William Matzner, MD, has been practicing medicine since 1989, Internal Medicine and Reproductive Immunology. M.D. with Honors from Baylor College of Medicine. READ MORE.
Dr. Paul Norwood, medical doctor, is an endocrinologist in Fresno, California. READ MORE.
Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly called “diabetes,” is a group of metabolic disorders in which there are high blood sugar levels over a long period. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes_mellitus
Medical doctor and researcher Paul Norwood, MD has published a new informational article on managing diabetes. The complete article will be published on the Blog of Dr. Norwood at https://PaulNorwoodMD.blogspot.com/
Let’s start with a few numbers. According to the American Diabetes Association, as of 2015:
· 30.3 million Americans (9.4% of the population) had diabetes.
· Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes.
· Of the 30.3 million adults with diabetes, 23.1 million were diagnosed, and 7.2 million were undiagnosed.
· The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 25.2%, or 12.0 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).
· New Cases: 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
· Prediabetes: In 2015, 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had prediabetes.
Source: American Diabetes Association, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/
Diabetes is disease characterized by high sugar/glucose levels in your blood. Glucose is generally found in the foods you eat. The hormone insulin helps this glucose to enter your cells, and release energy. As per the CDC, there are currently 30.3 million people in America that suffer from diabetes. Diabetes can further be broken down in Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes happens when your body cannot make insulin. People suffering from Type 1 diabetes need insulin shots on a daily basis.
Type 2 diabetes happens when your body cannot use or make insulin too well. In this case, you are required to take medicine or insulin shots to manage your diabetes. This type of diabetes is the most prevalent.
Finally, gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that happens to some women when they are pregnant. It usually goes away once they give birth, but even so, these women are at a higher risk of acquiring diabetes at a later point in their life.
How Can You Manage Your Diabetes?
No one plays a more central role in managing your diabetes than you. You should seek help from a doctor and discuss the best way to care for your condition and stay healthy. Some key steps for managing diabetes are:
Step 1: Know the ABCs of Your Diabetes
When you have diabetes, there are three main things to take care of:
a. The A1C Test: The A1C test is a blood test used to measure your blood glucose level over a period of 3 months. Ideally, the result for this test should be below 7, but you should ask your doctor for specifics as it can be different for everyone.
b. Blood Pressure: Your blood pressure is defined as the force of circulating blood on the walls of your blood vessels. The blood pressure goal for a diabetic is below 140/90 but as is the case with the A1C test, it may be different for you. Maintaining your blood pressure at normal levels is very important because a high blood pressure means more work for your heart. This can go on to cause a stroke, a heart attack, and damage your eyes and kidneys.
c. Cholesterol: The cholesterol in your blood can be broken down into 2 parts. LDL is the ‘”bad cholesterol”. This can accumulate and block your blood vessels, causing a stroke or heart attack. HDL is the “good cholesterol”. It helps remove LDL from your blood vessels. As far as the ideal level of LDL and HDL is concerned, the answer varies for everyone, and your doctor will be able to advise you better on this.
Step 2: Cope With Your Diabetes
a. Manage your stress: Stress causes your blood sugar levels to rise. Learn ways to control your stress. This can be done by doing breathing exercises, going on a walk, gardening, meditating, or listening to music. You can also seek help from a mental health counselor, a friend or family member, or a support group.
b. Eat well: Work with your doctor and come up with a meal plan that helps support your condition. Choose low-calorie foods and avoid foods having trans fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar. Foods that are high in fiber, like breads, whole grain cereals, rice, crackers or pasta are very good for you. You must also include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet as well as, low-fat milk and cheese. Try to consume water over juices and carbonated beverages.
c. Be active: Being active is a general necessity to lead a healthy lifestyle but it has numerous additional health benefits for diabetics. You can start by going on short walks at least 3 times a day. Allocate 2 days to building your muscle strength. You can do this by using stretch bands, doing yoga, gardening, or trying push-ups.
d. Set a routine: Developing some daily habits can go a long way in managing your diabetes. For one, check your feet for blisters, cuts, swelling and red spots, on a daily basis. Contact your doctor or health care team at once if you have any sores that do not disappear. You must also maintain your oral health by brushing and flossing every day. If you smoke, then you must quit right away. You must also make a habit of checking your blood sugar once or twice a day. Keep a record of these results to show to your doctor when you pay a visit.
Step 3: Getting Routine Care
Keep in touch with your doctor and your healthcare team. Pay your doctor a visit at least twice a year so that you are up to date with your condition. If any problems are found, regular visits can help treat them on a timely basis.
At each visit, you must get:
* A blood pressure check
* A weight check
* A foot check
* A review of your health plan
Besides this, you must get an A1C test done at least twice a year. If the result is often over 7, the frequency may have to be increased.
You’ll also need to get the following done, once a year:
* Cholesterol Test
* Dental Exam
* Eye exam in case of eye problems
* Complete foot exam
* Flu shot
* Blood and urine test in case of kidney problems
You can also consider getting the following shots at least once in your life:
* Hepatitis B shot
* Pneumonia shot
Diabetics may get careless about their condition. Proper management of diabetes can help you live a near-to-normal life, but neglect may result in serious repercussions. Keeping your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible has the following benefits:
* You have more energy
* You feel less thirsty and tired
* You heal faster
* You have fewer bladder and skin infections
Managing your diabetes will also help you avoid serious health problems such as:
* Stroke or heart attack
* Nerve damage, this is usually characterized by pain, numbness or a tingling sensation in your hands and feet
* Kidney problems which may lead to kidney failure
* Eye problems which may lead to losing your eyesight
* Oral cavity infections which may cause tooth decay or gum disease
About Paul Norwood, MD
Dr. Paul Norwood leads the team at Valley Endocrine in Fresno, California. Valued by his community for his caring and kind personality as well as his skills as a physician, Dr. Paul Norwood is also respected nationwide for his expertise as an endocrinologist. In 1993, Dr. Norwood founded Valley Endocrine Clinic, which specializes in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, as well as Valley Research, which does clinical trials.
