Diabetes Archives

Dangers and Complications of Diabetes

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Over the years, I’ve written about the dangers and complications of diabetes, but I recently came across some staggering figures from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affecting the senior population. I know many seniors who are in the pre-diabetes stage, but many of them take it in stride and don’t seem to understand the consequences.

Here are the statistics that may be of concern to you:

  • Among U.S. residents aged 65 years and older, 10.9 million, or 26.9%,  had diabetes in 2010.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people of similar age but without diabetes.

The estimated number of new cases in 2010 was also remarkable. For those between 45 to 54 it was 1,052,000 and for those 65 and over it was 390,000 making it a total of almost 1.5 million people. Medical expenses for people with diabetes are more than two times higher than for people without diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses. Once they acquire these illnesses, they often have worse prognoses. For example, they are more likely to die with pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.

People with diabetes aged 60 years or older are 2–3 times more likely to report an inability to walk one-quarter of a mile, climb stairs, or do housework compared with people without diabetes in the same age group. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and can be reversed, but it takes a lot of work. If you need a partner to get started and hold you accountable, check out the Gracefully Age Program and grow out of being a diabetic statistic.

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Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

A couple of weeks ago, I had arthroscopic knee surgery because of a fall more than a dozen years ago. It was partially exploratory to determine the next step as well as to “clean it up.” The next two weeks will determine my options, but total knee replacement is not necessary.

In order to go through this surgery, I had to get a second opinion and while the second doctor determined that surgery is necessary, it was his opinion that a total knee replacement should be considered “just in case” I might need one down the road. On the other hand, my world-renowned knee specialist said you never replace anything that’s in good condition and basically, other than my knee cap, my knee is in very good condition. But the most important lesson in this is to prevent falls in the first place and to prevent arthritis from creeping in.

Fitness expert Sonia Gow, in a previous post, shared her expertise about why people fall. She mentioned that falls are not a normal part of aging.

Did you know that falls are a leading cause of hospital admissions for people over 65? For those over 65, one in three will experience a fall each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 to 30 percent of the falls result in injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, and head traumas with hospital bills averaging nearly $18,000 per patient.

According to Mary Tinetti, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, the more chronic health conditions you have, the more likely you are to suffer a fall.

  • Diabetes can worsen vision and desensitize nerves in the feet.
  • Depression can increase risk of falling.
  • Many medications cause dizziness and affect balance, especially sleep aids.

Other diseases causing a higher rate of falls include:

  • Circulatory disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Arthritis

Yoga and tai chi which has slow, rhythmic movements can help you with your balance. Don’t forget to strengthen your arms too since you can use them to steady yourself. Find a personal trainer or borrow/buy a DVD to help you.

Whole Grains and Blood Pressure


For many seniors, as we age, our blood pressure seems to creep up as well. Here’s one solution to lower blood pressure naturally. Refrain from reaching for any white grain such as white rice or white bread. Instead, replace it with brown rice and whole grain bread. In a study of overweight adults in their 50’s, those that replaced refined grains (rice, cereal, bread) with whole grains lost weight as well as a drop in their systolic blood pressure (top number) of five to six points.

High blood pressure can raise your risk for a heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and blindness among the many problems. Other diseases such as diabetes can raise your risk even further.

The study suggested that lowering blood pressure by eating three servings of whole-grain foods daily could reduce the risk of coronary artery disease by at least 15 percent and stroke by 25 percent or more.  Generally, refined or processed foods have more sodium which is known to contribute to high blood pressure. However, the study did not define exactly how whole grains might contribute to the lowering of blood pressure.

Check this Web site of the Harvard School of Public Health for more information on the benefits of whole grains.

With all of the known side effects of blood pressure medication which even includes heart failure, taking prescription medication should be your last option.  Pre-hypertension or even hypertension can often be controlled with diet and exercise.

February is American Heart Month. On the Web site of the American Heart Association, you will see some staggering figures: 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, it is the number one cause of death of women 20 and older, more women die of heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including cancer. It is the number one killer in America, also known as the “silent killer.”Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Keep your Body Alkaline

As 2010 comes to a close, I hope it was a healthy year and you are looking forward to an exciting year ahead. I know I have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to in 2011.

Each of us has a path we can take — the illness path or the wellness path. The choices we make determine whether we’re headed for illness or for wellness. We are in charge of our own body. We determine what to consume. We decide if we are going to challenge our bodies by exercising. We are constantly making choices — one choice is just as easy to make as another choice. Still, over a period of time, one will lead to better health and one will lead to your doctor’s office. Which will it be for you?

