What is asthma?

Just what is asthma?

As many as nine million children in America below the age of eighteen have asthma. Another seven to eight million adults suffer from asthma too. Around the world, many times those numbers are afflicted with the disease, although estimates vary widely. So just what is asthma?

Asthma is an inflammatory disease affecting the airways of the lungs. It is a chronic illness, meaning that it tends to persist over long periods of time. The inflammation has the effect of narrowing the airways, which causes breathing difficulties. The patient may start wheezing and may gasp for breath in some cases.

Asthma charactaristics

One of the characteristics of asthma is that the airway obstruction generally goes away on its own or else responds well to various types of medication. However, acute asthma attacks have also been fatal on occasion.

The airways in the lungs consist of the bronchi (or ‘breathing tubes’) and the bronchioles. In an asthma patient, they are hypersensitive to one or more kinds of stimuli. For example, they may be hypersensitive to pollutants, pollen, animal dander, cold air, dust mites or even internal triggers like anxiety and stress.

In non-asthmatic people, these stimuli do not usually produce an adverse effect on the lungs. However in an asthmatic, the muscle tissues that line the walls of the bronchi start to spasm when exposed to these triggers. Also, the cells along the airways swell to more than their normal size and discharge mucus. These responses have the effect of narrowing the bronchi, a phenomenon called bronchoconstriction.

The net effect of bronchoconstriction is that the patient must make a much greater effort to breathe normally. This gives rise to the symptoms of asthma.

The cells that line the walls of the bronchi are called mast cells. These cells release groups of substances called histamines and leukotrienes. Both these chemical groups cause mucus to form and also cause the bronchi to contract.

Histamines and leukotrienes are released in response to allergens – quite often, with a delay after the initial exposure to the allergens. These allergic responses can result in an asthma attack. At the same time, many asthma patients do not exhibit allergic reactions and yet have asthma attacks.

Asthma usually (but not always) begins during childhood or adolescence. Childhood asthma is thought to occur when a child becomes hypersensitive to substances in the environment as a result of genetic reasons. Such children are known as atopic persons.

Researchers in Finland have identified two genes that may predispose people to become atopic. This is significant because it may help identify children who have a greater chance of developing asthma.

It is estimated that one third to one half of the population may be atopic. When such people are exposed to potential allergens in their environments, their systems respond by producing an antibody to capture and destroy these foreign substances. The effect of this response is that the airways become sensitive to these allergens. Repeated or continued exposure to these substances can produce an asthmatic response.

Since allergens are a common cause of the bronchoconstriction that leads to an asthma attack, minimizing exposure to such substances is a crucial step in managing asthma.

In asthma patients, inflammation of the nose lining – a condition called rhinitis – can worsen asthma symptoms. So can sinusitis and even acid reflux, which is a condition when acidic stomach contents back up into the esophagus. Other illnesses like viral infections that affect the respiratory tract can set off or worsen asthma attacks.

Severe asthma episodes are easy to spot because of wheezing and other symptoms. But some attacks may be quite mild and the patient may only experience moderate difficulty in breathing. In such cases, listening to chest sounds using a stethoscope can help identify the presence of an asthmatic condition.

The good thing about asthma is that even in the case of severe attacks, the patient will almost always recover completely.

Check out the other pages of this site for information on symptoms, treatment, disease types and in general, additional information in answer to the question “What is asthma?”

Do you know what to do when someone has an asthma attack?

An asthma attack can be scary to watch. Your best friend may have come over to your house and you are enjoying a conversation with her. All of a sudden, she bends over and starts gasping for breath. Then she falls to the ground and looks completely panic-stricken while struggling for breath.

That is one of the many possible faces of asthma attacks. How should you tackle this situation?

An asthma attack can possibly be life-threatening. Knowing how to handle it is critical.

Dealing with an asthma attack

Here is a broad outline of what you can do if you suspect someone is having an asthma attack or if that person tells you she is having one.

  • First things first – stay calm. Watching someone having an asthma attack is frightening for you. But it is even more frightening for the person who is having the attack. If you act agitated, you will induce more fear and panic in the victim. This will act to worsen their condition.

    When you remain calm, you reassure them that you have a certain amount of control over the situation and that you will be in a position to help them. That gives them confidence and they will find it easier to let you know what must be done. Which brings up the next point.

  • Ask them what must be done. Most people who have an asthma attack are not in that situation for the first time. They know that they have an asthma problem and their doctor has very likely prescribed a plan to tackle asthma attacks. So they know precisely what must be done.

    Ask them if they have an inhaler and where they have kept it. If they don’t have an inhaler, ask if anyone else around has an inhaler. Also ask the victim if they want you to call for help.

    If that person is having a severe asthma attack, she may not be in a position to talk. That is why many asthma patients carry a written instruction card with them at all times. In fact, they may have kept an instruction card with their inhaler. If you find such a card, just follow the instructions.

  • Get the patient into a sitting position. She will find better relief from asthma symptoms while in a sitting position than while lying down. Also, she needs to take medication, which is easier to do in a sitting position.

  • Assist the person in using the inhaler. Delivering medication by way of an inhaler is the single most important thing to do to tackle an asthma attack.

    An inhaler is a small, portable device that is used to deliver a preset quantity of medication. This medication helps to relax the patient’s airways and makes breathing easier. In case the patient does not have an inhaler with her, it is usually acceptable to use someone else’s inhaler, because medication is critical.

    Here is how to use an inhaler. Basically, you need to deliver two to four puffs of medication using the inhaler and then wait for five minutes before delivering another round.

    The mouthpiece of the inhaler should be positioned between the person’s lips. The medication is delivered when you depress the plunger on the inhaler. Before you do so, let the person know that you are about to do so; that way, she can get ready to inhale the medication.

    After you deliver a puff, wait for several seconds before giving another. The patient should be ready to inhale another puff when you deliver it.

