Diabetes management: How lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar

Diabetes management requires awareness. Know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall — and how to control these day-to-day factors.

When it comes to diabetes management, blood sugar control is often the central theme. After all, keeping your blood sugar level within your target range can help you live a long and healthy life. But do you know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall? The list is sometimes surprising.

Food

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of any diabetes management plan. But it's not just what you eat that affects your blood sugar level. How much you eat and when you eat matters, too.

What to do:

  • Keep to a schedule. Your blood sugar level is highest an hour or two after you eat, and then begins to fall. But this predictable pattern can work to your advantage. You can help lessen the amount of change in your blood sugar levels if you eat at the same time every day, eat several small meals a day or eat healthy snacks at regular times between meals.
  • Make every meal well-balanced. As much as possible, plan for every meal to have the right mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats. It's especially important to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack because they have a big effect on blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor, nurse or dietitian about the best food choices and appropriate balance.
  • Eat the right amount of foods. Learn what portion size is appropriate for each type of food. Simplify your meal planning by writing down portions for the foods you eat often. Use measuring cups or a scale to ensure proper portion size.
  • Coordinate your meals and medication. Too little food in comparison to your diabetes medications — especially insulin — may result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high (hyperglycemia). Talk to your diabetes health care team about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.

Exercise

Physical activity is another important part of your diabetes management plan. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy. Regular physical activity also improves your body's response to insulin. These factors work together to lower your blood sugar level. The more strenuous your workout, the longer the effect lasts. But even light activities — such as housework, gardening or being on your feet for extended periods — can lower your blood sugar level.

What to do:

  • Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan. Ask your doctor about what type of exercise is appropriate for you. If you've been inactive for a long time, your doctor may want to check the condition of your heart and feet before advising you. He or she can recommend the right balance of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise.
  • Keep an exercise schedule. Talk to your doctor about the best time of day for you to exercise so that your workout routine is coordinated with your meal and medication schedules.
  • Know your numbers. Talk to your doctor about what blood sugar levels are appropriate for you before you begin exercise.
  • Check your blood sugar level. Check your blood sugar level before, during and after exercise, especially if you take insulin or medications that lower blood sugar. Be aware of warning signs of low blood sugar, such as feeling shaky, weak, confused, lightheaded, irritable, anxious, tired or hungry.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water while exercising because dehydration can affect blood sugar levels.
  • Be prepared. Always have a small snack or glucose pill with you during exercise in case your blood sugar drops too low. Wear a medical identification bracelet when you're exercising.
  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. If you take insulin, you may need to adjust your insulin dose before exercising or wait a few hours to exercise after injecting insulin. Your doctor can advise you on appropriate changes in your medication. You may need to adjust treatment if you've increased your exercise routine.

Medication

Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar level when diet and exercise alone aren't sufficient for managing diabetes. But the effectiveness of these medications depends on the timing and size of the dose. And any medications you take for conditions other than diabetes can affect your blood sugar level, too.

What to do:

  • Store insulin properly. Insulin that's improperly stored or past its expiration date may not be effective.
  • Report problems to your doctor. If your diabetes medications cause your blood sugar level to drop too low, the dosage or timing may need to be adjusted.
  • Be cautious with new medications. If you're considering an over-the-counter medication or your doctor prescribes a new drug to treat another condition — such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol — ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medication may affect your blood sugar level. Sometimes an alternate medication may be recommended.

Illness

When you're sick, your body produces stress-related hormones that can help your body fight the illness, but they can also raise the level of blood sugar. Changes in your appetite and normal activity may also complicate diabetes management.

What to do:

  • Plan ahead. Work with your health care team to create a sick-day plan. Include instructions on what medications to take, how often to measure your blood sugar and urine ketone levels, how to adjust your medication dosages, and when to call your doctor.
  • Continue to take your diabetes medication. However, if you're unable to eat because of nausea or vomiting, contact your doctor. In these situations, you may need to temporarily stop taking your medication because of risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Stick to your diabetes meal plan. If you can, eating as usual will help you control your blood sugar level. Keep a supply of foods that are easy on your stomach, such as gelatin, crackers, soups and applesauce. Drink lots of water or other fluids that don't add calories, such as tea, to make sure you stay hydrated.

Alcohol

The liver normally releases stored sugar to counteract falling blood sugar levels. But if your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, your blood sugar level may not get the boost it needs. Alcohol can result in low blood sugar shortly after you drink and for as many as eight to 12 hours more.

What to do:

  • Get your doctor's OK to drink alcohol. Alcohol can aggravate diabetes complications, such as nerve damage and eye disease. But if your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink with a meal is fine.
  • Choose your drinks carefully. Light beer and dry wines have fewer calories and carbohydrates than do other alcoholic drinks. If you prefer mixed drinks, stick with sugar-free mixers — such as diet soda, diet tonic, club soda or seltzer.
  • Tally your calories. Remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count. Ask your doctor or dietitian how to incorporate calories from alcohol into your diet plan.

