Category Archives: Diabetes Health Tips

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6 Ways to Treat Constipation in Diabetes at Home

Majority of diabetic people suffer from constipation, irregular bowel movements, abdominal cramps, dyspepsia, etc. Uncontrolled diabetes or Hyperglycemia affects nerves that supplies gastro-intestinal tract and hampers peristalsis. This leads to stagnancy of food in gastrointestinal tract. Diabetes also affects the nerves which supplies pyloric sphincter, causing disturbances in its relaxation, which ultimately leads to delayed gastric emptying. Nerves supplying to antrum of stomach are also affected leading to improper crushing of food and accommodation of food in stomach. This finally leads to dyspepsia & constipation. Normally, food we eat reaches rectum in around 36 to 48 hrs. In diabetic person due to imbalance in gastric motility this time span gets further delayed.

CONSTIPATION IN DIABETES

image credits – fitnessbin.com

6 ways to treat constipation in Diabetes at home

You can treat constipation in diabetes with following six ways :

  1. Increase Fibre in diet – There are two types of fibre in diet (insoluble & soluble). High fibre diet helps to form bulk of stool, also increases water content of stool, makes it soften so it can easily pass through gastro-intestinal tract. Cereals, whole grains, beans are reach in fibre content. Green leafy vegetables, Fruits like apples, pearsberries etc are good for diabetic people. Breakfast with oats helps to get good amount of fibre at the start of the day.
  2. Drink lots of water – If you do not drink good amount of water, body ultimately tries to take water from food you eat & making stools harder. If you are increasing fibre in diet then increase water consumption as well. Drink atleast 1.5 litre of water daily.
  3. Regular Exercise – Regular exercise is necessary for all diabetics. It not only helps in controlling blood sugars but also helps to pass food further in gastro-intestinal tract. Even a moderate amount of exercise in the form of brisk walking or cycling helps to prevent constipation.
  4. Natural Probiotics – Daily a cup of yoghurt or a glass of Chass helps to keep healthy intestinal bacterial flora leading to good digestion of food and preventing constipation.
  5. Laxatives – Laxatives can be of different types like bulk forming, Osmotic, Stool softeners, bowel stimulatory. etc. Isbgol Powder and castor oil are commonly used home made laxatives. It is advisable to consult your diabetes doctor before starting any laxatives.
  6. Last but not the least Excellent Blood Sugar control with diet, exercise and regular timely medication plays and important role in treating constipation in diabetes. Cause of constipation can vary from Nerve damage of GI tract due to long term poor management of diabetes to just simple lack of fibre in diet.

Extreme cases of constipation like Fecal impaction more commonly affecting elderly and disabled bed ridden individuals requires enema or manual evacuation of hard stools by inserting one or two gloved fingers in anus.

Those were the Natural ways of treating constipation in diabetes at home.

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Awareness is prevention !


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How To Treat Hypoglycemia at Home?

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels can be commonly encountered by type 1 & type 2 diabetes patients who are on insulin treatment or those type 2 diabetes patients who are on certain oral anti-diabetic medication which increases insulin secretion from pancreas like sulphonylureas (Glimeperide, Gliclazide, Glibenclamide or Glyburide & Glipizide) or megitinides (repaglinide, nateglinide).

More details of oral anti diabetic drugs causing hypoglycemia & Hypoglycemic symptoms are already mentioned in my previous article.

hypo

credits: Medscape.com

Steps to tackle Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar level :

