Posts Tagged ‘Blood Glucose and Hemoglobin A1c’

What is Glycemic Index?

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Glycemic index(GI) is a scale from 0 to 100 that ranks carbs on how they will affect your glucose levels. Similarly, glycemic load(GL) tells you how much carbs you are eating based on the GI value and quantity of carbs in a meal. A high value of consumed GI carbs is absorbed and digested faster thus, spiking your glucose levels right after eating said food, and then quickly dropping glucose levels. On the other hand, consuming foods with a low GI value increase glucose levels slightly and tend to keep you fuller longer.

glycemic chart

A GI of 0-55 is low, 56-69 is medium, and 70-100 is high. Some examples of low GI foods are wholegrain bread, porridge, and oils. A few foods high in GI are baked goods, pasta, and rice. It is important to know your GI because it is a possible indication of your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Eating a low GI diet is linked with reduced chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, acne, obesity and even certain cancers. The following are a few ways you can lower your GI intake.

  • You should aim to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that aren’t starchy such as broccoli and asparagus
  • Try to consume soluble fibers like oats, barley, and chia seeds
  • Consume whole grains that aren’t processed like whole rolled oats
  • Eat balanced meals that are rich in good carbs, protein, and a little bit of good fat

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A Microalbumin urine test is used to detect very small amounts of albumin in urine. Albumin is a blood protein and is used to detect early signs of kidney damage.  This test is typically ordered by those that have chronic conditions that can adversely affect the kidneys:  diabetics (both Type 1 and Type 2) and those with high blood pressure.

kidney awareness Kidneys – Your Body’s Filter

When kidneys are functioning properly, they will filter the waste from your blood. Albumin is present in the blood and there is virtually no albumin present in urine.  If the kidneys stop functioning correctly due to disease, they lose their ability to filter properly and albumin will appear in the urine.  Having albumin protein in the urine reflects increasing kidney failure due to poor filtering capability and you should immediately discuss this with your physician.
Having albumin in the urine indicates issues with the kidney, but research shows that people are also at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

The National Kidney Foundation recommends that the microalbumin urine test should be taken each year for diabetics between the ages 12 and 70.  Additionally, the American Diabetes association advises that this test should be conducted annually for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

If any amounts of albumin are discovered in the urine:

  1. contact your physician
  2. re-test to verify detection of albumin

Those with hypertension should have a microalbumin test at regular intervals as recommended by their physician.
This test is offered by www.HealthOneLab.com by itself or as part of the diabetes test package which includes important tests for all diabetics:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The Comprehensive Health Profile has been our most ordered lab test for 30 years. The profile screens for cardiovascular risk, major organ function, anemia, diabetes, infection, blood disease, and other indications of illness. This is the blood test routinely ordered as part of an annual physical exam and it includes the components of a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel.

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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, Blood Sugar and Glycemic Index

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Your blood sugar has highs and lows throughout the day.  Typically, blood sugar increases after meals but will drop lower later on.  What you eat can lesson the intensity of the blood sugar swings.

Glycemic Index (GI)

The glycemic index is a tool to rate carbohydrate containing food by how much they boost the blood sugar in your body.  Many people who are diabetic use this tool to help keep their blood sugar under control and to keep the high peaks and low valleys in their blood sugar from affecting daily life.  Not only is a low glycemic diet good for moderating blood sugar but it has also been shown to reduce the risks for cancer, heart disease and other diseases.

low glycemic image resized 600

Carbohydrates and the Glycemic Index Values

There are many foods that contain carbohydrates which are basically made up of sugar molecules such as glucose and fructose.  There are other types of carbohydrates that are considered starches and can be found in potatoes, corn and wheat which are just chains of glucose.  When we think of food with carbohydrates we typically think of bread, pasta, cereals, beans, etc., but carbohydrates are in many foods.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is an indicator of how a carbohydrate containing food affects the blood sugar levels.  It is determined by how quickly the food type breaks down in the digestive system, releasing the sugar molecules.   The index measures how the food will boost your blood sugar as compared to digesting pure glucose.  For example, a slice of white bread has a glycemic index of 71 so it would increase your blood sugar as much as 71% as compared to 100% if you ingested pure glucose.  The higher the glycemic index the higher it can raise your blood sugar as would eating straight glucose.  Naturally, you want to keep the glycemic index of the food you eat in a lower range or you can add some fat or acid to offset the impact on your blood sugar. For instance, if you eat bread with olive oil or something acidic, like vinegar or lemon juice, can slow the conversion of starch to sugar, and so lower the glycemic index.