    During an acute asthma attack, the patient may find it difficult to inhale the entire medication at once. In such cases, use a spacer, which is a tube that sits between the inhaler and the mouth. The medication is puffed into the spacer and the patient can then inhale it over the course of several breaths instead of in one single breath. If a spacer is not available, just roll up a piece of paper to create a hollow tube to act as a spacer.

  • Next, observe the patient. Once you give the prescribed dose of medication, it should take effect in about five to ten minutes. See if the patient is finding it easier to breathe within that timeframe. Continue to remain calm and talk to them normally.

  • If the asthma attack does not subside within ten minutes at most, call for help. While waiting for help to arrive, continue to give about four puffs of medication every five minutes. Medication will help keep symptoms from deteriorating. This is true even in cases it does not seem to be helping the patient.

Those are basic steps in helping someone cope with an asthma attack. Keep them in mind and you may be able to help someone having an acute attack.

Are you aware of these common asthma symptoms?

Did you know that many cases of asthma worldwide go undiagnosed? Large numbers of people do not realize that they have the disease. Such people are said to have ‘hidden asthma’. In that context, it is important to be aware of asthma symptoms because you can then seek medical attention promptly if you suspect you have this health condition.

Undiagnosed cases of asthma can be a health risk because in addition to developing asthma symptoms, such people are considerably more likely to have illnesses like chronic bronchitis, pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

Apart from that, people with hidden asthma may have lowered immunities, experience fatigue more often and have impaired sleep. They are more likely to have severe colds as well. All of these can result in poor health and a greater tendency to fall victim to a variety of illnesses.

You can see why it is important to recognize common asthma symptoms. If you have any of the following symptoms, your doctor will use several diagnostic methods to either confirm or deny the presence of asthma. Most importantly, he can prescribe the right treatment plan so that asthma episodes are minimized and any attacks that do occur can be dealt with appropriately.

Let’s take a look at common asthma symptoms

Coughing tops the list. You need to pay attention to coughs that appear even without any other disease or infection. This is particularly true of chronic coughs that occur during the night.

Asthma related coughs are usually not productive. This is because unlike normal coughs which are generated by the necessity to get rid of mucus, asthma coughs are the result of inflamed or irritated airways.

Although asthma may exhibit many different symptoms, coughing is the most common sign that occurs by itself, without the presence of other symptoms. Cough-variant asthma is diagnosed using special tests that try to stimulate reactions by making use of histamines.

Fortunately, cough-variant asthma usually responds very well to a combination of corticosteroids (inhaled) and bronchodilators.

Asthma attacks are often accompanied by wheezing – another common symptom. However, if a person has mild asthma that is chronic in nature, wheezing may not be present as a telltale asthma symptom.

The point of the breathing cycle at which wheezing occurs indicates the severity of the person’s asthma. If the wheezing occurs only towards the end of an outgoing breath, it may indicate a mild asthma episode. Wheezing that occurs throughout exhalation is a symptom of a moderate asthma attack.

And if wheezing is present both while inhaling and while exhaling, it means the person is having a severe attack of asthma. In such cases, medication often relieves symptoms. However, if it does not within say ten minutes at most, then urgent medical help should be sought.

Shortness of breath is one of the major asthma symptoms. If you feel short of breath after even very mild exertion, it may be a sign of asthma. Exercise induced asthma is a common type of asthma. However, a doctor will need to carefully evaluate this to make sure it really is a sign of asthma because in many cases, it is not.

For instance, one study found that 60% of all children tested apparently had exercise induced asthma. However, a more detailed investigation showed that this was not true – the children simply had exaggerated expectations of how much they should be able to exert themselves before they get out of breath.

Being aware of asthma symptoms can help you diagnose and control the disease early. In some situations, it may even help save a life.

Effective asthma treatment depends on what you do

Asthma treatment isn’t just about medication. While your doctor has a critical role to play, he can’t take care of the problem on his own. Asthma management is about managing your life and environment well.

The doctor will prescribe preventive as well as emergency relief medication. Both are important. However, asthma treatment also depends on reducing the chances of having an attack in the first place. You and your family have a key role here. You can keep asthma from degrading the quality of your life if you adopt sensible self help techniques.

It turns out that there are several different things you can do to reduce the number of attacks and the severity of those attacks. Your doctor can create a personalized action plan for you. A lot of asthma treatment and management revolves around avoiding asthma triggers.

Here are several ways you can manage asthma better

  • The most important asthma treatment step is to follow the doctor’s orders precisely. In particular, this means taking the preventive medication as per the schedule drawn up by him. Unfortunately, many asthma patients quit taking preventive medication when they feel better. This ultimately results in more asthma attacks. Likewise, if your doctor has asked you to measure peak flow every day, make sure you do that so that he can monitor your condition.

  • Pet dander is a common asthma trigger. If possible, avoid keeping any pets in the house. If that is impractical, at least keep pets out of the bedroom.
  • Dust is another cause of asthma attacks. Keep your home as dust free as possible. Use cylinder vacuums, especially ones where the cleaner bag is enclosed inside a canister. This will prevent dust from being blown back into the air.
  • Dust control doesn’t mean just vacuuming or dusting your home regularly. You need to create an environment where dust – and dust mites – can’t accumulate. If possible, avoid carpeting and heavy draperies throughout the house. At the minimum, avoid using them in the bedroom. And regularly vacuum the ones you do have in the house.
  • Get rid of stuffed animals and other similar decorations. The same goes for down feather pillows, comforters, etc. Use mite-proof plastic covers on mattresses, because mattresses are breeding grounds for dust mites.
  • Quit smoking, if you are a smoker. Cigarette smoke can easily trigger asthma attacks. If anyone else in the family smokes, they should avoid smoking in the house, since secondary smoke can lead to asthma too.
  • Some foods and drinks can set off allergies and asthma attacks, as can some medications. Remain aware of what foods and drugs do not suit you and be sure to stay away from them.
  • Prevent mould growth because of its linkage to asthma. Don’t keep plants in the house, since mould can grow in the soil. Wet laundry should not be kept for long and should be dried immediately. Bathrooms should be disinfected and thoroughly washed frequently.
  • If your asthma symptoms are set off by airborne allergens, monitor air quality on a daily basis. Pollen season can be particularly tricky and you should avoid woods and open fields during the season. If cold air acts as a trigger, it may help to cover your nose and mouth with a scarf during cold weather.