Menstruation and menopause

Changes in hormone levels the week before and during menstruation can result in significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels. And in the few years before and during menopause, hormone changes may result in unpredictable variations in blood sugar levels that complicate diabetes management. Also, the similarity of some symptoms of menopause and low blood sugar can result in errors in adjusting what you eat.

What to do:

  • Look for patterns. Keep careful track of your blood sugar readings from month to month. You may be able to predict fluctuations related to your menstrual cycle.
  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. Your doctor may recommend changes in your meal plan, activity level or diabetes medications to make up for blood sugar variation.
  • Check blood sugar more frequently. If you're likely approaching menopause or experiencing menopause, talk to your doctor about monitoring blood sugar levels. You may need to do so more often or when you're experiencing symptoms that you normally interpret as low blood sugar.

Stress

If you're stressed, it's easy to abandon your usual diabetes management routine. You might exercise less, eat fewer healthy foods or test your blood sugar less often — and lose control of your blood sugar in the process. Additionally, the hormones your body produces in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly.

What to do:

  • Look for patterns. Log your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10 each time you log your blood sugar level. A pattern may soon emerge.
  • Take control. Once you know how stress affects your blood sugar level, fight back. Learn relaxation techniques, prioritize your tasks and set limits. Whenever possible, avoid common stressors.
  • Get help. Learn new strategies for coping with stress. You may find that working with a psychologist or clinical social worker can help you identify stressors, solve stressful problems or learn new coping skills.

The more you know about factors that influence your blood sugar level, the more you can anticipate fluctuations — and plan ahead accordingly. If you're having trouble keeping your blood sugar level in your target range, ask your diabetes health care team for help.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-management/DA00005

More Physical Health...

Diabetes management requires awareness. Know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall — and how to control these day-to-day factors.

When it comes to diabetes management, blood sugar control is often the central theme. After all, keeping your blood sugar level within your target range can help you live a long and healthy life. But do you know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall? The list is sometimes surprising.

Food

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of any diabetes management plan. But it's not just what you eat that affects your blood sugar level. How much you eat and when you eat matters, too.

What to do:

  • Keep to a schedule. Your blood sugar level is highest an hour or two after you eat, and then begins to fall. But this predictable pattern can work to your advantage. You can help lessen the amount of change in your blood sugar levels if you eat at the same time every day, eat several small meals a day or eat healthy snacks at regular times between meals.
  • Make every meal well-balanced. As much as possible, plan for every meal to have the right mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats. It's especially important to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack because they have a big effect on blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor, nurse or dietitian about the best food choices and appropriate balance.
  • Eat the right amount of foods. Learn what portion size is appropriate for each type of food. Simplify your meal planning by writing down portions for the foods you eat often. Use measuring cups or a scale to ensure proper portion size.
  • Coordinate your meals and medication. Too little food in comparison to your diabetes medications — especially insulin — may result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high (hyperglycemia). Talk to your diabetes health care team about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.

Exercise

Physical activity is another important part of your diabetes management plan. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy. Regular physical activity also improves your body's response to insulin. These factors work together to lower your blood sugar level. The more strenuous your workout, the longer the effect lasts. But even light activities — such as housework, gardening or being on your feet for extended periods — can lower your blood sugar level.

What to do:

  • Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan. Ask your doctor about what type of exercise is appropriate for you. If you've been inactive for a long time, your doctor may want to check the condition of your heart and feet before advising you. He or she can recommend the right balance of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise.
  • Keep an exercise schedule. Talk to your doctor about the best time of day for you to exercise so that your workout routine is coordinated with your meal and medication schedules.
  • Know your numbers. Talk to your doctor about what blood sugar levels are appropriate for you before you begin exercise.
  • Check your blood sugar level. Check your blood sugar level before, during and after exercise, especially if you take insulin or medications that lower blood sugar. Be aware of warning signs of low blood sugar, such as feeling shaky, weak, confused, lightheaded, irritable, anxious, tired or hungry.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water while exercising because dehydration can affect blood sugar levels.
  • Be prepared. Always have a small snack or glucose pill with you during exercise in case your blood sugar drops too low. Wear a medical identification bracelet when you're exercising.
  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. If you take insulin, you may need to adjust your insulin dose before exercising or wait a few hours to exercise after injecting insulin. Your doctor can advise you on appropriate changes in your medication. You may need to adjust treatment if you've increased your exercise routine.

