These articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the most basic aspects of diabetes care to the nitty-gritty specifics.
- Alternative Medicine/ Complementary Therapies
- Blood Glucose Monitoring
- Dental Health
- Diabetes Basics
- Diabetes Definitions
- Diabetic Complications
- Emotional Health
- Eyes & Vision
- Foot Care
- General Diabetes & Health Issues
- Heart Health
- High Blood Glucose
- Insulin & Other Injected Drugs
- Kids & Diabetes
- Low Blood Glucose
- Money Matters
- Nutrition & Meal Planning
- Oral Medicines
- Sexual Health
- Tools & Technology
- Weight Loss
- Women's Health
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In every issue of Diabetes Self-Management magazine, we test your knowledge on a diabetes-related topic. Here's a quiz question from the September/October 2013 issue.
How much do you know about the HbA1c test?
HbA1c (short for hemoglobin A1c or glycosylated hemoglobin, now more commonly called simply A1C) is a blood test your health-care provider uses to get an idea of your average blood glucose level in the recent past. This information helps determine if your diabetes treatment plan needs adjusting, among other things. But what, really, does this test measure? And what is a “good” result? Test your knowledge of the HbA1c test by answering the following question!
If my A1C score is in target range, my diabetes is in great control and there’s no reason for me to check my “fingerstick” blood glucose level.
TRUE or FALSE?
FALSE. An A1C test is an average. You could have extreme highs and extreme lows that average out to a number that sounds good, but you could hardly classify such a glucose rollercoaster as having great control. The A1C test and the readings from your meter work as a team. The A1C can ferret out glucose trends commonly missed with home monitoring (such as frequent lows in the middle of the night, or extended highs in the afternoons); while the meter might reveal a pattern of peaks and valleys the averaging nature of the A1C can’t predict. How high your blood glucose is matters, but so does the range between the highest and lowest numbers. Both can lead to diabetes complications.
In every issue of Diabetes Self-Management magazine, we test your knowledge on a diabetes-related topic. Here's a quiz question from the July/August 2013 issue.
How much do you know about protein?
Protein is one of the major nutrients that the body needs for good health. It’s part of every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. Most people think of protein in terms of building muscle, but it has many other important functions, too, such as regulating fluid balance, helping blood to clot, making hormones and enzymes, and fighting off invaders, like viruses and bacteria. Find out how much you know about this vital nutrient by trying your hand at the following question.
People who exercise need more protein than people who do not.
TRUE or FALSE?
FALSE. If you were a fan of the Rocky movies, you might remember Rocky Balboa gulping down raw eggs in an effort to build his strength. It’s a common misconception that if you’re exercising or trying to build muscle, you need to eat more protein. After all, muscle is protein, so it would seem that eating more protein builds more muscle. While avid exercisers and athletes may, in fact, need a little more protein in their diets, most people already consume about double the protein they need, anyway. Strength training using weights, resistance bands, kettle bells, or weight machines is what builds muscle. However, if you’re trying to “bulk up,” it may be helpful to eat some protein along with carbohydrate after your workout; research suggests that doing so may actually help to build muscle.
In every issue of Diabetes Self-Management magazine, we test your knowledge on a diabetes-related topic. Here's a quiz question from the March/April 2013 issue.
How much do you know about irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) isn’t exactly a topic to discuss at the dinner table or around the water cooler at the office, but you might be surprised at how many Americans suffer from this gastrointestinal condition. Anywhere from 10% to 20% of the population has IBS, and women are twice as likely to have it as men. IBS isn’t a disease, like Crohn disease or inflammatory bowel disease, because it doesn’t affect the structure of the intestines. Instead, it’s a gastrointestinal disorder that affects bowel function and is characterized by certain symptoms that, unfortunately, can make life downright miserable at times. Try your hand at this question to see what you know and to find out what you can do to better manage this condition.
Probiotics may be helpful for people with IBS.
TRUE or FALSE?
TRUE. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that live in your digestive tract to help fight off harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause disease. They also promote a healthy immune system. Researchers have been studying the effects of probiotics on gastrointestinal conditions, including IBS. Certain strains of probiotics, including bifidobacteria (found in supplement form in the brand Align), may be helpful in alleviating diarrhea, while others may help ease constipation. Probiotics are available in supplement form, and also in certain foods, including yogurt (look for yogurt that contains live, active cultures), kefir (a cultured milk beverage), miso, tempeh, and even in some brands of cheese and energy bars. While eating foods that contain probiotics is safe, talk with your health-care provider before you start taking a probiotic supplement to make sure that it’s safe for you and that you choose the right kind and dose.
In every issue of Diabetes Self-Management magazine, we test your knowledge on a diabetes-related topic. Here's a quiz question from the January/February 2013 issue.
How much do you know about winter woes?
When the weather outside is frightful, people with diabetes face a new set of challenges that they didn’t have in the warmer months. Insulin and other injected medicines need to be kept from freezing, blood glucose meters have a lowest temperature at which they’re functional—and that’s just your diabetes supplies. Low temperatures, little sunlight, and the pressures and temptations of the holiday season can all affect your blood glucose level and your diabetes management. Take this quiz to find out how much you know about staying healthy through the winter.
Packing an emergency kit before the cold weather sets in is a terrific way to stay safe and healthy all winter.
TRUE or FALSE?