As you can see, a large part of effective asthma treatment depends on you. Follow the prevention plan prescribed by your doctor and you should see significant reduction in asthma attacks.

Essentials of asthma medication

Broadly speaking, asthma medication is of two types: relief medication and preventive medication. The former is used to provide relief from distressing asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, etc. The latter is meant to prevent asthma attacks or at least, reduce their frequency and severity.

Relief medication

In most cases, bronchodilators are used to achieve quick results in providing symptomatic relief. It is usually delivered through inhalers. Inhalers are pocket-sized devices called metered-dose inhalers or MDIs.

An inhaler delivers a specific dose of medication when a pump attached to it is depressed. Of course, the medication has to be inhaled as soon as it is dispensed from the device, or else it will disperse in the air. That means the patient must breathe in the asthma medication as soon as the pump on the inhaler is pressed. Further, they must hold their breath in for a few seconds so that the medication can take effect in the airways.

In cases where the patient has difficulty inhaling the entire medication as soon as it is released, using a spacer can help. A spacer mixes the medication with air and allows the patient to inhale the drug in smaller quantities.

Bronchodilators relax the smooth muscles around the airways and thus help the air flow easily. In general, asthmatics have more difficulty breathing out than breathing in; bronchodilators make it easier to breathe out.

Asthma medication used to provide symptomatic relief include terbutaline, levalbuterol, bitolterol and salbutamol, among others.

Tremors used to be a widely observed side effect produced by preventive asthma medication. This was so when the medication was either injected or taken orally. Tremors have greatly reduced now that medication is delivered by inhalation most of the time. Inhaled medication acts directly on the lungs – injected or oral medication spreads throughout the body and is not limited to the lungs.

Preventive asthma medication

If the asthma symptoms are severe or if they occur frequently – say, more than twice a week – doctors usually recommend taking preventive medication.

Preventive drugs are important both because they help avoid asthma attacks and also because they help avoid overuse of relief medication. Minimizing use of relief drugs is important because overuse produces several side effects.

If asthma symptoms continue despite use of preventive drugs, the doctor may prescribe additional preventive medication to get rid of symptoms completely.

One of the problems concerning preventive drug use is that patients often stop taking medication when they are symptom-free for a short while. This often results in additional attacks and no real long term benefit.

Like relief medication, preventive drugs are also inhaled. A class of drugs called glucocorticoids is the most commonly used asthma medication for attack prevention. Some of the common drugs used include beclomethasone, ciclesonide, fluticasone and budesonide.

Mast cell stabilizers are also used as preventives. They include nedocromil and cromoglicate. Leukotriene modifiers like zafirlukast, montelukast and pranlukast are used as well.

Asthma may be triggered by allergic reactions. Therefore antihistamines are prescribed by doctors to prevent attacks in some cases. In case of severe allergies, so-called allergy shots, or hyposensitisation may be recommended.

There is a wide range of effective asthma medication available today. Your doctor will be able to prescribe a combination that’s right for your condition.

Diabetes Facts and Information

What is Diabetes? It is one of the fastest growing diseases in the world today, but particularly in North America. Here are some facts for you: in this continent, we have access to so many different sweets and fast foods that it’s really no surprise how many people have contracted the disease.

Facts on the different types of Diabetes.

Diabetes is caused by a group of metabolic diseases represented by high blood sugar levels. These diseases are a result of defects in the body’s insulin secretion. It is a life-long medical condition, but it can be treated and controlled.

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 Diabetes is also commonly known as Juvenile Diabetes, and it is caused when the pancreas, which regulates the secretion of insulin, is attacked by body. The pancreas is then unable to create insulin, and the body must depend on outside insulin medication to live.

Type 2 can be genetic, and it can also be caused by eating too much of the wrong foods. Type 2 Diabetes used to be found mainly in adults over thirty years if age, but because of the growing number of children exposed to high fat fast foods and sweets, Type 2 Diabetes has actually become more prevalent in children than in adults!

Symptoms of Diabetes

The symptoms of both types are the same. These symptoms can include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and blurred vision. However, not all of these symptoms alone can mean that you have Diabetes. So don’t panic f you’ve been dizzy lately – it may be something much simpler than Diabetes! There is never any harm in getting checked out by a doctor though, and if you do have quite a few of these symptoms, remember, it is better to get tested and find that you don’t have the disease than to brush it off and regret it later on. So in conclusion what is diabetes? It is a serious disease that should always be taken seriously.

What are the causes of diabetes?

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 or childhood , and type 2 or adult onset. Both forms are the result of the pancreas not producing enough insulin to balance blood sugar levels and to keep them consistent. However, the cause of diabetes in children is different from the cause in adults. Childhood diabetes is a genetic condition while in the adult it is caused by obesity, overeating and lack of exercise.

Importance of blood sugar levels

With both forms of diabetes it is very important for individuals to be hyper-aware of their blood sugar levels. This can be done with testing strips and blood tests, but it can also be felt by an experienced diabetic. Although neither childhood nor adult diabetes can be fully cured, both types of diabetes can be controlled with a strictly controlled diet and insulin products.

Cause of childhood diabetes

The two types of diabetes are not treated the same way, the cause of diabetes in children is that the pancreas stops producing insulin producing beta cells. When these beta cells are no longer produced, then insulin is no longer produced and the body has a very difficult time maintaining even blood sugar levels. Adult diabetes is caused by a combination of the insulin producing beta cells slowing their production of insulin and by insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when the insulin receptors in the cells stop being receptive to insulin. However, this happens very early in the onset and can be counteracted with therapy. If the condition is allowed to worsen, the insulin receptors become permanently resistant and it usually becomes necessary to treat the disease with doses of insulin products.

Both childhood and adult diabetes are very dangerous to the people who are affected by them. However, while they are dangerous they are easily managed by modern medicine and constant vigilance.

