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Insulin Facts

Insulin is one of the most important treatments when it comes to battling diabetes. Insulin is primarily a hormone substance that allows our bodies to absorb glucose from the blood. Without insulin, the body will not be able to collect the glucose it needs from the blood, leading to a number of very serious medical conditions to develop within the body.

Injecting Insulin

There are a number of ways to introduce insulin into the body. While the syringe and needle system are the most common methods of doing so, you could also use the more modern methods of a prefilled pen or cartridge system insulin treatments. Insulin pumps are also available at most medical stores.

Where you introduce the insulin into your body will determine how soon your body is able to use it. For instance, injecting the insulin into the abdominal region will allow your body to absorb the insulin faster than anywhere else on the body. The arms, thighs, and buttocks are the next best options if you want fast action of the insulin. It is essential to inject the insulin shots in the same place, once the dosage has started, as this helps prevent the breakdown and scarring of fat tissue beneath the skin.

Side effects of Insulin

As with most medical treatments, there is always the chance of side effects and some of the more common problems with insulin include low blood sugar, rashes developing at the site of the injection, or even an enlargement of the area where too many insulin injections have been administered.

Dosage

The dosage will depend largely on the kind of diabetes you suffer from, as well as the severity of the same. It is essential that you consult your physician regarding the dosages for you.

Reverse Vaccine to Help Combat Diabetes

Stanford University researchers have developed a ‘reverse’ vaccine that promises to combat Type 1 diabetes. Taking these vaccines will get rid of the need to inject daily insulin shots, as the vaccine action promotes production of insulin in the pancreas. This vaccine shows potential in developing radical new treatments for Type 1 diabetes.

How does the reverse vaccine work?

The reverse vaccine works by turning off those malfunctioning parts of the immune system, the CD8 cells, which prevent the production of the hormone, insulin. Insulin is needed by the body to convert sugar into energy. The vaccine was created by modifying a specific piece of DNA that contained the INS gene, which helps to increase the level of proinsulin protein, manufactured in the beta cells of the pancreas.

In diabetes, CD8 immune cells misbehave and attack beta cells that contain proinsulin. Injecting the vaccine leads to an increase in proinsulin, and this in turn causes other immune cells to shut down the rogue CD8 cells through an anti-inflammatory response.

The future of diabetic therapy

As Stanford researchers note, while the vaccine doesn’t cure the patient of diabetes, it does reduce the injections they need to take. Diabetic patients will need to take a series of vaccine shots, followed by booster shots periodically. While the frequency of these shots is not as less as shots for diseases like Tetanus, it will be much lesser than the current situation of taking multiple insulin shots in one day.

Researchers have applied for a patent on this vaccine and have formed a company named Tolerian Inc. to develop this vaccine for wider use.

How to use a Blood Pressure Monitor

People with diabetes run the risk of contracting heart disease due to the diabetic condition causing arterial narrowing. High blood pressure is indicative of this. High blood pressure also increases the chances of developing eye and kidney dysfunctions in diabetics. Hence, blood pressure must be monitored and kept under control in those with diabetes.

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Blood Pressure Monitors

A blood pressure monitor, also called a sphygmomanometer, is a device comprised of a cuff, which is an inflatable tube to be worn around the arm, a valve or pump for inflating the tube to restrict the flow of blood, and a measuring device to note the blood pressure. The measuring device may be mechanical, mercury based, or digital.

How to use a Blood Pressure Monitor

An accurate blood pressure reading depends on several factors. Ensure that you do not eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes before taking the blood pressure test. Also, ensure that you do not need to pass urine or bowel before taking the test.

Relax for a few minutes while sitting on a chair, resting your hands and feet. Next wrap the cuff of the blood pressure monitor around your upper arm and make sure your arm is vertically level with your heart. Tighten it enough to allow a finger’s gap between the cuff and your arm, making sure not to over-tighten it.

On a manual pressure monitor, inflate the cuff with the pump until the measuring device shows a reading of at least 30 units above normal systolic blood pressure. On an automatic pressure monitor, the start or stop button will begin the test.

Wait for the cuff to completely deflate before removing the cuff, and note the reading on the measuring device. Take an average of two or three tests and make sure to take subsequent tests on the same arm, at the same time of day, and with the same bodily conditions in order to reduce errors in measurement.

