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28 Jun 2019

How Helpful is Apple Health and Diabetes Connectivity?

 

The Apple Health app creates a seamless connection between various diabetes devices and the overall HealthKit available to iOS users. This app consolidates the health data which comes from an individual’s iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, or their third-party apps. 

This information then allows people to view their health and lifestyle information, goals, and overall fitness progress.

One of the most significant advances in this technology category involves an app called Share2, which is produced by Dexcom and is intended for the Apple Watch.

Share2 offers individuals diagnosed with diabetes access to continuous glucose monitoring information. You can look at your Apple Watch, and then know what your current glucose levels happen to be.

How Does This Connectivity Work?

Sensors offered by the app manufacturers use a very thin wire that gets placed just under the surface of the skin. Then a transmitter clips to the wire, sending glucose data through Bluetooth to the continuous glucose monitoring receiver. This data then passes from the receiver to your preferred Apple device.

This process makes it possible for each person to view their glucose trends in a graph-based format. They can also share this information with their friends, family, or doctor thanks to the “Follow” app that is currently available for the Apple Watch and the iPhone.

Sharing health data like this is going to be a vital aspect of patient care in the future. It offers a security blanket for loved ones who are also caregivers. This information set up makes it possible to know as a spouse when your partner’s glucose numbers plummet, even if you happen to be away from home at the time.

Parents can use this technology to keep track of their children’s numbers. Caregivers of older adults can take advantage of this data for daily diabetes management. More information makes it possible to create better outcomes.

Are There Limitations to This Technology?

Dexcom is currently working on his fifth generation of systems. The goal is to allow users to leave their continuous glucose monitoring receiver at home, with the transmitter sending data directly to their Apple device.

There is also the fact that this technology only works with Apple products at the moment. Since this brand is more of a luxury item for many households, it could fall outside of what their family budget can afford.

Users may still need to keep extra devices nearby for quick checks of their blood glucose numbers, but the Apple Watch app is much less conspicuous than a handheld receiver when you need to check your levels out in public. 

People who manage their diabetes want to continue maintaining their lifestyle as best as they can with their diagnosis. They don’t want to be trying to juggle multiple devices at once when they’re at work, sharing lunch with a loved one, or shopping at the mall. They want something that is simple and easy to use.

That is why Apple Health and its diabetes connectivity are helpful today. It will continue to improve in the ways that it assists in the months and years to come as well. 

31 May 2019

Can I Reverse T2D By Losing Weight?

 

Losing weight after receiving a type 2 diabetes (T2D) diagnosis is a way to increase insulin sensitivity. This outcome could help to put the disease into remission for some people if they can keep the extra pounds off. Here is how this process works.

An analysis of weight loss and T2D published in the journal BMJ found that losing 33 pounds will often help to put the disease into remission. That’s a bold finding for doctors and patients who believe this is a chronic condition. 

40% of people who lost this threshold weight, and then kept it off for six months by following a low-calorie diet, were able to send their T2D into remission.

That doesn’t mean everyone can reverse their diagnosis. Losing 33 pounds should not become your primary goal. What all people with this disease should do is look for ways to add exercise to their daily routine while practicing healthier eating habits.

Why Weight Loss and Diabetes Have a Connection

Medical science recognizes that people with prediabetes can prevent their condition from evolving to T2D by losing weight. The CDC notes that a modest 5% loss in body mass puts you into this category. If you weigh 200 pounds, then that means losing 10 pounds to avoid diabetes.

Weight loss makes a difference because it takes fat away from the liver and the pancreas. The process improves the function of beta cells which store and release insulin. Almost all insulin resistance issues and secretion problems involve excessive fat around these two organs.

The issue here is that most patients with T2D don’t realize how critical it is for them to lose weight. It carries a significant impact on your future health. That is especially true for patients who develop this disease early in life.

Don’t just rely on using medication to manage your blood sugar levels. Think about finding some ways to lose weight to address the root causes of your type 2 diabetes.

Why Is Sustained Weight Loss So Important?

Many people who try to lose weight as a way to improve their T2D find that the initial drop in pounds is easy, but maintaining a sustained loss is difficult. If you do not keep your liver and pancreas happy, then slipping into your old habits can encourage the disease to come out of remission.