Diagnosing Diabetes Symptoms

The reason that so many people with diabetes go undiagnosed is that the symptoms usually seem quite harmless. Most of the diabetes symptoms can be attributed to other less serious problems, so most people don’t seek care upon encountering them. However, it has been proven that early detection of the illness can lessen its effects in the long run.

Therefore, it is important for everyone to know and understand the symptoms of this illness. One of the most common is frequent urination. Although this could in fact be harmless, it is one of leading indicators of diabetes. A few of the other most common symptoms are excessive hunger and thirst. If you notice that you are crazing food or liquids much more than ever before, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

One of the less common symptoms includes excessive weight loss. If you have noticed that your weight has dropped significantly, this could be a sign of diabetes. If you cannot properly attribute the reason for your weight loss, it could signify a problem. This can also be a symptom for a number of other illnesses, so it is important to get checked out.

Common Symptoms of diabetes

Another fairly common side effect is increased fatigue. This does not mean just not being able to wake up to the alarm in the morning. If you have noticed that no matter how much sleep you get, you are tired all day, you should visit your doctor.

Irritability is another one of the many diabetes symptoms. If you have noticed that you are getting upset over relatively small things, then you should probably visit your doctor. If you are increasingly irritable and have any one of these other symptoms it is important to see your physician immediately. The key to beating it is discovering it early, so get involved in your own health.

Diabetes Prevention

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” We have all heard this old adage a few times, and it is certainly true – especially when it comes to Type 2 Diabetes. Unfortunately, Type 1, (also known as Juvenile Diabetes) is not preventable because it is either genetic or it is a defect in the pancreas.

With the ever growing market of fast foods and high-fat, high-salt and high-sugar foods in North America today, it can seem impossible to prevent Diabetes, but it is possible. All it really takes is a healthier lifestyle and regular exercise to prevent the condition. If you already have Diabetes, following these rules can certainly prevent the disease from getting worse than it already is.

Preventing Diabetes by reducing obesity

Sometimes Type 2 Diabetes cannot be preventable because the pancreas stops producing enough insulin, but Type 2 is not quite as serious as Type 1 because there is usually no need for outside insulin injections. However, even though these varieties of Type 2 Diabetes isn’t necessarily preventable, but if you are still able to follow a healthier lifestyle and a regular exercise routine, you should be able to keep your Diabetes to a bare minimum.

Doctors, Scientists and Nutritionists all agree that obesity is one of the main causes of Type 2 Diabetes in North America to date. If you are obese, it would be best to consult you doctor about it and try your best to follow a healthy diet so as to reduce the risk of contracting Type 2. It is always so sad to hear that a friend or family member discovers that they have the condition when it could have been prevented all along. Don’t run the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There is no cure for Diabetes of any type, so prevention of any kind is worth its weight in gold.

Diabetes Management

For those who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, injecting themselves with doses of insulin is considered to be a daily routine. For those who have just recently become diagnosed with diabetes, the thought of constantly injecting yourself with a needle everyday may sound a bit intimidating. But rest assured, by using diabetes management for your insulin injections, this will help to make the entire process a lot less painful and a lot less fearful.

Diabetes Management Routine

As part of your diabetes management routine, you need to inject yourself with insulin multiple times per day. Insulin injection is considered to be less painful than pricking your finger to test your blood/sugar levels with a lancet device. By understanding the proper way to inject yourself with insulin, this will cause far more effectiveness and a lot less pain in the long run.

Insulin is considered to be less painful if you decide to inject it into the upper arm or abdomen area of your body. The insulin is absorbed faster in these areas. It’s often a good idea to rotate your areas of injections. If you do want to inject yourself in the same area as before, a good measure would be to inject yourself approximately one inch away from the previous injection area.

Once you have your insulin supplies together, keep in mind that you will not need to use an alcoholic swab for the injection. This in fact makes it more painful. It is very important that you wash your hands thoroughly and keep the area of injection clean before you inoculate yourself with insulin.

After you have washed your hands and cleaned your injection area, pinch your injection area with one hand and using other hand, hold the syringe as if it were a pencil and inject the needle into your skin at a 90 degree angle. Take your time and push down slowly on the injector to inoculate yourself with the insulin injection. Take the needle out and be sure to dispose of it in your sharps container.

What are diabetes test strips?

Diabetes test strips are an integral part of blood testing for diabetics. There are electronic test strips and regular test strips which require a sort of chemistry kit. Electronic diabetes test strips automatically test the blood and immediately give a number that refers to blood sugar level. Electronic test strips are much more convenient since they require significantly less blood than the older type of test strips and there is much less room for error since there is no need for chemistry. Moreover, many digital diabetes test strips allow the user to store their results so they can observe trends in their blood sugar levels. Additionally, they are able to share these numbers with their doctors. This is important since it allows individuals to understand more about their condition so that they might more efficiently manage the condition.

Testing blood sugar levels using test strips

It is important for diabetics to be able to test their blood sugar levels with diabetes test strips because they need to be able to monitor their blood sugar levels. This is necessary because if a diabetic person’s blood sugar gets too high or too low they get very ill and can fall into a coma. By being able to know their blood sugar levels diabetics are able to determine when they have to take their insulin supplements, and how much they have to take. Without knowing what their current blood sugar level is they would be unable to know exactly how much insulin to take.

Diabetes test strips have become increasingly more technologically advanced. These advancements have made them more accurate while requiring less blood. While test strips still require a small sample of blood, it is likely that the amount of blood required for an accurate reading will become even less as this technology becomes more advanced.

The Most Effective Diabetes Treatments

Anyone who suffers from diabetes knows the importance of monitoring their blood sugar levels. This is the most important aspect of diabetes treatment. The goal of this process is to ensure that the levels of blood sugar never rise dramatically and remain in the ‘safe zone’. It is also important to ensure that there is never a very low level of blood sugar.

