Healthy eating for people with diabetes

For people with diabetes, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial.  Although eating well-balanced meals is strongly encouraged, it is important to pay close attention to the carbohydrate portion of foods consumed as they become glucose when digested.

Glucose is a sugar needed to help our cells and organs function properly. In healthy individuals, the level of glucose within the blood is controlled so that it does not become too high or too low.  However, in people with diabetes, the body is unable to keep the glucose levels within the normal range. Frequent high levels of glucose within the blood is responsible for the complications that go along with diabetes including an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, nerve damage, kidney damage, and many other problems.

To avoid the development of these complications and to help maintain normal glucose levels, people with diabetes should include foods that have low glycemic levels such as whole wheat bread, barley, carrots or lentils in their diets. Food such as white rice, white bread, pretzels or potatoes rank highly on the glycemic index and should be kept to a minimum or eliminated.

The glycemic index is a scale from 0-100 that gives us an idea of blood sugar response from a particular food. In general, foods that rank 55 or less are considered to have low glycemic levels and foods that rank 70 or more are high.  Anything in between these numbers is moderate.

While having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to follow a specific diet, it does mean you should remain mindful of what you eat.  Here are some recommended tips you can follow to help you along the way:

– Try to avoid or cut down on sweet drinks. Sugary drinks such as juice, soda, and energy drinks are very high in sugar and easily absorbed by the body so they will cause your blood sugar to go high quickly.

– Protein and fat in foods can lower the glycemic index (making it better for your blood sugar), but be careful you’re not eating too much because they are also rich in calories and can cause weight gain.

-Foods with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats such as lean meat, avocados, fish, and whole grain wheat are much better for you than food that contains saturated or transfats such as doughnuts, fried foods, and salami.

To schedule an appointment to speak with a doctor about managing your diabetes, please call the Jamaica Hospital Department of Family Medicine  at 718-206-6942.

Wesley Cheng D.O. Family Medicine

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is There a Benefit to Wearing a Fitness Tracker?

Generally speaking, if you are inactive your risk of  experiencing obesity, low energy, diabetes and hypertension is higher.  To combat these health issues, you can incorporate a brisk walk or run into your weekly activity.  The addition of this type of movement to your day may prevent or, in some cases, reverse health issues.

One of the ways some are finding it beneficial to keep track of their activity level is by wearing a “fitness tracker.”  Surprisingly, one of the first reports you may receive from your tracker is that you are not as active as you thought you were.

Most fitness trackers are a good way of monitoring your steps, calories, distance travelled, caloric intake, as well as your heart rate and sleep patterns.  They can be viewed as your “conscience” for personal accountability and motivation for a relatively low cost.

Some of the benefits of a fitness tracker include:

  • Encouraging physical activity – If you check your tracker and see that you are behind in your steps for the day, you may “step” up your game a bit and take a walk.
  • Measuring your heart rate – This feature can give you hard data on the effort you exert while doing a particular workout and/or task. It can give you a hint on the condition of your cardiovascular system by allowing you to see just how quickly your heart rate increases.
  • Providing insights on your sleep patterns – Sleep has a definite influence on your overall health. Fitness trackers that log sleep activity can help you address whatever is lacking in your sleep cycles.
  • Encouraging healthy eating – Fitness trackers can come equipped with apps that help you track your food and may help with weight loss.
  • Promoting interaction – Some fitness trackers allow the user to interact with other users, create group challenges and receive rewards for meeting goals.

There really isn’t a downside to tracking your activity, unless you take your fitness tracker off and it remains lost at the bottom of a drawer.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Learn the Facts About Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening condition for those living with diabetes. It occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough sugar (glucose) due to a lack of insulin.

Under normal conditions, insulin serves to help glucose enter the cells that make up our muscles and tissues and provide them with the energy they need.  However, when the body can’t produce enough insulin, glucose remains in the bloodstream and fatty acids called ketones begin to build-up. These ketones can eventually spill over into the urine, leading to DKA.

If you have diabetes or you’re at risk of developing diabetes, learn the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — and know when to seek emergency care. DKA signs and symptoms can develop quickly and can include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Flushed, hot, or dry skin
  • Loss of appetite or abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath

Diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to many health complications including low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) levels, low potassium (hypokalemia) levels, and swelling in the brain (cerebral edema). If left untreated, the risks can become much greater. Diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to loss of consciousness and even fatality.

There are many different reasons for DKA to occur. One of the most common causes is the existence of a severe infection or other illness, such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection. These types of infections can cause the body to produce high levels of hormones that counter the effects of insulin.

Another common cause of DKA for people who are insulin dependent is either missed or inappropriate insulin therapy, which can leave the body with not enough insulin. Other contributing factors for the onset of DKA include extreme dehydration, trauma, heart attack, or alcohol or drug abuse.

The best way to prevent DKA is to commit yourself to managing your diabetes by living a healthy lifestyle and regularly monitoring your blood glucose and ketone levels.  If you find that your levels are not what they should be, act quickly and consult with your doctor about adjusting your dosage or seek emergency care.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Visiting the Mall Can Improve Your Health!