The internet has many charts that will provide the glycemic index of common foods and you should use this as a tool when eating or planning meals.

Low Glycemic Index for Diabetes and Other Health

A low glycemic index diet can help regulate blood sugar but there are other health benefits.  Since most low glycemic index foods are low in carbohydrates, are not processed, contain whole grains, and vegetables, it helps with other health issues.  Studies have shown that high glycemic index diets have been linked to increased risk of certain cancers:  prostate, colorectal, breast and pancreatic.  It has also has been linked to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

How to Incorporate the Glycemic Index in Your Diet

  1. Try to substitute high glycemic index food items with low glycemic index foods.
  2. Choose low glycemic index foods with values of 55 or less
  3. Eat low glycemic foods more frequently throughout the day to avoid blood sugar lows and highs

Some easy substitutes for common foods include:

Ditch the instant oatmeal and opt for slow cooked or steel cut oatmeal

Ditch the white rice and opt for brown rice

Ditch the white bread and opt for whole-grain bread

Ditch the corn and opt for lettuce, cooked greens or leafy vegetables

Recommendation

To see the long term impact of blood sugar levels, it is recommended to have your Hemoglobin A1c tested every three months.  The Hemoglobin A1c provides an average of your blood sugar control over a six to 12 week period and is used in conjunction with home blood sugar monitoring to make adjustments in your diabetes regimen.

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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.  Please visit www.HealthOneLabs.com for more information.


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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.

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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There is increasing awareness to conduct blood sugar testing or blood glucose testing in order to determine if you have diabetes.  There are two blood tests that are used in addition to an exam by your physician:

Fasting Glucose Blood Test : 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.

Hemoglobin A1C Blood Test : 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.

 

a1c screenshot resized 600

Most people who are diagnosed with diabetes experienced some degree of prediabetes:  their blood glucose values or A1c values were higher than normal but not high enough to be considered as diabetes.  Early action, including diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes, can positively affect your blood sugar levels.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is the inability to regulate blood sugar.  The hormone insulin moves glucose (sugar) for energy.  When the body cannot produce enough insulin, or the cells don’t use insulin effectively, then excess glucose remains in the blood stream. There is NO CURE for diabetes but it can be managed successfully by diet, exercise, prescribed medication, etc.  It’s important to avoid the complications of diabetes which is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, vision loss, kidney disease and other serious complications.

Myths about Diabetes (from American Diabetes Association)

Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.

Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.

Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people should limit their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes. Sugar-sweetened beverages include beverages like:

  • regular soda
  • fruit punch
  • fruit drinks
  • energy drinks
  • sports drinks
  • sweet tea
  • other sugary drinks.

These will raise blood glucose and can provide several hundred calories in just one serving!

See for yourself:

  • Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda has about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate. This is the same amount of carbohydrate in 10 teaspoons of sugar!
  • One cup of fruit punch and other sugary fruit drinks have about 100 calories (or more) and 30 grams of carbohydrate.

Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.

Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit. Diabetic and “dietetic” foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.

Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.

Fact: Starchy foods are part of a healthy meal plan. What is important is the portion size. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. The key is portions. For most people with diabetes, having 3-4 servings of carbohydrate-containing foods per meal is about right. Whole grain starchy foods are also a good source of fiber, which helps keep your gut healthy.

Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate.

Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more “off limits” to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions so you focus your meal on more healthful foods.

Myth: You can catch diabetes from someone else.

Fact: No. Although we don’t know exactly why some people develop diabetes, we know diabetes is not contagious. It can’t be caught like a cold or flu. There seems to be some genetic link in diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle factors also play a part.

Myth: People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.

Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. This is because any illness can make diabetes more difficult to control, and people with diabetes who do get the flu are more likely than others to go on to develop serious complications.

Myth: If you have type 2 diabetes and your doctor says you need to start using insulin, it means you’re failing to take care of your diabetes properly.

Fact: For most people, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. When first diagnosed, many people with type 2 diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with oral medications. But over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin, and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal. Using insulin to get blood glucose levels to a healthy level is a good thing, not a bad one.

Myth: Fruit is a healthy food. Therefore, it is ok to eat as much of it as you wish.

Fact: Fruit is a healthy food. It contains fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals. Because fruits contain carbohydrates, they need to be included in your meal plan. Talk to your dietitian about the amount, frequency and types of fruits you should eat.

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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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.
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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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.
Take control of your health.

* 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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