One of the ways to keep your body free of diseases is to keep it in an alkaline state. I’ve heard it many times — diseases cannot live in an alkaline body. How do you keep your body in an alkaline state? By consuming more alkaline foods than acidic ones. Approximately 75 percent of your food intake should be alkaline and about 25 percent should be acidic. So, a lot more alkaline foods than acidic ones. This helpful chart at betterbones.com puts the alkaline-forming foods on a scale from low to high.

There are various places where you can buy pH paper such as a garden center or pet shop or even one that sells swimming pool supplies. If you want one that covers a wider gamut, you may need to find a lab supply store.
Personally, to keep my body alkaline, I take a “greens” supplement with every meal. What I like about this company is that their multi-vitamin is also packed with a “greens” caplet. I also drink alkaline water. I was recently tested by a health practitioner and my body was in an alkaline state. This is not to say that I leave the job to the supplements. I do try to make smart choices about what I eat.

I wish all of you the best of health. Take care and see you next year.

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Dr. Oz and AARP Magazine 6-Month Plan

A couple of months ago, I told you in a post about how much I enjoy watching Dr. Oz. Now, according to Reuters, Dr. Oz has turned 50 and has teamed with AARP Magazine to create a six-month plan for increasing longevity among the 50-plus population.

According to Champagne Living, Dr. Oz’s program includes the following:

Daily Checklist

  1. Walk 30 Minutes
  2. Brush and Floss
  3. Drink Two Cups of Green Tea
  4. Take Omega 3s, Calcium and Vitamin D (links take you to what I recommend — read more about calcium here and Omega 3 fatty acids here)
  5. Sleep 7-8 Hours a Night
  6. Meditate

Dr. Mehmet Oz’s 6-month plan:

  • Month 1: Your Diet Makeover — Provides a three-day diet designed to jump-start your body to lose weight
  • Month 2: Tests & Numbers — Lists important medical tests and tests that readers can do at home to ensure that their health stays on track
  • Month 3: Ramp Up Your Exercise — Maps out a four-week exercise plan focused on weight-lifting, flexibility, and balance
  • Month 4: Manage Your Stress — Encourages readers to engage in daily activities such as deep breathing and meditation to reduce chronic stress
  • Month 5: Find Purpose — Challenges readers to define clearly what they want out of life to add to their overall sense of wellness
  • Month 6: Put it Together — Calls for readers to retake the tests from Month 2 to see how their numbers have improved considerably since embarking on the six-month plan

According to the editor of the AARP Magazine, if you follow these guidelines, at the end of the six month period, your blood pressure, healthy cholesterol, and blood sugar, will improve. I suggested in my very first post about getting started with a baby step such as walking. Topping Dr. Oz’s list is a 30-minute daily walk. If you haven’t started, let’s get moving! Remember, many of our diseases are lifestyle choices.

One of the member benefits is the AARP Magazine so if you are not a member of AARP, click here to join. Click here to find out other member benefits. Cheers to your wellness!

Anti-inflammatory Turmeric

turmericMany issues faced by seniors such as heart problems, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease are said to be a result of inflammation. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and is a member of the ginger family. It has been used in the Ayurvedic (Indian) and Chinese medicine for ages. After processing and being ground into a powder, turmeric is better known to those of us in the west as curry. Today we are realizing more and more health benefits.

According to www.whfoods.com, (The World’s Healthiest Foods and The George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests, is a new force for change to help make a healthier you and a healthier world), their food rating system shows the following nutrients in turmeric:

Turmeric, powder
2.00 tsp
4.52 grams
16.04 calories





World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating


0.36 mg





1.88 mg




vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

0.08 mg




dietary fiber

0.96 g





114.48 mg




DV = Daily Value

World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating








very good












According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, the volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than its volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, which is called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.

Ezine articles author Henri K. Junttila also writes about the benefits of turmeric in “Discover the Incredible Health Benefits of Turmeric Spice.” She says, “The best way to take advantage of the benefits of this herb is to take it in the form of multi-vitamin supplements.  Studies reveal that the substance is digested and ingested in the bloodstream better in combination with other beneficial substances. It is important however, to check which of the other complementing substances and ingredients work best with turmeric spice.”