Effective treatment using insulin

Insulin has also been a very effective treatment for the illness. It was discovered in the 1920’s and has since given sufferer’s a new lease on life. However, the treatment options for people with diabetes depend on the particular case. Some people who suffer from type 1 diabetes will be treated with a combination of insulin, exercise and a proper diet. However, people with type 2 diabetes will first be treated with a weight loss program, followed by a proper diet and nutrition.

If these methods are not enough to keep a regular blood sugar level, there are other treatments that are considered. Pills are usually the first step as they can help control the levels in a diabetic patient. If oral medication is not sufficient, insulin is usually the next approach.

Diet is the most important part to an effective diabetes treatment. It is very important that anyone with the illness adheres to this diet because it is the most important part of ensuring a proper blood sugar level. Fat, cholesterol and sugar should be avoided as part of a proper diabetic diet.

If you are one of the many people that absolutely must have a sugary treat now and then, you should do so within reason. It is okay to have one sugary item once a week, as long as your levels have been consistently balanced. However, you should only have a small portion. Fruits and vegetables are another important feature of the diabetic diet.

Using Diabetes medication

When you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you must manage your blood glucose levels. This can be achieved by eating a properly planned meal, losing weight and exercising regularly. Unfortunately, these solutions may not bring down your blood glucose levels. In order for your blood glucose levels to lower, you will require the need for diabetes medication.

Types of diabetes medication

Diabetes medication ranges from oral pills to insulin shots. If you are suffering from the effects of type 1, you will require an insulin injection. Those who suffer from diabetes type 2 can produce reduced rates of insulin, but may require oral pills or insulin shots, or even both to help boost the rate of insulin through their body to uptake the level of blood glucose.

For those with type 2 diabetes who take the oral medication, the medicine itself works to fight the effects of hypoglycemia by producing insulin through the body. After the insulin becomes produced, it works to reduce the level of glucose within the blood.

For those with type 1 diabetes, insulin inoculations are necessary as they’re body simply cannot produce insulin to combat the hypoglycemia. You will require an injection to get insulin pumping through your body to help lower the levels of blood glucose.

Diabetes is currently the third largest cause of death within North America and affects over 18 million people. And 15 million of those people may not even realize that they have the disease. If you have been diagnosed, it’s very important to remember that you will be going through a change of lifestyle. Eating properly, exercising regularly and losing weight will help to manage your glucose level, but in order to bring those levels down, your medication is an essential requirement in controlling the diabetes disease.

Medicinal herbs for diabetes

Diabetes is usually treated with insulin; however there are several medicinal herbs that can be used to supplement insulin and diets and be used as alternatives. Medicinal herbs for diabetes help because they are a healthy solution. Herbs are beneficial because they are non-invasive. They are a healthy way for dealing with diabetes without having to resort to drugs and without having to be quite diligent about dietary habits.

Plants used in the fight against diabetes

Diabetes has afflicted humans for thousands of years, and before we figured out how to use insulin to treat the disease, it was treated with herbs. Many different types of plants exist which can either raise or lower a person’s blood sugar level. Examples of some of these plants are bitter melon, onions and even garlic. Some more exotic examples are Asian ginseng, bilberry, and gingko. The benefits of herbs for diabetes are many.

Most herbs for diabetes are taken orally. Some are made into teas; others are simply swallowed in their extract forms. While they may not taste very good, they are very effective for managing diabetes. Diabetes is not a curable disease, but it is treatable. Common treatments for diabetes include careful dieting, insulin treatments and herbal remedies. Many of the herbs for diabetes also serve as liver tonics also, so when you are taking your treatments for diabetes, you are also assisting your liver. In fact, most of the herbs that are useful for helping with blood sugar levels have other effects as well. For instance, garlic and onions are also useful for lowering lipid levels, while blueberry leaves help with to reinforce the capillaries.

Herbs are useful for both childhood diabetes and adult diabetes. However, while particular herbs are good for managing blood sugar levels, there are some that are dangerous for young children and should not be used as a diabetes alternative medicine. For example, herbs such as bitter melon are very useful for lowering blood sugar. However, they can be very harmful to young children and can give them intense diarrhea.

The Most Effective Diabetes Care

Diabetes has been around for centuries but the advancements in diabetes care are making it a much more tolerable illness. There are a variety of ways that this has been accomplished but the discovery of insulin in the 1920’s was the biggest development. Insulin has led to an increase in the quality of life for thousands of sufferer’s.

Effective diabetes care

Pill’s specifically engineered for diabetes appeared in the 1950’s which also contributed to the fight against this illness. The latest development in treatment has been glucose monitoring equipment. This latest discovery has made it possible for people with diabetes to care for themselves without the aid of a doctor’s office. There are also active lifestyle changes that can attribute to keeping this illness under control.

If you suffer from diabetes, one of the most important things to remember is to test your blood glucose levels regularly. This is the most accurate way to find out if your diet and fitness level is enough to keep your body going. With the results from the test, you will be able to judge how your current levels of care are working and make adjustments. You will be able to tell if you are missing something in your diet or are simply not getting enough exercise.

You doctor should be able to recommend a good range for your blood glucose level to be at. When you are out of this range, you will instantly know that there are changes to be made. At first you may want to consult with your doctor to interpret the changes but you will soon become familiar with what the test signifies. However, it is important to check your levels regularly in order to catch any possible problems that may arise. The blood glucose test will allow you to take your diabetes care into your own hands.

Pregnancy and diabetes

There are only two main types of Diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. However, there is also a smaller, less commonly known type of Diabetes called Gestational Diabetes, and this type can appear in pregnant women. However, Gestational Diabetes usually leaves the body after the baby has been born.

Around 4 percent of pregnant women have Gestational Diabetes, and it is caused when the woman’s blood sugar levels get too high during pregnancy. It starts when the body isn’t producing enough insulin anymore, and a pregnant woman can need up to three times more insulin than usual during pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes usually starts to affect the mother during the last part of the pregnancy, when the baby is already developed. While the baby is still growing, it will not be born with any birth defects.

