Diabetes

Here’s What Happens When You Have a Diabetic Foot Assessment

diabetic foot assessment

Did you know that if you suffer from diabetes, it’s important to have your feet regularly assessed by a foot specialist, like a podiatrist?

When someone has diabetes, it means that there is an increased amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose is essential for providing us with energy, however, when there is too much of it, or the body is unable to produce the right amount of insulin to convert the glucose into energy, so you end up with higher amounts of glucose in the bloodstream.

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Diabetes

What You Need to Know About Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus
It is estimated that around 10% of the population of the United States of America suffer from diabetes mellitus, generally just referred to as diabetes, but it should not be confused with diabetes insipidus. Diabetes can be a life-threatening or very debilitating condition but it is also completely manageable such that people living with diabetes can have long and healthy lives. The important thing with diabetes is picking it up quickly by watching out for the symptoms and reducing risk factors for developing it. It is also important for those who have diabetes to manage it correctly so that it doesn’t negatively affect their life. There are a number of different choices for the management of diabetes which definitively include pharmaceutical intervention but also a number of natural health choices like modifying one’s diet. Authority Reports has more about this topic of healthy eating and getting enough nutrients and the right nutrients to improve your health.

What Exactly Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that is characterized by being unable to absorb glucose from the blood to supply the body’s energy needs. There are generally two ways this can occur. The first is that there is a destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas which are responsible for making the hormone insulin. Insulin basically acts like a key that unlocks the gates in the body’s cells to let the glucose in. If the body doesn’t produce insulin then the glucose stays at very high levels in the blood that can actually cause harm. At the same time, the body uses other methods of producing energy which results in the formation of some toxic by-products.

The other way this can happen is that the “gates” on the cells no longer respond to insulin and the same thing happens.

What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Diabetes?

Diabetes is what medical professionals and scientists refer to as a multifactorial condition. This means that there are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes. Scientists have known for a very long time that there is a genetic link to diabetes which means if you have a family history then your risk is increased. If you have a history of pancreatic disease, then there is also a greater chance of developing diabetes. These factors are related to type 1 diabetes which is due to the destruction of the pancreas.

The more common risk factors, which are associated with type 2 diabetes, which is more insulin resistance, include:

  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle (very little exercise)
  • Being older than 45

There is also a temporary form of diabetes related to being pregnant known as gestational diabetes.

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

Diabetes is diagnosed by checking blood glucose levels over a period of time. There is a fancy way that doctors do this now which is by measuring the amount of glucose in your hemoglobin. This measurement shows the average blood sugar level for the past 3 months before the test is taken. A reading of between 5.7 and 6.4 is considered prediabetes and a reading of 6.5 or higher on two different tests is diagnostic of diabetes.

The consideration for being tested is generally based on a person’s symptoms. These include:

  • Frequent thirst and urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing of cuts and bruises
  • Ketones in the urine

How Is Diabetes Managed?

The management of diabetes is very simple but does require dedication. The first line of treatment is to control the diet quite strictly by avoiding sugar and highly processed carbohydrates. A good exercise plan also helps to control glucose levels without any pharmaceutical intervention.

If diabetes can’t be controlled in this way then the person is given an insulin injection or pills that control glucose uptake. Throughout the process, constant monitoring of blood sugar is needed. There is also research that is looking at a pancreas transplant as a potential treatment for diabetes.

Some individuals have been cured of type 2 diabetes by simply controlling the risk factors that lead them to develop the disease.

Conclusion

We know a lot more about diabetes today then we did just a few years ago. Today it is no longer a scary and untreatable disease. Many diabetic people go on to live very long and fulfilling lives. The important thing for everyone is to manage their risk factors, and if they develop diabetes, to stick to the management plan to avoid complications.

Diabetes · Health

Managing Type 2 Diabetes with LloydsPharmacy #LetsTalkDiabetes

Some of you may know that I’m a Type 2 diabetic; I’ve written about it a few times before but it’s not something I talk about at great length, probably because it’s just become a part of my life now. My diabetes started when I was pregnant with Sausage and never went away once I gave birth, probably due to the fact that I struggle with my weight and I have a family history on one side.

Anyway, type 2 diabetes is one of those condition which doesn’t need to take over your whole life, but it does need a certain amount of management to make sure that your sugar levels are not affecting your health in other ways. Unmanaged diabetes can cause heart problems, stroke, infections and other issues, so ensuring that your levels are correct is important, so when LloydsPharmacy asked me if I’d like to go along to one of their branches for a Medicines Check Up, Cholesterol & Heart Check and Blood Pressure testing, I thought it would be a great opportunity.

