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On this page we will give you helpful information about diabetes and the Diabetic Diet.

Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer and stroke.

Diabetes affects the manner in which the body handles digested carbohydrates. If neglected, diabetes can cause serious health complications, ranging from heart disease to blindness, kidney failure to foot ulcers.

Approximately 8% of the population in the United States has diabetes. This means that approximately 20.8 million people have been diagnosed with Diabetes 1 and 2, and 41 million with pre-diabetes, based only on national statistics. About 800,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year. The American Diabetes Association estimates that diabetes accounts for 178,000 deaths, 54,000 amputees, and 12,000-24,000 cases of blindness annually. Blindness is 25 times more common among diabetic patients compared to nondiabetics. It is proposed that by the year 2010, diabetes will exceed both heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death through its many complications.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for diabetics

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes.

Three out of four diabetes-related deaths are caused by heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease. People with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease than persons without diabetes. Even people with type 2 diabetes who do not have heart disease have an increased risk of having a heart attack. People with diabetes also tend to have other risk factors for heart disease including obesity, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

Hopefully, if you're diagnosed with pre-diabetes or Type 2, you'll be sent to a nutritionist. He or she can tell you what to eat and what not to eat, and also when to eat it or not eat it. It can be confusing to try to figure out how to manage a diet, when a diabetic diet is not just about food. Timing is important, too. Meals should be eaten at close to the same time everyday. Meals should also be about the same size everyday, or as close as you can manage it. There are rules about fats and carbohydrates as well. Meals should be balanced so that the same healthy proportions of carbs and fats are eaten everyday. If you work closely with the nutritionist, he or she will work with you to plan your meals to your liking and to your lifestyle. And if it's something that fits, you'll more likely stay on it for the long haul.

What should I do to stay healthy with diabetes?

  1. Follow the healthy eating plan that you and your doctor or dietician have worked out. Eat your meals and snacks at around the same time every day.
  2. Be active, exercise 30 to 45 minutes every day. Ask your doctor what is best for you.
  3. Take your diabetes medication at the same time every day.
  4. Check your blood sugar every day. Each time you check your blood sugar, write down the number in your record book. Call your doctor if the numbers are too high for 2 to 3 days.
  5. Check your feet daily for cuts, blisters, sores, redness, sore toenails, or swelling.
  6. Brush and floss your teeth and gums everyday.
  7. Don't smoke.

Your daily blood sugar ranges should be 90-130 mg/dl for fasting and before meals, and less than 180 mg/dl two hours after the start of a meal. It's very important to test your blood sugar regularly.

Good blood pressure is also an important goal for people with diabetes. Your doc likes to see it under 130/80 mmHg. And last, but certainly not least, your cholesterol is something that doctors want to see fall into a normal range. LDL's (or "bad" cholesterol) should be under 100 mg/dl. HDL's (or "good" cholesterol) should be above 40 or 50 mg/dl and triglycerides should be under 150 mg/dl. When all these numbers are within the target range, you can feel pretty good about good diabetes control.

There are 4 types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes usually first develops in children, teenagers, or young adults. In this type of diabetes, the cells of the pancreas stop making insulin because the body has attacked or destroyed these cells. Once a patient has type 1 diabetes, it does not go away.

Gestational diabetes can occur during the late stages of pregnancy but usually goes away after the baby is born. Women who have had this type of diabetes are more likely to get type 2 diabetes later in life.

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but are not as high as in diabetes. This condition increases the risk of getting diabetes. Fortunately, you can reduce that risk with modest weight loss and physical activity.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and can develop at any age. In this type of diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin or the insulin that the body makes does not work the way that it should; the body may also keep making sugar even though it does not need it. Once a person has type 2 diabetes, it does not go away.

Finding out that you have diabetes can be upsetting—and type 2 diabetes is serious—but if you take an active role in managing the disease, you will be on the road to better health.

When you have type 2 diabetes, it is important to balance the level of sugar in your body. Your body helps to do this by releasing insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas. Insulin moves the sugar from your blood into your cells to use for energy. People with diabetes must work to control their blood sugar. Your body's main source of energy is glucose, a type of sugar.