We all know that regular physical activity is important to our overall health, especially for seniors.

Did you know walking is a great way for older adults to remain active?

Seniors who commit to taking a brisk walk each day may be at a lower risk of:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast and colon cancers
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

With the onset of colder months upon us, how can older adults continue their walking routine and remain active?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that in the colder months, you can utilize indoor malls for your brisk walk.  Malls can be pedestrian friendly, they are climate-controlled, are well lit, have benches for resting, fountains for hydrating, restrooms, as well as security guards and cameras for safety.

For more information on mall walking programs and for other walking resources visit the CDC’s Mall Walking: A program Resource Guide at – https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/mallwalking-guide.pdf

So get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes, hit the mall and improve your health!

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Diabetes Prevention

Are you one of the estimated one in three adults in this country who have pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a silent health condition that has no symptoms and is almost always present before you develop type 2 diabetes.

It is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. If you haven’t visited your doctor, a good way to see if you are at increased risk for pre-diabetes is to take the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Diabetes risk test by visiting www.diabetes.org/risk.

Among those who should be screened for pre-diabetes include overweight adults age 45 and older or those under age 45 who are overweight and who have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Habitually physically inactive
  • Have previously been identified as having impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are members of certain ethnic groups (including Asian, African-American, Hispanic or Native American)
  • Have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a child weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Have elevated blood pressure
  • Have elevated cholesterol
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have a history of vascular disease

That said, if you have pre-diabetes, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by a sustained modest weight loss and increased moderate-physical activity, such as walking 30 minutes a day.

Through weight loss and increased physical activity, a dietitian may direct you on how to make food choices that cut down on the amount of fat and carbohydrates by:

  • Eating more foods that are broiled and fewer foods that are fried
  • Decrease the amount of butter you use in cooking
  • Eat more fish and chicken
  • Eat more meatless meals
  • Re-Orient your meals to reflect more vegetables and fruit

If you have symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision, you may have crossed from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center now offers a free and innovative approach to treat patients who are at risk for developing diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was developed by the National Institute of Health and is aimed at managing the health of individuals with either prediabetes or borderline diabetes.

These meetings are facilitated by “Lifestyle Coaches” who are specially trained and certified Jamaica Hospital Patient Navigators with strong interpersonal and group facilitation skills.For more information about eligibility or to sign up for the Diabetes Prevention Program, please call 718-206-7088.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Diabetics be Vegans/Vegeterians

Raw-food-diabetes-01Tuesday, March 24 is Diabetes Alert Day, a one-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. Often times, diabetics wonder if they can be a vegetarian or vegan? The answer is yes, it  is possible.

There are many different types of vegetarian diets. The most common types are:

  • Vegan- This group does not eat meat, eggs, or dairy products.
  • Lacto-vegetarian- This group does not eat meat or eggs. However, they will eat dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian- This group does not eat any meat. However, they will eat both dairy products and eggs.

If diabetics decide to become vegetarian or vegan, their diets should be rich in protein, iron, vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D.  Eating a good mix of vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy products guarantee the body receives the vitamins and proper fuel required to normally function.  As a vegetarian or vegan, this kind of diet should not solely concentrate on simple carbohydrates rich in starches, such as potatoes, white rice and white bread or even fruits, which can have the opposite effect on blood sugar levels for diabetics.  A focus on a well-rounded diet can help to improve blood sugar levels and make the body more responsive to insulin.  It can also help with weight management which can be a concern to many diabetics.

The key to a healthy vegetarian/vegan diet as a diabetic is balance and planning.  Every person who has diabetes has his, or her, own individual energy and nutrient needs. Anyone interested in changing their dietary lifestyle should consult with their health care professional.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center now offers a free, innovative approach to treat patients at risk of developing diabetes. The hospital’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was created by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is aimed at managing the health of individuals with prediabetes, or borderline diabetes. The DPP is open to all who meet the basic medical criteria. For more information about eligibility or to sign up for the Diabetes Prevention Program, please call 718-206-7088.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Birth Defect Prevention Month

Baby with cleft before and after surgery

January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. Among the most common birth defects is cleft lip. Cleft lip is a birth defect that occurs when a baby’s lip or mouth does not form properly in the womb. Collectively, these birth defects commonly are called “orofacial clefts”.

The lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. A cleft lip develops if the lip tissue does not join completely before birth, resulting in an opening of the upper lip. The opening in the lip varies in size from a small slit or a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose.

The causes of orofacial clefts among most infants are unknown. However, they are thought to be caused by a combination of genetics or other factors, such as things the mother comes in contact with in her environment, or what the mother eats or drinks, or certain medications she uses during pregnancy. Recently the Center for Disease Control reported findings from research studies about risk factors that increase the chance of infant orofacial cleft:

  • Smoking―Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with an orofacial cleft than women who do not smoke
  • Diabetes―Women with diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy have an increased risk of having a child with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate, compared to women who did not have diabetes
  • Use of certain medicines―Women who used certain medicines to treat epilepsy during the first trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy are at greater risk

Orofacial clefts, especially cleft lip with or without cleft palate, can be diagnosed during pregnancy during a routine ultrasound. Services and treatment for children with orofacial clefts can vary depending on:

  • The severity of the cleft
  • The child’s age and needs
  • The presence of associated syndromes
  • Other birth defects

Surgery to repair a cleft lip usually occurs in the first few months of life and is recommended within the first 12 months of life. Children born with orofacial clefts might need other types of treatments and services, such as special dental or orthodontic care or speech therapy.

