Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, your life undergoes some pretty drastic changes. You may need to check your urine if you’re sick or if your blood glucose is over 240. A urine test will tell you if you have ketones in your urine. Your body makes ketones when there isn’t enough insulin in your blood. Ketones can make you very sick. Call your doctor right away if you find moderate or large amounts of ketones, along with high blood glucose levels, when you do a urine test. You may have a serious condition called ketoacidosis. If it isn’t treated, it can cause death. Signs of ketoacidosis are vomiting, weakness, fast breathing, and a sweet smell on the breath. Ketoacidosis is more likely to develop in people with type 1 diabetes. You can buy strips for testing ketones at a drug store. Your doctor or diabetes educator will show you how to use them.
The test results are typically returned either as a number or percentage, both representing essentially the same thing. For example, a non-diabetic would be expected to have an A1C of between 4.0 and 6.0 or expressed differently, between 4% and 6%. For diabetics, a desire A1C is less than 7.0, and diabetics may experience increased risk of complications if their number is greater than 8.0. Complications due to high blood-sugars levels include peripheral neuropathy, loss of limbs, kidney damage, loss of vision, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.
New information about cinnamon and diabetes has recently been published. A double-blind study conducted in 2007 of subjects with type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes, concluded that cinnamon is not effective in lowering blood glucose levels among type 1 diabetics. Type 1 diabetics have completely lost their ability to produce insulin naturally. These teen diabetics were given 1g of cinnamon, or a placebo, for 30 days. When A1C tests were taken at the end of thirty days to measure glucose control over time, the group taking cinnamon actually fared slightly worse than the placebo group. Researchers concluded that cinnamon has no beneficial effect on the blood glucose of type 1 diabetics.
The A1C test measures the percentage of hemoglobin A1C molecules that have formed in the bloodstream. If you have your A1C tested and the result is say, 5, then 5% of the hemoglobin A in the bloodstream has glucose stuck to it and has become hemoglobin A1C. Make sense? In other words, if your A1C is 5, then 5% of the hemoglobin in the bloodstream is hemoglobin A1C. For those of us with diabetes, it is suggested that we try and keep the A1C at or below 7 percent. It is also suggested by the American Diabetes Association that the A1C test be repeated every three months to check for consistency.
Monitoring your glucose levels will help you detect “highs” and “lows.” A condition referred to as hypoglycemia results when glucose levels fall too low. When this happens a person may become shaky and confused. If blood glucose levels decrease too much, a person may faint. Following the treatment plan recommended by your doctor as well as monitoring your blood glucose levels can help you avoid “lows.” If you check your glucose level and it is too low, you can increase it by taking in sugary foods or drinks like fruit juice.
For weight loss purposes, calories should come from carbohydrates (50%), proteins (30-35%) and fats (15-20%). The higher level of protein makes the diet more satisfying without deprivation. The protein need in the body is so great that if we do not get the right amounts, the body will eat more food to make up for it. The more food that is needed, the more calories will be ingested. It is a myth that protein does not turn to fat in the body – if there is too much consumption, the body will store it as such.
In the case of the chromium study, it would seem that there is a lot of hope for the diabetic patient. However, some intelligent researchers noted that the participants in the studies were not first tested for chromium deficiency, which is common in China. When similar studies attempted to repeat these findings in countries with fewer nutritional deficiencies, the patients did not receive the same health benefits to taking chromium. Apparently, all that we can learn from the study done in China is that a chromium deficiency can make the symptoms of diabetes worse.
Type 2 diabetes is also referred to as adult-onset diabetes or non insulin-dependent diabetes. It may be developed at any age, including childhood. In this type of diabetes is the result of insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells do not interact properly with insulin. At first, the pancreas is able to produce more insulin to keep up with the increased demand for insulin. However, it loses the ability to make up for the body’s cells inability to interact properly with insulin with time. The insulin is unable to help the cells take in glucose, this results in high blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. An unhealthy weight contributed by a high calorie diet and lack of physical activity increases the risk for developing this form of diabetes.
You need to monitor your blood sugar more frequently. Many people with diabetes only check their blood sugar in the morning. Your fasting blood glucose does not give you the big picture. You need to check your blood sugar before you eat a meal (pre-prandial) and two hours after a meal (postprandial). These values will tell you if you are eating too many carbohydrates or if your diabetic medications are working. If your insurance only gives you one or two test strips a day, pick your biggest meal of the day to check your blood sugar. You can also ask your doctor for more test strips. Many doctors are willing to provide you extra test strips if the result is better blood glucose control.
Monitoring your blood glucose levels at home is the most important thing you can do when you have any type of diabetes. Effectively controlling the correct levels can affect your health, energy and lower your chances of developing diabetic complications. Many things can affect your blood sugar levels on a daily basis; exercise, eating, stress or even illnesses are just some of the factors. Blood glucose levels should be checked daily and your physician will write you a specific prescription when your time arrives for testing.