Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes is a very insidious disease and most people have diabetes or pre-diabetes before they or their doctor realize it. Why? In most cases people begin to experience a symptom or two and can attribute it to something else. For instance, if you start to experience extreme thirst, especially on a regular basis, you may attribute it to the food you are eating. For instance, garlic or spicy food can cause extra thirst, so you might not attribute the thirst from diabetes. Why would you?

Another symptom of diabetes is excessive urination. Most people don’t associate that issue with diabetes. Some men associate it with prostrate issues. Other individuals associate it with the fact that they drink a lot of water or other liquids, which goes back to excessive thirst and drinking a lot.

Quite often individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes experience tingling in their hands arms and eventually pain in their feet. Instead of associating these symptoms of diabetes, they think of carpal-tunnel, bad shoes and other issues when in reality, the problem could be neuropathy – damage to the nerves – due to diabetes. It is essential to check with your doctor regarding this – especially if your feet are tingling, burning, feeling like you are walking on sand or throbbing. This is usually a sign that you may have diabetes.

There used to be few treatments for diabetes, but now ther are any number of medications available, including insulin, to treat the symptoms. There are special diets, various medications to deal with the neuropathy, pain and other related issues.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or any combination of them see your doctor and let him or her know. The reason that diabetes is often not diagnosed is that the symptoms are never reported to the doctor. If you discuss this with your doctor and he/she does not order tests to see if you have diabetes, push harder for one. If that does not work, consult another doctor for a second opinion. Many internists and endocrinologists deal with diabetes a great deal and are experts in identifying and treating the disease.

Reaching Out to Help With Diabetes

There are nearly 24 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes and there are more efforts to help unify the diabetes community and help them live healthier lives. The American Diabetes Wholesale a diabetes supply company trying to keep diabetes managable for all diabetics, especially the uninsured, has partnered with Charlie Kimball, the 24 year old Firestone Indy Lights Race Car Driver who has Type 1 diabetes. They have announced the launch of GlucoStories and Charlie Kimball Share Your Story Contest.

The goal is to bring people living with diabetes together and provide them with a way to share their personal experiences. The contest is asking people to explain how their diabetes has affected their lives and the grand prize winner will receive the a trip to the Firestone Indy Lights Championship Race at the Homestead- Miami Speedway on Friday, October 9, 1009 in Florida.

“Reaching out and supporting people in the diabetes community is what American Diabetes Wholesale is all about,” said Chris Maguire, Vice President of American Diabetes Wholesale. “GlucoStories is an extension of our commitment and partnering with Charlie Kimball to bring this program to the community was a win-win for everyone involved.”

Charlie was diagnosed in 2007 at the age of 22, but has been involved in competetive racing since he was 9 years old. He has some special accommodations to help him continue racing, including a continuous glucose monitoring system installed on that shows his glucose levels constantly on his steering wheel. He also has a drink pack installed in his cockpit in case he needs to sip orange juice if his blood sugar is low when he is driving.

“Diabetes doesn’t slow me down and is as much a part of my life as racing. Being able to merge the two is an incredible opportunity,” said Charlie Kimball, Professional Indy Lights Race Car Driver. “My hope is that by sharing my story, other people will be comfortable and open about sharing theirs. We’re all working towards the same goal of finding a cure and living a healthy, productive and successful life in the meantime.”

OFFICIAL INFORMATION

With the support of Home Diagnostics, Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Diabetic Rockstar, American Diabetes Wholesale and other partners, GlucoStories is a platform for people with diabetes or those who support people living with diabetes to inspire and feel inspired about living the best life possible. To learn more about the prizes, rules and to enter the contest, please visit www.glucostories.com and share your experiences with diabetes. Contest and story submissions deadline is July 6, 1007 Midnight, EST.

