• Benefits of Ashwagandha

    Ashwagandha also known as Indian Ginseng or winter cherry, is a magical herb which has baffled modern science with its abundance of benefits. Scientifically known as Withania Somnifera, it is a treasure of goodness. Ashwagandha is Sanskrit name which translates to smell of a horse. It is named so because of the odor released from its roots which is similar to the scent of horse's sweat. The plant is native to India which grows best in dry regions. This plant can survive in both extreme low and high temperatures.

    Its numerous qualities are attracting scientists worldwide. A recent research held at National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan stated that Ashwagandha possesses leaves that can selectively inhibit cancer cells. It is highly acclaimed for its aphrodisiac qualities. This is a therapeutic herb which is completely non-toxic. This magic herb has many benefits to its credit:

     

    • Reduces Stress and Anxiety

    Ashwagandha reduces stress and calms the mind and body. It has been used to treat anxiety and stress since centuries in ancient Indian Medicine. Ashwagandha is also known as a stress buster. It is intensively used to cure the patients suffering from depression due to its anti-stress properties.

    • Fights Cancer

    Ashwagandha contains cancer-killing properties which are an aid in cancer treatment, that have now been included in the field of oncology, regarding the terrains of radiology and chemotherapy. It is beneficial as it also demotes the side-effects of the chemotherapy without changing the tumor-cell killing activity

    • Treats Diabetes

    Ashwagandha normalizes high blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity. Ashwagandha has been proved to reduce the blood sugar level in diabetic patients.

    • Boosts Immunity

    Ashwagandha if consumed in on a daily basis helps in boosting the immunity. Its consumption promotes the growth of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets count which help in restoring the immunity of a person.

    • Reduces Debility and Weakness

    Ashwagandha when consumed on a daily basis, helps to regain the lost strength in old age. It cures mental fatigue, weakness, erectile dysfunction and lost muscle strength.

    • Treating Skin Problems

    Ashwagandha is a boom in curing skin diseases. Vitiligo is treated with the help of Ashwagandha which is no less than a miracle. A paste of ashwagandha powder when applied to the skin treats keratosis. It acts as a toner and removes inflammation.

    • Perfect Aphrodisiac

    Ashwagandha is renowned worldwide for its aphrodisiac qualities. It increases the libido in men and also promotes the quality of their semen by increasing sperm counts. This is one of the major reasons of its popularity since ages as it increases the fertility in men.

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  • Glucometer-Regular Blood Sugar Testing

    If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your glucose levels regularly. A glucometer makes this process easy to do. These are portable devices that use a small sample of blood to tell you what your blood sugar levels are at that specific time. Since glucose meters test in real time, this helps you to make better decisions regarding what you are eating and how to dose your insulin, if you take this medication.

     

    THE IMPORTANCE OF REGULAR BLOOD SUGAR TESTING

    It is important to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range at all times. Since diabetes can make this difficult, regularly testing your blood sugar can help you to make the right choices to ensure adequate control. The following are reasons why you need to test your blood glucose levels according to the schedule that your doctor recommends:

     

    • It helps you to assess your diabetes treatment regimen to make sure that it is working for you

    • You will be able to determine how stress, illness and other factors are affecting your blood sugar levels

    • It makes it easier to see when your glucose levels are too high or low so that you can take the proper corrective measures

    • You will know how your exercise regimen and diet are affecting your blood sugar levels

    • It helps you to assess how your medications are working to help you to keep your diabetes under control so that you will know if changes need to be made

     

    HOW OFTEN TO TEST YOUR BLOOD SUGAR

    How often you need to test your blood sugar levels is highly individualized. It will also depend on the type of diabetes you have and if you are going through a period with new treatments or your sugar levels fluctuating a lot. You should talk to your doctor regularly and always make sure that you are testing often enough to keep your sugar levels as controlled as possible.

    If you have Type 2 diabetes and do not need any insulin, testing one to two times a day is often recommended. However, if you have good control over your levels, your doctor may not need you to check daily. Should you be using insulin for this condition, testing three or four times a day is often suggested, especially if your insulin dose is dependent on your blood sugar levels throughout the day.

    If you have Type 1 diabetes, it is common to test your blood sugar levels four to 10 times daily. In most cases, you will be testing before you go to sleep, around your mealtimes and around the times that you exercise. Your doctor will provide you with detailed instructions regarding when to check your sugar and how your levels at each check will impact your diet and insulin intake at that time.

    HOW DOES A GLUCOMETER WORK?

    When you use a glucometer, you provide it with a small sample of blood, most often from one of your fingertips. To get the meter to read the blood sample, the sample goes onto a diabetic test strip. This strip goes into a small port at the bottom of your glucose meter. It is important to make sure that you have the strip properly inserted into your glucometer so that your results will be accurate.