  • Identify the symptoms :  Symptoms of hypoglycemia differ from individual to individual. I have already mentioned symptoms of hypoglycemia in my previous article. Early Hypoglycemia symptoms includes Sweating, Palpitations, dizziness, slurred speech, confusion, weakness, anger, etc
  • Grab Attention : If you are at home seek immediate attention of your family member or colleague at office because hypoglycemia can lead to confusion, slurred speech or even unconsciousness & explain them about your symptoms. If you are driving a car then stop and pull over. If you are walking or climbing steps, stop & sit down. Make yourself and others safe.
  • Confirm by testing : Check your capillary blood sugar level by finger pricking with Glucometer, A reading less than 70 mg/dl confirms hypoglycemia. If you do not have glucometer with you or symptoms are severe then proceed to step 4 directly.
  • Grab Sugar or Fast acting carbs : Hypoglycemia needs to be corrected immediately so fast acting carbs like simple sugars can be consumed. I normally advice my patients to take 2-3 tablespoons of Glucon D powder ( Green Packet ) sublingually (below tongue) this causes immediate rise in blood sugar level. In India, glucose tablets are not freely available so keeping a small packet of 15 -20 gms of simple sugar or glucon D with them is quite useful atleast for diabetic patients on insulin or sulfonyureas. Other fast acting home remedies includes :
    • Half cup of fruit juice
    • 1 cup of milk
    • 1-2  tablespoons of honey
    • half cup of soda or non diet soft drink
    • 2 tablespoons of Manuka (raisins/dried grapes)
    • 5-6 hard candies
    • or 3-4 chocolates (dairy milk eclairs)
  • Re-check : Don’t go on eating too much otherwise sugars will raise much higher. Wait for 15-20 minutes and re-check your blood sugars again. If it is still less than 70 mg/dl eat another 15-20 gms of sugar or glucon D, repeat this till sugar level goes more than 70 mg/dl. After hypoglycemic episode try to eat meal within 1 hour or eat some high carbohydrate food if meal time is more than 1 hour away.
  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention : If your body doesn’t respond to carbs or you suffer seizure episode or fall unconscious, seek immediate medical attention. Your family member or colleague at workplace should be able to move you to nearest hospital. You might require Intravenous glucose and/or glucagon injection which can be given in emergency or casualty department of tertiary level hospital.
  • Prevention :  If you are getting repeated mild hypoglycemic episodes or even one severe episode, consult with your diabetologist for adjusting your medicine or insulin dosage according to your lifestyle. Take precautionary measures to combat further similar episode in future.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends & family. I appreciate the feedback and encouragement.

Awareness is Prevention.


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How to Take Care of Your Feet in Diabetes ?

In India, Diabetes is the leading cause of minor and major foot amputations. Prevalence of Diabetes is increasing day by day in India, becoming World’s capital of Diabetes by 2025 with over 80 million affected population as per Diabetes Foundation India.

Diabetes Foot Care

There are four main reasons which increase the chances of foot ulcer & amputation:

  • Decreased blood flow to feet – Diabetic individuals have more accelerated & diffuse atherosclerosis throughout all major & minor blood vessels which leads to narrowing of blood vessels and poor circulation in feet.
  • Neuropathy – Majority of long standing diabetic individuals suffer from sensory motor & autonomic neuropathy i.e. nerve damage. Loss of pain sensation exposes foot to repeated trauma & injury. Autonomic neuropathy causes lack of sweating in foot area making it dry & prone to cracks and infection.
  • Loss of Arc – Long standing diabetes patients has lost the normal foot arc. Majority has clawed toes or Hammer toes, forward displacement of fat cushion below 1st metatarsal head, some have rocker bottom deformity,  all this leading to abnormal weight bearing pressure points in foot (corns & callosities) and change of shape of foot. This abnormal shape foot doesn’t fit properly in normal footwares, causing further injuries.
  • Slowed Delayed healing – In diabetes Neutrophil functions is impaired. Further more inter connected foot compartments easily pass infection from one area to other. Poor blood supply again delays healing.

To avoid all this complications, it is necessary to take care of your foot from the start.

