Diabetes Service Dogs

Diabetes affects everyone differently. While some individuals are able to manage their diabetes with relative ease and are in tune to their body’s needs, others may struggle to stay on top of or manage the disease that can be life threatening if not treated properly. When it comes to hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar), some individuals are unaware that their blood sugar is dangerously low. The American Diabetes Association refers to this as hypoglycemia unawareness and it affects people who have had diabetes for a long time and may have frequent low blood glucose episodes (which can make people less likely to sense the early warning signs). If you suffer from frequent bouts of hypoglycemia or have hypoglycemia awareness, have you considered having a dog help you out? Diabetes service dogs are becoming more popular and help to save lives. Here’s some proof:

 

Kristen has Type 1 diabetes and when she was in her early twenties she got a golden retriever puppy, whom she named Montana. One night, when Kristen was sleeping, Montana would not leave her side and was insistent that she wake up. At first, Kristen was annoyed that her dog had disturbed her sleep, but then she thought about checking her blood sugar, which ended up being low. Since the initial incident, Kristen’s four-legged friend wakes her up a few nights a month when he  detects her blood sugar is low and when she tests, he’s always right. Without Montana’s vigilant watch over Kristen, she could easily have an accident, fall into a diabetic coma, or even die.

 

The Job of a Diabetes Service Dog

 

In Kristen’s case, she was fortunate to have Montana by her side. Montana had not been trained to detect low blood sugar, it was just something he picked up on his own, but since the first life saving detection, Kristen does reward him with treats whenever he alerts her that she is hypoglycemic. A dog’s sense of smell is about 100,000 times more accurate than a human’s and even if you find your dog’s keen sense of smell to be annoying at times, it can be a lifesaver.

 

A diabetes service dog is trained to smell the changes in a person’s blood sugar, either too low or too high, through the person’s breath and body odor. Once the dog detects the change, he or she is trained to constantly alert (through pawing, whining, or barking) the individual until the levels return to normal. If the diabetic individual is unresponsive or is not improving, the service dog is trained to seek assistance from someone else.

 

Like other service dogs, a diabetes service dog becomes a constant companion and is always on watch for changes in his or her diabetic companion. Not only can a diabetes service dog save the life of his or her companion, but individuals with diabetes may feel more in control of their diabetes and may feel less afraid to partake in everyday activities such as work, social engagements, and even taking a nap.

Lunch Ideas for Diabetic Children

Being a mom is never easy, but packing lunches for your kids is especially hard. And if your kids have diabetes, things get even more difficult. Kids can be picky in best of circumstances, and most of them don’t have the mental abilities yet to understand their medical condition.

 

But there’s plenty of nutritious food that even kids will love. Not everything is loaded with sugar. And on the other hand, not all foods marketed as healthy will be appropriate for a child with diabetes. Read on for some basic advice on what to seek and what to avoid when putting together your kids’ lunches.

Add Cheese and Fresh Fruit for Lunch

Fresh fruit is a great way to get your children eating nutrient packed foods. Fruits are full of vitamins and minerals, and for most parents, fruit is an easy thing to pack for kids. But if your kids have diabetes, fruit has a catch: it’s often loaded with sugars. Grapes, apples, bananas, and other fruits may lead to blood sugar spikes.

 

One way to counteract this sugar blast is to add some cheese to your kids’ fruits. Cheese is filled with protein, which makes diabetic bodies process carbohydrates more efficiently. Luckily, high protein cheeses are easy to find, and kids love them. Try adding a few cubes of cheese to a small tupperware of grapes to keep your kids happy and healthy.

Avoid a High Sugar Lunch

Not all supposedly healthy food is going to be good for your kids, especially if those kids are diabetic. Yogurts, especially, can pack some seriously absurd degrees of sugar. A little container of yogurt, if you’re not careful, can be as sugary as a can of soda.

 

Yogurt does have plenty of health benefits. If you look at labels, you won’t have too much trouble finding a yogurt that doesn’t overload your kids’ blood with glucose.

Go Nuts!

