Can A Glycemic Index Help Diabetics Control Their Blood Sugar

If you have diabetes, you probably already know that eating certain carbohydrates can raise your blood sugar levels dramatically and quickly.

That’s because carbohydrates such as refined sugars and breads are easier for your body to convert into glucose, (the sugar your body uses for energy) than more slowly digested carbohydrates like those in vegetables and whole grains.

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If you are diabetic and consume too much of the wrong type of carbohydrates you may have a difficult time controlling your blood sugar. To help diabetics make better choices a guide known as the glycemic index (GI) has been developed. This index assigns numbers to carbohydrate-containing foods based on how much and how quickly they can increase your blood sugar. The glycemic index provides diabetics with a way to distinguish slower-acting “good carbs” from the faster “bad carbs.” Many utilize this tool to refine their carbohydrate intake and to help them maintain steady blood sugar levels.

According to the glycemic index, carbohydrates with a low GI value are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized, resulting in a lower and slower rise in blood glucose. GI values are divided into three categories:

  • 55 or less = Low (good)
  • 56- 69 = Medium
  • 70 or higher = High (bad)

Research has indicated that for most diabetics, the best tool for managing blood glucose is carbohydrate counting. Some clinical studies also suggest that a low GI diet can help people with diabetes control blood glucose levels, but there are warnings.

While the glycemic index can be a helpful tool to assist diabetics, most healthcare professionals agree that it shouldn’t be the only guide used to determine what to eat. One of the reasons for this is that the glycemic index only takes the carbohydrate value into account and doesn’t consider other nutritional values. The glycemic index also does not take into consideration the portion size of the carbohydrates being eaten, how they are being prepared, and what other foods are being consumed at the same time.

The glycemic index is also used by individuals who are trying to lose weight as well as those trying to adopt a healthier diet. Regardless of the reason however, doctors maintain that even though it can be helpful, the glycemic index should not be used in isolation as other nutritional factors, such as calories, fat, fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients should be considered.

If you have diabetes and are considering adopting the glycemic index into your diet, it is important to speak to your doctor first. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a diabetes specialist at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-670-5486.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Learn How to Properly Stored Your Insulin in the Summer

We would never waste our food or allow it to become spoiled by the heat, but what about medicines? Medicines should not be the exception, specifically insulin.

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Insulin is a protein which is dissolved in water and is required to manage blood sugar levels in diabetics. As with any protein, bacteria can grow in insulin, making it susceptible to become spoiled. Bacteria can also break down the proteins in insulin and makes it less effective. Keeping insulin cool can help prevent it from spoiling and maintain its effectiveness. The recommended temperature for storage, once opened, should be anywhere from 59-68 degrees Fahrenheit. For insulin not in use, store between 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit. For many diabetics, insulin is most comfortably administered at room temperature.

Some other storage tips include:
• Do not freeze or use thawed insulin. The freezing temperature will break down the proteins and will not work to lower blood sugar levels.
• Do not leave in sunlight. This can break down the proteins in insulin as well.
• Inspect insulin prior to each use. Ensure that there are no clumps, crystals or particles in the bottle or pen. Insulin should be clear.
• Write the ‘start use’ date on the insulin vial and discard after 28 days or if it’s been opened.
• Never use expired insulin.
• Be wary of any unusual smells. Insulin should never have an odor or bad smell.

Insulin is administered in many forms including injections, pens or cartridges. Each may have different recommended storage times based on their manufacturer. It is important to check with a pharmacist, package insert, or the manufacturers’ website to ensure proper storage temperature of insulin.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What you should know about Type 1 (T1D) Diabetes

Diabetes is on the rise and what has significantly increased is the rate of type 1 diabetes (T1D), formerly known as “juvenile” or “juvenile onset” diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that more than 13,000 children and young people are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year.

T1D is often first diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. However, people may develop T1D at any age. The exact cause of T1D is unknown, there is no cure and it cannot be outgrown. In most cases of T1D, the body’s own immune system, which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses, mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Doctors believe genetics may play a role in this process, and exposure to certain environmental factors, such as viruses, may trigger the disease.

Symptoms for T1D include:
• Increased thirst
• Frequent urination
• Bedwetting in children who previously didn’t wet the bed during the night
• Extreme hunger
• Unintended weight loss
• Irritability and other mood changes
• Fatigue and weakness
• Blurred vision
• In females, frequent vaginal yeast infections

The good news is that it can be controlled with insulin therapy, exercise and diet. A simple blood test can identify type 1 diabetes. Be sure to consult with a physician if you or a family member is experiencing any of the above symptoms by contacting Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Does Weight Loss Surgery Affect Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is the most common form of diabetes.  Complications from this disease can lead to more serious health conditions such as hypertension and stroke.  Type 2 diabetes can also lead to premature death; in fact, studies show that the risk of premature death can be increased by as much as 80% in patients with T2DM.

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, “Obesity is the primary cause for type 2 diabetes.” Therefore, most patients diagnosed with T2DM can improve their health by losing weight.

One of the most effective forms of weight loss treatments for obesity is bariatric surgery.  It has been found that undergoing bariatric surgery and adhering to a prescribed diabetes treatment plan can improve blood sugar levels and cause remission of the disease in most patients. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery reports that “Nearly all individuals who have bariatric surgery show improvement in their diabetic state.” Surgery may improve type 2 diabetes in approximately 90% of patients by either lowering blood sugar, reducing the dosage of medication needed or improving health problems associated with diabetes.

The two most popular bariatric surgeries are the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass procedures. In the sleeve gastrectomy procedure, a large portion of the stomach is removed and a smaller, new stomach in the shape of a tube or “sleeve” is created.  During bypass surgery, a new small stomach pouch is created, and a section of the small bowel is bypassed. Both surgeries can offer excellent long-term results and positive outcomes in most patients. They are typically performed laparoscopically, utilizing a minimally invasive approach.   Laparoscopic surgery can offer patients several benefits including shorter hospital stays, shorter recovery time and less scarring.

