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Tag Archive | "diabetes"

Winter weather especially harsh for those with diabetes

(ARA) – Trekking through the mall on holiday shopping excursions, shoveling out the driveway and playing in the snow with the kids—every winter, your feet log some long, chilly hours. For people with health issues like diabetes, foot health is especially important when the weather turns cold, as the disease can affect your body’s circulation even more so during the winter months. More than 26 million Americans have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. If you or a loved one have the disease, it’s important to remain vigilant against complications year-round, and especially during the winter when feet are exposed to cold and remain covered up for extended periods.
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) offers some podiatrist-approved advice to help those with diabetes maintain good foot health throughout the winter months:
* People with diabetes may experience loss of feeling in the toes and feet, which can be particularly dangerous during the winter. When walking outside, be sure to keep your feet protected from frostbite by wearing warm socks and proper footwear.
* Never walk in the snow in sneakers, dress shoes or sandals. Choose weather appropriate footwear that both fits comfortably and keeps feet dry and warm. You can find a list of footwear that have APMA’s Seal of Acceptance by visiting APMA’s website.
* You probably wouldn’t dream of going barefoot outside in the winter, but you shouldn’t do it inside, either. Always wear shoes and socks when walking outside, and at least wear socks inside. They afford a needed layer of warmth and protection. The type of hosiery you choose is important, too. Look for products made from breathable materials that won’t constrict blood flow, such as CrocsRx footwear. Because moisturizing feet in the dry winter months is also important, foot care products such as AmLactin XL Moisturizing Lotion keep feet and skin healthy while being safe for those with diabetes.
* Wash and inspect your feet daily. Perform your self-exam at the same time every day and watch for changes in skin color, sores, swelling, blisters, peeling, cracking or other signs of problem. When you have diabetes, even a minor wound can become a problem, so don’t wait to see a podiatrist if you develop an injury that’s not healing.
* Stay active. Physical activity aids circulation, which is critical for people with diabetes. Don’t let the cold weather be your excuse for becoming or staying  sedentary. Get regular exercise, and don’t be afraid to do it outdoors. Just remember to properly protect your feet from moisture and cold while you’re outside.
Keeping feet healthy and pain-free can ensure a happy and healthy winter season. If you’re unsure of how to properly care for your feet during winter, or if you experience foot pain or a wound that won’t heal, see today’s podiatrist immediately.

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Diabetes question & answer session

United Lifestyles, a member of Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville, is offering a free question and answer session with a Diabetes Educator. The session will be on Thursday, November 17, 2011 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 407 S. Nelson, Greenville.
The diabetes educator will answer questions on diabetes prevention, risk factors and healthy lifestyle tips. A sample recipe demonstration will be provided. Registration is required.  For more information, call 616.754.6185, ext. 100 or 800.406.4551.
United Lifestyles is a dedicated, multi-disciplinary team of health care partners focusing on preventing illness and disease.  The goal is to use education and preventive measures to help curb high costs of health care and promote healthy lifestyles within our communities.

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United Lifestyles offers Diabetes education

United Lifestyles, a member of Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville, is offering a three-session Diabetes Education group class. The classes will be held on Mondays, beginning October 10, 2011 from 5 to 8 p.m. at 407 S. Nelson, Greenville.
This American Diabetes Association recognized program includes education on glucose levels, dietary guidelines, and management techniques.  Most insurances cover all or part of the class fees, with a physician’s signature. Registration is required.  For more information, call 616.754.6185, ext. 100 or 800.406.4551.

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Warm weather brings increased health risks for people with diabetes

(ARA) – Spiking temperatures and increased exposure to the sun can pose particularly dangerous health risks for the nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes. With temperatures expected to rise to record levels across the nation, experts caution that people with diabetes must take extra care to avoid serious, heat-related conditions.