Medication

Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar level when diet and exercise alone aren't sufficient for managing diabetes. But the effectiveness of these medications depends on the timing and size of the dose. And any medications you take for conditions other than diabetes can affect your blood sugar level, too.

What to do:

  • Store insulin properly. Insulin that's improperly stored or past its expiration date may not be effective.
  • Report problems to your doctor. If your diabetes medications cause your blood sugar level to drop too low, the dosage or timing may need to be adjusted.
  • Be cautious with new medications. If you're considering an over-the-counter medication or your doctor prescribes a new drug to treat another condition — such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol — ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medication may affect your blood sugar level. Sometimes an alternate medication may be recommended.

Illness

When you're sick, your body produces stress-related hormones that can help your body fight the illness, but they can also raise the level of blood sugar. Changes in your appetite and normal activity may also complicate diabetes management.

What to do:

  • Plan ahead. Work with your health care team to create a sick-day plan. Include instructions on what medications to take, how often to measure your blood sugar and urine ketone levels, how to adjust your medication dosages, and when to call your doctor.
  • Continue to take your diabetes medication. However, if you're unable to eat because of nausea or vomiting, contact your doctor. In these situations, you may need to temporarily stop taking your medication because of risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Stick to your diabetes meal plan. If you can, eating as usual will help you control your blood sugar level. Keep a supply of foods that are easy on your stomach, such as gelatin, crackers, soups and applesauce. Drink lots of water or other fluids that don't add calories, such as tea, to make sure you stay hydrated.

Alcohol

The liver normally releases stored sugar to counteract falling blood sugar levels. But if your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, your blood sugar level may not get the boost it needs. Alcohol can result in low blood sugar shortly after you drink and for as many as eight to 12 hours more.

What to do:

  • Get your doctor's OK to drink alcohol. Alcohol can aggravate diabetes complications, such as nerve damage and eye disease. But if your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink with a meal is fine.
  • Choose your drinks carefully. Light beer and dry wines have fewer calories and carbohydrates than do other alcoholic drinks. If you prefer mixed drinks, stick with sugar-free mixers — such as diet soda, diet tonic, club soda or seltzer.
  • Tally your calories. Remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count. Ask your doctor or dietitian how to incorporate calories from alcohol into your diet plan.

Menstruation and menopause

Changes in hormone levels the week before and during menstruation can result in significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels. And in the few years before and during menopause, hormone changes may result in unpredictable variations in blood sugar levels that complicate diabetes management. Also, the similarity of some symptoms of menopause and low blood sugar can result in errors in adjusting what you eat.

What to do:

  • Look for patterns. Keep careful track of your blood sugar readings from month to month. You may be able to predict fluctuations related to your menstrual cycle.
  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. Your doctor may recommend changes in your meal plan, activity level or diabetes medications to make up for blood sugar variation.
  • Check blood sugar more frequently. If you're likely approaching menopause or experiencing menopause, talk to your doctor about monitoring blood sugar levels. You may need to do so more often or when you're experiencing symptoms that you normally interpret as low blood sugar.

Stress

If you're stressed, it's easy to abandon your usual diabetes management routine. You might exercise less, eat fewer healthy foods or test your blood sugar less often — and lose control of your blood sugar in the process. Additionally, the hormones your body produces in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly.

What to do:

  • Look for patterns. Log your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10 each time you log your blood sugar level. A pattern may soon emerge.
  • Take control. Once you know how stress affects your blood sugar level, fight back. Learn relaxation techniques, prioritize your tasks and set limits. Whenever possible, avoid common stressors.
  • Get help. Learn new strategies for coping with stress. You may find that working with a psychologist or clinical social worker can help you identify stressors, solve stressful problems or learn new coping skills.

The more you know about factors that influence your blood sugar level, the more you can anticipate fluctuations — and plan ahead accordingly. If you're having trouble keeping your blood sugar level in your target range, ask your diabetes health care team for help.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-management/DA00005

The lifestyle you create when you’re young can shape the way you live throughout the rest of your life. Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain physical health when you are young. Being active early helps to:

  • Build and maintain healthy bones and muscles
  • Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Reduce risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases
  • Improve academic performance

There are some consequences for physical inactivity that can affect your health for the rest of your life. Physical inactivity can lead to obesity, and other health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, and asthma. It can also lead to increased risk of premature death, heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.

Get involved and stay active to live long and stay healthy! Visit,http://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/facts.htm for more information!

Outdoor hiking has a myriad of benefits for both the body and the mind. Hiking is inexpensive and easy to start, so you can participate no matter how fit you currently are. Most people live within driving distance of wonderful hiking spots and discovering these places is a good way of getting to know an area. Here's a look at some of the benefits of hiking.

