August 18th, 2015

Diabetes alert dogs to the rescue

Image_003Sophie Mullins of Paradise, Newfoundland, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she became seriously ill at the age of 18 months. Her parents, Heidi Pavelka and Jamie Mullins, worried about her constantly, since her blood sugar can drop without warning, putting her at risk of hypoglycemia. “Sophie doesn’t feel her lows—she could have low blood sugar and be running around the house as if everything is normal,” says Pavelka. Their worries were alleviated thanks to a new addition to the family: a six-month-old black Labrador retriever named Peaches, a diabetes alert dog who has been trained over several years to detect Sophie’s low blood sugar levels and get help when she needs it. (Note: At six months the dog moves in with the patient’s family to begin the training process.)

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August 11th, 2015

Sight unseen: tips and techniques for coping with vision loss

Image_001Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in Canada. Diabetic retinopathy, which results in vision loss, is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina. It affects 25% of people with type 1 diabetes and up to 14% of people with type 2 diabetes. Having diabetes also raises the risk of developing other eye problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma. While it can be frightening to lose part or all of your vision, there are plenty of strategies, tools, and resources available to help you stay as independent as possible. Here are some of them.

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August 4th, 2015

Prescription for exercise

Image_001Physical activity is the best treatment for type 2 diabetes. Why not do it in the great outdoors?

Exercise is considered one of the cornerstones of treatment for people living with type 2 diabetes for a host of reasons: it improves the body’s use of insulin, burns excess body fat, improves muscle strength and heart health, increases bone density, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, lifts one’s mood, and increases energy.

Exercise doesn’t just make you feel better, it also reduces disease, lessens hospitalizations, and can actually help you live longer. A 2012 study of 650,000 people from the U.S.-based Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the National Cancer Institute proved just that. It found that people over 40 who walked briskly for 75 minutes per week lived an extra 1.8 years. That increased to 3.4 years when they walked 150 to 299 minutes per week and to 4.5 years for 450 minutes per week.

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June 4th, 2015

Is your child at risk for type 2 diabetes?

LD.diabAn alarming number of children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. A generation ago it was rare to hear about a child having type 2 diabetes—it used to be only adults who got this disease.  Not anymore.  Over the past 15 years, there has been a 10- to 30-fold increase in American children with type 2 diabetes, due in great part to higher rates of obesity and lower rates of physical exercise among children.  Most of the affected children and youth are between the ages of 10 and 19, and more girls are affected than boys.  Most are also from ethnic groups at high risk for the disease, such as those of African, Hispanic, and Asian descent.  Type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed in Canadian First Nations children as young as eight years of age, and the incidence in this group is increasing rapidly.  In the next generation, it is estimated that the global incidence of type 2 diabetes in kids will increase by a whopping 50%.

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November 12th, 2014

Stand up to “the sitting disease”

officeWorkerAs new labour-saving devices are invented, and as the digital world continues to expand, we are sitting more and moving our bodies less. Recent studies have pointed to the dangers of sitting, going so far as to suggest that even regular exercise is not protective.

“Secretarial spread” is the old-fashioned term for weight gain that occurs from hours of sitting. Unfortunately, this term doesn’t begin to describe the harms that actually arise. Studies have shown that excess sitting causes:

  • a reduction in fat and calorie burning
  • reduced circulation to the brain (resulting in a poorer mood)
  • weaker muscles
  • an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and death.

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August 9th, 2014

Low Blood Glucose: the other side of the coin

When you have diabetes you are trying hard to keep your blood glucose levels from going too high. You watch what you eat, you exercise, and you take your medication. But do you ever think about low blood glucose?

Low blood glucose is “the other side of the coin” of diabetes management. Even though it is essential to keep glucose levels from getting too high, avoiding low blood glucose is very important too.

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March 25th, 2014

Rock your socks

Socks: They’re a staple of our wardrobes and come in various colours and shapes. Recently, socks have taken on a sophistication that can be bewildering if you’re not a card-carrying “sockologist.” From dress socks to casual socks, therapeutic socks to spa socks, our stores carry an impressive range from functional to fashion. Read on…

Socks can play an important role in preventing and ameliorating health conditions. Therapeutic socks include those that improve circulation and swelling, socks that help prevent travel-weary legs and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and socks specially designed for people with diabetes.

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