“The beach, the pool and the park are popular places to cool down and stay in shape when the temperature rises, but people with diabetes heading outdoors may not realize they are at greater risk for serious, heat-related illness,” says Dr. Deneen Vojta, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA). “Diabetes actually impairs a person’s ability to sweat, which means that hot, humid weather can dangerously reduce the body’s regulation of blood sugar levels. That’s why it is critical that people with this disease take proper precautions to avoid conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

Vojta offers seven simple tips that may help people with this disease to stay active, healthy and safe when temperatures are high:

1. Check your blood sugar levels often. Changes in activity and heat levels can affect your body’s insulin needs.

2. Wear sunblock. Sunburn can tax your body and trigger increased blood glucose levels.

3. Stay cool. Take regular breaks from the heat in air-conditioned areas or designated cooling centers, if possible. Make sure to exercise in an air-conditioned place or exercise during early morning and evening hours when temperatures are cooler.

4. Keep medication and supplies cool and away from direct sunlight. Extreme temperatures and sunlight can have a damaging impact on diabetes medication such as insulin, causing the drug to break down or become less effective.

5. Stay hydrated. Dehydration stresses the body and affects glucose levels.

6. Avoid caffeine and alcohol in high temperatures. Both alcohol and caffeine have diuretic effects that can increase risks of dehydration.

7. Be alert for common signs of heat exhaustion. Signs of serious health-related illnesses can include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and fainting.

Vojta advises that people with diabetes should be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and seek medical attention right away if they experience symptoms.

Additional resources on managing and preventing diabetes can be found by visiting the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org); as well as the National Diabetes Education Program (http://ndep.nih.gov/resources). UnitedHealth Group also offers a range of helpful tips and information on the disease, which can be found at www.unitedhealthgroup.com/diabetes.

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Seniors: take advantage of free Medicare diabetes tests

(StatePoint)  Do you have diabetes and not know it?

Approximately seven out of 10 adults aged 65 or older have diabetes or pre-diabetes and many don’t know it. Almost half of older Americans with diabetes aren’t aware they have the disease.

Fortunately, Medicare has been offering free diabetes screening to those at risk since 2005. But utilization has been low and many seniors remain undiagnosed. In fact, less than 10 percent of those eligible have taken advantage of the tests.

Olympia Dukakis and her husband, Louis Zorich, urge older Americans to get free diabetes screenings.

That’s why Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis and her husband, actor Louis Zorich, are urging at-risk adults 65 and older to get screened. In partnership with Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care, they are spearheading an educational program known as “Ask.Screen.Know.” The program encourages people enrolled in Medicare to ask their healthcare providers about free diabetes screenings in order to know their blood sugar levels and what actions to take.

For Dukakis and her husband, this program hits close to home. Having been married for 47 years, the couple recently got tested and Zorich learned he has type 2 diabetes.

“When we learned that less than 10 percent of people with Medicare have taken advantage of the diabetes screening benefit, we knew we had to do something,” said Dukakis. “So we joined forces with Novo Nordisk to share our story. We asked, got screened and now know where our health stands relative to diabetes.”

With a history of diabetes in Zorich’s family, the time was right to be screened. “We want to be around for as long as possible for each other, and our family,” said Zorich. “Now that we know I have diabetes, we can manage the disease the right way, by exercising more and eating better.”

Why screen?

When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or prevents the insulin you produce from working properly, this could lead to diabetes. The condition requires that individuals do the work their bodies used to do automatically to maintain the insulin/glucose balance. The risk of type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, increases as you get older, often because people typically exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age.

If left undiagnosed or unmanaged, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney disease, foot amputation, heart disease and stroke.

But these issues often can be avoided.

Free screenings

Medicare offers free diabetes screening for enrolled adults 65 and older who have at least one risk factor. These factors include family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and a history of diabetes during pregnancy.

Aside from telling if you have diabetes, these tests also can identify a condition known as pre-diabetes. With pre-diabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

If doctors suspect diabetes in patients with normal fasting blood glucose levels, they may recommend an oral glucose tolerance test, which also is covered by Medicare.

To obtain benefit information about the Medicare diabetes screening benefit, learn more about diabetes and pre-diabetes, and keep track of your blood sugar numbers, visit AskScreenKnow.com. The site even invites users to send personalized e-mails or voicemails from Dukakis to family members and friends, to help spread the word about the free Medicare diabetes screening.

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