You must stay motivated after your weight loss to maintain your new weight.

There is also the issue of your weight set point. This issue occurs when it becomes challenging to lose additional weight because of a lower metabolism level.

Shrinking fat cells will make the insulin you produce become more effective. That means you can make less of it, which reduces the issue of your pancreas eventually wearing out.

Think about your eating habits. Make changes gradually to help them begin to stick. Some people might even consider speaking with their doctor about weight-loss surgery options. The bottom line is this: you must do something to encourage weight loss if you want a better chance of driving your type 2 diabetes into remission.

24 May 2019

Do All Sugars Contribute to T2D Development?

 

You will find fructose in several foods and beverages that we all consume every day. It’s even found in juice, sports drinks, and sodas. It is a simple sugar which occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, but it is also in the sweeteners used for beverages through the use of high-fructose corn syrups and similar products.

When you consume fructose when eating whole fruits, however, the fiber you receive helps to offset the negative impact that the sugars have on your glucose levels.

A review published in the November 2018 journal BMJ found that fructose which comes from a natural resource is less likely to increase your risks of type 2 diabetes (T2D) when compared to sugary beverages.

The Issue: Nutritional Value

Sugars become potentially harmful, especially when looking at the issue of T2D development, when they provide excessive calories in the diet.

Too many calories can lead to adverse metabolic effects and outcomes. This issue is what leads to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes for the individual.

That is why there is a difference between sugary beverages and fruit products. The drinks do not offer any nutritional value when consumed, yet could contribute 200 calories or more per serving.

These sugar-sweetened beverages will also increase insulin and glucose levels in the body.

Fruits offer a different impact. Even if they are consumed as excessive calories, they don’t impact insulin or glucose levels in the same way.

That means you don’t need to worry if you’re thinking about adding more fruit to your diet.

The Other Benefits of Eating Fruit

If you take fructose from fruits (or other natural sources), then you are not consuming it as a pure sugar. It is consumed as a soluble fiber. That slows the absorption of the sugars, and it could even help to reduce your LDL cholesterol numbers.

Fruits will improve the microbiota in your intestine when consumed regularly too. Those microorganisms aid in the digestive process, helping to stabilize your blood sugar numbers over time. 

Although fruit juice does come from a natural source, it does not always contain the same levels of fiber that the whole fruit offers. That means you should consume it in moderation to avoid excessive calories. 

What Are the Recommendations?

If you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, then your first and best option is to follow the nutritional guide offered by your doctor. Do not make any changes to this treatment plan unless you speak with your medical team first.

Then try to opt for whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juice when you feel hungry. Eat fruit when you feel a craving for something sweet, like cookies or candy, to prevent excessive consumption of empty calories.

Then don’t overconsume when you do have juice or sweets. A small treat can satisfy cravings without encouraging higher calorie consumption.

If you do not eat with moderation, then all foods (including fruit) can become part of the problem with T2D. Choosing whole fruits while eating with appropriate portion sizes can help to lower risks while supporting your good health. 

19 May 2019

How to Exercise for T2D Control

 

One of the best ways to support your heart health after a type 2 diabetes diagnosis is to exercise more often. The America Heart Association recommends that you get 40 minutes of at least moderate activity between 3-4 times per week.

The types of exercise you pursue to manage your type 2 diabetes, and overall heart health depends on your current fitness levels.

You will need more exercise if you’re closer to a healthy weight than if you are not.

Here are some of the best options to consider.

Aerobic Exercises to Promote Heart Health

The benefit of aerobic exercises as a way to control type 2 diabetes is that it uses large muscle groups for sustained periods. This effort causes your heart muscle to start working more, helping oxygen and blood to flow to your tissues. You’ll decrease LDL cholesterol will improving HDL numbers, which helps a lot too.

Try these options if you’re looking for some new ways to exercise.

  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Walking

Using an elliptical machine to simulate walking or running in a low-impact way is beneficial too.

Strength Training to Promote Heart Health

Weight training impacts your T2D symptoms directly. Strengthening your muscles makes your body more sensitive to insulin, which helps to lower your blood sugar numbers. You don’t need to have the goal of becoming a bodybuilder to benefit from these exercises. A little muscle resistance will work in numerous ways.

