Thursday, February 27, 2014

Peripheral Neuropathy

We have a friend with diabetes. (This is not a euphemism, we really do.) He does not take care of himself. We think that it is a case, which we can completely understand, where he feels okay so he can’t really be sick. But, of course, he is. 

I had heard that he had been having problems with leg cramps at night – very painful leg cramps that drive him from his bed to try and find relief. The night time cramps were becoming more and more frequent. Last week, he mentioned the problem to his doctor. He was told that the cramps were from peripheral neuropathy. I had no idea that leg cramps could be a sign of peripheral neuropathy. I have done a little research that I am sharing with you. 

What is peripheral neuropathy?

There are four kinds of diabetic neuropathy. There is peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, proximal neuropathy, and focal neuropathy.

 Peripheral neuropathy is the term for damage to the nerves in the arms and legs. One of the problems is that the damage can start before the symptoms occur. A doctor may be able to see damage before the patient can tell there is a problem. On each visit with your doctors, you should have them check out your legs and feet. The symptoms that a patient will notice can be as follows:

·         Not feeling pain or temperature changes
·         A burning or tingling sensation
·         Sharp pains or cramps
·         Sensitivity to touch – even a light touch
·         Becoming unbalanced/ having coordination problems

The symptoms are often worse at night.

Because peripheral neuropathy can weaken the muscles in the legs and ankles, it can alter the way a person walks. 

What causes peripheral neuropathy?

The main cause of peripheral neuropathy is lack of control over blood sugar levels. Also, the length of time that a person has diabetes will also increase the chances of developing peripheral neuropathy. People who have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels, as well as those with high levels of blood fat and blood pressure and those who are overweight appear to be the most common people who suffer from peripheral neuropathy. 

What is the treatment?

The first step is to get the blood glucose levels under control. This will be the most important part of the treatment. The patient has to work closely with their diabetes team (internist, endocrinologist, dietician, family) to keep their levels in the correct range to try and prevent more damage. It can happen that in the process of getting the levels lowered that the symptoms can get worse but then they will improve. There is no cure at this time but there can be some relief and getting levels in the right range will help prevent further damage. 

Our friend is currently really working on getting his levels in the correct range. 

Thanks for reading!

NOTE:  I am not a doctor.  If you have questions about what you have read, please check with your doctor. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Feet are on my mind today.

As I am sure you know, feet are a big thing with diabetics. If they aren't on your mind when you think of taking care of your diabetes, they should be.  Your feet are pretty important and you need to give them a little attention. After all, where would you go without them? 

5 Dos and Don’ts for your diabetic foot care

Do –

1.        Always wear shoes. Protect those tooties inside and out. Come on, we all stub our toes occasionally but if you had shoes on, you wouldn't stub your toe.

2.       Check your feet each morning to see that everything is okay. Look for any spots that look different whether they are dry patches or a sore. If there is something wrong, go have it checked immediately.    

3.       Moisturize your feet! If your feet are really dry and the skin is cracked, then you need to get them pumiced and moisturized.  The cracks in your feet are openings that invite fungus and bacteria. Use a pumice stone in the shower (see video on how below) and try my favorite foot moisturizing idea.  When you are ready for bed, use a product like Aquaphor on your feet and put on some old LOOSE cotton socks. While you sleep, the ointment can work on your dry skin. If your efforts are not working, please go to your podiatrist and have the doctor get the dead skin off your foot so that you can keep it healthy. 

4.       Be careful cutting your toe nails. The nails should be cut straight across to prevent ingrown toe nails. If you are having problems cutting your nails, you can have the podiatrist cut them when you are there for your visit or if your podiatrist offers pedicures, you can pamper your feet instead of just cutting your nails. 

5.       ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS wear shower sandals at the gym and pool. Protect your feet from fungus that lives and thrives in those environments. 

Don’t –

1.       DON’T Ignore any open sores on your foot. If you get a blister, watch and make sure it is healing. If you cut your foot, WATCH it. If the area turns red, feels warm or you have a fever, get to the doctor. If you see a red line going from the sore up your leg – go to the emergency room. NOW. 

2.       DON’T wear shoes that are too tight. They will rub and compromise your skin. When you buy shoes, they should feel comfortable right away. There should not be a break in period. 

3.       DON’T wear socks that are tight. They should be comfortable but not leave marks on your skin. Socks are too tight if they leave marks on your feet and legs. If you have swollen ankles and feet, you can buy diabetic socks. They are made for a looser fit. 

4.       DON’T Wear sandals when you are participating in activities where you could cut your feet. For example, wear shoes when you are mowing the lawn not sandals.  If you are doing handyperson jobs around the house, wear shoes to protect your feet. 