There are nutritional supplements available. The supplements that I have taken contain turmeric as part of another supplement. For example, Immunotec has an Omega-3 product with turmeric. Vitamark International puts it in their Naturflex product and includes ginger root in their vitamin, VitaChe, specifically for heart health. My favorite, VitaOne, Vitamark’s multi-nutrition pack, contains 100 mg of turmeric. Does your favorite multi-vitamin contain turmeric?

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Why a Mammogram

Mammogram Machine

Mammogram Machine

I was sitting in the waiting room of a radiological center waiting for my yearly torture — a mammogram — and catching up on my Prevention magazine. What a coincidence that I saw a small article that said that mammography may identify women at increased risk of stroke. The article said a large number of benign calcium deposits may indicate plaque buildup in the arteries. The study, headed by Paul S. Dale, MD, was done at the University of Missouri. Plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis, in the arteries leading to the brain is a major cause of stroke.

There have also been previous studies that have shown a link between calcium deposits and diabetes and heart disease.  In this new research, researchers examined the mammograms of 793 healthy women, ages 40 to 90, with no history of stroke, heart disease, or diabetes.

They found the following:

  • 86 of the women, or about 11%, had calcification
  • Of 204 women who had a stroke, 115 or 56%, had calcification

Since I’m fortunate to not have any breast cancer in my immediate family, I had tried to talk my doctor out of getting a mammogram, but perhaps there might be more than one reason to have one. I encourage you to get one as well.

Ever heard of a vitamin that cleans your arteries? Click here.

Lose Belly Fat — with Enzymes

Fat stomachFlat belly secrets! Flat belly in two weeks! Flat belly diet! Lose belly fat! It’s all over the media. I subscribe to the Washington Post. One of my favorite days is Tuesday when they publish a Health section. This week it published a small but interesting  article about George Griffing, MD and professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine who measures his big-bellied patients by putting the patient on their back on the examination table. He then uses a yardstick to measure the height of their bulging tummy from the table to the top of the stomach. He said he’d like to use a ruler, but that’s too short.

Griffing says that he’s looking for how much fat is in the abdomen and the liver.  The article goes on to say that, “Medical experts have long suspected that people with excess deep-belly fat are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, and ongoing research bolsters that belief.” He believes that measuring height is more efficient and an accurate predictor than other methods because fat in other places is not as bad as fat in the gut. Don’t ignore this fat. Dr. Gabe Mirkin explains the danger here.

So here’s what studies have found is dangerous and will triple your chance of cardiovascular disease:

  • Abdominal height more than 10 inches in women
  • Abdominal height more than 12 inches in men

This technique has been endorsed by the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association.

Now, how do we get rid of those “love handles” or “spare tire.” There are a myriad of diets. Sticking to any diet is a challenge. But even if you were to eat healthfully and in reasonable amounts, losing weight might still be a problem. Have a look at enzymes. There’s a fascinating book by DicQie Fuller called, The Power of Enzymes. (See also The Power of Enzymes link on the right). In this book, she talks about the different body types and how you can control your appetite and cravings with enzyme supplements. (See also Enzyme Supplements link on the right). She also gives you a list of foods you should eat and those to avoid depending on your body type.

Taking probiotics is another possibility for your weight loss regimen. I have heard of many people having success with reducing the “middle.” However, nutrition specialist, JJ Virgin, has an insightful blog post here for severe cases.  Enzymes just might be the Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon sought.

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Diabetes and Foot Problems

If you have diabetes, you want to watch carefully for the development of foot problems.   Over time, elevated sugar levels can cause damage to nerves and blood vessels.  The nerve damage, neuropathy, can cause pain and tingling or a complete loss of sensation.  Narrowing of the arteries can impair circulation, especially in the feet and lower legs.  This can reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach the tissues, making them more vulnerable to injury and impairing their ability to heal.

The combination of numbness and poor circulation can lead to the development of foot ulcers. Here are some interesting points.

  • Foot complications are the most frequent cause for hospitalization of patients with diabetes.
  • About 30% to 50% of diabetics will develop foot problems related to the disease and about 15% of will develop a serious foot ulcer problem.
  • Foot ulcers precede 85% of non-traumatic lower limb amputations.
  • 50% of all non-traumatic lower limb amputations are performed on diabetics.
  • The cost of treating a foot ulcer in 2005 was estimated by the International Diabetes Federation to be $7,000 – $10,000 without amputation.
  • With amputation, the cost of treatment was estimated to be as high as $65,000.
  • Up to 60% of diabetic patients with a history of foot ulcers will develop another within one year.