GlucoStories Contest Rules: no purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.), 13 years and older who did not purchase any equipment for purposes of entering the promotion and are not a practicing physician at time of entry. Void where prohibited. Enter Contest by: 7/6/09. Sweepstakes starts 7/15/09 and ends 8/17/09. For Official Rules, odds disclosure and prize descriptions, visit http://www.glucostories.com. Sponsor: American Diabetes Wholesale, 2501 NW 34th Place, Suite 35, Pompano Beach, FL 33069.
Reaching Out to Help with Diabetes

Recent Healthcare Woes and Diabetes

We are constantly keeping watch regarding problems with healthcare – especially with seniors and those who are disabled – these days. It is obvious to anyone who reads the papers, uses the internet or watches the news that there are some serious problems with healthcare and Medicare that lawmakers have no choice but to work on and they are trying to figure it all out. Meanwhile, there are real people with some serious problems falling through the cracks. The following editorial from Kalamazoo, Michigan shows just how serious the situation is. I usually don’t reprint other people’s stories, but this one is critically important and the credits are on the bottom of the page. Thank you Joyce Pines from the Kalamazoo Gazette for bringing situations this important to our attention. We all need to know what is happening not only in Kalamazoo, but in cities and towns throughout the country, a thousand fold.

Three different perspectives on health care crossed my desk Monday — a call from a woman who has been notified that her Medicaid payments are being cut, an e-mail implying that President Obama’s health proposals are out to cut Medicare and leave senior citizens to fend for themselves and an editorial board meeting with state Sen. Tom George about a package of bills he’s introduced in the Michigan Senate to expand health care coverage to more state citizens.

Let’s start with the phone call. A 47-year-old Kalamazoo resident called to discuss her dilemma which is: pay the rent or buy prescribed medications. She has diabetes which has left her blind. She is on five different medications which cost more than $1,200 a month by the time you add up the cost of both the pills and the supplies she needs to take those pills and monitor her condition (needles, test strips, alcohol swabs). She is disabled.

She is married but her husband, a veteran, fell in 2005 and suffered a severe spinal cord injury. He is also permanently disabled. Their total income from Medicaid, Social Security and such is $1,100 a month. They also receive food assistance.

In April, the state sent her a letter explaining her Medicaid benefits were going to be subject to a “spend down.” Her explanation of what that means is that basically the state says she has to pay the next $618 for her medication before the state payments will kick back in.

As she doesn’t know where the $618 is going to come from, she is likely to skip the medication for awhile, which is probably not a good idea given that her diabetes is so severe it caused her to go blind.

But that is a real world example of what happens when the state budget is cut.

Getting health care spending under control has been a priority for Tom George for all of the time I have known him as a state senator representing the 20th District, which is all of Kalamazoo County and a small piece of Van Buren County.

In short, he believes that Michigan residents should be encouraged to do things that will help them be healthy — like not smoke, exercise regularly and get appropriate health screenings. During the editorial board meeting Monday he said studies show that between 40 and 70 percent of health care costs are related to behaviors like smoking, not exercising, etc.

At the same time he believes there is an obligation to provide health care to all of Michigan’s citizens. To that end, he has worked with others to create a package of bills to address the concerns of insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield and also the need to provide affordable insurance to as many people as possible.

He would prefer that each state create a workable system for its residents instead of creating a national single-payer system that would, in essence, give everyone health care but without an incentive to take better care of themselves. “If Republicans sit on their hands, we’ll end up with a national single-payer system,” he said.

What George does not have an answer for, right now, is that phone call I received from the woman with diabetes. Her story illustrates another aspect of the health care problem. A person has an illness, in this case diabetes, that requires an expenditure of more than $1,200 a month to control — that’s $14,400 a year. My question to him and in general is why does medication for an illness that is pretty common cost so much? How can we ever have an affordable system while the cost of medical procedures and medications continues to skyrocket?

George advocates health care plans that give people a financial incentive to quit smoking, exercise every week and get regular health screenings. I don’t object to that.

But I think the diabetic who called about her Medicaid changes would suggest that forcing anyone to choose between keeping a roof over their head or filling their prescriptions also endangers lives and may contribute to their early demise.