Diabetes: Caring for Your Wounds

Diabetic patients should be alert when it comes to wounds as they heal quite slowly due to poor blood circulation. Diabetic neuropathy reduces the sensation especially in hands and feet, and you tend to notice injuries much later. Even minor wounds can lead to complications leading to amputation, which is why prevention of complications is essential.

Check your feet every day

You can prevent any complications of wounds that may occur by preventing the wound altogether. You may not be aware of your foot problems like cuts, swelling, sores, infected toenails, because of neuropathy. Hence it is very important to check your feet regularly and look for any sores or wounds that may have developed.

Wash your feet with warm water and mild soap, but don’t soak your feet in water as doing this dries them up. Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly after a wash. This is because moisture in the feet, especially between toes causes skin to break and can lead to infection. Even lotion between the toes can cause infection.

Keeping your feet from cracking

You can prevent your feet from cracking by keeping them moist and soft. This can be achieved by daily application of foot cream. Any moisturizer is sufficient. There is no need for a special cream. After washing feet, pat them with a towel to dry them instead of energetically rubbing them.

Always wear footwear and never remain barefoot. This minimizes the chance of little objects or stones getting stuck and causing cracks leading to infection. Keep your feet warm always. Never let your feet get wet in rain or snow. When trimming nails, don’t cut corners, and cut straight across.

How You Can Control Diabetes by Eating Healthy

Diabetics can benefit from a healthy diet more than medication. A correct diet that is high in fiber-rich foods, healthy fats, and proteins goes a long way in controlling diabetes. This does not mean eliminating the foods you love completely, just reducing and planning their intake so that both your craving and your dietary necessities are satisfied.

Choosing fats wisely

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Fatty food is generally associated with obesity and heart disease. This is partly true. There are healthy fats, found in vegetable oils such as olive oil, certain nuts such as walnuts and groundnuts, and fish such as tuna and salmon, and there are unhealthy fats found in meat, certain dairy products, and hydrogenated cooking oils. The latter is the one that tends to restrict arteries, and cause heart disease while the former facilitates good health of the heart and the nervous system.

Since diabetics are more prone to heart disease than non-diabetics are, they need to strictly avoid foods containing unsaturated fat and trans-fat, which are unhealthy. Food can be cooked in olive oil instead of refined vegetable oils. Red meat can be substituted with fish. Fried foods can be substituted with baked, grilled, or stir-fried foods. Fried snacks can be replaced with nuts such as groundnuts, cashew nuts, and almonds.

Maintaining a food diary

Weight loss decreases the severity of diabetes by a good margin. This is especially true for overweight people. A food diary helps keep track of food and calorie intake, thus allowing faster weight loss.

Eating regularly in adequate proportions helps keep blood sugar levels even, and weight controlled. Breakfast should not be missed. This helps avoid hypoglycemia, keeps energy levels steady, and prevents overeating at lunch, which can cause a spike in blood glucose levels. Eating small portions of food at shorter intervals rather than having heavy meals three times a day can also help keep blood sugar levels in check. Regardless of what foods you consume, consult calorie charts and make it a point to regulate calories to a set amount, for each day.

Taking the Insulin Injection the Correct Way

Diabetes mellitus is a condition where the body cannot manufacture adequate amounts of insulin needed to metabolize glucose (blood sugar), or the body does not recognize the insulin produced, leading to an excess of glucose in the body in either case. If the condition is not under control, a diabetic may need to introduce insulin artificially into the body by injecting a set dose periodically.

The procedure to be followed to inject insulin

Wash your hands thoroughly and clean the part of your body, where you want to make the injection, with alcohol. Take the bottle or syringe of the correct type of insulin out of refrigeration, and roll it gently between your palms for a short while and do not shake. This helps mix the insulin evenly. Take the precise amount of insulin and tap out air bubbles, if any, from the syringe.

Insulin is known to be best absorbed at the abdomen. Relax your abdominal muscles, gently pinch the area where you want to make the injection between your fingers and pierce the skin all the way to the hub of the syringe needle at a 45 or 90-degree angle, so that the insulin is injected into the fatty tissue of the skin, and not the muscle. Do not inject into the same spot each time. Rotate between different spots on the abdomen, preferably at least farther than an inch from each other.