Video: Dr. Paul Norwood M.D. of Valley Research discusses treatments and medicine to treat conditions like diabetes, chronic migraines, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ueoj-gOs5M
The importance of colon health cannot be emphasized enough. A healthy colon and regular bowel movement is not only imperative for the elimination of waste from the body, but the health of the bowel and the digestive tract is a strong indicator of your overall health.
Despite all of this, however, it’s unfortunate that colon health is neither talked about, nor given the
amount of importance that it truly deserves. Even in cases when people notice changes with their bowel habits, the possibility of problems of the colon, bowel, or digestive tract are just shot down to prevent tests and screenings. Needless to say, this is an extremely dangerous approach and can be the reason why you’re left in the dark regarding serious colon issues for longer than you should have been.
Unless you get checked for colon problems, there’s really no way that you’ll be able to find out whether you’re suffering from any problems or issues in your digestive tract until it’s too late. Moreover, since your gut health is related to a number of different aspects of your overall health, getting a colonoscopy done regularly is essential to ensure that you’re in the clear.
Interested in learning more about colonoscopies, how they work, and when you should start seeing your doctor regularly for colonoscopies? Read on to find out everything you need to know about colonoscopies, the procedure, and how to prepare for your first colonoscopy.
What is a colonoscopy?
The major reason why most people opt out of getting regular colonoscopies is the fact that they do not know enough about the procedure. While it’s normal to be slightly intimidated if your doctor recommends a colonoscopy, it’s important to note that the procedure itself is far from terrible. In fact, there’s a high chance that you’ll be sedated and won’t even remember the procedure.
In a colonoscopy, your large intestine will be examined by a doctor to look for any abnormalities or causes of bleeding or pain in the abdomen, or changes in bowel habits. Through a colonoscopy, it will also be possible for your doctor to check for polyps and cancerous masses that can and should be treated before they are given the chance to aggravate. Since colon cancer is a common problem among adults and senior citizens, it is imperative to get a colonoscopy once every few years to ensure that your digestive tract is in perfect health and that there aren’t any problems with you and your organs.
What do I need to know before a colonoscopy?
While colonoscopies are generally extremely safe procedures, it’s important to note that your medication might have to be adjusted if you already have some conditions, illnesses, or diseases. That’s exactly why you should let your doctor know beforehand if you’re suffering from lung problems or heart conditions, or if you have any allergies.
Additionally, it is also important for you to let your doctor know if you’re pregnant or have diabetes since the doctor will have to provide you with a different type of medication to prevent blood clotting problems.
What must I do before a colonoscopy?
It is extremely important for you to have a clean colon before the doctor performs your colonoscopy. That’s why your doctor may ask you to fast from all solid foods at least 24 hours before your colonoscopy. Clear liquids such as broth, water, and sports drinks are generally allowed to prevent dehydration and weakness.
You might also be provided with a laxative that can help you empty out your bowel completely. You might be requested to consume the laxative the night before your colonoscopy is scheduled to ensure that your bowel is completely empty when the doctor is performing the procedure. In some cases, patients might also be told to consume the laxative on the morning of the procedure or examination. Regardless of the time that your doctor asks you to consume the laxative, it is extremely important for you to follow their instructions to the T to prevent any problems or complications during the actual procedure.
Since you will be sedated for the colonoscopy, it is also recommended that you bring someone along who can drive you back home since the effects of the sedative are bound to last for up to 8 hours after the examination.
How are colonoscopies performed?
Your doctor or medical professional will ask you to lie down on your left side and provide you with IV sedatives. Once you are unconscious, the doctor will insert a long device called a colonoscope into your rectum. Colonoscopes have a light and camera attached to allow the doctor or medical professional to get a clear view of the colon to assess whether or not everything is normal.
The doctor might also inflate your colon to help get a better view of the colon in its entirety.
Should the doctor find any polyps or irregular masses, a snare in the colonoscope can also be used to remove them efficiently and effectively during the colonoscopy procedure. The entire colonoscopy should not last more than half an hour should everything be normal.
When should I start getting colonoscopies?
While it is important for both males and females to get colonoscopies once every few years starting at age 50, there are certain factors that might want you to start investing in colonoscopies even earlier than that. In case you have one or multiple relatives who have suffered from colon problems or colon cancer, it is important to start getting colonoscopies once every 5 to 10 years starting at age 40 to ensure that you don’t have any undetected problems down the road.
Moreover, if any relative of yours has experienced problems with their colon at an early age, you should preferably start getting tested around the age when your relative was diagnosed to prevent problems. Since a colonoscopy can help you get a clear picture of your colon health, it is not necessary for you to get the procedure done more than once every 5 to 10 years.
*** Dr. William Matzner works in the area of healthcare economics consulting at Healthcare Analytics, LLC, in California. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University. He received his M.D. with Honors from Baylor College of Medicine. In 1988, he was the Solomon Scholar for Resident Research at Cedar Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Matzner subsequently was awarded a PhD in Neuro Economics from Claremont Graduate University. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Palliative Medicine. He has researched and published extensively on the issue of reproduction and immunology in medical literature. He has been in private practice since 1989, specializing in Reproductive Immunology and Internal medicine.
Consulting Website: https://healthcareanalytics.biz