We need to ask tough questions about health care and we can start with carefully examining both the state legislation and the national legislation now being offered. Read up on it and contact your legislators, get involved and write responsible e-mails to promote discussion, not fright.

Health care is definitely the giant elephant in the room that everyone is having trouble talking about
Posted by Joyce Pines | Kalamazoo Gazette

Study Shows Diabetes Raises Risk of Pancreatitis

People with type 2 diabetes have an almost triple risk of acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and two-fold greater risk of biliary disease (disease of the gallbladder and bile ducts), compared with people without diabetes, a study shows.

“The increased risk of pancreatitis for patients with type 2 diabetes…combined with the increasing prevalence of diabetes and the associated risk factors, may be contributing to a meaningful increase in the incidence of acute pancreatitis in the US,” Dr. Gary L. Bloomgren, at Amylin Pharmaceuticals in San Diego, California, and colleagues suggest in the journal Diabetes Care.

Their study was supported by Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, producers of the diabetes drug exenatide (Byetta), which has been associated with spontaneous reports of acute pancreatitis, which the investigators say “prompted this investigation.”

Bloomgren and his colleagues used a nationwide managed care claims database that included nearly one million adults enrolled for at least 12 continuous months between 1999 and 2005. There were 337,067 patients with type 2 diabetes and a similar number of people without diabetes.

According to the investigators, the incidence of pancreatitis was nearly 3 times higher, and the incidence of biliary disease nearly 2 times higher, in diabetics compared to non-diabetics. This is a significant amount, especially when you are talking about millions of people.Though there were a million people in the stucy, they obviously represent only a sample population of individuals with type 2 diabetes who are prone to pancreatitis. gall bladder amd bo;e duct disease.

For both conditions, younger diabetics (aged 18 to 30 years old) had the highest risk of developing pancreatitis or biliary disease.

Dibetes, Obesity and the Workplace

A study in the U.S. recently found that there was a big difference in the way and the amount that people who had diabetes and were also obese worked compared to those who were of lower weight and didn’t have diabetes or had controlled diabetes..

Researchers surveyed 7,338 working adults about missed work time, reduced work effectiveness and experienced 20 to 34 percent of impairment of daily activities. The results they discovered showed that people who were obese and had type 2 diabetes lost 11 to 15 percent of work time (about 5.9 hours a week) because of health problems, compared with 9 percent of work time (about 3.6 hours a week) lost by people in a lower weight range.

The survey also found that obese people with type 2 diabetes rreported difficulty and obstacles in doing daily activities such as working with children, shoppng and exercising.and experienced 20 to 34 percent of impairment of daily activities in general.. he findings are in the May/June issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

“From an employer’s perspective, this study provides evidence that workplace wellness programs that include weight loss and weight management would be beneficial for obese employees with or at risk for diabetes,” Kathleen Fox, president of Strategic Healthcare Solutions and a co-author of the study, said in a news release from the Center for the Advancement of Health.

The study supports previously published research that found “the heavier people are, the most lost productivity at work,” Anne Wolf, an instructor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who specializes in researching the economic effects of obesity, said in the news release. This study was different, she said, in that it found an independent effect of diabetes on worker productivity.

“Employers who spend money in a lifestyle intervention will find their investment returned to them in the form of increased productivity and reduced absenteeism,” Wolf said.

Eye Problems Linked to Diabetes

Many U.S. Hispanics with diabetes are unaware that a potential complication of their condition is eye disease, and they do not get regular eye exams that could identify any problems.

Eye disease is present in many individuals with diabetes but often they have not been diagnosed with diabetes or they assume the problems have to do with needing reading glasses or newer glasses and an eye exam.

That’s the finding of a new survey led by Johns Hopkins University, published in the current Archives of Ophthalmology. The researchers focused on Hispanics because their rate of diabetes is especially high – 1.9 times the rate in non-Hispanic white people – and because for some, the language barrier hinders discussion and understanding about the condition.