Lloyds Pharmacy

When I got there, I was greeted by a lovely lady who took my blood pressure and checked my cholesterol and blood sugar levels – it’s a super simple process which needed just one finger prick to get the blood for the sensors and it’s over in less than a second. She also took my blood pressure in both arms to ensure she was getting an accurate reading.

Once the results were in, I was handed a chart which showed my results, and as it turned out, my blood sugar was a little high at that moment (probably because I was slightly stressed out), as was my blood pressure, but that’s normal for me as I get what they call “white coat syndrome”. My cholesterol levels were interesting; my LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) was borderline – not great but not a worry, either.

My HDL (the “good” cholesterol) was actually a little bit low, and it was explained that I could stand to increase this by eating good fats like coconut oil, avocados and other things, which in turn will reduce the amount of bad cholesterol, too! Based on all of my results, I was told that my chances of having a heart attack in the next ten years was 6%, which may not sound high, but it’s a number that I’d like to dramatically reduce.

After my results were in, I was handed over to the pharmacist who came in to do my medicines check-up, and this was where it got really interesting for me. I take several different medications to manage different conditions, but one of the medicines that I take for my underactive thyroid should be taken half an hour before any other food or medication, but in the 12-odd years I’ve been taking it, I’ve NEVER been told this! I also learned that, not only have I been taking my diabetes medications at the wrong times of day, I also should have been taking it with food each time. I’m a HUGE fan of the NHS, but sometimes the lack of time they’re able to spend with each patient means that things can get lost in communication, exactly like this. I was also given a Type 2 diabetes support pack to take away and read at home, containing lots more useful info for managing my diabetes. You can download the support pack here.

LloydsPharmacy Diabetes Support Pack

I can’t believe how much I learned in one short consultation and my medicine routine has changed completely now. I’ve spaced my pills totally differently so that hopefully they should have a better level of effectiveness when I take them and I’ve booked myself in for a repeat health check with LloydsPharmacy in 3 months to see if there has been any improvement with my levels. I’ll be eating more avocado, too! If you’re concerned about any health issues or management of any existing conditions, I can totally recommend a trip to LloydsPharmacy.

According to Diabetes UK, there are 1.1 million people in the UK with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and LloydsPharmacy is on the hunt to find them! They will be visiting a city near you to offer FREE type 2 diabetes screenings as well as lots of useful information, advice and support. Click here to find your local event.

Cooking and Recipes

Coconut and Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding (low sugar recipe)

Chia seeds are, in the world of food trends, pretty huge at the moment and it’s easy to see why. In terms of nutrition they’re quite a little power-house, containing more Omega-3 than salmon, pound for pound. The seeds come from a plant which is related to mint (although they don’t taste minty) and are high in fibre, protein and calcium amongst other things, and eating them has been proven to aid weight-loss. Some of us in the MTW house are a little iffy when it comes to dairy, which can make getting enough calcium hard, so adding chia will really help.

Chia Seeds

Getting seeds into your diet can be quite tricky if you don’t know how to prepare them, but luckily with chia seeds it’s really easy to make them into a pudding which uses just a few ingredients and is amazingly good for you. As you’ll know if you’ve gone through some of my slow cooker posts, we try to limit our sugar here in the Mum’s the Word house and instead opt for erythritol, which is actually a sugar alcohol which contains NO calories and none of the nasties of something like aspartame, and is zero-GI, making it completely safe for use by diabetics. If you also need Omega 3 supplements, this is our recommended site.

I’ve played around with a few chia seed pudding recipes, adapting as I go, and have ended up with something we all love…even Chuck likes it!!