5.       DON’T miss your annual or semi-annual appointment with your podiatrist. 

I hope you all have a great weekend. 

Thanks for reading

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If you are looking for other foot tips, check out my other blog,

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day - It Isn't Just Candy

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. What do you think about when you think of Valentine's Day?  It is the traditional roses and heart shaped boxes of chocolate? Or do you have your own special way to celebrate? Or do you not celebrate?  

I don’t know about you but on the few occasions that I received one of those heart shaped boxes of candy, there was a mint piece in the box and the mint smell invaded every piece in the box. I think that those boxes are more appealing to the eye than the stomach. Maybe I just never got the right kind…

As for the red roses, Silent Sam did send me roses for Valentine’s Day early on in our relationship. They arrived late and were horrendously expensive. We decided that we could forgo that practice. 

How about some ideas for celebrating without candy and roses?

You Aren't Cheap – You Are Thrifty

Don’t forget to check out the various web sites for discounts on meals, gifts, or entertainment.  Go to Groupon, Amazon Local, Living Social  and Restaurant. com to see if there is something to make your Valentine’s Day special.  You don’t get points for paying full price.  

For A Romantic Evening

There are several movies opening on Valentine’s night. You could go out for a movie and dinner.  Here is a list of the new movies. 

Or for a stay at home evening, you could get some popcorn, a romantic DVD, and a blanket to snuggle under. Romantic DVD movie ideas can be found here. 

Frame It

How about a nice picture frame with either a picture of you and your sweetheart or a special picture from your times together? Maybe that sunset that you watched together? Or that picture from the Halloween party? You can get a copy of a digital photo quickly by sending the file to your local Walgreen's and then picking it up the same day. Picture frames can be found at some art supply stores, department stores, and even some drug stores.  

Join It

How about a membership to your local museum or botanical garden?  Not only are you supporting a good cause but you will also have a year of special events to discover thanks to the membership. 

Issues, we have issues

There are magazines for every interest. There are over 36,000 entries on Amazon for magazine subscriptions.  You can even print a gift card right from the site.  No idea what magazine your sweetie might like?  Look along the side of the magazine subscription page for the categories. A category might just jump out at you.  Search for "photography" and there are 265 choices.  You may need to do some sifting but you should be able to find a magazine that will suit your Valentine.  

A Tisket A Tasket

There is nothing like a gift basket filled with goodies. (It can be a gift bag if you don’t have a basket) For your best girl, you could get a scented candle, bath salts, nice smelling lotion, and a gift certificate for a new MP3. 

Or for your favorite fellow, how about a basket with Valentine’s Day socks, some funny or sexy Valentine’s Day boxers, and a pair of Valentine’s Day sleep pants. 

Another idea would be a foot care basket.  It could have some diabetic socks, a tube of moisture lotion (if your sweetie’s feet are really dry, try a salve like Aquaphor), and a gift certificate for a foot rub from you.

For a female, you might want to add some nail polish and those thingies that you put between your toes during a pedicure. 

A Rose By Any Other Name…

For the true romantic, how about a book of poetry or a recording of poetry? You can pick up (or send directly to his/her Kindle) The 100 Best Love Poems of All Time edited by Leslie Pockell. You can order a copy from Amazon here. 

There is not much jangle in my pocket

Feeling a little broke this Valentine’s Day but really want to do something meaningful? Write your sweetheart a letter. Tell them why they are so special to you. Let them know that you appreciate them and all the wonderful things about them.  This could be the most best gift of all.

I wish you a lovely Valentine’s Day.  I hope you celebrate whether you have a sweetheart or not.  After all, you should do something special for yourself sometimes too.  

Thanks for reading. 



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Google Eyes Diabetes

                                                                         Courtesy of Google

Just a quick note this week about a new proposed product for diabetics –

Did you see that announcement that Google has been working on a contact lens that would measure the changes in glucose levels by monitoring the levels in your tears rather than your blood?

Yes, that is the concept. There are a lot of elements of this to be worked out before it could come to market. First of all, it has to be determined that monitoring your glucose level in your tears is as accurate as monitoring your blood. Once that is established, then Google would need to get the product approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Getting FDA approval takes a very long time. While they have started talking to the FDA, we won’t be seeing this product available for many years.

The idea is that the lens would monitor the levels and send them wirelessly to an app that you can easily check. 

According to Google, they may also have an LED light in the lens that would alert the wearer to a potential problem with the wearer’s blood sugar level. 

Here is a short video about the project:

What do you think of this idea? Would you consider wearing a contact lens to monitor your levels?  

Thanks for reading!