However, if Gestational Diabetes is not treated or looked after properly, this disease can hurt your baby by causing it to become obese, even in the womb! This can cause damage to the baby’s shoulders during birth as well.

Fortunately, this temporary disease is very treatable. Treatments are usually keeping the blood sugar down, healthy eating plans, and regular exercise. Unfortunately, two out of three women will have Gestational Diabetes return during future pregnancies, and many women will go on to develop Type 2 Diabetes after pregnancy. It is unknown right now whether this is a result of Gestational Diabetes, or if the Type 2 Diabetes had started during pregnancy.

If you are a pregnant woman with Diabetes, it doesn’t have to be a scary process. Just see your doctor regularly, listen to his or her instructions carefully, and take good care of yourself. Diabetes doesn’t necessarily have to be harmful to you or your baby. As long as you do things right, you do not have to worry.

Symptoms of Adult Diabetes

Adult diabetes, or type 2 diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes in the United States. Type 2 diabetes account for over 90% of diabetes cases. With this type of diabetes, the pancreas stops making enough insulin to balance the body’s blood sugar levels. Recently, adult diabetes has been becoming more and more of an issue in the United States. This has largely been attributed to obesity and lack of exercise.

Adult diabetes type 2 symptoms

The most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes are excessive urination, slow rate of healing, fatigue and increased appetite and thirst. If you think that you have developed diabetes it is imperative that you see a doctor immediately. The most common way to diagnose diabetes is with a blood test.

While there is no cure for diabetes, there are many ways for managing the condition. While insulin injections are unavoidable for many diabetics, there are many ways to manage the disease with diet alone. Diabetics have to be very aware of their blood sugar levels and any food or drink that significantly spikes blood sugar is to be avoided. In effect, any food or drinks with high levels of sugar are to be avoided. It is important to recognize that even some foods or drinks that do not necessarily have sugar in them may have chemicals that the body turns into glucose. Alcohol is the best example of this, because the body processes alcohol into sugar.

While it is important to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels, it is also necessary to avoid drops in blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is very important that people with adult diabetes have access to frequent meals and snacks. For many people who develop the condition as an adult, it is imperative that they learn to remember to eat snacks throughout the day in between meals to make sure their blood sugar levels remain consistent.

Children and Diabetes

The words “children and Diabetes” really shouldn’t be able to be linked together. Unfortunately, however, the number of children who have this disease has grown quite a bit in the last few years, causing scientists, doctors and nutritionists to quite a bit of alarm. One of the reasons for this alarm is because it is Type 2 that has grown so rapidly in children.

Type 2 diabetes used to be only found in adults, but for the last few years, it has overtaken Type 1 diabetes (also known as Juvenile Diabetes) and left it far behind in the dust. Sadly, Type 2 can usually be prevented with as little as more regular exercise and healthier eating habits.

Fast food, children and diabetes

The amount of fast food and foods with high fats and sugars being consumed by people of all ages, but especially children these days is alarming. Parents really need to watch what their children are consuming. Between McDonald’s, Wendy’s, pop, chips, cookies and all the rest, it really is no surprise that more and more children are contracting Type 2 Diabetes.

Perhaps the saddest thing about children with the condition is that it is a life long disease. While it is controllable, the disease does shorten the patient’s lifespan, and it can also create problems with pregnancy, weight gain, and the list is steadily growing.

Diabetes can be prevented. Watch what you eat. Watch what your children eat. Make sure you and your loved ones are getting enough regular exercise – even a twenty minute walk a day will do it. Remember, the words “children and Diabetes” don’t have to be linked together; not if you do what you can to stop it. Please try your best to prevent this largely preventable disease.

Diabetes and exercise

Diabetes, especially type 2 or adult onset diabetes is becoming an increasing threat in the United States. One of the biggest reasons for this is overeating and obesity. However, while it cannot be cured, it can be prevented by keeping yourself at a healthy weight. It is very important to recognize the connection between diabetes and exercise.

Exercises

Maintaining a healthy weight can be hard, especially in our crazy modern world where it feels like we can’t even find time to breathe let alone go to the gym for an exercise session. However, there are several very basic things that can be done to help keep off the flab and stave off the condition.

When you have the option between the stairs and an elevator or an escalator, take the stairs. Sure, you’ll get to your business meeting a little bit sweatier than your colleagues, but you’ll be burning crucial calories by those daily walks up and down the stairs. Even better, you’ll be saving yourself from diabetes and exercise at the gym.

Lifestyle changes can help in the fight against diabetes

Over the course of a work day, most people drive their cars to work, drive to lunch and drive home. However, most people who live in a city have the option of taking public transportation such as the subway or busses. Not only will you be saving on gas by using public transportation, you will also be getting the blood pumping by walking just those few blocks between your apartment, the subway and your business. Better yet, if you only have a few miles to go in the morning, consider riding a bicycle. You will be getting in that important exercise in the morning that could save you from diabetes, and you will be keeping your blood pressure down by not having to deal with traffic every morning. Double bonus!

How to Plan the Perfect Diabetes Diet

Anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes has probably been made aware of how important proper nutrition is. There are a variety of factors in a proper diet and it is important to understand them all. There have been many different theories of the proper meals for diabetics over the years but there has finally been some conclusion.

The Food Pyramid

It is very important for sufferer’s to follow the guidelines that are listed in the food pyramid. It is also very important to monitor the intake of carbohydrates. Another important tip is to have a regular eating schedule. If you eat at the same time every day and eat approximately the same amount, your blood sugar levels will be more stable. Many people with this illness find the change in eating patterns to be a chore at first. However, after only a few months it will become second nature.

Diabetes diet tip

Another good diabetes diet tip is to eat more items with starch. This can include anything from bread to cereal. It is imperative to have at least six servings of starch per day. It is also recommended that you eat five or six fruits or vegetables on a daily basis. This will allow you to try out different exotic fruits that you may have never tried before.