Your body gets sugar from 2 major sources:

  1. The foods that you eat
  2. The sugar that your liver makes when you have not eaten

Type 2 diabetes is a disease of high blood sugar. A person with type 2 diabetes may not have enough insulin, or the insulin that the body makes may not work as well as it should. This causes the blood sugar level to become out of balance because it gets too high. Symptoms of high blood sugar include increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, and blurred vision. Uncontrolled high blood sugar, when present for a long time, can cause health problems, such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and poor circulation, which may lead to limb amputation.

Sometimes the liver makes more sugar than the body needs, which causes the blood sugar level to get even higher and out of balance.

In summary, diabetes is a disease of high blood sugar.
A person with diabetes may not have enough insulin, or the insulin that the body makes may not work as well as it should. The liver can keep making sugar even though the body does not need it. Uncontrolled high blood sugar can cause health problems when present for a long time.

Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure

Each year in the United States, more than 100,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure, a serious condition in which the kidneys fail to rid the body of wastes. Kidney failure is the final stage of kidney disease, also known as nephropathy.

Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure, accounting for nearly 45 percent of new cases. Even when diabetes is controlled, the disease can lead to nephropathy and kidney failure. Most people with diabetes do not develop nephropathy that is severe enough to cause kidney failure. About 20.8 million people in the United States have diabetes, and more than 150,000 people are living with kidney failure as a result of diabetes.
 

Effects of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major factor in the development of kidney problems in people with diabetes. Both a family history of hypertension and the presence of hypertension appear to increase chances of developing kidney disease. Hypertension also accelerates the progress of kidney disease when it already exists.

In the past, hypertension was defined as blood pressure exceeding 140 millimeters of mercury-systolic and 90 millimeters of mercury-diastolic. Professionals shorten the name of this limit to 140/90 or “140 over 90.” The terms systolic and diastolic refer to pressure in the arteries during contraction of the heart (systolic) and between heartbeats (diastolic).

The American Diabetes Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that people with diabetes keep their blood pressure below 130/80.

Hypertension can be seen not only as a cause of kidney disease, but also as a result of damage created by the disease. As kidney disease proceeds, physical changes in the kidneys lead to increased blood pressure. Therefore, a dangerous spiral, involving rising blood pressure and factors that raise blood pressure, occurs. Early detection and treatment of even mild hypertension are essential for people with diabetes.

The test everyone needs

Diabetes increases your risk of kidney disease.  With no obvious symptoms in the early stages, the disease can lead to kidney failure.  Then, a patient's only options are dialysis or a transplant.

Consider asking for this new test, which is far more likely than older tests to detect the disorder before it leads to kidney failure.

Accumin, a urine test, catches 98% of cases, diagnosing them an average of 4 years earlier than older tests (which also miss more than a third or cases).  The National Kidney Foundation advises adults to get tested for the disease yearly.

Eating Breakfast May Do a Heart Good

UK researchers found that when healthy, lean women skipped their morning meal, it raised their cholesterol levels and diminished their bodies' sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.

On top of that, the women tended to eat more calories on breakfast-free days -- suggesting that over the long haul, skipping breakfast could spur weight gain.

Dr. Hamid R. Farshchi and his colleagues at the University of Nottingham in the UK report the findings in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Some past studies have suggested that people who eat breakfast, particularly whole-grain cereals, have lower cholesterol and insulin levels, Farshchi told Reuters Health.

Along with past evidence, he said, the new findings suggest that making time for breakfast is likely to have long-term health benefits.

Whether one of those benefits is a smaller waistline is unclear. Some research, Farshchi noted, has found an association between eating breakfast -- again, whole-grain cereals in particular -- and lower body weight, but other studies have found no such relationship.

To study the short-term metabolic effects of having and forgoing breakfast, Farshchi's team had 10 young, normal-weight women spend two weeks on each of two diet plans. Under one plan, the women had bran flakes with low-fat milk for breakfast, then had two meals and two snacks throughout the rest of the day. Under the other, they skipped breakfast, but had the cereal around noon; as in the breakfast plan, they had two additional meals and two snacks during the rest of the day.

Under each plan, the women were allowed to indulge in a mid-morning cookie.

At the end of each two-week period, the researchers measured the women's metabolic responses to a test milkshake, using blood samples drawn before and after they had the drink.

After the breakfast-free period, the women's cholesterol levels -- including the "bad" cholesterol, LDL -- were generally higher, and they showed poorer insulin sensitivity after having the test drink.