Another way to add protein to yours kids’ diet—and thus help their bodies process sugars at a safe pace—is to add nuts to their diets. Nuts like almonds and walnuts and loaded with proteins and healthy fats that will give your kids long-lasting and powerful energy. And they’re delicious. Most kids love the crunch and flavor of nuts. Just remember to lay off the salt.

Use Whole Grain Bread for Sandwiches

Kids love sandwiches, and as a mom, you’ve probably already gotten sandwich-making down to a fine art. But did you know that fluffy white bread can be tough on diabetic systems? Processed, white breads are digested quickly and can make blood sugar levels pop up. Stick to whole grain breads, which the body digests more slowly.

Add Some Emergency Sweet Stuff

Diabetes can lead to low blood sugar as well as high. And low blood sugar is scarier. Make sure your child has access to foods that can boost sugars quickly. Send a juice box with them with they leave for school, but remember to tell them to save it for when they need it; a jump in glucose levels is usually not the thing they need.   

Skin Conditions and Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolism malfunction, connected to the inability of the body to convert glucose. The symptoms for diabetes in an individual are often quite evident. Symptoms often include: frequent urination, constant feeling of thirstiness, hunger even after having eaten, extreme sense of fatigue, problems with vision (blurry), and really slow process of healing of cuts and bruises. This slow healing can lead to a dangerous complication that can result from chronically high blood sugar levels.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Neuropathy or peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of systemic disease such as diabetes. This disorder occurs because of the malfunction of nerves which have been destroyed or damaged. Because of this, the transmission of signals is significantly interrupted, thus causing the sense of pain even though there may be nothing wrong in that area, or the opposite of not sending pain signals when something isn’t right. This can cause loss of sensation and numbness usually in the extremities. This happens very often in the feet. It is estimated that about 70 percent of those with consistently high blood sugar levels will eventually develop peripheral neuropathy.

Diabetes is one of the top causes for this type of neuropathy. It usually appears in people with diabetes that are overweight, over 40 years old or have significantly high blood pressure. This is extremely dangerous because even a slight injury to the foot can easily go unnoticed and can turn into a more serious scenario, possibly even leading to amputation.

The Dangers of Skin Wounds 

With the nerve damage diabetes causes, the proper function of the immune system of the body is interrupted. People suffering from diabetes often have problems with infections and coagulation from open wounds. Some precautions need to be taken in order to prevent these minor wounds from becoming an even bigger problem. In case this happens, the individual should take action as soon as possible to prevent a build-up of bacteria and the creation of larger bacteria colony. Some immediate steps to take are to place the wound under a water stream to clean any dirt or debris from the wound. After that, it is important to apply an antibacterial ointment on the open wound and cover it with a sterile bandage. It is not recommended to use soap, iodine or hydrogen peroxide as this will only increase the irritation. Soap should only be applied around the areas of the wound, but not on it. Be sure to change the bandage every day and put on a new sterile bandage, while making sure to clean the area around it each time.

Regardless of how minor the injury may seem, it is very important to consult with your doctor and get the injury checked out. Even minor skin rashes or wounds are advised to be seen by a professional in order to prevent bigger problems. Especially if the location is the foot (diabetics are prone to have blisters on such areas), stay off the foot as much as possible.

The best therapy is prevention; if you suffer from diabetes check your feet daily for any changes on the skin. Practice proper and diligent hygiene, and wear proper socks and shoes. Also, take care when clipping toenails, and keep an eye out for ingrown nails, as they can result in bigger issues as well.

 

Strength Training and Diabetes

People with diabetes often wonder whether strength training is safe for them. The answer is YES! Strength training is one of the best things you can do for your body, especially if you suffer from diabetes. Training not only helps you to lose weight, reduces the risk of a heart disease, and improves your overall health, but it also helps your body to respond better to insulin, and improve the way it uses blood sugar. Let us see then how strength training should be performed correctly if you suffer from diabetes.