    Inside the test strip are different chemicals. Your blood will react with these to help to make your blood readable to the glucometer. Electrical currents go through the test strip from your monitor showing you a reading that is your blood sugar level. On average, a glucose monitor works within seconds to give you a reading. In most cases, this process takes under 30 seconds so that you can have a quick, real-time reading of your glucose levels.

     

    ALTERNATIVE SITE VS. FINGER BLOOD TESTING

    In some cases, obtaining your blood sample from one of your fingertips might not be possible. When this happens, your doctor might recommend a blood sugar meter that can use a sample from another area on your body, such as your thigh or the palm on your hand. Just make sure that when you obtain a sample from an alternative site that it is a site on your body that is approved in the specifications of your blood sugar monitor and the associated test strips.

    You might consider an alternative site meter if you have been checking your blood sugar for a long time and your fingers get sore easily. In some cases, it can be difficult for people to obtain a blood sample from their fingertips. Without a proper blood sample, you may get an inaccurate reading or no reading at all. Because of this, obtaining a viable sample from elsewhere on your body can ensure accurate monitoring of your blood sugar levels.

    Compared to a fingertip blood sample, blood from an alternative testing site may not be as accurate. It is important to consider this, especially if your blood sugar has been falling or rising often or quickly recently. Even if your glucometer allows for alternative testing sites, you can still usually obtain a blood sample from a fingertip. If you think your sugar levels will be especially high or low, it can be best to use your fingertip during these times when possible, as long as your sample size is adequate.

     

    WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A GLUCOMETER

    The glucose monitor that you use needs to be one that you always have access to. It is important to not only consider the blood sugar meter, but also the strips and lancet that work with it. There are several factors to keep in mind in order to make sure that you are making the right choice, including:

     

    • Call your health insurance company and determine how much they will cover for your monitor. You also need to know about the glucose test strips they will cover and how many they will cover during each month.

    • If you have impaired vision, you might want to consider a meter that audibly tells you what your blood sugar reading is. There are also blood sugar meters with extra-large screens and buttons that are easier to see if you have issues with your vision.

    • A meter that is easy to maintain guarantees that you always have it ready to use. Talk to your pharmacist to learn more about the meters that require little maintenance and calibration. This is important because with regular maintenance, you will know that you are getting the most accurate results when you are testing your blood sugar levels.

    • Information retrieval and storage is another important consideration. It is good to track your glucose levels over the long-term. When your meter is able to store your information, you can go back and see how your blood sugar levels have been over the course of a month or more, depending on the storage capacity of your meter.

    • Know the blood sample size that your meter and test strips require. Some require more or less blood than others. If you have difficulty getting a bigger sample regularly, consider a meter that requires less blood to provide you with an accurate result.

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  • How to Lose the Killer Fat Around Your Tummy

    When you are diagnosed with diabetes, the first bit of advice you get from your doctor is: lose weight. Fact is... most diabetics carry too much belly fat.

     

    You have two kinds of fat around your waist... subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.

     

    Subcutaneous fat is fat that is located under the skin. It is visible fat and is usually soft and squishy, the reason it is often referred to as 'love handles' when it is around your waist. If you are not overweight and lead an active life, this kind of fat is not dangerous even if your tummy protrudes a little bit. It only becomes a problem if you become seriously overweight.

     

    Visceral fat is different. It is not so visible. This is because it is 'deep fat', ie lies within the abdominal wall where it surrounds organs and releases hormones (which is why it is also called 'active' fat). Too much of this fat can result in the release of excessive amounts of hormones... this causes inflammation, which puts you at risk of a variety of health problems.

     

    In contrast to subcutaneous fat, visceral fat can make the stomach feel hard. Though it is not visible, as it grows visceral fat causes your tummy to expand. A hard, protruding stomach signals danger.

     

    Why is visceral fat bad?

    Many chronic health conditions are caused and/or made worse by this type of fat. These include heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancer, and back pain.

    Heart disease... visceral fat cells release cytokines, chemical messengers that affect the actions of other cells such as, for example, those that control blood pressure, cholesterol and the regulation of insulin. As cytokines affect how organs function, having them floating around in your body is not a good thing. Elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol levels contribute to heart disease.

    Visceral fat tends to affect men and women at different stages in their lives. Young women tend to gain subcutaneous fat on their hips and thighs while young men usually add visceral fat to their bellies. Thus men in their 30s are more likely to experience heart disease than women. Woman are more at risk of visceral fat later when they reach menopause.

    dibetes... persons who are overweight or obese are actually 90 times more likely to develop diabetes because belly fat affects how your organs work. Studies indicate that people with deep belly fat lose their sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that regulates our blood glucose levels.

     

    If you have diabetes or are diabetic, you need to lose weight and reduce your visceral fat so that your blood sugar levels are normalised.

