Thursday, 22 November 2012

Diabetes Myths and Facts - Medication

There is no such thing as "borderline diabetes" - myth or fact?

Fact - Either you have diabetes or you do not.  When you hear the word ‘borderline’, it is referring to a new term, called pre-diabetes.  This means that your blood sugars are higher than someone without diabetes but not as high as some one with diabetes.  You may not have any signs of high sugars, such as increased thirst and urination, but it is a warning sign. You can prevent the onset of diabetes by making lifestyle changes.

Starting insulin means you have failed to take care of your diabetes properly - myth or fact?

Myth - Needing insulin does not mean that you have failed to manage your diabetes.  If you have Type 2 diabetes and your blood sugars are slowly creeping up despite your best efforts, insulin may be the next step in treating your diabetes.

Since type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, over time, your pancreas is just not able to keep up with your body's need for insulin—no matter what you've done to manage your diabetes. If you have done your best to make healthy lifestyle changes and you are taking all your medications correctly and your blood sugars continue to increase, insulin is often the next logical step for treating diabetes. Eating right and regular exercise will continue to be important, but medication needs change over time.

Many people with type 2 diabetes eventually need treatment with insulin. The longer a person has type 2 diabetes, the more likely they will have to start insulin treatment at some point.  Recent research shows that starting insulin early or in a timely manner means that you are less likely to experience some of the complications associated with uncontrolled blood sugars.

Taking herbal products from a Naturopath is okay since it is a natural product - myth or fact?

Myth - About 30% of people with diabetes will try some type of natural products to help manage their diabetes.  Natural does not mean that they are safe.  Many products have resulted in side effects and drug interactions.  This is because they have not been studied or have limited clinical trial data to support their safety.  Some that have been studied were found to contain contaminants.  If you are planning to take a herbal remedy, make sure you check with your pharmacist or your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to take in combination with your prescribed medications.

Nandini Desai is a Registered Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Educator at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.

For more information on diabetes, please visit the Canadian Diabetes Association website.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Exercise and Diabetes - Myths and Facts

Increased activity results in significant weight loss – myth or fact?
Myth - It takes a lot of energy to burn calories, a lot more than most people think.  If there are medical or chronic conditions (such as diabetes) that affect endurance, mobility and/or strength, it is not likely the activity will be done at a high intensity. 
There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat; in order to burn 3500 calories, it would take most people hours of activity at a high level of intensity to lose 1 pound. 
For the average person who is beginning a walking routine, changing your physical activity level without reducing or changing your caloric intake will not result in weight loss.  There will be health benefits gained through increased activity regardless of any weight loss. 
You have to do a significant amount of activity to achieve health benefits – myth or fact?
Myth - Achieving health benefits through increased activity can be done with as little as 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise. This can include anything from walking to cross country skiing to swimming.  That works out to 30 minutes a day, 5 days of the week.  These benefits can also be achieved with 10 minute bouts of activity, done three times throughout the day adding up to the 30 minutes.  We have many opportunities during the day to get that activity in! The next time you have coffee break at work, go for a quick 10 minute walk. 
Physical activity means participating in a structured exercise program at a fitness facility – myth or fact?
Myth - Being more active or increasing your physical activity does not mean having to go to a gym or doing a structured exercise routine.  It can be anything from walking to dancing in the living room to going for a bike ride. Even walking on the spot is activity and it all counts.
Walking is a great way to increase activity. It is free, easily accessible and most people can tolerate walking for even a short distance.  Of course if there are issues with the lower extremities that limit walking perhaps riding a stationary bike or water activities might be a better choice.  The trick is to find an activity that can be tolerated and is somewhat enjoyable to do. Many people find that a distraction while doing the activity is a good strategy to get through the activity. Try watching a favourite sitcom or listening to music while walking on the treadmill.  
Corinne Cutler is an Exercise Specialist at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network
For more information on diabetes, please see the Canadian Diabetes Association webpage.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

World Diabetes Day

November 14 marks World Diabetes Day, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting (November 14, 1891), a Canadian medical scientist, co-discoverer of insulin and co-founder of what is today known as the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions around the world and here in Canada. Today, more than nine million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes – a condition that, if left unchecked, puts them at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Globally, more than 366 million people are affected by diabetes.

For more information, please see the Canadian Diabetes Website.

The Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network has a team of healthcare professionals that help people living with various chronic conditions such as diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. A smoking cessation program is also offered. Our team, which includes a Registered Nurse, Pharmacist, Dietitian and an Exercise Specialist, work with patients to help them learn strategies to improve their ability to manage their health. To access this program, please see your LBD PCN family physician.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Healthy Eating for Diabetes: Myths and Facts

1. People with diabetes should only eat a special “Diabetes Diet”. Myth or Fact?

Myth - For people with diabetes, healthy eating is no different than healthy eating for anyone else.  We do know that when we make healthy food choices (watching portion sizes, eating fruits and vegetables, limiting high fat and high added sugar foods) we can better manage diabetes.  We also know that engaging in an overall healthy lifestyle behaviour including physical activity, not smoking, limiting alcohol and managing stress also play a very important role in managing diabetes.

2. People with diabetes should not eat carbohydrates. Myth or Fact?

Myth- Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in food, providing us with many important nutrients to stay healthy.  People often think of carbohydrates as just bread or potatoes however, carbohydrates are found in all the food groups; milk, yogurt, fruit, vegetables, cereals, breads, rice, pasta, beans and lentils, which are all part of a balanced diet.  Because carbohydrates have the biggest effect on blood sugars, it is important to spread them out over the day and to be mindful of your portion sizes.

3. People with diabetes should not eat bananas or grapes. Myth or Fact?

Myth - Any foods in moderation can be part of a well-balanced diet.  Fruits and vegetables are a very important part of healthy eating and should not be eliminated.  Keep in mind that often once we hear “diabetes” we feel that we need to change everything in our diet.  However, while you may be motivated to make many changes all at once, we recommend starting with small changes to your lifestyle to result in big change in your health over time.

Please refer to these interactive web series on Small Changes for Healthy Living:

Healthy Living Series

Dietitians of Canada

Andrea Lewis is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Diabetes Myths and Facts

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Check out these common diabetes myths and facts:

1. Diabetes is a chronic condition   - Myth or Fact

Fact – Diabetes is a chronic condition – meaning that you have it for a lifetime.  It can have serious complications or consequences if blood glucose is not controlled.  It requires regular monitoring, to ensure that blood glucose stays at target levels.  There is no cure for diabetes.  Talk to your doctor or your SMILE team for assistance, if you are unsure.

2. People with diabetes can “feel” when their blood sugar levels are high or low without testing – Myth or Fact

Myth - There  is no way to know what your blood sugar level is at any time unless you measure it with a blood glucose meter.  Often, there are no symptoms of high blood sugars at all.  Many people see their doctor for a routine checkup and find out that they have diabetes.  If you are concerned speak to your doctor to see if you are diabetic.

3. Stress causes diabetes – Myth or Fact

Myth - Diabetes is not caused by increased stress.  But we do know that stress can lead to an earlier onset of diabetes.  Stress can cause the body to release cortisol that may lead to increased weight gain – which may be a risk factor for diabetes.

For more information, please visit the Canadian Diabetes Association website.