holiday that is celebrated with activities often forbidden for people with diabetes. So what do children do for this holiday? For that matter, any holiday or day filled with seasonal treats?
When I was a child growing up with diabetes in the 70s, my doctor allowed me to choose 3 “Hog Wild” days per year. The concept was that I would follow my diet 362 days out of the year, but be allowed to eat whatever I wanted on those 3 days. While psychologically that may have made me feel better about measured mash potatoes served from an ice cream scoop without butter, fact is I wasn’t always true to the diet for the full 362 days. And even on those Hog Wild days, my mother had to watch me extremely closely–since at that time there was no glucometer to know exactly how high my blood sugar was. It really was kind of a dangerous concept.
Today, with glucometers and short acting insulins or insulin pumps, it is a much easier and less dangerous way to enjoy a once forbidden holiday. While I don’t believe (and I don’t think medical professionals would either) the best course of action would be to overdo it on all the candy you collect, I do think an after dinner treat monitored with a glucometer, or Continuous Glucose Monitor and treated with short acting insulin or insulin pump as prescribed by your physician, wouldn’t hurt.
Normalcy is what gets us through the sometimes difficult times of managing chronic illness. And the more we can feel like everybody else, the more we don’t mind working a little harder to make that happen safely.
Once again, we are excited to present our ‘FREE’ Annual “Taking Diabetes to School 2013” Conference & Exhibits …everything you need to know about creating and maintaining a safe learning environment for students with diabetes. A strong support network at school is needed to help them manage their diabetes, stay safe and continue learning – JDRF is here to help!
New this year: Hands-on Demo Stations and interactive networking with diabetes educators, clinicians, and parents!
If you have questions or you would like to reserve your spot at this important and informative event, please contact Denise Pentescu at JDRF.
Actor Anthony Anderson, Spokesperson for the Eli Lilly’s F.A.C.E. program.
African Americans are diagnosed with diabetes more than 2.5 times the rate of whites. I had the opportunity to interview Anthony Anderson about his ambassador role as national spokesperson for Eli Lilly’s F.A.C.E. program. The Fearless African Americans Connected and Empowered (F.A.C.E.) program is designed specifically to reach African Americans and inform us about how to prevent or manage the epidemic diabetes diagnoses in our community.