Insulin is released after a meal in order to escort digested sugars into body cells to be used as energy. But the body can become resistant to the effects of insulin. Over time, this impaired insulin sensitivity can cause blood sugar levels to soar and possibly lead to Type 2 diabetes -- which, like high LDL cholesterol, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Besides the effects on cholesterol and insulin, skipping breakfast also seemed to make study participants eat more, as the women reported higher calorie intakes on breakfast-free days.

They showed no changes in body weight, but Farshchi said this is not surprising given the short study period. "Further long-term studies are needed to investigate the full impact of breakfast consumption on body weight," he noted.

What's interesting about this study, according to Farshchi, is that it points to the importance of eating first thing in the morning. "If the first thing somebody eats in the day is a mid-morning snack and has the cereal later in the day," Farshchi said, "he or she does not get these metabolic benefits."

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 200

New findings about cinnamon and diabetes.

When a study of 30 men and women with type 2 diabetes added a sprinkle of cinnamon to their food, blood sugar and heart-damaging blood fats (total cholesterol and triglycerides) fell 12 to 30% in just 40 days, say researchers at the USDA's Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland.  Cinnamon makes muscle and liver cells more sensititve to signals from insulin, an important blood-sugar-controlling hormone, says study author Richard Anderson, PhD.  Have a little (about 1/6 teaspoon) at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for a daily total of about 1/2 teaspoon, he recommends. Since cinnamon may reduce your need for diabetes or cholesterol medication, ask your doctor if you need to adjust your dosage.

Adding Chili Spice to Regular Diet Might Reduce Insulin Spikes After Meals

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Medical News

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
on Friday, July 14, 2006

July 14, 2006 -- Spicing up your diet with cayenne chili might lower insulin spikes after meals.

That news comes from researchers at Australia's University of Tasmania, including graduate student Kiran Ahuja and Madeleine Ball, MD, who heads the university's School of Life Sciences.

The researchers studied 36 healthy adults who were about 46 years old, on average; their average BMI was 26, which falls in the overweight (but not obese) BMI range.

For three weeks, participants ate their normal diet, without any spices. Then they headed to the researchers' lab after fasting overnight.

At the lab, participants provided blood samples and then ate a meal consisting of a burger, bread, and a sugar drink. They were told to finish the meal within 10 minutes; afterwards, they provided more blood for post-meal tests.

After one more week on their spice-free diet, the participants repeated the meal test. But this time, their burger was seasoned with a cayenne chili spice blend.

The researchers used the blood samples to measure participants' levels of insulin -- a hormone that controls blood sugar -- before and after the test meals. Average insulin levels spiked higher after the bland meal than after the chili-seasoned meal, the study shows.

Why Insulin Matters

Here's why insulin levels are important. Abnormally high insulin levels may be a sign of insulin resistance, in which the body falters in its ability to control blood sugar. Ultimately, that may lead to type 2 diabetes-- the most common type of diabetes -- and other health problems.

Participants repeated the four-week cycle, with one change: They added the cayenne chili spice blend to their usual daily diet.

Afterwards, they had a final test meal: bread, chili-seasoned burger, and sugar drink. Once again, they provided blood samples before and after that meal. And once again, their post-meal insulin increase was lower than it had been after three weeks of bland food.

The researchers aren't exactly sure how chili helped reduce post-meal insulin spikes. They note that capsaicin -- the fiery chemical in chili -- and chili's antioxidants might play a role. Ahuja's team calls for more studies on chili's effects on insulin spikes.

Click here for Benson's #117 Bravado
Chili Seasoning Click here for Simply Chili Recipe
Click here for Vegetarian Black Bean Chili Recipe

For more Information about Diabetes: Check our Links page/Health Related/Diabetes

Click here for the FDA's website about Diabetes
Click here for the FDA's information about adding Fiber to a healthy diet
Click here for the American Diabetic Association's website
Click here for statistics table for Diabetes by CDC
Click here for USDA's table of sugars in foods
Click here for Diabetes Education provided by Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo, CA

Disclaimer: This page is just to help you find information. Not to make any medical claims. As always, talk to your doctor.
Diabetic DietOn this page we will give you helpful information about Diabetes and the Diabetes Diet, also how this ties into a low sodium diet.
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