Although bariatric surgery is considered safe, it is important that patients understand the risks of surgery. As with most major surgical procedures, the risks can include bleeding or other complications.

At Flushing Hospital’s Bariatric Surgical Center, procedures are performed utilizing minimally invasive techniques including robotic surgery. The Center also provides many compassionately delivered services to help patients succeed in every step of their weight loss journey including close physician monitoring, pre and post-surgical psychological evaluations, personalized diet and nutritional counseling as well as ongoing education and support groups.

For more information about the Bariatric Surgery Services at Flushing Hospital or procedures performed by our doctors, please call 718-670-8908

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Diabetes and Depression

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Diabetes does not directly cause depression but can contribute to it indirectly for a variety of reasons. Managing diabetes can be very stressful and it does require a modification of eating habits and, to some degree, a modification of lifestyle. Many people have difficulty keeping their blood sugar under control and this can also lead to frustration and potentially be a cause of depression.
Signs of depression include:
• Change in appetite
• Change in sleep pattern
• Loss of interest in doing things that were once enjoyable
• Trouble concentrating
• Lack of energy
• Feeling suicidal
If diabetes is not well controlled then variations in blood sugar level, high or low, can lead to symptoms that are similar to depression.
Similarly, depression can lead to the onset of diabetes. When people are depressed their eating habits tend to be affected and many people will over eat to the point of becoming obese. Some people who are depressed have no desire to be physically active, and many will also smoke. All of these are risk factors for diabetes.
There are ways to manage both diabetes and depression simultaneously. The most important factor is to speak with a physician who has experience and can help you to gain control of these illnesses. A patient who has been diagnosed with diabetes might also benefit from a program that focuses on behavior modification that will lead to a healthier lifestyle. There are medications that can be prescribed which will be helpful in managing these illnesses. Seeking the help of a psychotherapist will also be helpful in gaining confidence in the ability to manage both diseases.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss diabetes management please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Diabetes Alert Day

March 27 is Diabetes Alert Day. The observance created by the American Diabetes Association, is held the last Tuesday in March each year to help raise awareness about the seriousness of diabetes when it is left undiagnosed or untreated.

Diabetes affects approximately 30 million people living in the United States and nearly 1 in 4 is unaware that they have the disease.

Undiagnosed or untreated diabetes can develop into more complicated health conditions that can include kidney damage, heart disease, nerve damage or stroke.

Learning if you are at risk and taking the necessary steps to prevent or treat diabetes can lower your chances of developing serious illnesses that result from the disease.

Some people are more at risk than others. You may be at risk if you:

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are African American, Asian American, Hispanic, American Indian or Pacific Islander
  • Are physically inactive
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels

The American Diabetes Association also encourages you to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/?loc=alertday.

There are several lifestyle changes you can adopt to lower your risk or take control of your diabetes, they include:

  • Getting adequate amounts of fiber in your diet
  • Becoming more physically active
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Maintaining a well-balanced diet
  • Managing blood pressure levels
  • Keeping your cholesterol at a normal level
  • Taking medications as prescribed

According to the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Alert Day serves as a one- day “wakeup call”.  Use this day as a reminder to speak with your physician about your risk factors and steps you can take to stay healthy.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has received a great deal of attention because it’s believed to help protect your cardiovascular system. The reason being is that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids.

Higher grades of dark chocolate are where you will find an abundance of flavonoids.

Some benefits to adding a moderate amount of dark chocolate to your diet are:

  • Nutrition – If the dark chocolate you are eating has a high cocoa content it will also have a sufficient amount of soluble fiber and will be rich with minerals.
  • Antioxidants – Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavanols and catechins to name a few.
  • Blood Flow and Hypertension – The bioactive compounds in cocoa have been known to improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but significant decrease in blood pressure.
  • Heart Disease – Eating dark chocolate has shown to be beneficial in improving several important risk factors for heart disease, reducing insulin resistance, increase high density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) and decreasing low density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol). These reductions could show decrease in cardiovascular disease.

Be careful about the type of dark chocolate you choose: chewy caramel-marshmallow-nut-covered dark chocolate is by no means a heart-healthy food option. Watch out for those extra ingredients that can add lots of extra fat and calories.

There is currently no established serving size of dark chocolate to help you reap the cardiovascular benefits it may offer, and more research is needed in this area. So, for now, it is recommended that a moderate portion of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce) a few times per week is sufficient while eating other flavonoid-rich foods (lettuce, almonds, strawberries, celery oranges, etc.).

Even though there is evidence that eating dark chocolate can provide health benefits, it doesn’t mean you should over indulge.  It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Holiday Tips For People With Diabetes

The holiday season is here and it seems like everywhere we go a variety of treats are being served.  It becomes hard to resist temptation and we may eat more than we normally do.

While overeating is not a good idea for anyone, people who have diabetes have to be very mindful of the things they eat and practice healthy habits.

 

Following these tips can help diabetics to manage their health and still enjoy the holidays:
• Try to keep to a regular schedule of when you eat.
• If you are going to a party, offer to bring a healthy dish with you.
• Cut back on food high in carbohydrates and fat if you are going to be eating sweets
• Don’t skip meals in anticipation of eating one big one, that could lead to overeating.
• Make sure you find time for some exercise to burn up the extra calories
• Eat the things you enjoy, but try to watch the portion sizes
• Get plenty of rest.
• Check your blood sugar regularly.
• Try not to consume a lot of soda or alcoholic beverages.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to have your diabetes checked, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.