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Foot Complications And How To Avoid Them

November is American Diabetes Awareness month, a time set aside to bring greater awareness to the epidemic of diabetes and to advocate for those who suffer from this difficult condition. One of the most common complications associated with diabetes is nerve damage or neuropathy. This can occur in any part of your body, but the nerves in your lower extremities are more usually affected. Therefore, you need to pay special attention to your feet.

Nerve damage can lead to foot complications such as

  • pain,
  • burning, tingling and numbness in the feet
  • loss of feeling in the feet
  • sores and infections that don’t heal

Let’s examine the first one. Not feeling pain may sound like a good thing, but in fact, it can prevent you from knowing if something is wrong. For example, you can step on a nail and not be aware of it.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) reduces blood flow to the feet leading to neuropathy, burning, tingling and numbness as well as loss of feeling in the feet.

With poor blood flow to the legs and feet, you can develop sores and infections which can lead to you having a toe or foot amputated. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), every 3 minutes someone in the United States has a limb amputated. This is very concerning, but even more so, the ADA states that this rate of amputation is 75% more frequent than it was less than a decade ago.

What you can do

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives the following tips for taking care of your feet:

Check your feet everyday for any blisters or calluses. If you can’t see under your feet, have a family member do it or use a mirror. (See below).

  • Wash your feet everyday in warm water but do not soak them.
  • Dry your feet completely and apply lotion to the top and bottom but not between your toes, as this could lead to infection.
  • Never go barefoot. Wear well-fitting shoes and check shoes and socks to make sure there are no small, sharp objects like pebbles in them.
  • Trim your toenails straight across and use an emery board to smooth any sharp edges. Better still, have your podiatrist cut your nails. Have him check your feet for feeling and blood flow.
  • Put your feet up when you are sitting and wiggle your toes to keep the blood flowing.
  • Do feet-friendly activities like walking, riding a bike, or swimming. Ask your doctor for more recommendations.
  • If you smoke, STOP!

The video below shows you how you can care for your feet.

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Mid-week Study: Can Debt Give You Diabetes?

It’s no secret that being in debt can cause you to worry and worry leads to stress, which can lead to illness. But now a study undertaken by the Urban Institute found a significant increase in the number of Americans over age 55 who are in debt.

Image by granderboy from Pixabay

Becoming ill because of debt

Even more troubling, the study found that those who are burdened by debt are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Also, these same people were found to have difficulty in handling everyday activities. Having unsecured debt such as credit card debt, student loans and medical bills can be more detrimental than home loans.

Unable to afford insulin

You might say, well, I try my best to avoid credit card debt, but in some cases, it may be unavoidable. A survey commissioned by CharityRx showed that 4 in 5 adults who have diabetes or care for someone with the disease have credit card debt averaging $9,000 for insulin alone. Seventy-nine percent of the people surveyed said they struggle financially because of insulin cost and 62% said they either skip or adjust their insulin doses to stretch the supply and save money.

Why is insulin so expensive in the US?

Recently, the president of the US Joe Biden came on national television to talk about the high cost of insulin, a drug that is critical to managing diabetes in millions of people. Since he spoke, I don’t know if anything has been done, so I decided to research why insulin is so expensive in the US, supposedly the richest country in the world.

What is insulin made of

In an article posted by NPR, a doctor discovered that the older version of insulin that had gone through a lot of changes and that was successfully treating a lot of diabetics, suddenly disappeared around the 1970s. The newer version contains the human gene for insulin, whereas the older version was made from insulin taken from the pancreas of cattle.

So, the older version disappeared and the newer version now costs the consumer around $400 a month. However, you can still get the older version for $35 in Canada. If you are among the millions who depend on insulin you may be wondering if the drug will ever be sold at a price that is affordable. According to NPR, some experts believe that as the older insulin patents expire and the FDA allows similar versions onto the market, costs will decrease.

Whether this happens or not, you owe it to yourself to pay attention to your diet, your physical activity, and your stress level. And as always, before following any advice in this blog, please do your own research and consult your physician.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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7 Great Holiday Gift Ideas For Diabetics

Hope you like my new header. It was meant to put in a holiday mood, if you are not there yet and to lead you into this topic. The weekend is here and some of you may be heading out to take advantage of some of the great deals for those special people in your life. If diabetics are among those on your shopping list, you may be scratching your head wondering what to get them. Well, here are some meaningful ideas to choose from:

Snack Gift Basket – To keep your diabetic from going hungry, give him/her a snack basket of healthy treats. This healthy gift box shown below contains a colorful assortment of dried fruit such as pineapple, apple rings, kiwi, and more. It also has heart-healthy pistachios, and almonds.

Air fryer – In order to minimize the risk of high cholesterol which can lead to heart disease, diabetics need to follow a low-fat diet. To help her in this regard, why not give her an air fryer? She can grill, bake and roast food and it will come out crunchy, nicely browned and flavorful.

Diabetes Supply Carrying Bag – A person who is on insulin or other diabetic meds should always be prepared. To ensure that she has everything at her fingertips, give her this attractive Insulin Cooler Diabetic Medicine Travel Bag this Christmas. Great for short trips and outings, this bag will keep her Epi pen, meds, eye drops and all her other important supplies safe and sanitary.

Medical bracelet – The American Diabetes Association recommends that all people suffering from diabetes should wear a medical alert bracelet. In the event of an emergency, it will alert those nearby that you need urgent medical attention because of your condition. The elegant bracelet shown below is made of Titanium steel, waterproof, is rust resistant and comes with free engraving.

