March 18, 2011

Do You Feel Guilty About Diabetes?

Are you buying into the myths often laid on us by the medical profession, friends, and family? This is easy to do, but you must not. First, understand that diabetes is not your fault. I have said this before and some need a constant reminder of this. Then be sure you are living in the present as the past is exactly that, the past.

Being able to manage diabetes is now your goal. This is a task that requires attention 24/7/365. There is no vacation and this does present challenges for some. There can be good and bad times, as well as days that can be planned when you can treat yourself to some relaxing time.

People with Type 2 diabetes often give up for several reasons. Often they are tempted and do give in to these temptations. Others get discouraged because they don't obtain the results the doctor had told them to expect. Some believe in the myths about diabetes and therefore do not challenge themselves to do many things that may help them in their management of diabetes. Still others do not follow the instructions of the doctor and wonder why they are not getting better.

A difficult truth for many is there are few people with Type 2 diabetes that can measure their results to another person's results. Therefore, you must become your own science experiment and find out how your body reacts to different foods, different medications, and different levels of exercise.

If you are looking for other views, two bloggers have something to say. David Spero has a blog here about this subject. And Pine Pienaar has has other suggestions here.  (The last link is broken - no fix found.)  They both have good points and I enjoy reading both.

If you have gotten past the initial shock, anger, and denial, the next step is gaining the knowledge you need to manage diabetes. There are many excellent books and web sites available that can give you much good information. Just a word of caution, there are some very unreliable websites that promise cures, but they are after your money and will promise most everything to get you to pay it over to them.

There are many studies out that criticize many of the sites for their unreliable and misleading information. Just use extreme caution and I have many sites listed in other blogs. A few are blog 1, blog 2, and blog 3.  When you find something you like or that you find useful, bookmark it to have it for reference. If something does not work for you, discard it and move on. Occasionally some ideas will work in the future.

March 16, 2011

Low Carbohydrate Mistakes Many Make

Are you thinking about starting a low carbohydrate lifestyle? Are you prepared? Will this be planned to be sustainable? Most people do not make it for many reasons, but the most common problem is that the way they have chosen is not sustainable. First, they have chosen a diet and do not balanced it for nutrition.

Here is a dozen problems or mistakes people make.

Not sustainable: Most people do not realize this when they start because they don't do any advance planning and then do not actively adapt when things go wrong. Mistakes do happen and people must be either adapt or change to stay low carb. If you are not in this for the long-term, then you are doing this for the wrong reason and need to stop.

Not starting it correctly: The problem here is that many start off immediately and do not realize that sometimes it is best to start out slowly and work your way down to get adjusted. Some have success the other way, but they have done the planning ahead of time. Over eating protein is not a solution and is not balanced for nutrition.

Not adjusting as needed: When a mistake is made, many people give up and do not adjust or correct for the mistake. For success, people should be prepared to make mistakes and at least learn how to correct for these.

Stopping too early: This is a common mistake. Some people are not prepared for the cut in carbohydrates and decide that they are not cut out for this lifestyle change. If you are serious, recognize this and adjust your carbohydrate intake up for a period of time to see if that will work and then attempt to adjust downward.

Not including enough vegetables and fruit: This is one of the largest mistakes people make. A balanced low carb way of life must include a variety of vegetables. Add low carb fruit for a more balanced nutrition.

Not including enough fiber: This is a big mistake by many people. Eating good amounts of vegetables and fruit adds fiber, but not always enough. Do your research to keep fiber amount in the healthy range.

Not limiting your intake: Most make this mistake. The food tastes good and a second helping is taken. People must learn that one serving size is all that can be eaten. No seconds or thirds are allowed and a good nutritious low carb meal is only what should be eaten. Do not forget to keep track of the calories in your food. This can wreck the best low carb plan.

Poor planning: People, do your planning to minimize mistakes. Learn nutrition and how to have nutritious low carb meals that are balanced for the food groups you planned for.

Not planning any variety: This is a common mistake area. A variety of food makes low carb eating more enjoyable and not boring.

