Posts Tagged ‘Appropriate Blood Tests for Diabetics’

Blood Sugar & Dementia

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Adapted by Wellsource & Tufts University Study. 
Keeping your blood sugar levels under control is a proven practice to help prevent diabetes. A simple blood test can provide you with important information about your fasting blood sugar level, glucose levels, and your risk for diabetes. But there may be other uses for measuring blood sugar than diabetes alone.A new study of seniors shows that keeping blood sugar levels low can help keep your brain healthy and prevent dementia. The Tufts University study included 2,000 seniors, all free of dementia at the start of the study. After nearly seven years of follow-up, 524 people developed dementia.

Among non-diabetics, those who developed dementia had higher fasting blood sugar levels. Those with higher glucose levels were 20 percent more likely to develop dementia.

Among diabetics, the increase in risk of dementia was even higher – 40 percent higher in those with higher blood sugar levels.

Whether you’re diabetic or not, adopting a lifestyle to help control blood sugar levels is good for the brain and may help you avoid developing dementia.

Here are three proven ways to lower your blood sugar:

1. Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, even losing 10 to 15 pounds can help lower blood sugar levels.

2. Get regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for 30-plus minutes daily. The exercise helps burn up extra sugar in the blood in both diabetics and non-diabetics.

3. Choose healthy meals – high in fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and legumes. Eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and limit red meats and high-fat dairy products. Follow a low-glycemic diet by avoiding soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks. And limit potatoes, white bread, white rice, and other refined grains.

If you are a diabetic, you should monitor your blood sugar levels daily and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to prevent complications from this disease. Your doctor may also adjust your medications to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range, as measured by an A1C level of less than 7 percent.

Source: Tufts University.

 


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According to an article in the December Wellsource Healthy Choices Newsletter, new research at the University of South Wales (Neurology 79 (1): 1019-1026 SEP 2012) shows that if your fasting blood sugar, or glucose, levels are in the high end of “normal” , your risk of brain shrinkage and diabetes increases. When brain shrinkage occurs, the cells, tissues, and connections in the brain are lost or damaged, which can lead to dementia, seizures, and cognitive problems, and often gets worse over time.

diabetes blood test

Normal fasting glucose levels are 70-99mg/dl; high normal is considered 90-99mg/dl.

A Hemoglobin A1c test will measure your average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months.  Many physicians will recommend the getting the A1c test to see if your blood sugar is under control.

The most common cause of elevated blood sugar (glucose) is insulin resistance caused by inactivity and by being overweight.

What can you do?

  • Exercise daily for 30-plus minutes.
  • Lose weight. Even losing 10 to 15 pounds of fat can lower your glucose.
  • Eat low glycemic index foods ( most fruits and vegetables except potatoes, whole grains, nuts, legumes.)

Many pre-diabetics and diabetics will have to watch the amount of carbohydrates they eat at each meal.  Surprisingly, even fruits and vegetables have starches and some are as high as grain products.  For example, one piece of wheat bread has 13g of carbohydrates and an apple has 15g of carbohydrates!  Adding healthy fats can minimize the glycemic rate, so the apple is a better choice, but it would be better to add some peanut butter to it.  Yogurt and some other dairy products can also have a high carbohydrate value, so be sure to read your labels.  For example, non-fat fruited yogurt had 28g of carbohydrates.  A better alternative would be a handful of almonds that has only 4-6g of carbohydrates.

Most men are to have the maximum of 4-5 carbohydrate servings per meal (60-75g) and women should aim for 3-4 carbohydrate servings per meal (45-60).  The total amount of carbohydrates has the most impact on post-meal blood sugar levels.  Reading labels is the best way to track your carbohydrate levels if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic.

Diabetes is a serious disease and many body organs can be negatively affected.  Monitor your blood sugar and keep on track to a healthy lifestyle!

Health One Labs offers a Diabetes Test Package for $ 99 which includes:

The Comprehensive Health Profile consists of the following groups of online blood tests:

  • Lipid Panel
  • Liver Profile
  • Kidney Panel
  • Minerals & Bone
  • Fluids & Electrolytes
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Diabetes Screen

The Hemoglobin A1c test tests for long term glucose levels.

Molecules of glucose (sugar) in the blood bind to this fraction of hemoglobin, and stay bound to it for months. The higher the amount of blood glucose, the higher the amount of hemoglobin A1c, and according to its value, one can obtain the average blood sugar during the previous 8 to 12 weeks. The test indicates how well your diabetes has been controlled in the 2 to 3 months before the test. Information gained from this test can help determine whether your diabetes medication needs to be adjusted. It can also help your health professional estimate your risk of developing complications from diabetes, such as kidney failure, vision problems, and leg or foot numbness. The A1c level is directly related to complications from diabetes: the lower your A1c level, the lower your risk for complications.

Microalbumin, Random Urine A microalbumin test checks urine for the presence of a protein called albumin. Albumin is normally found in the blood and filtered by the kidneys. When the kidneys are working properly, albumin is not present in the urine. But when the kidneys are damaged, small amounts of albumin leak into the urine. This condition is called microalbuminuria.