Once injected, remove the needle in the same angle as of entry. If the site of injection is bleeding, use a cotton swab and apply pressure. It is best to dispose syringes after a single use, as the syringe loses sterility after use and carries a chance of infection with subsequent uses. Keep the insulin bottle back in the fridge as it must be stored refrigerated.

Wound Healing Process in Diabetes Patients

Diabetes is a very serious condition that affects a patient’s life in more ways than one can imagine. Reports show that as many as 18 million individuals suffer from the condition in the United States of America alone. One of the most well known issues is the effect it has on the healing capabilities of the body.

Causes and Reasons

Diabetes is a cause for concern with regards to wound healing because of the fact that it prevents the body from being able to manage its sugar intake effectively. Studies have shown that the primary reason is the increase in oxygen levels within the body, a condition known as hyperoxia. These increased oxygen levels will then trigger an increased activation of the bone marrow enzyme eNOS, causing oxide production. Some of the main reasons that wounds in diabetic patients will take longer to heal include, weaker immune systems, narrow arteries, and nerve damage. Make it a point to consult your physician as to the best plan of action when suffering from diabetes.

What you can do to improve healing

There are a few steps that you could take to help speed up wounds even if you are suffering from diabetes. It is important to give even the smallest wounds immediate care. Avoid waiting as this could easily lead to the development of an infection. Cleaning the wound with some kinds of medicinal spirits will help prevent infections, while covering the wound with a sterile bandage will help the wound heal faster. Avoid placing any stress on the wound during the healing process, as doing so would significantly slow it down. Improve your overall cardiovascular health in order to optimize circulation throughout your body.

Bioadhesives to Help Make Insulin Pills

It is now possible to swallow insulin pills rather than inject insulin with same efficacy. Insulin is a protein based drug that must go from the stomach to the small intestine, be absorbed and then transported through the blood stream. Researchers have found that bioadhesive makes it possible to better absorb nano-particles, so insulin pills can be easily assimilated in the blood stream.

The problem with insulin pills

The problem with insulin pills in the absence of this technology is that they cannot be easily absorbed in the small intestine and therefore cannot travel to the bloodstream. The basic problem that the scientists faced was – how to enhance the intestinal uptake of insulin? The other problem was the acidic environment of the stomach which interferes with the dissolution of insulin in the small intestine. Insulin being a protein based drug. When it is taken orally rather than through injection reaches the stomach safely and from there goes to the small intestine where it is absorbed. Finally, the insulin must find the way to the blood stream.

What difference do bioadhesives make?

With the intervention of bioadhesives, it is now possible to circumvent the problem faced earlier. Bioadhesive coating has been found to significantly enhance insulin uptake. In other words, the experiment in rodents has shown that bioadhesives makes micro and nano particle absorption in small intestine easy.

More specifically nano-particles with the help of bioadhesives can stick to the mucosal lining of the intestine so that they are sucked in by the epithelial cells and finally get into the blood stream. The nano-particles carry the protein based medicine. The new finding promises to have a great application potential which will make insulin pills safe and effective for consumption.

Wireless Device to Improve Blood Pressure Tracking in Diabetics

Diabetes is a deadly condition if left untreated. Diabetes management requires focus on right diet, adequate physical activity and proper medication. The management of diabetes may require frequent monitoring and strong will power. However, diabetes can get out of control if there is a problem of blood pressure in addition.

Research background

Diabetics need to monitor and track their blood pressure at a greater frequency. A recent study published in “Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology” claims that mobile technologies using wireless, as against devices that use modem are better because they are more effective in recording and reading blood pressure at greater frequency.

The study was done by the Center for Connected Health which is a part of Partners Healthcare. The study was subjected upon 30 patients in the median age of 61.7 while the grant for the study was made by the Verizon Foundation. The wireless devices enabled with blue tooth recorded a higher and more frequent number of readings.

Findings

The clear and definite finding in this study was that wireless enabled blood pressure monitoring devices are better and efficient for monitoring and recording blood pressure because their recordings are more in number as well as more frequent.

Patients who used wireless devises had three measurements recorded in five days, while it was only one measurement every five days in case of patients who used modem based devices. Additionally, patients using wireless devices on average uploaded their data twice every five days but those using the modem devices did so only once every 100 days.

Diet Tips for People Living with Diabetes

Diet is considered a large factor in reducing the symptoms of diabetes and controlling the disease. A diabetic diet does not mean avoiding all sources of sugar and following complex diet charts limited to special foods. It advocates a relatively normal diet with controlled intake of fat and calories, the aim being to limit blood sugar and to control body weight.