Not analyzing foods: Analyze the foods to make sure that the number of carbs does not exceed what you want in total for the meal and the day.

Not analyzing amount of carbohydrates: Know the number of carbohydrates in each food and the serving size. There are carbohydrate and calorie programs available.

Not including exercise in the mix: Many people do not put exercise into their low carb plans. This is essential to control variations in total carbohydrates and allow for controlling other factors. Plus this is good for reducing insulin resistance and greater control of blood glucose.

Finally, plan, plan, and adjust as needed. There is no harm in starting slowly and working down gradually. Other people start out great, but then want to up the number of carbs. If this is done for a purpose and you have an upper limit as part of a plan, then realize what you are doing and avoid getting over the upper limit. There is no harm in deciding to increase the number of carbohydrates if you determine that you are too low in your carb count.

Some people can plan and do this on their own and have a well balanced low carb meal. Others will need the following assistance.

Most people would be well advised to spend some time with a nutritionist or dietitian in the initial planning to assist with nutrition and balancing your diet. Talk with your doctor to get assistance for insurance coverage. Please discuss this with your doctor and listen to any advice he/she may give you. Also be careful with your approach to the nutritionist and/or dietitian so that they know that you want their help and be careful if you see one that is stuck on a carb limit.

Be prepared for this to happen, by talking to the doctor beforehand and maybe he/she can prepare who ever you will see or will be willing to make several referrals if needed. Often the doctor can make the right referral in the beginning. If the person is not going to consider low carb and help you, do not waste further time with them and let the doctor make another referral.

Remember that this is your decision and the level of carbs or range you set is up to you. Some find out that medium carb or lower medium carb is better.  Generally low carb is considered less than 80 grams per day.  Medium is 80 to 140, and high is over 140.  Some people have different ranges.

March 14, 2011

Important Information for Elder Caregivers

It is important to talk to parent(s) while they are legally able. Talk with your parent(s) while they are able to make decisions and prepare the way legally for their care. If you are the only child or the trusted family member, make sure that you have copies of any medical records they want you to have and that if you do not, make sure that they have legal documents in place so that you can obtain copies if necessary.

Caring for your parent(s) or other close relatives can be very stressful. If they are living in their home, there are many problems to be anticipated and activities to be ready for in order to take action. If your parents have a power outage, what will need to be done. Natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes, floods are very hard to prepare for but plans need to be made. A car hitting a power pole or a lightening strike taking a transformer out can be more than an inconvenience, but these can be handled.

These problems mean actions that must be taken if a parent is on oxygen systems or a ventilator. These machines can produce life threatening circumstances. Some oxygen systems require electrical power to produce oxygen. Ventilators require electrical power and a generator backup to continue functioning.

For oxygen, having a spare backup tank can save the day, but the people assisting need training in switching over the tank. Oxygen should never be used near an open flame and smoking must be prohibited in the residence. Backup generators run on gasoline and must be outside the house in a covered place. Placement is an important consideration as is access. I would seriously consider a battery operated electric starter. All caregivers must be familiar with the operation of equipment and emergency operations.

Know the laws in your state for the operations of equipment and requirements for placement and operation. Contact the utility companies for cooperation and to notify them of power or gas needs and what equipment is being used. They can sometimes offer special rates and have other suggestions for assistance.

Then there is other electrical equipment, such as electric beds, air-loss mattresses, and air-mattress toppers that use electricity for the pumps. The beds generally don't have problems in power outages as they have hand cranks for use. The other systems can have built in battery backups and their use needs training to know their use. Another essential activity is surprise emergency drills that need to be in place to test the caregivers and equipment.

Then there is suction equipment, IV pumps, and other electrical devices that may be used in the patient's home. Most have battery backups and again caregivers need to be trained in switching in the event of a power outage and for all associated safety precautions.

These indicate a lot of plans to be made and how complicated the situations can be when caring for a parent or close relative. Don't get me wrong, this is something that often needs to be done and a family member is often an excellent solution.