Here’s how we make OUR chia seed pudding:

Coconut and Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding (low sugar recipe)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Healthy
Author: Jayne Crammond
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5x100ml portions
A delicious pudding made from chia seeds and just a few other ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 a cup of chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 a cup of erythritol
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Shaved coconut (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender
  2. Blend for 1-2 minutes until all of the ingredients are combined
  3. Pour into ramekins or individual serving bowls
  4. Top with a little shaved coconut (if you like it)
  5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours
Serving size: 100ml Calories: 226 Fat: 19g Saturated fat: 13g Carbohydrates: 16g Sugar: 0.1g Sodium: 0 Fiber: 12g Protein: 4g

The thing that we love about this pudding is that it’s sweet enough to feel like a real treat for dessert, but not so sweet that it would feel overwhelming as a breakfast. A small 100ml portion is also incredibly filling and feels like a really nice alternative to porridge, especially if it’s a hot day and you don’t want to go off in the morning laden with a belly-full of hot oats!

chai seed pudding

Obviously, the flavour is very coconutty, which is great if you’re a fan of coconut, but not ideal if you aren’t, however you can also flavour it with other things. Husband uses protein powder as a supplement after weight-lifting and I’m thinking of adding a scoop of either chocolate or banana next time we make it (or maybe BOTH!) to see how it affects the flavour. I think people also add raw cacao powder to the mixture too, but I’ve not tried that yet.

Do let me know what you think if you give this a try, or if you have any alternative recipes for things to do with chia!

Family · Parenting · Personal · Pregnancy

“Before 24 Weeks”

I’ve blogged before about being pregnant with diabetes and one of the implications of this is that I need to travel to London to have a foetal cardiology scan, to check that the baby’s heart is developing properly. Various scheduling issues have come up, mostly to do with the fact that St. Thomas’ appointment plan means I have to be in London either at the crack of dawn or just before the afternoon rush hour, making travel tricky. We had an appointment planned for the Thursday in half term, but decided to postpone it as the idea of dragging Sausage to London during half term, on Halloween no less, then trying to get her home on the tube during work-kicking-out time just didn’t appeal, especially as she’s not a huge fan of stairs, having lived in a bungalow her whole life.

When I called St. Thomas’ to change the appointment the lady on the other end of the phone started to make the appointment she stopped and said “Oh, wait, how far gone are you? How far gone will you be on the 18th?”. We worked out that I’d be 23+6 on the day of the scan, but the lady at the end seemed unsatisfied with my answer. She said “We like to have these things done, you know, before 24 weeks”. At first, her subtext didn’t penetrate my thick skull, but after I put the phone down, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

“Before 24 weeks” was her way of telling me that I needed to have the scan done in time to be within the legal limit for abortion, should there me any major issues with the cardiac scan.

I was told about the scan weeks ago and until now, I’d viewed it as a bit of an embuggerance because of the London factor, not something that would be a deciding factor in whether the pregnancy should be allowed to continue. It had never occurred to me that this could be a life or death situation.

Husband and I are pragmatic enough to have had discussions in the past about ‘worst case scenario’ situations, agreeing that we wouldn’t feel right about bringing a child into the world if we knew they’d have a severe disability which would leave them ill or in pain for the rest of their lives. It would be selfish of us to put our sadness at losing a child above the quality of life of another human being and I strongly feel that it’s our responsibility as parents to bear the brunt of this decision.

Having said that, the thought of getting this far in a pregnancy and having to terminate made me feel sick with anxiety. We already knew that our child is a little girl, we’d discussed names and even bought her her first item of clothing. She’s a person to us, not just a blob on a screen and we were seriously struggling with the idea that we may have to end her life.

I’m a strong believer in choice, not just for women but for humans in general, and I believe strongly also in a woman’s right to abortion, so I’m not objecting to termination on any sort of moral level, but this is a life that we intentionally created, a life that we already love.

Last Saturday, we had a nice lazy morning, spent lounging around the house, and the three of us (plus Chuck) sat on the bed for about an hour, playing music to my bump, waiting to see what sounds the baby would react to. As it turns out, she’s a huge fan of Aretha Franklin and The Beach Boys, as well as her big sister’s voice, and Sausage felt her move for the first time. It was amazing but almost added to the anxiety and sadness that I was feeling ahead of my appointment.

Yesterday, I travelled to London to have the foetal cardiology scan done, and I’m delighted to say that, in the words of the consultant who scanned me, “the baby’s heart is perfect”. Today, I’m 24 weeks pregnant and I finally feel like I can start to enjoy the pregnancy, knowing that we’ve had all of the major tests completed and everything is hunky dory at this point, but it’s been a tough few weeks up until now. I don’t know what I would have done without my Husband, who’s been a rock during this time, soothing my anxiety and wiping my tears when I needed him to, as well as my group of EPIC online friends (they know who they are) who’ve provided me with support from all over the globe.

Today, at 24 weeks pregnant, I feel very blessed.