Diabetes Foot Care

DiabeticFootCare

Following Diabetes Foot Care Tips will help you to keep your feet healthy :

  • Keep Your Blood Sugar in Target Range – HbA1c < 7
  • Do not walk bare foot even at home – Keep two separate pairs of footware for home & outdoors.
  • Inspect your feet everyday for blisters, cuts, redness, swelling, dryness, ingrown toenails, corns & callosities- use mirror to see bottom of foot.
  • Use special diabetes footware. Prefer using Ketto type sandels & shoes instead of slippers.
  • Wash your feet daily with warm water & mild soaps – check & confirm temperature of water with elbow before inserting feet into it. After washing, dry them thoroughly , even inter digit space.
  • Apply moisturizers on feet & lower leg to avoid dryness of skin – don’t apply between toes.
  • Cut toe nails carefully after bath when they are soft – avoid cutting cuticle & digging under toenails with sharp objects.
  • Use cotton or wool socks – change them daily, avoid too tight socks.
  • Wear properly fitting shoes with ample of cushioning. It is preferable to use leather shoes than synthetic material.
  • Always inspect your shoes or footwear for objects like metal pins, coins etc before wearing it.
  • Be physically more active – it increases blood supply to feet.
  • Do not cross legs for longer period while sitting, In spare free time move your feet up & down and rotate at ankle joint.
  • Quit smoking.

If you see cuts, corns, callosities, redness, blackening or delayed healing in minor cuts seek medical attention or consult your diabetes doctor immediately. Routine foot care & prompt attention to injuries can prevent foot problems from threatening your life and amputations.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends & family. I appreciate the feedback and encouragement.

Awareness is Prevention.


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Eat Fruits Before Meals – Diabetes Health Tips

Many fruits are rich in micronutrients, essential vitamins , fibre content and antioxidants along with that fruits occupy more space and less in calories so makes your tummy full and gives you feeling of satiety or fullness.

Most of the fruits have high fibre content , it comes in soluble or insoluble form. both forms are indigestible. They forms a bulk & increase water content of stool making it softer and easily movable in Gastrointestinal tract. Thus prevents constipation. High fibre diet reduces cardiovascular morbidity & mortality.

Eat Fruit Before meal

Diabetic person should avoid eating fruits with high glycemic index i.e. those fruits which readily digest in stomach and raises your blood sugars more than others like Mango, Chickoo, Banana (Green), Grapes, Custard Apple, etc.

Also one should avoid drinking fruit juices as condensation process increases sugar content of juice as well as a glass of juice is roughly equivalent to eating 2-3 fruits at a time. It is always better to eat a fresh fruit instead of drinking a fruit juice added with or without preservatives.

Managing blood sugars by diabetic person is all about balancing food intake. For example suppose Person (A) who is diabetic had four bread slices at breakfast at 9.00AM and his blood suagrs measured at 11.00AM found out to be 300 mg/dl. If the same person (A) divides those breakfast into 2 halves and take 2 bread slices at 8.00AM and 2 bread slices at 10.00 AM then his blood sugar roughly remains around 130 mg/dl . In this example the food intake is not decreased but instead it is divided into small quantity and  consumed frequently.

Normally we consume most of the meal in the first 20 mins of starting a meal so eating a fruit before meal delays food intake and gives feeling of fullness or satiety earlier. That eventually leads to consumption of less food at meal so less calorie intake and helps to loose weight.

Many colorful fruits like berries are rich in antioxidants ( Lycopene, Beta-carotene, etc.) . In diabetes high bloood sugar values causes damage to nerves, retina, blood vessels and other systems via specific pathways. One of them is through generating free oxygen radical species, these anti-oxidants reacts with such harmful oxygen radicals and scavenger them thus minimizes the tissue damage in diabetes.

What fruits to eat in diabetes ?

  1. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries etc. all berries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and low in carbohydrates.
  2. Peaches are rich in vitamin A & C , Potassium and fibre.
  3. Apple a day keeps doctor away. Apples are rich in fibre, vitamin C & low in carb. don’t peel the skin as it contains antioxidants.
  4. Oranges are great in vitamin C, low in carb, contains potassium and folate, other citrus fruits like grapefruits are also equally good to eat.
  5. Pears good in potassium and fibre.
  6. Other fruits like apricot , guava are also rich vitamin A and good to eat .

Eating Fruits before meals helps you to loose weight & control your blood sugars. Making a habit of it helps a lot to obese individuals and known diabetic people.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends & family. I appreciate the feedback and encouragement.

Awareness is Prevention.

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Dr Nikhil Prabhu


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