How Hard You Should Exercise

While your goal should always be to train hard enough to advance your strength and endurance, you should not push yourself too far. Whether you are a beginner or returning to exercise after some long period, aim for 40-60% of your heart rate, and after you progress raise that number to 60-80%. Your training sessions should last somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes, but take into consideration that you should always spare at least 5 minutes for warm up. Do 8-12 reps in each set, and adjust weights and the number of sets according to your current fitness level as the time goes by.

Using  Supplements

Of course, once your workout routine becomes more intense, or you simply feel that you are not progressing fast enough, you may consider using Amino Z supplements. You can do no harm by taking creatine as pre-workout and protein as post-workout supplement, but you should always check ingredients and consult your physician before consumption.5892987840_1c84161716_o

Which Exercises You Should Do

The choice of your routine will depend on your motivation (losing fat and becoming buff are two different things require drastically different approaches), but here are few exercises that will get you started regardless of your end goals:

 

  • Curls – Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing up, and then curl up your arms to bring the weights to your shoulders.
  • Chair Dips – Sit at the edge of a sturdy chair, hold the edge with your palms, walk your feet forward, and slowly bend your elbows to lower your body.
  • Wall squats – Place your back against the wall, and then bend your knees until you are in a sitting position. Hold for few seconds and then go back to standing.

 

Additional Tips

Focus on regularity rather than intensity and do your best to exercise at the same time of the day to make training a part of your daily routine. Minimise the risk of hypoglycemia with meals – one 2 hours prior and one immediately after the exercise – stay hydrated, and start with lighter weights. They will not increase your blood pressure as much as some heavier loads.

Finally, we should mention one more very important thing – If you have type 1 diabetes (your blood glucose level is greater than 250mg/dl), you should skip strength training altogether. If that level is greater than 300mg/dl avoid any kind of resistance training without a prior consultation with your doctor.

Strength Training and Diabetes Jan27

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Focus on Diabetes

Diabetes, to most people, is a bad, scary word. Diabetes conjures up images of sick people who need to obsess over food and put themselves in harm’s way on a regular basis. To this line of thought, diabetes is life sentence, and bad consequence of decades’ worth of bad eating and sloppy living, however what if we changed our focus on this type of thinking.

Does it have more to do with shame and guilt than with reality? Will type 2 diabetes really ruin you life? Read on to find out how, to many people, diabetes is a life saver rather than the kiss of death

Diabetes Will Encourage You to Focus on Nutrition.

When you develop diabetes, you will need to focus on what you eat, and you’ll need to keep in mind the ways in which what you eat affects your entire body. This may have have unexpected benefits.

 

Keeping your nutrition in mind when you plan, fix, and eat meals will leave you a healthier person in ways far beyond the ones related to your diabetes. If you speak to dietitians frequently, you’ll notice some patterns in their recommendations: don’t overeat; make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; avoid processed food and saturated fats; and get lots of exercise. The reason dietitians recommend these strategies is so many health situations is that these guidelines will benefit every part of your health.

 

So when you focus on your diabetes when planning your diet, you’ll be helping more than just your blood sugars. A diabetes friendly diet will help your heart, your energy levels, your brain, and much more.

Diabetes Will Help You Focus Your Routines

Diabetes will help you stay focused. Having to make decisions all the time is tiring. Before diabetes, you probably wasted time thinking about what to eat, when to exercise, and how to organize your life. You probably flip-flopped back and forth about how to run your life, how healthy you wanted to be, and how much effort you wanted to spend taking care of yourself.

 

Diabetes changes all that. When your doctor tells you that you need to cut out refined sugars and processed foods, to incorporate more exercise into your routine, and always maintain focus on what’s good for your body, you know for certain what you need to do. Many diabetes patients credit the disease with giving them purpose in life. When you have a clear problem, you have a clear goal.

Diabetes Will Give You Things to Think About

Despite all of its drawbacks, diabetes is interesting. When you develop the disease, you’ll have a lot to think about. When you research your condition, you’ll learn about many things: your blood, your diet, and your digestion. And you’ll have concrete examples of all of these things to look at everyday—eating certain foods will lead to higher numbers in your blood sugar charting, and you’ll be able to observe patterns. These are all fascinating topics which lead to a strange conclusion: having diabetes is intellectually stimulating.