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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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Type 2 Diabetes and White Rice Link

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Many people are consuming white rice every day.  Whether it be visiting Asian and Latino restaurants or adding it to home cooked meals, white rice use has increased.  It’s a common food in soups, entrées, desserts and sides and the taste and low cost make it a convenient choice.  Additionally, much of the rice today is more processed in order to decrease the cooking time.  Recent research suggests this high-starch grain may be linked to type 2 diabetes.
white rice bowl resized 600

In a recent study by the British Medical Journal, researchers examined data of an estimated 353,000 people. They looked at the data to measure white rice consumption and cases of type 2 diabetes. The research found that those individuals that ate the most amount of white rice (four servings per day) were 27 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least amount of white rice.  The researchers also found that for every large bowl of white rice (5.5 ounces) a person ate per day, the risk for type 2 diabetes rose 10 percent.

Health advisors address these research findings by explaining how glycemic index is the main cause:  white rice is rapidly converted to sugar in your blood stream.  White rice isn’t the only culprit with a high glycemic index, other high-starch carbohydrates (and highly processed food) include white bread, white pasta and white potatoes.  Essentially, eating high glycemic foods that are quickly converted to sugar can leave you feeling hungry thereby increasing the probability of overeating and developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetics typically have a fasting blood glucose level higher than 126 mg/dl.  This is done by testing the blood after fasting for 12 or more hours and taking a blood glucose test.  A better indicator is the hemoglobin A1c test that provides the average blood glucose levels during the previous 8-12 weeks.  When blood sugar gets this high, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to convert glucose into energy.

People at risk for developing type 2 diabetes can improve their ability to regulate blood sugar by

  • losing weight,
  • exercising, and
  • modifying diet.

If their blood sugar levels remain high, despite behavior modification, medication may be necessary.

White rice is popular, tasty, but may not be the best dietary choice.  The good news is there are healthy alternatives that are just as tasty and easy to make.  For instance, brown, rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa and other grains.  These types of grains have more bran and fiber than white rice, and contain additional nutrients.  Naturally, we all know that eating more fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains combined with regular exercise can also prevent diabetes and help regulate blood sugar levels.   Just another friendly reminder to try an establish good habits.
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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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Diabetes Lab Tests: Order These Important Tests

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If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, it is very important to monitor your blood sugar levels.  Below are a list of tests that are recommended for people with diabetes.  Talk to your health provider to discuss how frequently you should get these tests and to address your results with a plan of action to keep your diabetes under control.

diabetes magnified image resized 600

  •  A1c Blood Test – The blood test shows the average amount of glucose (sugar) that is in your blood during the past 2-3 months.  This test provides an indicator on how well your glucose is being managed.
  • Glucose (sugar)– Fasting values are usually high in diabetes. Certain drugs, such as thyroid, diuretic, and birth control pills as well as recent intake of food, can elevate glucose levels.
  • Blood Lipid Test – This blood test checks for various fats in your blood such as LDL, HDL, cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Kidney Function Test – Diabetes can damage the kidneys this test screens for kidney problems before they become severe.

Keep your diabetes under control in order to prevent or delay damage caused by high blood sugar.  Order your own blood tests to monitor your sugar.  The typical costs for each of these tests is relatively small.  All three tests should cost you less than $99* and can easily be ordered online with results ready for review by the next day.  Take control of your health today.
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* Note – current special for Diabetes Tests: A1c, Microalbumin, Lipid, CMP is $99 at the time of this posting

 

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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Urinalysis is examination of the urine by a physician, nurse or lab personnel.  Chemical and microscopic examination of urine is a simple way to determine a large variety of conditions.
testing urine image resized 600

First, the color and clarity are noted.  Ideally urine should be pale yellow and clear.  Darker urine can indicate more concentrated urine and is seen in dehydration.  Usually, this is due to the fact that many people do not drink enough water.  Brownish reddish urine can be a sign of kidney or liver function.

After initial examination, urinalysis consists of assaying the urine’s chemistry.   This consists of testing for the presence of glucose, protein, bilirubin ( a by-product of liver function), pH, ketones, white blood cells and red blood cells.  The presence of glucose is indicative of diabetes, as is the presence of ketones, although ketones in the urine can indicate dehydration, as well.

Microscopic examination of the urine usually follows.  This part of the urinalysis consists of taking a drop of urine on a slide and noting what is present.  Epithelial cells are commonly found, bacteria may be present, red and white blood cells may be present as well as an occasional sperm or crystal.

The presence of red and white blood cells can indicate a urinary tract infection.  If urinary tract infection is possible, the doctor may order a urine culture to determine the cause of the infection and the best antibiotic to treat it.   In kidney disease, casts can be seen. These are rod shaped tubules discarded in the urine if kidney function is declining.

Uric acid, calcium oxalate or triple phosphate microscopic crystals can be seen in gout, kidney stones, or dietary means.  They can be significant or not clinically significant depending on the patient’s overall condition.

Urinalysis has long been used by doctors to assist of many conditions. It is probably the oldest laboratory test, but still vital in diagnosing disease.

Other Urine Tests

  • A qualitative test for pregnancy can be performed on urine.  Qualitative means that it will only detect the presence or absence of the human chorionic gonadotropin, (HCG). Quantitative levels can be determined in blood serum to determine the actual level of HCG, which helps determine how far along a pregnancy is.
  • Drug screening can also be done on urine.
  • The STDs, Trichomonas, Chlamydia & Gonorrhea, can be seen and identified in urine, as well.

Take control of your health!

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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