Choosing high-fiber content foods

The diet is not just intended to limit calorie intake. It is advised to consume food that does not increase blood sugar levels too quickly, but rather does so at a steady pace over time. These foods, called slow-release foods, contain high fiber content and are slow to metabolize.

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Choose the least processed cereals and grain-based foods such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, and steel cut oats, while limiting processed grain foods and derivatives such as white rice, white bread, and white pasta. Fresh fruits and vegetables generally do not increase blood sugar levels, though potatoes, fruit juices, dry fruits, and canned fruits are an exception. Include plenty of protein-rich foods such as nuts and pulses, fish, and lean meat.

Including sweets smartly

A diabetic diet can accommodate a sweet tooth. To start, moderation is the key. If you do not want to eliminate sweets from your diet, you can instead cut back on carbohydrate rich foods such as rice and bread. Eating sweets along with your meal decreases the tendency of a spike in blood sugar levels, as compared to eating sweets by themselves. Sweets taken in along with foods that have some fat content such as avocados, walnuts, yoghurt, and peanut butter makes the process of digestion slower, thus allowing a more controlled increase in the levels of blood sugar in the body. That said, foods containing trans-fat are to be avoided. Also to be avoided are sweetened drinks.

Meal Plans for Diabetics

Suffering from diabetes is something that will affect your entire lifestyle. From the kinds of foods you eat, to your daily habits and schedules, almost everything will need to be managed differently to help your body cope with the condition.

Why it is important

Any diabetes meal plan is primarily focused on ensuring that your daily intake is rich in nutrients and low in calories and fat. The right diabetes diet plan will also ensure that your blood sugar levels are well within permissible limits, while your insulin and oral medications will play their role as well. The fact that diabetes increases a patient’s risk of heart disease and suffering from a stroke means that following a well laid out meal plan will go a long way into ensuring that the individual stays healthy for a long period of time. Cholesterol, trans fats, and sodium should be avoided at all costs as they could be very detrimental for the patient’s condition.

What a healthy diet comprises

There are a number of aspects to keep in mind when following a diet plan for diabetes. Healthy carbohydrates form an important part of the entire meal plan, as they are broken down into blood glucose during digestion. Fiber rich foods such as nuts, fruits, and legumes are also an essential part of the meal plan as they help decrease the risk of heart disease. They also help in the control of blood sugar levels. Omega-3 fatty acids will go a long way in helping promote your heart health by lowering the triglyceride count within your body. Good fats stored in avocados are known to help lower cholesterol levels, but should be eaten sparingly, because they are high in fat content level.

Dressings for Diabetic Wounds

The purpose of a wound dressing is primarily to protect the wound from infection and further harm, while stopping or containing bleeding or exudation, and to aid the healing process. There are a variety of dressings that serve different purposes that can be used on diabetic wounds.

Hydrogel

Hydrogel dressings allow partial aeration of the wound, contain exudation, and moisturize the wound. They contain exudates, which help the body break down necrotic tissue. Hydrogels can be used on infected wounds as studies have shown they do not aid bacterial growth.

In case of diabetic dressings, hydrogels are most effective when a necrotic wound has been debrided using surgical instruments (sharp debridement). However they must be used with discretion for diabetics with reduced blood flow to the limbs. This is because the moisturizing properties of the hydrogels are likely to macerate the surrounding tissue and a dry gangrenous condition in a patient might quickly progress to wet gangrene, which is much worse.

Hydrocolloids

Hydrocolloids are similar to hydrogels in all properties except moisturization of wounds. While they do not add their own moisture to the wound, they do trap exudates within the wound, leasing to a moist condition, similar to using hydrogels. While this can help the body in the destroying necrotic tissue, it can also, when used on highly exuding wounds, lead to the softening of the skin and tissue around the wound.

Most medical authorities opine that the use of hydrocolloids on infected wounds is not advisable as it can increase the infection and the probability of developing an infection in a wound. Dressings using hydrocolloids can be kept on the wounds for much longer than regular dressings, for up to a week. So, wounds requiring regular examination do not benefit from hydrocolloid use.