If you are an expecting mother in need of a doctor, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Obstetrical Division practices family-centered care. The obstetrical unit is furnished with state-of-the-art equipment, including high tech monitors and sonographic equipment. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-6808.

For more hospital events, highlights, health and  fitness tips, visit us on Facebook.com/JamaicaHospital and follow us on Twitter @JamaicaHospital 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Diabetes and Depression

Depression-300x200Diabetes does not directly cause depression but can contribute to it indirectly for a variety of reasons. Managing diabetes can be very stressful and it does require a modification of eating habits and, to some degree, a modification of lifestyle. Many people have difficulty keeping their blood sugar under control and this can also lead to frustration and potentially be a cause of depression.
Signs of depression include:
• Change in appetite
• Change in sleep pattern
• Loss of interest in doing things that were once enjoyable
• Trouble concentrating
• Lack of energy
• Feeling suicidal
If diabetes is not well controlled then variations in blood sugar level, high or low, can lead to symptoms that are similar to depression.
Similarly, depression can lead to the onset of diabetes. When people are depressed their eating habits tend to be affected and many people will over eat to the point of becoming obese. Some people who are depressed have no desire to be physically active, and many will also smoke. All of these are risk factors for diabetes.
There are ways to manage both diabetes and depression simultaneously. The most important factor is to speak with a physician who has experience and can help you to gain control of these illnesses. A patient who has been diagnosed with diabetes might also benefit from a program that focuses on behavior modification that will lead to a healthier lifestyle. There are medications that can be prescribed which will be helpful in managing these illnesses. Seeking the help of a psychotherapist will also be helpful in gaining confidence in the ability to manage both diseases.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital to discuss diabetes management please call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes Awareness MonthThe month of November has been designated American Diabetes Awareness Month by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Diabetes affects nearly 30 million people in the United States which is ten percent of the total population. There are 86 million more people who have pre-diabetes and are at risk of developing type II diabetes during their lifetime.

There is no cure for diabetes but there are many ways for people who have been diagnosed with the disease to live long, healthy lives if it is controlled properly. Learning to live with diabetes is one of the most important components for managing the disease. Proper nutrition, regular physical activity, monitoring blood sugar daily and taking medication to control diabetes are some of the ways that complications can be prevented. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to many complications. It is the leading cause of blindness, non traumatic amputations, kidney disease and also increases the risk for heart attacks.

During the month of November the ADA sponsors events around the country that serve to make people aware of the risk factors and the warning signs of diabetes. For more information on events taking place, please see the American Diabetes Association’s website at www.diabetes.org. It is important to have regular medical exams to manage diabetes successfully. To schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital please call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Diabetes and Loss of Vision

Ophthalmology eyesight examination

Diabetic eye disease is comprised of a number of eye conditions one of which is diabetic retinopathy.

All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause vision loss or blindness, but diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among diabetics and often goes undetected until vision loss occurs.

If you are a diabetic who has chronically high or uncontrolled blood sugar, you are at risk of damaging the tiny blood vessels in the retina which can lead to diabetic retinopathy.  The disease causes blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or bleed causing a distortion in vision.

The retina detects light and converts it to signals sent through the optic nerve to the brain.  Diabetic retinopathy can cause blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or bleed, causing a distortion in vision.

Diabetic retinopathy may progress through four stages:

  1. Mild non-proliferative retinopathy. Small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina’s tiny blood vessels, called micro-aneurysms, occur at this earliest stage of the disease. These micro-aneurysms may leak fluid into the retina.
  2. Moderate non-proliferative retinopathy. As the disease progresses, blood vessels that nourish the retina may swell and distort. They may also lose their ability to transport blood.
  3. Severe non-proliferative retinopathy. Many more blood vessels are blocked, depriving blood supply to areas of the retina. These areas secrete growth factors that signal the retina to grow new blood vessels.
  4. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). At this advanced stage, growth factors secreted by the retina trigger the proliferation of new blood vessels, which grow along the inside surface of the retina and into the vitreous gel, the fluid that fills the eye. The new blood vessels are fragile, which makes them more likely to leak and bleed. Accompanying scar tissue can contract and cause retinal detachment—the pulling away of the retina from underlying tissue, like wallpaper peeling away from a wall. Retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss.

Some ways to delay diabetic retinopathy and vision loss are:

  • Controlling your diabetes – take medications as prescribed, maintaining a recommended level of physical activity and a healthy diet.
  • Eye Exam – because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.

Vision lost to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes irreversible. However, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent.  To make an appointment at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology call, 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.