One of the most crucial points is to monitor your intake of sugar. If you absolutely must have sugar or sweets, limit it to once or twice a week. As well, only eat half of what you would normally eat. Your sugar levels are a very important part to keeping you healthy, so you need to be careful. Just because you have been diagnosed with diabetes it does not mean that your days of eating great food are over. You will be able to discover countless new and healthier treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Diabetes control

Did you know that diabetes affects well over 18 million people? Are you also aware that diabetes has been rated as the third leading cause of death within the United States? And yet sadly, there is no cure for diabetes, only control. It’s through this diabetes control factor where victims of this terrible disease must consider focusing on leading a different lifestyle. Changes must be made through eating proper meals, exercising regularly and losing weight.

Control is in effect for a diagnosed patient. Their entire life changes in an instant as they work to help control this disease. But regardless of being diagnosed with diabetes, you can still live a happy and prosperous life. Even though your lifestyle, meal habits and exercise routines have changed, it doesn’t mean your life has cast a dark shadow upon you. Million of diagnosed diabetes patients are able to still do their favorite hobbies and activities regardless of the disease they possess.

So even if you’re diagnosed with either type 1 and type 2 diabetes, did you know that less medication can be used if the individual considers using certain herbs for treatment?

Herbs used to control diabetes include:

Cinnamon: Shown to reduce the amount of insulin necessary to lower your blood glucose levels.

Huckleberry: This works to increase the strength of one’s immune system, digestion and improves circulation of the blood through your hands and feet.

Zinc: Helps the pancreas to produce insulin for the body.

Chromium: Helps cells in the body to respond to insulin that is naturally produced.

You can find a lot more information on herbs that help combat diabetes online. By using these herbs and looking toward a positive outcome with this sudden lifestyle change, you can lead a prosperous life just like you always have before you even knew you had this disease.

Diabetic supplies

If you have been recently diagnosed with the condition, keep in mind that you are not alone. There are thousands of individuals who are becoming diagnosed with diabetes everyday, and the last drawback you want to have is spending a lot of money on diabetic supplies.

Discount Diabetic Supplies

Having patients overcharged with diabetic supplies is completely wrong. Like anyone else, all you want to do is lead a normal life. Regardless of the supplies you need, for anyone who has a limited budget, they can get the diabetic supplies necessary at a discount rate through certain online pharmacies.

Whether you require syringes, diabetic lancets, swabs or diagnostic devices, many online pharmacies can provide you with top quality diabetic supplies at a discount rate. There should never ever be a need to pay a fortune for your supplies. Any providers that sell diabetic supplies at a rate that is outrageous shouldn’t even be considered.

By doing a Google search, you can find hundreds of trustworthy online drug stores that will deliver you anything you need for your diabetes. You can literally save hundreds of dollars and get everything you need that fits within range of your budget.

If you don’t care to do any form of ordering online, check purchasing your supplies through a diabetic supply company. The potential benefit of a supply company is that they will deliver your supplies directly to you without you having to approach them in person. This is extremely helpful for anyone who has a severe case and limited mobility. Diabetic supply companies also offer excellent discounts for all of your supply needs.

Diabetes Statistics

The disease is a rapidly growing one, especially in North America, where fast foods and foods with high amounts of sugar are much more prevalent and available than in other parts of the world. Diabetes statistics do not look good as they have grown too much over the years – particularly in children.

More and more children are contracting Type 2 Diabetes these days than ever before. This fact is significant because Type 2 used to be only found in adults! Again, statistics state that this is because of the amount fast foods and sweets that children are consuming from day to day.

Diabetes has not stopped growing with just the children though; adults have also witnessed a boost in numbers. The foods eaten and the exercise not done have also contributed heavily to the growth in adult Diabetes.

USA Diabetes statistics

Not only has Diabetes increased in the last few years, but it is Type 2 Diabetes that is the one that has increased. Statistics show that 90 to 95 percent of the 20.8 million people with the disease in the United States have Type 2 Diabetes. This is an alarming fact because Type 2 Diabetes is the type that can usually be prevented with a healthier diet and regular exercise. The culture we live in as North Americans is definitely contributing a lot to the growth of Type 2 Diabetes.

Statistics also state that out of the 20.8 million people in America that have Diabetes, only 14.6 million people have been diagnosed with the disease. That leaves 6.2 million people who have not been diagnosed, and whose lives are in danger because they may not know that they have Diabetes.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of Diabetes, please get checked for the disease promptly. This is one test that it is better to fail than not to take at all, and your doctor will not mind testing you!

Spinach Nutrition

This page provides information about Spinach nutrition. This edible plant is known as a power food in nutritional circles because of the very large amount of essential nutrients that it is known to contain.

There are two major varieties of this leaf vegetable that are commonly available: these being the flat or smooth leaf type; and the curly leaf or Savoy variety. The former variety is usually used in raw foods due to the fact that it does not have a very strong flavor. There is also a hybrid variety of spinach known as semi-savory.

Spinach botany

In the past spinach (Spinacia oleracea) was classified in the Chinopodiaceae family of plants. Following reclassification in 2003 this genus was merged with the Amaranthaceae (amaranth) family. The plant itself is an annual that usually reaches a height of about one foot (30 cm) and is a native of South West and Central Asia. Although the plant produces inconspicuous yellowy green flowers the plant is grown for its edible green ovate leaves; these can be very variable in size ranging from under one inch (2.5 cm) and up to one foot (30 cm) in length.

A little about the spinach name and origin

It is thought that spinach was first grown in the Iranian area and transferred to other parts of the world by Arab camel traders. It is known to have reached China by the early seventh century. Spreading in the other direction there is recorded evidence that spinach was used as a vegetable in the Mediterranean area by the early ninth century. The spinach name itself came about in the 14th century and derives from the Iranian word aspanakh (green hand).

Spinach Nutrition

A delicious Spinach salad is full of nutrients

Spinach nutrition

Spinach has a rightful reputation as being a very healthy vegetable to eat. It is known to be packed full of nutrients and is low in calories and fats. Perhaps one of the minerals that it is most associated with its iron; this is because of the popular cartoon show Popeye. 100g of spinach is enough to provide 25% of the average person’s daily intake of iron.

