Diabetes Agent > Common Concerns & Issues about Diabetes

Maintaining Mental Health - Diabetes Agent

There’s no doubt about it – diabetes can be very stressful to live with and manage. You might find that you’re more anxious or afraid now, or you might find your closest and most important relationships being affected negatively by the issues caused by diabetes. Diabetes can be difficult enough – having depression or other mental health issues on top of this can make it even harder to take care of yourself and manage your diabetes.

First, the bad news: if you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk for depression. 1 in 4 people with diabetes will experience depression at some time in their lifetime. People with both of these conditions tend to have more severe symptoms of both illnesses. Despite this relationship, depression does not have to come with diabetes.

The great news is that, often, by treating one of these conditions, you can positively affect both of them to improve your well-being overall.

Maintaining your mental health will positively affect every other action you take to manage your diabetes. If you feel supported, encouraged, powerful, and positive, taking care of yourself will be much easier and pleasurable. If you feel isolated, discouraged, powerless, and depleted, you may feel like managing your diabetes is impossible, and you might be tempted just to give up.

Explore this content for helpful ways to maintain your mental health.


Jump to: Videos  |  Tools & Resources  |  News

Videos

Diabetic Duo

The two Sarah’s discuss both how diabetes affects their relationship They establish health partner care.

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Gene Engaging in Exercise

Gene discusses changing his habits and using housework as opportunities for activity.

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Sarah Engaging in Exercise

Sarah H. has to slow down on her Roller Derby commitments and finds other ways to be physically active.

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Sarah Coping with Diagnosis

Sarah H. discusses being previously healthy and mourning the loss of her life as she knew it before.

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Amber’s Concerns for the Future

Amber discusses chasing blood sugar perfection and how she handles specific fears about her future.

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Amber’s Book

Amber describes and reads an excerpt from her book, “My New Normal.”

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Amber’s Song

Amber sings her song, “It’s Alright,” which she wrote to inspire others with diabetes.

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Jessica Engaging in Exercise

Jessica talks about how it’s worth getting over the resistance to exercise.

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Luke’s Concerns for the Future

Luke discusses the challenges of a positive attitude and dating with diabetes.

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Carlos’s Support Systems and Social Issues

Carlos talks about the ways that his wife is his number one support.

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Luke’s Support Systems and Social Issues

Luke talks about how his family has dealt with diabetes and the changes in his family’s life.

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Donald’s Support Systems & Social Issues

Donald expresses gratitude for the great support from his family.

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Priscilla’s Support Systems and Social Issues

Pricilla’s daughter is her biggest support outlet. She feels sometimes judged by her friends and expresses concerns over her lack of support.

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Elizabeth Support System and Social Issues

Elizabeth feels that she can discuss diabetes with her patients in a new light.

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Jessica Support Systems and Social Issues

Jessica discusses the supportive men in her life, including her father and son.

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Zac’s Support Systems and Social Issues

Zac talks about being a teenager with diabetes.

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Gene’s Support Systems and Social Issues

Gene tells the story of the “fifty year contract” with his wife.

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Dave’s Support Systems & Social Issues

Dave talks about the mixed responses from his friends and family.

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Amber’s Support Systems & Social Issues

Amber talks about the benefits of having a brother with diabetes in her support system.

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Sarah’s Support Systems and Social Issues

Sarah B. gives Sarah H. her own space to figure it out on her own.

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Tools & Resources

Is type 1 diabetes hereditary?

Researchers are still trying to get a clear picture about how genes and environmental factors interact to determine a person’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Forty percent of everyone in the United States carries one or more of the HLA genes (human leukocyte antigen) which lead to increased risk of type 1 diabetes. To […]

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So I have diabetes. It’s not a big deal. After all, there’s medicine to treat it now.

Would you say the same thing about asthma? Epilepsy? Osteoporosis? No! Like these conditions, diabetes is a chronic disease that you will have for the rest of your life. How you choose to treat your diabetes (or not) has a vital impact on how long that life will be. While there are medications to help […]

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What are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes (T1D)?