Foot inspection mirror – I cannot stress the importance of this foot inspection mirror enough. Christmas or not, I think every diabetic should have one. Because diabetics may lose sensation in their feet, they need to inspect their feet daily to ensure there are no sores or wounds that need attention. This mirror has a long, collapsible handle, swivel neck and it’s illuminated. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Tea themed gift – Is your diabetic friend or relative a tea lover? Give her a gift box of her favorite teas like the one below.

Exercise dumbells – Last but not least, help your diabetic achieve her goal to exercise more in the coming year. Give her a pair of dumbells like the ones below (in her favorite color) . Weight training is one of the best exercises to help boost insulin sensitivity in diabetics. The ones shown below are 5lb. but you can choose a weight that is more suitable for her fitness level.

DISCLAIMER: As always, the information given in this and other articles are not meant to be medical advice and should not be taken as such. Please check with your physician before acting on any information given here. The links here are all affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and make a purchase, I would receive a commission. Thank you and happy shopping!

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monday motivation – do you want to be well?

Image by RD LH from Pixabay

Jesus asked this question of a disabled man who had been sitting poolside for thirty-eight years, “Do you want to be well?” It was believed that an angel came during a certain season and troubled the water and whoever got into the pool first after the angel had stirred it up would be cured. Jesus’ question was not a sarcastic one.

Rhetorical, but not sarcastic. Just as He is saying to you right now, “Do you want to be well? Do you want to be free of diabetes, high blood pressure, low energy, depression? Do you want to look and feel your best? Then follow Jesus’ advice to the disabled man: “Take up your bed and walk!” You have been sitting by the pool for too long waiting for someone to put you into the water. But no one will do it. Everyone is too busy looking after himself.

Today is the day. Take up your bed and walk! Get into that pool! Do what you should have done a long time ago. Your life depends on it.

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Taking Care of Your Kidneys cont’d

In my last post, I told you how your kidneys function, what are the risk factors for kidney disease and the common signs of kidney disease. In this article, I want to talk about how you can keep these vital organs healthy. First, you should get tested and when you do, you should know your numbers.

Here are some tests your doctor may do:

1. Blood pressure – high blood pressure can damage small blood vessels. According to the National Kidney Foundation, high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure after diabetes. So what should your numbers be? The National Kidney Foundation says 120/80 is best, 130/80 is okay and 140/90 may be good for some people. Aim for the lowest one.

2. Protein in urine (albuminuria) – this is an early sign of chronic kidney disease (CKD). By the way, excessive bubbles in the urine may indicate the presence of protein. A good number is less than 30 mg of albumin per gram of urinary creatinine.

3. Creatinine in blood – Creatinine is the waste product of muscle activity. Healthy kidneys will filter this out; if kidney function is reduced, your level will rise. A good score is 0.6 to 1.2 deciliter of blood.

4. Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) This is the test doctors use to gauge kidney function. This test is based on your age, race and gender. You want a score of over 90.

Protect your kidneys by:

1. Keeping your blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control. Blood sugar should be under 100.
2. Limiting salt intake
3. Avoiding NSAIDs, a type of painkillers, and never exceeding the recommended dosage.
4. Using protein in moderation. Eat a balanced diet.
5. Exercising regularly. This will not only keep your kidneys healthy, but it will keep your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels down.
6. Quitting smoking.
7. Drinking alcohol only in moderation.
8. Staying hydrated. Substitute water for sodas and sugary drinks.

As I stated before, many people may already have kidney disease before they experience symptoms, therefore to be safe, see your doctor and ask him to perform these health tests if he hasn’t done so already. Be proactive. Follow the recommendations to protect your kidneys and familiarize yourself with the important numbers given above.

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Until next time,

Stay healthy.

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Taking Care of Your Kidneys

March is National Kidney Month. What I like about these special observations is that they make us aware of certain disorders that we should address or get tested for to ensure we remain healthy. There are other disorders that are observed this month, but since the month is almost over, I’ll just focus on the kidney.

What are your kidneys and what do they do

Located on either side of the spine at the lowest level of the rib cage, the kidneys are about the size of a fist and have the important function of filtering waste from the body. The kidneys filter and return about 200 quarts of fluid to the bloodstream every 24 hours. About 2 quarts are removed from the body in the form of urine. In addition to filtering and removing waste from the body, the kidneys also:

a. balance the body’s fluids
b. produce hormones that regulate blood pressure
c. produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
d. control the production of red blood cells

What can cause kidney disease

Diabetes, high blood pressure, genetics or being over the age of 60 can contribute to kidney disease.

Diabetes – a disease in which a person’s body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use it properly. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease.
High blood pressure – this occurs when the force of the blood against the artery walls increases. This may lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Genetics – Polycystic kidney disease is the most common inherited kidney disease.
Kidney stones, urinary tract infections, using large amounts of over-the-counter pain meds, street drugs such as heroin and crack can damage your kidneys.

Warning signs of kidney disease:

Tiredness/decreased energy
High blood pressure
Blood in the urine
Frequent urination, especially at night; difficult or painful urination
Puffiness around eyes; swelling of hands and feet
A creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) blood test, outside the normal range. When your kidney function is reduced, BUN and creatinine are wastes that build up in the blood.
A glomerular filtration rate (GFR) less than 60.

When it comes to kidney disease, there is bad news and good news. The bad news is that most people will not know they have kidney disease until the disease has already progressed. The good news is that it can be treated successfully. In my next post, I will tell you how you can avoid getting this disease and, if you already have it, how it can be treated.
Until next time,
Stay well.

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