Fortunately, there is an inexpensive and very effective way to combat peripheral lower limb neuropathy.  Unfortunately it is still relatively unknown among the people who need it most.  Dr. Michael Weintraub of the NY Medical College Department of Neurology and Medicine conducted an historic study on the effects of magnetic insoles on neuropathic pain which was published in the May 5, 2003 issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine.

The report concludes that the “study provides convincing data confirming that the constant wearing of static, permanent, magnetic insoles produces statistically significant reduction of neuropathic pain.”  The study involved nearly 400 patients, and the insoles were Magsteps produced by Nikken.  Dr. Weintraub says it’s only a certain kind of bipolar magnetic insoles that seems to help enough to make a difference.  These insoles were lauded by the researchers for “their safety and minimal cost.” Dr. Weintraub concluded that magnetic therapy is “comparable or superior to that observed with various conventional drugs,” and it also has the advantage of being non-invasive and less expensive (at a cost of $60) with no side-effects.

Click here to view a short video about Dr. Weintraub and the insoles. Click here to view a timelapse thermographic imaging video of the effect on feet of a pair of Nikken insoles.

Ann FinnGuest author Ann Finn, a Nikken representative. has seen the Nikken products work for herself as well as her clients and takes much joy when the lives of her clients improve. She can be reached by e-mail at wellnessmaven@yahoo.com or via her Web site at www.nikken.com/wellnessmaven.

Diabetes: Know Your Numbers


George Washington University Hospital

Last week I attended an informative seminar at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC on “Living with Diabetes.” It was presented by Dr. Joshua Cohen, an endocrinologist at the George Washington University School of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Diabetes Center.

He said that health is the #1 concern on the Internet and within health, diabetes is #1. He defined diabetes as a group of diseases characterized by high levels of blood glucose sugar. Diabetes is also closely related to obesity. In 1990, the obesity trend was 10 to 15%. In 2001, it was greater than 25%. Furthermore, children born today have a 30 to 50% chance of developing diabetes!

The danger of diabetes, of course, is the resulting complications that occur on the macro vascular level and the micro vascular level. Vascular refers to the vessels of the body, especially the arteries and veins, that carry blood and lymph.

On the macro vascular level, there are atherosclerosis complications (deposits of fat causing the walls of arteries to thicken) such as coronary heart disease and stroke. On the micro vascular level, it can affect the eyes, kidneys, and nerves leading to blindness, kidney failure, and limb amputation, respectively.

As a knowledgeable patient, Dr. Cohen says you need to know your numbers.

  • Hemoglobin A1C
  • Blood pressure and lipid levels (triglycerides, cholesterol — LDL, HDL — remember “L” for lousy and “H” for happy)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP) which measures the level of inflammation in the body and is a determinant of your risk of heart disease

The hemoglobin A1C is the average glucose level over a two to three month period. Just a 1% reduction can significantly reduce diabetic complications. The number should be less than 7%. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says blood pressure numbers should be:

  • Healthy blood pressure: below 120/80
  • Early high blood pressure: between 120/80 and 140/90
  • High blood pressure: 140/90 or higher

The ADA says the LDL, HDL and triglycerides numbers you should aim for are:

  • LDL Cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDL Cholesterol: Greater than 60 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dL

The American Heart Association says

  • You are at low risk of developing cardiovascular disease if your hs-CRP level is lower than 1.0mg/L
  • You are at average risk of developing cardiovascular disease if your levels are between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/L
  • You are at high risk for cardiovascular disease if your hs-CRP level is higher than 3.0 mg/L

Dr. Cohen stressed the importance of having a treatment plan. If your body needs insulin, it is not a narcotic. If your body can’t produce it, you risk hypoglycemia. Take a glass of milk or juice immediately. More than previously thought, your whole gastrointestinal (G/I) system plays a role.

Personally, I do not have diabetes, nor am I a pre-diabetic. However, most of my very close friends do have diabetes and considering the complications as noted in my previous post, it is something that I’m very interested in. Help educate your friends if they have any of the following symptoms. Early detection can decrease complications.

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Increased fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurry vision

Some people prefer to stay on diabetes medication to control their blood sugar level, but most prefer to do it naturally through diet and lifestyle changes. If you’re interested in lowering your blood sugar naturally, read about how GluCare helps you maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

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