Outdoor Hiking Promotes Mental Health

Hiking is much more varied than many other types of exercise, particularly those undertaken in a gym. Not only can your workout be different each time, depending on the trail you take, but the landscape will also change, if only from the seasons. Hiking outdoors can help you to maintain your motivation for exercise by making it more interesting. Hiking can also be as social as you like. You might feel embarrassed about exercising on the streets or in a gym when you're first starting out, and hiking on an isolated trail will decrease the chances of feeling like people are judging you (although you should always tell someone where you are going for safety's sake). Alternatively, hiking with a group or a friend can feel more like entertainment thanexercise, and campsites are often very friendly places where it is possible to meet new people.

Exercise is a very good stress reliever in any form, including hiking, and can also reduce insomnia, leading to better mental health. Hiking outdoors will help you feel closer to nature and natural rhythms, which may increase your happiness and help you feel more fulfilled. A difficult hike, for example, up a hill or mountain, can also help you feel like you've achieved something more tangible than completing a fitness circuit at the gym.

Outdoor Hiking Promotes Physical Health

Hiking is a great exercise because it is easy to adjust to any level of fitness. Outdoor hiking can be on a level, well maintained path, or up a pathless mountain. This makes it excellent for people who are hoping to improve their fitness, as they can simply take more and more difficult hikes. Losing weight is another benefit of hiking. This is particularly true of hiking uphill, as this can burn similar amounts of calories to jogging. Exercise can help reduce insulin resistance in both the short and long term.

As hiking puts pressure on your bones, it encourages healthy bone structure and reduces the chances of osteoporosis. Being exposed to sunshine will also increase your levels of vitamin D. Hiking is a cardiovascular activity, depending on how hard you push yourself during a hike, and thus has benefits for your cardiovascular system, such as reducing the chances of heart disease, and increasing your overall fitness. Hiking is excellent for muscle tone, particularly cross country hiking, as your body and legs have to compensate for the rough terrain by working harder.

Hiking is a wonderful activity that is easy to start and continue, due to its varied and customizable nature. Outdoor hiking can help you to lose weight, clear and ease your mind and build a healthier body.

Original By: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/exercises/outdoor-hiking-why-its-good-for-the-body-and-mind.html#b

Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways that carry air to the lungs are inflamed and narrowed.

Inflamed airways are very sensitive, and they tend to react to things in the environment called triggers, such as inhaled substances. When the airways react, they swell and narrow even more, and also produce extra mucus, all of which make it harder for air to flow to the lungs.

Asthma symptoms

When the airways react to asthma triggers, people can experience an asthma flare-up or asthma attack. Symptoms of an asthma attack include: coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and trouble breathing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some people have mild asthma symptoms that go away on their own, or only experience asthma symptoms in response to certain activities like exercising. Other people have more serve and frequent symptoms.

What causes asthma?

The underlying cause of asthma is not known, but it's thought to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with asthma may have genetic risk factors that make them more susceptible to the disease, and certain environmental factors, such as exposure to allergens or certain viral infections in infancy, may increase the risk of developing the disease, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Symptoms of asthma can be caused by triggers. Common asthma triggers include: tobacco smoke, dust mites, air pollution, pollen, mold, respiratory infections, physical activity, cold air and allergic reactions to some foods

Asthma treatment & medications

There is no cure for asthma. People who experience asthma symptoms should speak with their doctor about how to best treat and manage their condition.

Managing asthma usually involves avoiding asthma triggers, and taking medications to prevent or treat symptoms.

There are two types of medications to treat asthma: long-term medications and quick-relief medications.

Long-term medications are typically taken daily to help prevent asthma symptoms from starting in the first place. A common medication is inhaled corticosteroids, which reduce airway inflammation and make airways less sensitive. Other long-term medications include omalizumab, a shot given one or two times a month to prevent the body from reacting to asthma triggers, and Inhaled long-acting beta2-agonists, which help open airways.

Quick-relief medications provide relief from acute asthma symptoms. A common quick-relief medication is inhaled short-acting beta2-agonists, which help relax muscles around the airways, allowing more air to flow through them. People with asthma should have a quick-relief inhaler with them at all times to case they need it, according to the NHLBI.

Childhood asthma

Anyone can have asthma, but it most often starts in childhood. Of the 25 million asthma sufferers in the United States, 7 million are children, according to the NHLBI.

Most children with asthma develop it before age five, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). In children, asthma can appear as wheezing or whistling sound when breathing, coughing, rapid or labored breathing, complaints of chest pain and feeling weak or tired, AAAAI says

In children, asthma is the leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and missed days of school, according to the Mayo Clinic. A child's asthma symptoms may continue into adulthood, the Mayo Clinic says.

By: Rachael Rettner

Orginal Article: http://www.livescience.com/41264-asthma-symptoms-treatment.html