The symptoms may occur suddenly, and include one or more of the following: Extreme thirst Frequent urination Drowsiness, lethargy Sugar in urine Sudden vision changes Increased appetite Sudden weight loss Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath Heavy, labored breathing Stupor, unconsciousness If you think you or your child has diabetes, call a doctor immediately, […]

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I have type 1 diabetes and need help finding life insurance.

People with T1D may encounter difficulties obtaining life insurance. It may be necessary to do some individual research to find a company that will provide you with a policy. While JDRF does not keep lists of companies that offer life insurance to people with type 1 diabetes, we can offer some direction to help you […]

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Social Support Handout

Supportive friends, family, and health care providers can make an enormous difference when dealing with a diabetes diagnosis. Here are some frequently asked questions about social supports.

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What foods should a person with type 1 diabetes eat/avoid?

People with type 1 diabetes should discuss their individual dietary needs with their doctor. Individualized meal planning is an integral part of every diabetes care plan. The key to every plan is balancing diet, exercise, and insulin intake to achieve blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. It’s important that anyone new to […]

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Diabetes Medical Alerts

Without question, Type 1 Diabetics should wear some sort of medical alert bracelet or necklace at all times. Type 2′s on insulin should as well. The dangers of going low, or hypo, are just too great and you see news stories all the time of hypo diabetics being confused for a drunk and not given […]

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My mom was diagnosed with diabetes. Does that mean I’ll get it too?

A family history of diabetes puts you at increased risk, but so does just being over age 45. The disease is also more common among Alaska natives, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans and African-Americans. Even if you’re in one of these high-risk groups, you can protect yourself by striving for a healthy lifestyle and […]

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What do I need to know about type 1 diabetes in school?

School presents a host of challenging issues for children with T1D, and it’s important to know how to work with the school to ensure the best care for your child. JDRF’s School Advisory Toolkit is a comprehensive resource for parents, teachers, nurses, and everyone who provides care for a child with type 1 diabetes in […]

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How did my child get type 1 diabetes? We have no family history.

Research has shown that at most, only 15 percent of people with type 1 diabetes have an affected first-degree relative – a sibling, parent, or offspring. Research suggests that genes account for less than half the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. These findings suggest that there may be environmental factors that influence the development […]

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It’s difficult to eat right when I travel. Do you have any suggestions?

If you take oral medications and/or insulin, you should always carry a simple form of carbohydrate such as juice, glucose tablets, candy or regular soda in case of hypoglycemia. Maintaining a diabetic diet can be challenging, especially at airports, highway rest stops or food courts in shopping malls. Look for regular- or junior-sized meals or […]

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How do I find a support group near where I live that can help me learn to manage my disease?

Many hospitals offer diabetes support groups, which are good sources of diabetes information. Check your local newspaper, hospital or health department for support group locations and meeting dates. Endocrinologists (physicians who specialize in diabetes) may also offer support groups that are open to all type 2 diabetes patients. Check the yellow pages for “Endocrinologists” and […]

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How long will my child have type 1 diabetes? Can you outgrow it?

At this point, type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease, meaning you never outgrow it. However, JDRF is doing everything in its power to find a cure and also produce treatments that improve people’s lives as soon as possible. We were founded in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, who made a […]

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Does having diabetes affect your interest in sex?

Yes, diabetes can impact the sex drive and performance of both men and women. Erectile dysfunction (ED; also known as impotence) may occur as a result of nerve or blood vessel damage associated with diabetes. In addition, emotional factors such as depression and stress that can be associated with diabetes may affect libido.

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How do I know whether I or my child is getting the best medical care available? Is there a list of recommended doctors and health care experts I can check?

Ultimately only you can determine whether or not you or your child is seeing the right doctor, but we will attempt to provide general guidelines to help you make that determination. On your next visit to your doctor, you may want to ask some or all of the following questions, in order to determine his […]

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How does smoking affect my diabetes?

