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9 Ways to Avoid Diabetes Complications

Keeping your diabetes under control will help you prevent heart, nerve, and foot problems. Here’s what you can do right now.

Lose extra weight. Moving toward a healthy weight helps control blood sugars. Your doctor, a dietitian, and a fitness trainer can get you started on a plan that will work for you.

Check your blood sugar level at least twice a day. Is it in the range advised by your doctor? Also, write it down so you can track your progress and note how food and activity affect your levels.

Get A1c blood tests to find out your average blood sugar for the past 2 to 3 months. Most people with type 2 diabetes should aim for an A1c of 7% or lower. Ask your doctor how often you need to get an A1c test.

Track your carbohydrates. Know how many carbs you’re eating and how often you have them. Managing your carbs can help keep your blood sugar under control. Choose high-fiber carbs, such as green vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains.

Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Diabetes makes heart disease more likely, so keep a close eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol. Talk with your doctor about keeping your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure in check. Take medications as prescribed.

Keep moving. Regular exercise can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also cuts stress and helps control blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Get at least 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise 5 days a week. Try walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, swimming, tennis, or a stationary bike. Start out more slowly if you aren’t active now. You can break up the 30 minutes — say, by taking a 10-minute walk after every meal. Include strength training and stretching on some days, too.

Catch some ZZZs. When you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to eat more, and you can put on weight, which leads to health problems. People with diabetes who get enough sleep often have healthier eating habits and improved blood sugar levels.

Manage stress. Stress and diabetes don’t mix. Excess stress can elevate blood sugar levels. But you can find relief by sitting quietly for 15 minutes, meditating, or practicing yoga.

See your doctor. Get a complete checkup at least once a year, though you may talk to your doctor more often. At your annual physical, make sure you get a dilated eye exam, blood pressure check, foot exam, and screenings for other complications such as kidney damage, nerve damage, and heart disease.

 

Source: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/type-2-diabetes-may-protect-against-als/

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Could diabetes protect against ALS?

A reduced risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS – the most common motor neuron disorder, fatal for its sufferers – has been found among people with type 2 diabetes.

 

The study, published in JAMA Neurology, set out to examine the association between diabetes- and obesity-related hospital admissions and the risk of a diagnosis with ALS.

The study “observed a significantly protective association with diabetes, but not obesity, on risk of ALS.”

Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou, ScD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, conducted the study with coauthors, using data from Danish national registers for 3,650 patients diagnosed with ALS between 1982 and 2009.

The average age at diagnosis was 65.4 years and the patients were compared with 365,000 healthy controls. Some 9,294 patients were identified as having diabetes, 55 of whom were subsequently diagnosed with ALS.

The authors say the findings are in agreement with previous reports of a protective association between vascular risk factors and ALS. They conclude:

“We conducted a nationwide, population-based study and observed an overall protective association between diabetes and ALS diagnosis, with the suggestion that type 2 diabetes is protective and type 1 diabetes is a risk factor.

“Although the mechanisms underlying this association remain unclear, our findings focus further attention on the role of energy metabolism in ALS pathogenesis.”

Rare but fatal disease Motor neuron diseases are progressive neurological disorders in which motor neurons – the cells that control the essential voluntary muscle activity allowing us to speak, walk, breathe and swallow – are destroyed.

ALS is the most common of these conditions – also known as classical motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease (American baseball player Lou Gehrig died of the disease in 1941), it is ultimately a fatal disorder that disrupts signals to all voluntary muscles.

Background evidence cited in the paper says around half of patients with ALS – which is rare, having an incidence rate of between 1.5 and 2.5 for every 100,000 people in the population every year – die within 3 years of its onset.

ALS was the subject of appeals for fundraising and greater awareness in the summer of 2014 – when the ice bucket challenge swept through social media.

Several possibilities if the link is causal The latest study is a retrospective, population-based one, looking back over data to find links, so it was not of a prospective design that might have proven cause-and-effect links.

The authors discuss the potential etiology of the link, however: “If the protective association with diabetes results from some causal association with an aspect of diabetes rather than as a result of correlation with something else, then several possibilities could be surmised.”

Possibilities discussed include that diabetes medications may be protective against ALS, metabolic factors resulting from diabetes could have a role, or that high concentrations of uric acid that have been associated with diabetes have also been linked to “lower incidence of other neurodegenerative diseases and prolonged survival in ALS.”

In January, scientists uncovered a cell mechanism that plays a key role in ALS.

Source: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/type-2-diabetes-may-protect-against-als/