    Cancers... cancer is caused by mutations in our cells. When we have excess visceral fat it signals our bodies to produce hormones that cause our cells to divide and multiply. The more often our cells divide, the greater the chances that one of them will mutate into a cancerous cell.

    Thus more fat means more opportunities for cancer to develop. Indeed, the WHO states that up to one-third of all cancers of the colon, kidney and digestive tract are linked to being overweight.

    Back strain and pain... your core, ie your abdomen or centre of your body, needs to be strong if you are to have good balance and healthy joints, and protect yourself from injury. Having too much belly fat usually means that your abdominal muscles are weak due to the visceral fat surrounding your vital organs. When these core muscles are weak you back muscles have to take up the slack. As a result you are likely to strain you back and experience chronic backache.

     

    What causes visceral fat?

    There are plenty reasons why you put on fat around your waist... eating too much... growing older... family traits... alcohol... stress.

    Excessive eating... when we ingest more calories than we use up in our daily activities, our bodies store the extra calories as fat. We all need to eat less.

    Growing older... as we age we start to lose muscle mass and gain fat. This is normal but it means that if we don't learn to eat less we will put on weight, ie get fat.

    Family traits... our genetics and family history plays a role in the type of fat we gain. If your parents had excessive visceral fat, the likelihood is that you will also have too much unless you take steps to stay slim and trim.

    Alcohol... drinking to much intoxicating beverages (wine, beer or spirits) contributes to a build-up of 'beer belly' which is mainly visceral fat. But note that beer belly can be developed by drinking wine or spirits, not just beer.

    Stress... continuous high levels of stress, of the sort we experience in modern life, causes a build-up of cortisol, the stress hormone, in our systems. Over time, this hormone leads to increasing amounts of fat around our tummies.

     

    Who is most at risk of visceral fat?

    Any one at any age who overeats (ie, eats more than they burn off in various activities) will develop tummy fat. However it does tend to increase with age, especially among women.

    Those most at risk of developing excessive visceral fat are... white men... Afro-American women... Indian men and women from the subcontinent... people who drink sugary drinks... those who are already overweight or obese.

    The good news is that visceral belly fat responds very well to diet... and all belly fat can be reduced significantly through exercise.

    So, to trim down to a sleek tummy line, forget about pills, purgatories and herbal remedies, and ignore the miracle cures... you can get rid of belly fat naturally with nothing more than a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

     

    Reduce belly fat through diet

    One of the best ways to reduce both kinds of belly fat... subcutaneous and visceral... is to create a calorie deficit, ie eat fewer calories than your body burns. All you need to be able to do is to make a rough calculation of the calories you eat each day and reduce that figure by at least 25%. It is not too hard to do, and it works.

    At the same time you need to follow the Beating Diabetes diet. Here it is:

    Eat natural foods that are low in sugar, low in fat, low in salt, and high in fibre, and have a low Glycemic Index. Your diet should consist mostly of plants and lean protein. Wash your food down with plenty of water.

     

    Following this diet is pretty easy.

    First get rid of sugary drinks and foods... no more sodas and no sugar in your tea and coffee, which have been linked in some studies to the development of visceral fat. You must also cut out cakes and sweets, indeed any food with added sugar.

    If you crave sugar, fight the craving... it can be done. Eating lean protein from legumes and lean meats can help you feel full and reduce your cravings.

    To reverse your diabetes and reduce visceral fat, you must eliminate as much fat as possible from your diet. You need to eliminate entirely trans-fats and saturated fats which are closely linked to the development of visceral fat. This means eating unprocessed foods, ie lean meats, avocados and other fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as beans and oatmeal which are full of soluble fibre.

    To reduce your intake of salt simply stop using the salt shaker and avoid all processed foods as these are packed with salt, both to preserve them and give them favour. In fact, processed foods also usually contain copious amounts of sugar and fat in order to enhance flavours.

    Foods that are high in fibre are wholemeal grains such as oatmeal, most vegetables and fruits. Getting plenty of fibre ensures smooth digestion (provided you drink plenty of water).

    Eating wholemeal grains means you are avoiding simple carbohydrates such as white bread, other refined grains and sugary foods which are low in nutritional value but high in calories. These foods are high on the glycemic index which means they are digested rapidly which gives rise to spikes in blood glucose, the scourge of diabetics, and the rapid development of visceral fat. Wholemeal grains are digested slowly (ie, they have low GIs) and are much healthier.

     

    Reduce belly fat with exercise

    Research has shown that exercise plays a significant role in eliminating belly fat. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology in October 2005 compared men who exercised with men who did not and discovered that exercise is crucial in reducing visceral fat.

    the researchers found that a modest exercise program prevents significant increases in visceral fat, while more vigorous exercise results in significant reductions in visceral, subcutaneous, and total abdominal fat without any changes in the intake of calories.