It is commonly known that smoking has many negative effects on the body, including, but not limited to: lung disease, premature infant births with low body weight, damage to the circulatory system, high blood pressure, and cancers of the mouth and respiratory tract. Effects on the circulatory system include constriction of the blood vessels in […]

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I’ve been so thirsty lately and my friend said I might have diabetes. Could she be right?

Your friend’s hunch may be correct; increased thirst is one of the most common symptoms, along with frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision. Also, if you have an infection that takes a long time to clear up (especially bladder and vaginal infections in women) or dark patches on the folds of your skin, like the […]

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Can women with diabetes breastfeed their babies?

Unless your health care team advises you otherwise, yes. Breast milk provides the best nutrition for babies and breastfeeding is recommended for all mothers with either preexisting diabetes or gestational diabetes.

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Diabetes and Sex: What’s the 411?

Good, juicy question! First, the good news: many, many people with diabetes enjoy a healthy sex life with their partners, despite the challenges caused by the disease. Like any other complication, sexual issues require awareness, communication with your doctor, and a good plan to lower their incidence. Sex is an important part of life and […]

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Doctor Discussion Reminder

Doctor Discussion Reminder

A card to take to the doctor or nurse to remind her/him to (re)fill a prescription.

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Where can I find health insurance for myself or my child with type 1 diabetes?

The federal government’s new site, Healthcare.gov, has information about health insurance options as well as an easy-to-use guide to help you find out which private insurance plans, public programs and community services are available to you. Also, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has a publication entitled “Financial Help for […]

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I need financial assistance for type 1 diabetes supplies and/or healthcare.

There are pharmaceutical assistance programs offered directly by some drug companies for people with type 1 diabetes who have little or no insurance to help offset the cost of supplies or prescription medications. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (888-477-2669) offers a point of access to hundreds of assistance programs that have joined together to provide […]

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Where can I get a medical ID for my child?

A number of companies make medical alert IDs and products specifically marketed toward children with type 1 diabetes. The Children with Diabetes website has a comprehensive listing of medical ID products.

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Fast Food Diabetic

As a Type 2 diabetic, you’re going to struggle with food choices pretty much non-stop. When you are first diagnosed, it feels like you can’t eat anything! Unless you are taking insulin, you’re going to have to watch what you eat closely. “Eating by your meter” is what a lot of Type 2′s call it. […]

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What are some of the symptoms of women’s sexual health issues related to diabetes?

Lack of interest in sex (libido), pain or discomfort during intercourse, and decreased production of vaginal lubrication, to name a few.

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Who Develops Type 2 Diabetes?

Age, sex, weight, physical activity, diet, lifestyle, and family health history all affect someone’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes. The chances that someone will develop diabetes increase if the person’s parents or siblings have the disease. Experts now know that diabetes is more common in African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Native Hawaiians than […]

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Can diabetes cause erectile dysfunction?

Up to 75% of men with diabetes experience some type of difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. Erection is a cooperative effort between nerves and blood vessels. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to nerves (peripheral neuropathy) and blood vessels, impairing their ability to work together. The key to managing erectile dysfunction related to diabetes is […]

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News

Traveling by air? Here’s what you need to know.

Traveling by air can be a hassle for anyone these days, and if you are living with diabetes, there are additional challenges – making sure you have enough of your medications, figuring out where to eat, keeping to your monitoring routine (help with those below the jump) – all on top of sometimes frustrating screening […]

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Don’t lose your mind! Poor glucose management can lead to brain volume loss late in life.

Here’s yet another reason to stick to your blood glucose self-management regimen: poor control over your blood glucose can result in brain atrophy – basically, your brain shrinking in volume. Brain atrophy happens as a result of the loss of cells, and its exact effects vary depending on where the cells are lost. Regardless of […]

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When was your last eye exam?