Even with bi-lingual or Spanish language conversations only 36 percent of newly diagnosed diabetics knew that. In addition, the percentage climbed to 52 percent among those who’d known they had diabetes for more than a year. Just 30 percent of the diabetics had been to the eye doctor in the previous year.

There are several reasons for this situation including lack of eye-care medical coverage, inability to obtain affordable private insurance or coverage at work, and inability to get medicaid due to various immigration and paperwork issues.

It is essential to begin taking care of your eyes as soon as you notice any sort of problem including blurred or fuzy vision, twitching, pain or anything else out of the ordinary. Often, the situation can be caught i time to keep the eyes from getting worse. In many cases, getting your eyes checked can identify the fact that you have diabetes, helping to save your health on a larger scale.

Don’t ignore your eyes. They can tell you and your doctor a lot about your health.

Vitamin D Deficiency and Diabetes

There are a lot of things that are connected to diabetes.  Everything from imbalanced diet to lack of exercise is blamed for causing or increasing diabetes.  Under the diet category, researchers are now calling attention to Vitamin D deficiency as a contributor to diabetes.

Vitamin D is linked to sunlight.  One of the issues that helps create vitamin D deficiency is, logically, not getting outside enough or not drinking enough milk or eating enough foods that contain high levels of vitamin D.  Researchers have determined that many people who are deficient in vitamin D live in areas such as Main or Seattle where the weather keeps people inside most of the year. 

Vitamin D deficiency has increased to the point where the medical community is calling this deficiency an epidemic.  Since Vitamin D helps keep the immune system healthy and since we don’t produce vitamin D in our skin between the months of November to March, our levels drop and we need to build them up during the other months of the year.
The average fair-skinned person used to get the equivalent of 10,000 IU (international units) by spending 10 to 15 minutes outdoors a few times a week. This takes a good bit of work. Some climates have less sunlight than others and people either don’t spend enough time outdoors or wear sunscreen when they do, which prevents synthesis of vitamin D.
As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics has doubled its recommended minimum daily intake of vitamin D for infants, children and teens from 200 IU to 400 IU.  For adults, the government recommends 200 IU of vitamin D each day up to age 50, 400 IU at 60 and 600 IU at 70.  Many researchers feel that those levels are much too low and that food sources, such as milk and salmon, do not provide enough vitamin D.
If you have pre diabetes or type 2 diabetes, be sure not to forget your vitamin D.  It will help your immune system stay that much stronger and help you feel better, despite diabetes or other ailments you have to deal with.

Recognizing the Signs of Diabetes

Diabetes has become quite common in children and adults.  As a result, there are more and varied treatments including a variety of medications and a great deal of information regarding diet and exercise, which can often help control diabetes with little or no medication.

Diabetes can be quite insidious so it is often present long before a person knows that they have the disease.  There are signs and symptoms that can alert you to the possibility that you might have diabetes and need to check with your doctor. 

Three symptoms are usually classic symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.  The symptoms are frequent urination, increased or excessive thirst and increased appetite.  Sometimes symptoms develop quickly over a period of weeks or months, especially in children and young people.  Another symptom may be weight loss – even if the individual is eating well and eating more than usual.  Excessive fatigue that cannot be overcome can be a symptom, as well.

In Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms can be the same, however, they develop much more slowly and subtly and may not even be noticeable.  This is often a reason that people are not aware that they could be developing or have developed the disease, and do not realize they have diabetes until the disease is more advanced. 

Other issues that can help identify diabetes are dehydration (even though the person is drinking extra liquids), glucose in urine (determined by a urine test), vision changes – especially blurred vision – which can come on gradually (usually with Type 2) or rapidly (usually with Type 1) and should be addressed immediately to avoid permanent damage, and sometimes urea leading to very bad breath, rapid, deep breathing, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

If you or your child/teen are experiencing any of these symptoms or a combination of them, it is important to see your doctor.  There are a few tests that doctors can use to determine what the problem is and if it is diabetes, as opposed to another medical issue or simply an imbalance.  The doctor will then determine how to treat your symptoms, which could include diet changes and/or medication or both.