Try these options to add some strength training to your daily routine.

  • Calisthenics
  • Resistance Bands
  • Handheld Weights
  • Heavy Gardening

Flexibility Exercises to Promote Heart Health

As the body ages, it begins to lose its flexibility. Once you reach the age of 40, daily stretching can keep your joints limber while maintaining your full range of motion. This set of exercises can reduce the risks of an injury while you perform other activities. Any basic stretches that you learned in your younger years will help to promote better movement.

You can also look at these options to encourage higher levels of flexibility if your body feels stiff.

  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga

There are no recommendations currently offered about how long or how often you should stretch each day.

Try to give yourself at least five minutes of stretching before you start to exercise. Then take another five minutes after you finish to cool down your muscles. This structure will help to prevent soreness and stiffness the next day.

What to Know Before Getting Started

If you have a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, then any extra exercises you start will impact your treatment plan. Speak with your doctor before beginning a program to discuss what your body requires for a successful experience. 

You might receive specific exercise recommendations from your doctor during this conversation. That is an excellent place to get started.

When you get cleared for an activity program, then it is best to start slow. Incorporate simple activities you do already. If you walk, then use a pedometer to track how many steps you’re taking. Then try to increase that number each day.

Exercise is a critical component of T2D control. Incorporate these ideas into your daily routine to take back control of your life from this disease.

11 May 2019

How Often Do I Need to Test with T2D?

 

One of the best ways to manage your type 2 diabetes is to know your current blood sugar numbers. 

Some patients who receive this diagnosis receive instructions to test these levels frequently. New information published in the December issue of JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that this may not be necessary for each person diagnosed with T2D.

More is not always better when taking a look at your overall healthcare.

Testing is typically recommended for people who are on insulin or are prescribed a medication that impacts blood sugar levels. If your T2D is under control, then you may not need to test as often as you once did. 

14% of People Uses Two Test Strips Per Day Needlessly

The study found that individuals with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis were testing their blood sugar levels at least twice per day. The research discovered that 25% of patients were filling at least three prescriptions for 90+ strips, indicating regular use over time.

Although there is no physical harm associated with frequent testing, needless orders do create a financial burden on some patients. The average cost for testing materials per person in the U.S. is currently $325 per year. 

Most of the savings occur with home glucose testing. More than ten years of research indicates that this action is not of value for many people. About 80% of those diagnosed with T2D take metformin or medication that is not associated with blood sugar fluctuation. 

There is a downside to unnecessary testing to consider.

Doctors often request that patients perform frequent tests as a way to assess their glycemic control. This testing is costly, painful, and not needed. It may even impact the quality of life for some people in negative ways.

If you have T2D, then now is the time to start asking questions. Are the procedures you’re asked to follow necessary? Do you need to test daily (or more often)?

When Is Testing Still Necessary with Type 2 Diabetes?

Anyone with fluctuating blood sugar numbers should test their levels according to the instructions offered on their treatment plan. Do not change the frequency of these tests unless directed by your doctor.

Some people may require testing before meals and at bedtime if they use multiple injections to control their blood sugar levels. It may be possible to test twice each day in this situation, at breakfast and dinner, if your prescription is for a long-acting insulin product.

When you manage your T2D through diet, exercise, and non-insulin medication, then it is possible to avoid testing altogether.

You may have heard about the development of continuous glucose monitoring. This option is usually for people with type 1 diabetes, not T2D. 

The best way to treat diabetes mellitus is to stay within your target range before and after meals. Test according to the instructions offered by your doctor. If you meet the criteria for not testing because your T2D is under control, then it may be helpful to find a second opinion. 

04 May 2019

5 Potential Alternative Treatments for Diabetes

 

If you have recently received a diabetes diagnosis, then it is essential that you follow the treatment plan that you and your doctor created from your test results. Always take the medications prescribed unless otherwise instructed.

Make sure that you are exercising regularly and following your dietary plan, which likely includes more foods that are low on the glycemic index. You will want to get enough sleep and manage stress as well.

When the traditional treatment options for diabetes are not lowering A1C levels enough, you and your doctor may want to look at these surprising alternative treatments that have worked for others.