The diabetes epidemic is concerning in and of itself, but it also may be driving large spikes in related health problems as well. A group of researchers sponsored jointly by the National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America just released their analysis of the rates health conditions that threaten vision in the United States. They […]

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New study offers insight into one of the most painful side effects of diabetes

The impact of painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) on the lives of those affected by it is well understood. Recent estimates suggest that up to 50% of those with diabetes suffer from the distressing condition, and the persistent abnormal pain impairs patients’ quality of life and affects sleep, mood, mobility, ability to work, relationships, self-esteem and […]

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Beyond Blood Sugar: Is it time to expand the focus of diabetes care?

What would you say is your health care provider’s main focus in treating you for diabetes? If you are like most diabetics in the United States, you probably answered something fairly close to “preventing complications by managing your blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and/or your blood pressure.”

Read More »

Diabetes and Cancer Risk

By now, you are well aware of the fact that diabetes affects more than just your sugar levels. As research efforts unravel more of the mysteries of the effects diabetes has on the body, it is increasingly clear that these effects are far-reaching. We know that having diabetes can increase your risk of some other […]

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Diabetes in the bedroom

Sex and sexual difficulties are tough to approach. Bringing intimate matters out for frank, clinical discussion can make a lot of people uncomfortable, whether the discussion is with a partner or a member of their health care team. But when these discussions are avoided, there’s no way to learn about treatments that can help. It’s […]

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Good news for Type 1 Diabetics: Life expectancy has improved dramatically

According to the results of a study recently published in the journal Diabetes, the life expectancy for those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has saw a huge jump over the last half of the 20th century. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh compared data on two groups of participants diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before […]

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Better lifestyle habits are saving lives!

A recent release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that patients with type 2 diabetes are taking better care of themselves and receiving better care than ever before. According to the study, the death rate for diabetes from either stroke or heart disease was 40% lower in 2006 than in 1997. […]

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New research suggests possible treatments for diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy can cause a wide range of painful, troubling side effects – loss of sensation in hands or feet, trouble with digestion, trouble with regulating blood pressure, difficulties with sexual function, and even loss of bladder control. Close to half of all diabetics deal with one or more symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, which makes […]

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Insulin and CVD Risk – Myth Busted!

Any time you are prescribed a new medicine, it is normal and healthy to be concerned about potential side effects – especially if it is something you are likely to be taking long-term. If you’ve been prescribed insulin, or have looked into the possibility, you may have heard that one of the potential side effects […]

Read More »

Nerve damage, vision loss, kidney disease: Diabetes complications can start sooner than you think

Loss of vision, nerve damage in the feet and hands, eye disease, kidney disease? Not me. These are complications that can happen to people who have had diabetes a long time, not newbies, right?! A new study suggests this common belief may be dead wrong and that even patients with newly diagnosed diabetes may experience […]

Read More »

Beyond Blood Sugar: Is it time to expand the focus of diabetes care?

What would you say is your health care provider’s main focus in treating you for diabetes? If you are like most diabetics in the United States, you probably answered something fairly close to “preventing complications by managing your blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and/or your blood pressure.”

Read More »

Veggies looking unappetizing? Try changing beverages!

“Finish your vegetables!” Those three words are enough to make a lot of people wince. Some people just don’t like vegetables at all, right? If you don’t like the taste of vegetables, what are you supposed to do to eat healthy? A recent study published in the journal Appetite suggests that the first thing you […]

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Low HDL may raise diabetic nephropathy risk

HDL, or high-density lipoproteins, are a form of cholesterol. HDL is often referred to as the “good cholesterol,” since many studies have suggested that higher levels of HDL may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Low-density lipoproteins, LDL, are the form of cholesterol that can build up in the arteries, raising the risk of […]

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Portion control a problem? Try switching plates!

Plate color, that is. No jokes here. A recently published research study looked at the way plate color impacted the choices participants made regarding food. Participants were given a plate that either closely matched the color of the food served, or contrasted with the food. They were then invited to serve themselves however much they […]

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How Dense is Your Diet?