There have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes.  If you are experiencing the symptoms discussed here, it is important for you to talk to your doctor about them so that you can stay healthy and keep your diabetes under control.

There is Help To Get Your Medication and Supplies

There are millions of individuals with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and more.  Their supplies and medication are expensive, and it’s not always easy to find help.  However, there is help available through an organization that was started by a nurse to help support those who struggle with the expense chronic illness.

 Recently, a report on the Today Show by the Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) offered some staggering statistics related to Baby Boomers and Healthcare. There are about 78 million Baby Boomers living in the United States.  According to AARP, there are some statistics that are bleak.  Research shows that many Baby Boomers’ are quite worried about their ability to afford their Medical Care in 2009.  In fact, 21% surveyed stated they were “not very or not at all confident” and 23% stated they were “somewhat confident.”  As for being able to pay for prescription drugs in 2009, 17% surveyed stated they were “not very or not at all confident” and 22% stated they were “somewhat confident.”  

Many Boomers stated that they had to cut down on the amount of prescription medicationthey took or they had to skip doses because they could not afford them.  This was especially true of individuals between the age of 45-64. 

For those who have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, many will require daily medication and other healthcare products including diabetic testing supplies, insulin, syringes, ostomy supplies and incontinence products.  The cost of such supplies varies significantly, from less than a hundred dollars per month to well into the thousands of dollars per month depending upon whether there are other chronic health conditions being treated.  Individuals dealing with these issues need to start looking at lower priced supplies and medication and alternative programs to help offset costs including applying for assistance through the drug companies.

There is also a new service called Baby Boomer Medical, Inc. and www.directbuymedical.com  which was started by a registered nurse who had helped people find affordable ways to get medicine and supplies for many years.   She states that “by focusing on this one healthcare need I am able to keep prices low as I am not constrained by the guidelines of Medicare or other Insurances.  By working with our healthcare product manufacturers we are able to offer multiple affordable healthcare product solutions as well as setting up product sampling for consumer trial before having to buy a product that might not be ideal for our customers’ need.” 

She also recommends that you shop around and” contact your product manufacturer, many of which will have clinical staff you can consult with.  They can help to insure you are using their products effectively and may be able to offer ways for you to optimize the use of their products.  Knowledge is power and asking is free, so seek out resources that are willing to work with you.”

It’s good to know that there is help available through someone -and her company – who truly understands the situation and who cares about the people she serves.

The Diabetic Foot

Diabetes can damage nerves, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels. Diabetes can also lead to decreases in the body’s ability to fight infection. When diabetes is not well controlled, damage to the organs and impairment of the immune system is likely. This can cause foot problems and they can quickly become serious. With damage to the nervous system, a person with diabetes may not be able to feel his or her feet properly. Normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the foot is impaired. These factors together can lead to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot during walking and can lead to breakdown of the skin of the foot and sores commonly develop.

Damage to blood vessels and impairment of the immune system from diabetes make it difficult to heal these wounds. Bacterial infection of the skin, connective tissues, muscles, and bones can then occur. These infections can develop into gangrene. Because of the poor blood flow, antibiotics cannot get to the site of the infection easily. Often, the only treatment for this is amputation of the foot or leg. If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, this process can be life threatening.

People with diabetes must be fully aware of how to prevent foot problems before they occur, to recognize problems early, and to seek the right treatment when problems do occur. Good control of blood sugar is the best way to prevent problems.
Diabetics need to learn how to examine their own feet and how to recognize the early signs and symptoms of diabetic foot problems. They should also learn what is reasonable to do at home as far as routine foot care, how to recognize when to call the doctor, and how to recognize when a problem has become serious enough to seek emergency treatment.

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