#1. Bitter Melon

This bitter gourd grows in South America, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. You can likely find it at a local Asian grocery store. Although it can be difficult to consume, you can steep this food item in water to create a “tea” of sorts. It offers a modest effect that lowers blood sugar levels, with its impact similar to taking less than 1,000mg of metformin per day. 

#2. Magnesium Supplements

Once you receive a diagnosis of diabetes from your doctor, your dietary plan will often include eating foods that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fat. You should also prioritize foods that contain high levels of magnesium. People who have type 2 diabetes tend to be deficient in this mineral. If you don’t have enough of it, then your excess glucose gets stored as fat, which contributes to weight gain.

#3. Cinnamon/Honey/Warm Milk

This combination of items can help to stabilize blood sugar levels for people who struggle with the Somogyi effect, which causes high numbers in the morning. Excess insulin accumulates in the bloodstream because of forgotten snacks or a long-acting product. It occurs more often with people who have type 1 diabetes, but this rare condition can impact anyone with this disease.

#4. Cinnamon

If the idea of mixing warm milk and cinnamon doesn’t thrill you, then consider consuming more of the spice on its own. Some research suggests that higher levels of cinnamon can regulate blood sugar numbers and people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It doesn’t give you any sugar or carbs calories, yet still gives you a certain sweetness that can satisfy cravings. Try adding it to oatmeal, cottage cheese, or even coffee to create the results that you and your doctor want to see.

#5. Chromium Picolinate

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, you might still want to consider taking a chromium supplement. Not only can it result in lower blood sugar numbers, but it also improves glucose tolerance, cholesterol management, and insulin production. People who have a chromium deficiency also tend to have elevated blood sugar numbers or struggle with insulin resistance. Try taking between 200 mg to 500 mg of chromium picolinate per day for the best results.

These alternative ideas should not serve as a substitute for items currently on your treatment plan. Always talk about your intentions to explore different solutions for your diabetes with your doctor before implementing them to avoid unnecessary complications.

02 May 2019

What Are the Risk Factors for T2D?

 

Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes (T2D) if they haven’t been diagnosed with T1D in the past. Although this disease is not your fault, there are specific risk factors that you can control which limit its potential development.

Over 30 million people in the United States has T2D right now, which is about 10% of the overall population. Another 7 million people don’t even realize they have it. Even children are being diagnosed with this version of diabetes mellitus at a faster pace.

Some people have a family history of this disease which increases their risks further. Thinking about it can be scary. If you can control your risk factors before T2D develops, then it is possible to prevent its appearance.

Outside of Insulin Resistance, What Are My Risk Factors?

No one quite knows what creates insulin resistance in the human body. What we do know is that T2D is a multi-factor disease. You must take multiple steps during prediabetes or before to prevent its development.

There are several risk factors outside of insulin resistance which contribute to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes development.

The first and most significant risk factor is your weight. People who are overweight or obese dramatically increases the chances that T2D will develop at some point.

Poor eating habits contribute to disease development as well. If your diet consists of refined foods, sugary beverages, and few whole fruits, vegetables, or grains, then you have a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes at any weight.

Too much sitting can increase your risks of obesity, which enhances the issue with T2D. Try to stand twice per hour when working at a sedentary job to encourage metabolism stability. Then make time to moderately exercise for 30 minutes about five times per week.

You can also increase your risks of diabetes by losing lean muscle mass through inactivity. 

Additional Risk Factors for T2D to Consider

Some risk factors for type 2 diabetes are unavoidable. Once you reach the age of 45, you are more likely to develop this disease when compared to younger population demographics. 

People who suffer sleep disturbances frequently are also at a higher risk of T2D development. If you wake up at night several times, then this impacts the balance of glucose and insulin in your body, which places more stress on your pancreas.

Some women who suffer from a hormone imbalance disorder called Polycystic ovarian syndrome face a more significant risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to women without this health issue.

There are several signs and symptoms during the early stage of this disease which can indicate prediabetes or T2D development. If you experience more fatigue than usual, have wounds that don’t heal, blurry vision, or sudden changes to your weight, then you should speak with your doctor if you notice any of these signs and have more than one T2D risk factor. 

Anyone above the age of 45 who is overweight should be screened for diabetes at least once every three years.