Most of us have heard that we should eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, while limiting our intake of fats and and added sugar. In 2010, the USDA released a set of dietary recommendations for all Americans that included this advice, adding that we should all try to eat […]

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Why we can always make room for dessert

Has this ever happened to you? You ate a good, sensible, balanced breakfast. You feel satisfied. Then you get to work, and the first thing you see is that your coworker brought in a box of fresh doughnuts. Suddenly, you don’t feel full anymore. In fact, you feel like you’ve got plenty of room for […]

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Sneaky Bad Habits – Have any of these crept into your self-management?

There’s no way around the fact that no matter your prescribed treatment, managing a chronic illness such as diabetes is a lot of work. It’s a 24 hours a day, 365 (or 366) days per year occupation. Sometimes, the with the amount of attention diabetes requires, bad habits and shortcuts might start drifting in to […]

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Healthy Eating is Cheaper than You Think!

Thinking about changing what you eat can be intimidating. After all, few of us have the luxury of planning meals based solely on what we want to eat. There are other people’s tastes to consider, what’s available at the store when we go… and of course, the price. Food costs have been going up, and […]

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If you miss eating rice, here’s some good news!

If you are trying to choose foods with a low glycemic index (GI) to help you control your blood sugar, you may have been advised to avoid white rice. White rice is often mentioned in lists of high GI foods, along with white potatoes, pasta, and white breads.

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Watching your sugar intake isn’t enough: How high fat consumption can raise blood sugar

Obesity is well known for increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as is the fact that a high fat diet can contribute to obesity. But a new study conducted by the University of Michigan Health System has revealed that the link between consuming foods high in fat and diabetes goes even deeper.

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What are you taking?

Due to the rapid increase in the rate of diabetes in the United States, there has been a lot of healthcare research focused on finding the best way to provide quality care in the most cost-efficient manner possible. One recent study looked at the prescriptions type 2 diabetes patients are receiving when they first start […]

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Taking your medication pays off

If you are taking multiple medications every day, keeping to your regimen can be a big challenge. But taking all of your medications as your doctor instructed is one of the biggest factors in staying in control of your diabetes and reducing your risk of complications. The payoff for medication adherence can be huge; an […]

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Diabetes in the bedroom

Sex and sexual difficulties are tough to approach. Bringing intimate matters out for frank, clinical discussion can make a lot of people uncomfortable, whether the discussion is with a partner or a member of their health care team. But when these discussions are avoided, there’s no way to learn about treatments that can help. It’s […]

Read More »

The key to raising low testosterone levels may begin with a “kiss!”

Testosterone is a very important hormone, and it gets a lot of press.  It’s often known as the male hormone, and the majority of the hormone in men is produced in the testes.  Testosterone has some important functions in women as well, but recent health research has largely focused on men, and a recent publication […]

Read More »

Traveling by air? Here’s what you need to know.

Traveling by air can be a hassle for anyone these days, and if you are living with diabetes, there are additional challenges – making sure you have enough of your medications, figuring out where to eat, keeping to your monitoring routine (help with those below the jump) – all on top of sometimes frustrating screening […]

Read More »

Sneaky Bad Habits – Have any of these crept into your self-management?

There’s no way around the fact that no matter your prescribed treatment, managing a chronic illness such as diabetes is a lot of work. It’s a 24 hours a day, 365 (or 366) days per year occupation. Sometimes, the with the amount of attention diabetes requires, bad habits and shortcuts might start drifting in to […]

Read More »

Legislating for better diabetes care

Legislators in Washington, D.C. have introduced a bill that, if passed, will create the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission: an organization that would aim to address the diabetes epidemic by coordinating and concentrating national efforts to research, understand, prevent, and treat the condition.

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Are teens getting the lifestyle message?

According to recent research, more than half of them are not. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) just released information collected from 6,911 girls and 6,970 boys between the ages of 11 and 17, showing that less of half of these teens were advised by their doctor to eat healthily and get plenty […]

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Type 2 Diabetes and the Blame Game

A recent editorial in Diabetes Health hit me hard – the article described one woman’s experience with confronting feelings that she was being blamed for her diabetes (you can read her article at the link below). One of my good friends received a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes recently, after having been prediabetic for many […]

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Diabetes self-managment – a family affair?