Other spinach nutrition benefits include a large amount of vitamin K (one hundred grams provides over 400% of the daily recommendations of this vitamin); and vitamin A (100g = >300% RDA). Other abundant vitamins in spinach include Folate; Vitamin C; Vitamin E; Riboflavin; B6; Niacin and Thiamin.

Spinach is also a large source of many minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Further details of spinach nutrition are given in the table below. As the nutritional value of cooked and raw spinach changes dramatically, information is provided for both of these situations.

Spinach nutrition facts and figures

Spinach nutrition content per ounce (28.3 g) : rdv = recommended daily value
  Raw Spinach Cooked (and drained) Spinach
Calories 6 6
Total fat 0.1 g 0.1 g
Total carbohydrates 1 g 1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6g 2.5% rdv 0.6g 2.5% rdv
Protein 0.8 g 1.6% rdv 0.8 g 1.6% rdv
Minerals
Manganese 0.3 mg 13% rdv 0.3 mg 13% rdv
Magnesium 22.1 mg 6% rdv 24.4 mg 6% rdv
Iron 0.8 mg 4% rdv 1.0 mg 6% rdv
Potassium 156 mg 4% rdv 130 mg 4% rdv
Calcium 27.7 mg 3% rdv 38.1 mg 4% rdv
Copper 40 µg 2% rdv 40 µg 2% rdv
Phosphorus 13.7 mg 1% rdv 15.7 mg 2% rdv
Zinc 0.1mg 1% rdv 0.2 mg 1% rdv
Sodium 22.1 mg 1% rdv 19.6 mg 1% rdv
Amino acids
Glutamic acid 97 mg 100 mg
Aspartic acid 68 mg 70 mg
Leucine 63 mg 65 mg
Lysine 49 mg 51 mg
Argenine 46 mg 47 mg
Valine 46 mg 47 mg
Isoleucine 42 mg 43 mg
Phenylalanine 36 mg 38 mg
Vitamins in Spinach
Vitamin K 135 µg 169% rdv 138 µg 173% rdv
Vitamin A 2625 IU 53% rdv 2935 IU 59% rdv
Folate 54 µg 14% rdv 40.9 µg 10% rdv
Vitamin C 7.9 mg 13% rdv 2.7 mg 5% rdv
Vitamin E 0.6 mg 3% rdv 0.6 mg 3% rdv
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 3% rdv 0.1 mg 3% rdv
Riboflavin 50 µg 3% rdv 90 µg 4% rdv
Thiamin 20 µg 1% rdv 20 µg 1% rdv
Niacin 0.2 mg 1% rdv 0.2 mg 1% rdv
Pantothenic acid 20 µg < 1% rdv 20 µg < 1% rdv
Vitamin B12 Trace < 1% rdv Trace < 1% rdv
Choline 5.0 mg < 1% rdv 5.5 mg < 1% rdv
Betaine 154 mg < 1% rdv 162 mg < 1% rdv

Spinach health benefits

As spinach contains a large quantity of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it is known as being one of the powerhouse vegetables of the food world. It is therefore no wonder that the consumption of spinach has been linked with having numerous health benefits. Some of the conditions that spinach has been proven to have a positive impact on include anti-inflammatory capabilities, blood pressure, vision, the immune system, bone strength and osteoporosis, stroke, nervous system, and the skin.

As Spinach carries a large amount of anti-oxidants (e.g. Vitamin E and C, manganese) consumption can help to lower damage caused by free radicals. The presence of the flavanoid group of anti-oxidants is thought to have very large anti-cancer benefits. With regards to vision this leaf vegetable contains both Lutein and zeaxanthin; both of these carotenoids are known to play a very important role in the retina and macula regions of the eye.

Vitamin K, along with calcium, magnesium, manganese and vitamin D is known to play a very important role with bone health. It is thought that the consumption of these vitamins and minerals on a regular basis, combined with weight bearing exercises such as walking, Tai chi and gardening can go a long way towards the prevention of the osteoporosis condition.

Incorporating spinach into the diet

There are numerous recipes that include spinach in them. They make a great raw ingredient for salads and they also make a great addition to lasagna and pizza; can be used in soups; is often served in a pureed form; good in curry; makes delicious smoothies; and makes a fantastic dipping sauce.

When cooking spinach it is usual to boil it as this removes most of the sour tasting acids that the vegetable are rich in; resulting in a much sweeter taste. Discard the water that the spinach is cooked in after use as it is very acidic and has little use.

Delicious Spinach Pizza is very nutritious

Making a pizza healthier by the addition of nutritious spinach

Negative health aspects of spinach

Although Spinach is linked with many positive health impacts there are some negative aspects associated with the consumption of this leaf vegetable. Perhaps the major negative aspect of spinach is that associated with the risk of pesticides; it is known as one of the twelve foods that has the highest amount of residual pesticide. Therefore it is important to wash the spinach thoroughly before use, or better still purchase organically grown spinach if at all possible.

Another key concern of spinach consumption is the large amount of oxalates that they concern. If these are over consumed it is possible for them to build up and crystallize in the body; this may lead to health implications especially for people with renal problems. It is usually recommended that people who have problems with their kidneys do not eat this vegetable.

There has been much made of oxalates ability to interfere with calcium absorption. Although the levels of oxalates found in spinach have a negative impact it is important to remember that this mineral is found at large quantities in spinach too. This means that there is still a net absorption of spinach (around 10% of total quantity) when eating this vegetable.

Spinach nutrition in summary

It has been seen that Spinach is an annual plant that originated from the Persian area and was dispersed to other areas by tradesmen in the 7th century. The amount of nutrients in spinach is extremely high and the consumption of this leaf vegetable is associated with many potential health benefits.

SPINACH REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Utah State University ExtensionColorado State University ExtensionNutritional informationTexas A&UFlavanoidsEating WellOsteoporosisPhytonutrients. Photographs: Header by Woodleywonderworks; Spinach Pizza by SaucyGlo; Spinach Salad by Natalie Maynor.