TRUE. Inclement weather that disrupts your daily routine is more likely in the winter months. Winter storms can cut your power; freeze your pipes, robbing you of water; and leave you snowed in and unable to get to a pharmacy or grocery store. It’s a good idea to assemble a diabetes emergency kit to keep you one step ahead of Mother Nature. Your kit should include extra medicines, glucose, supplies, and test strips, along with a way to keep medicines at a safe temperature even if you have no electricity. Your kit should be portable and organized in such a way that you can have all your supplies ready to leave with you at a moment’s notice. It should have all you need to survive (diabetes-wise) for two weeks. Be sure to rotate the stock from your emergency kit from time to time so the medicines and supplies in it don’t go bad. It’s also a wise move to stock your home with at least three days’ worth of drinking water (one gallon per person per day); nonperishable, ready-to-eat food; one or more flashlights; a battery-operated radio; and extra batteries for the flashlights and radio.
In every issue of Diabetes Self-Management magazine, we test your knowledge on a diabetes-related topic. Here's a quiz question from the November/December 2012 issue.
How much do you know about herbal supplements?
The number of Americans using herbal supplements has increased in recent years, and people with diabetes are well represented among those who do. Commonly, herbal supplements are taken in the hopes of lowering blood glucose levels. But do any of them really work? Because the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider them drugs, herbal supplements are exempted from the rigorous efficacy and safety tests that medicines must undergo. Consequently, knowing whether an herbal supplement is safe or effective–and in what dose–is difficult to determine. Try your hand at the question below to find out how much you know about herbal supplements.
Since herbal supplements are not considered medicines, it is not necessary to tell your health-care providers which ones you’re using.
TRUE or FALSE?
FALSE. It’s very important to tell your health-care providers about any supplements–herbal or otherwise–that you’re taking, even though they are not considered drugs. They may have therapeutic effects in the body, and they have the potential to cause serious side effects, interact with drugs or certain foods you may be consuming, interfere with lab tests, and affect other health conditions you may have. It is important to let your doctor know what you’re taking, even if he doesn’t ask. One particularly important reason is that there may be a need to adjust the conventional medicines you’re currently taking. Your health-care provider may be able to help you choose a supplement that’s safe to take and to check for side effects or possible interactions.
In every issue of Diabetes Self-Management magazine, we test your knowledge on a diabetes-related topic. Here's a quiz question from the July/August 2012 issue.
How much do you know about beverages?
The human body is composed of at least 60% water, so it makes sense that we can’t survive long without drinking water (or other fluids). But does it matter what you drink, as long as it’s wet? What about a morning cup of coffee, a lunchtime soft drink, or a glass of wine at the end of the day? In fact, your choice of beverages can have a big effect on your health, including your diabetes control, your waistline, and your ability to stay awake (or fall asleep) when you want to. So what’s a good choice, and what beverages might be best avoided? Try your hand at the question below to check out your beverage smarts.
An energy drink like Red Bull, Rockstar, Full Throttle, or Monster is the best way to make sure you stay alert and get through a long day.
TRUE or FALSE?
FALSE. Energy drinks are trendy beverages that are hyped up on caffeine–literally. These drinks are marketed to people who tend to be short on sleep and energy, and ads for them hint at improved athletic performance. Some of these beverages contain upward of 300–500 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per serving (compared to about 100 mg in a cup of coffee). Some of your favorite coffee beverages at the local chain coffee shops are high in caffeine, too, but energy drinks are often gulped down like water, and it’s easy to not only overdo the caffeine, but also to swallow a lot of sugar (and calories) at the same time. An 8-ounce can of Red Bull contains 113 calories and 28 grams of carbohydrate, and a 16-ounce can of Full Throttle boasts 220 calories and 58 grams of carbohydrate. Some energy drinks come in a sugar-free version, so you can save calories and carbohydrate that way, but you’ll still get a hefty dose of caffeine. Too much caffeine can give you insomnia, make you jittery and irritable, and cause a rapid heartbeat.
What about the “extras” in energy drinks, like B vitamins, amino acids, and herbal extracts? These ingredients don’t provide you with energy. B vitamins help your body use energy, but they won’t do you much good unless you’re eating a healthy diet. And there’s no good research supporting the addition of amino acids or herbs for either energy or athletic performance.
In every issue of Diabetes Self-Management magazine, we test your knowledge on a diabetes-related topic. Here's a quiz question from the May/June 2012 issue.
How much do you know about high and low blood glucose?
Most people with diabetes regard dealing with high and low blood glucose as “diabetes kindergarten” — the first things we learned about on our diabetes journey. But the symptoms of both extremes of the blood glucose continuum can overlap, making it difficult to tell what exactly you’re feeling. And you may not know about some of the dangers that can arise from spending too much time in high or low ranges. So how much do you know about this seemingly most basic of basics? Test your knowledge of high and low blood glucose with the question below.
It’s OK to have lots of highs and lows, as long as your HbA1c stays in the range you want.
TRUE or FALSE?
FALSE. Your HbA1c test results only indicate the average blood glucose level in your body over a three-month period and can mask glycemic variation, the severe yo-yo-ing of lows and highs. Clinical research is increasingly showing glycemic variation to be a significant causative factor in the development of diabetes complications. An in-target HbA1c is only healthy when accompanied by blood glucose readings within your goal range.
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