Having the support of family and friends can make just about anything a little easier to deal with, but the reverse is also true. Not having that support when you really need it can make things that much more difficult, and a recent study performed by researchers at Vanderbilt University demonstrated just how problematic the […]

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Preventing complications goes beyond watching your blood sugar

Watching your blood pressure is a good idea for anyone, but is especially important for those with diabetes. High blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol are two of the most common conditions that are comorbid with diabetes; according to the CDC, about 13 percent of U.S. adults are living with a combination of two of […]

Read More »

Beyond Blood Sugar: Is it time to expand the focus of diabetes care?

What would you say is your health care provider’s main focus in treating you for diabetes? If you are like most diabetics in the United States, you probably answered something fairly close to “preventing complications by managing your blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and/or your blood pressure.”

Read More »

Finding the right age to start regular colonoscopies

Preliminary results from a small study suggest that patients with type 2 diabetes may need to begin regular colonoscopies sooner than their peers. In a colonoscopy, a doctor uses a camera attached to the end of a long, thin, flexible tube to examine the walls of the large intestine. During this procedure, any polyps (small […]

Read More »

Nerve damage, vision loss, kidney disease: Diabetes complications can start sooner than you think

Loss of vision, nerve damage in the feet and hands, eye disease, kidney disease? Not me. These are complications that can happen to people who have had diabetes a long time, not newbies, right?! A new study suggests this common belief may be dead wrong and that even patients with newly diagnosed diabetes may experience […]

Read More »

Insulin and CVD Risk – Myth Busted!

Any time you are prescribed a new medicine, it is normal and healthy to be concerned about potential side effects – especially if it is something you are likely to be taking long-term. If you’ve been prescribed insulin, or have looked into the possibility, you may have heard that one of the potential side effects […]

Read More »

Is it time to reassess early treatment of Type 2 Diabetes?

If you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the past decade, you are probably familiar with the “stepwise” approach to confronting the condition. This stepwise approach, currently the standard in healthcare, encourages blood glucose control through lifestyle changes first. For example, the American Diabetes Association recommends that newly diagnoses diabetics be treated with a […]

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More reasons not to postpone your eye exam

Diabetic retinopathy, damage to the retinas caused by high blood sugar that can cause vision loss, is a major concern for all persons with diabetes. Getting an eye exam is a vital part of routine health care if you have diabetes, and newly published research suggests that retinopathy is not the only concern.

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The key to raising low testosterone levels may begin with a “kiss!”

Testosterone is a very important hormone, and it gets a lot of press.  It’s often known as the male hormone, and the majority of the hormone in men is produced in the testes.  Testosterone has some important functions in women as well, but recent health research has largely focused on men, and a recent publication […]

Read More »

Special concerns: Diabetes and post-surgical infections

You may already be aware that people with diabetes are at high risk for bacterial and fungal infections of the skin. This is one of the reasons foot care is so essential if you have diabetes; the combination of poor circulation and nerve damage make it easy to injure your feet without noticing, or to […]

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Can the “gift of life” give back?

On their home page, the American Red Cross invites you to “Give the gift that everyone wants but money can’t buy” by donating blood. New research is suggesting that regular blood donation may give back to the donor as well. Yes, giving blood that may save someone’s life can provide anyone with an emotional lift. […]

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Low HDL may raise diabetic nephropathy risk

HDL, or high-density lipoproteins, are a form of cholesterol. HDL is often referred to as the “good cholesterol,” since many studies have suggested that higher levels of HDL may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Low-density lipoproteins, LDL, are the form of cholesterol that can build up in the arteries, raising the risk of […]

Read More »

When was your last eye exam?

The diabetes epidemic is concerning in and of itself, but it also may be driving large spikes in related health problems as well. A group of researchers sponsored jointly by the National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America just released their analysis of the rates health conditions that threaten vision in the United States. They […]

Read More »