Diabetes Recipe: Eggplant and Toasted Spices

‘Eggplant and toasted spices’ is a vegetarian recipe which is low in cholesterol, fat, carbohydrates, and calories. It is high in fiber and also good for the heart. Its main ingredient is smoked eggplant, and Indian spices like mustard, cumin, etc. cooked in olive oil, along with tomatoes that make the sauce.

Ingredients required

The ingredients below serve 4 people. Preparation time for this recipe is about 10 minutes, while cooking time is 20 minutes.

Eggplant, large in size – 1
Yellow onion, chopped finely – ½
Cherry tomatoes, halved – 2 cups
Or
Tomato sauce – 1 cup
Garlic clove, minced – 1
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Ground cumin – ½ teaspoon
Ground coriander – ½ teaspoon
Curry powder – ½ teaspoon
Ground ginger – 1 pinch
Ground nutmeg – 1 pinch
Ground cloves – 1 pinch
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Light molasses – 1 tablespoon
Red wine vinegar – 1 teaspoon
Salt – ¼ teaspoon
Black pepper, freshly ground – ¼ teaspoon
Fresh cilantro, chopped – 1 tablespoon

Preparation

Cut ¼th inch thick long slices of eggplant and place them on a charcoal grill or broiler for 5 minutes on each side, till they become brown and tender. Take them off the pan while keeping them warm.
Mix mustard seeds, cumin, curry powder, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, cloves in a bowl. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan and add the spice mixture, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add onions and sauté for 4 minutes, followed by tomatoes, garlic, molasses and vinegar. Cook this sauce for 4 minutes, till it thickens. Add salt and pepper as required.
Pour the sauce over the eggplant and garnish with cilantro.

Caring For Diabetic Wounds and Sores

Diabetes involves several complications that compromise the ability of the body to heal wounds. This means wounds have a greater chance of being infected and turning worse in diabetics, with a probability of amputation of the body part if care is not taken in due time. So, it is important for diabetics to be aware of even the smallest wound on their bodies and treat them immediately.

Diabetes and wound prevention

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Diabetics need to be extra cautious about avoiding wounds, even minor cuts and scrapes such as pinpricks or nicks while shaving. Diabetes can cause a nervous condition where the affected person has reduced sensation across the body, which can make wounds and cuts go unnoticed sometimes. It can also weaken the immune system of the body, reducing the body’s ability to fight infections. Another possible consequence of diabetes is the narrowing of arteries, which can cause a decrease in the rate of flow of blood. This means the transportation of nutrients, oxygen, and antibodies to the wound is lower than normal, thus slowing wound healing, and also increasing the chances of infection of the wound.

Preventing foot sores

The parts of the body that receive the most use and wear are the feet. Care has to be taken to prevent even minor foot injuries in diabetics. Check the feet daily for cuts or bruises, prevent foot cracks by the use of petroleum jelly or similar products, and use specialized footwear and socks that do not restrict blood flow.

In case a wound has occurred, it needs to be cleaned, disinfected, medicated, and bandaged immediately. Check the wound daily for infection and replace the bandaging. Do not perform any activity that may cause the wound to rupture, which slows the healing process even more. Consult your physician on even the smallest signs of skin irritation, to avoid the possibility of a diabetic ulcer.

Treatment for Diabetic Ulcers

Diabetic ulcers are a common skin condition encountered by diabetics. It occurs due to a combination of reduced skin sensitivity and less blood circulation. Diabetics often have a condition where their skin becomes less sensitive than normal individuals. Because of this cracks and wounds on their feet might go unnoticed, which if left that way for a while leads to bacterial infection in the region. Diabetics also suffer from reduced blood circulation to certain parts of their body due to which the body cannot quickly combat the infection, leading to an ulceration of the affected region.

Diagnosing diabetic ulcers

The signs of a diabetic ulcer are redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected region which is usually a wound or a deep crack in the skin. Effects of the ulcer manifest themselves as red streaks near the wound or sore, gradual numbing of the affected region, and sometimes fever. These ulcers are likely to occur on the legs, specifically at the big toe, the ball of the foot, and the sides of the feet, where the skin is more prone to cracking.

Natural remedies for diabetic ulcers

Since the ulcers heal slowly, the affected region has to be cleaned often all through the healing process. In order to promote faster healing, the affected region must be kept dry and the circulation to the area must not be restricted by tight clothing or footwear. Anti-septic creams and balms are recommended to prevent further bacterial growth, which may prolong the healing of the ulcer.