    However, undertaking exercises that target the stomach area, such as crunches and sit-ups, does not get rid of belly fat... even though they strengthen abdominal muscles.

    There are several ways you can reduce tummy fat using exercises:

    Get moving... just increasing your level of physical activity will burn more calories. If you have a sedentary occupation, get up from your desk and move around every hour or so. Parking away from your destination so you have to walk the final few yards and walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift can burn more calories and reduce you tummy.

    Take up cardiovascular exercises... it gets the heart pumping and reduces visceral fat by burning up calories. But start slowly with walking or swimming before working up to running or skipping rope.

    High intensity interval training... in which you alternate intense exercise with slower activities, burns abdominal fat and is ideal if you are not ready for sustained high intensity exercising. Start slowly by (say) walking for 5 minutes and then running for 1 minute.

    Strength training... can help you lose weight because muscles burn more calories than fat. You need to practise regularly several days a week. As well as reducing belly fat, strength training can help you to control your diabetes and prevent other chronic illnesses such as osteoporosis.

     

    Takeaway

    Belly fat can give rise to serious health problems whether you are diabetic or not.

    But you can get rid of it easily enough with diet and exercise...

     

    • Eat fewer calories than you burn
    • Avoid sugary foods
    • Avoid fat in your diet as far as possible
    • Avoid added salt
    • Avoid refined carbohydrates
    • Avoid processed foods
    • Eat lean protein
    • Eat foods that are digested slowly
    • Eat lots of soluble fibre
    • Drink alcohol sparingly
    • Reduce your stress levels
    • Take up aerobic exercises (cardio)

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  • How Diabetics Can Avoid the Deadly Consequences of COVID-19

    COVID-19 is a deadly virus that targets the lungs of infected patients causing severe breathing difficulties. It is lung specific, ie the virus only has cell receptors for lung cells. It causes your lungs to gum up which means breathing becomes laboured as you struggle for breath. 

    the only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose, mouth, or eyes when you touch them with your hands or through an infected cough or sneeze that lands on one of these three openings into your body. The secret to preventing infection is to avoid touching your face and to avoid close contact with other people as you do not know who could be infected.

    People with type 2 diabetes (T2D), high blood pressure or obesity are more likely to become severely ill or indeed die if they are infected with COVID-19. However, a recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism shows that patients who have good control over their blood glucose levels have a much better chance of surviving a bout of infection with COVID-19.

    The study was carried out in Wuhan, a city in Hubei province in China, where the pandemic started. The trial involved collecting health data from 7,337 confirmed cases of COVID-19 who were admitted to 19 hospitals in Hubei. A total of 952 of these patients had T2D, of whom 282 had well-controlled blood glucose levels.

    The study found that patients admitted to hospital with T2D and coronavirus needed more medical assistance and intervention than persons without underlying medical conditions. T2D patients were also more likely to die or experience the degradation of vital organs. 

    the study also found that T2D patients who had well controlled blood glucose levels were less likely to require medical intervention and/or ventilation. In addition, those who were controlling their glucose levels properly were significantly less likely to die and much more likely to improve their COVID-19 health outcomes compared to those who had poor control of their blood glucose levels.

    So, as you can see, the answer to the question is very simple... keeping your blood glucose levels under control will give you a much better chance of surviving if you do become infected. 

    If ever there was an incentive for diabetics to get their act together and start beating their diabetes this must be it. Perhaps it is about time we stop being blasé about this silent killer and begin following a low-sugar, low-fat diet.

     

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  • Diabetes mellitus

    Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't effectively use the insulin it does make. 

    Diabetes mellitus

    Untreated high blood sugar from  diabetes  can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.

    There are a few different types of diabetes:

    Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. It's unclear what causes this attack. About 10 percent of people with diabetes have this type.

    Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in your blood.

    Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it's not high enough for a diagnosis of  type 2 diabetes .

    Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar during pregnancy. Insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta cause this type of diabetes.

    A rare condition called diabetes insipidus is not related to diabetes mellitus, although it has a similar name. It's a different condition in which your kidneys remove too much fluid from your body.

    Each type of diabetes has unique symptoms, causes, and treatments. Learn more about how these types differ from one another.

    Symptoms of diabetes

    Diabetes symptoms are caused by rising blood sugar.

    General symptoms

    The general symptoms of diabetes include:

    increased hunger

    increased thirst

    weight loss

    frequent urination

    blurry vision

    extreme fatigue

    sores that don't heal

    Symptoms in men

    In addition to the general symptoms of diabetes, men with diabetes may have a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and poor muscle strength.

     

    Symptoms in women

    Women with diabetes can also have symptoms such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin.

     

    Type 1 diabetes

    Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can include:

     

    extreme hunger

    increased thirst

    unintentional weight loss

    frequent urination

    blurry vision

    tiredness

    It may also result in mood changes.

     

    Type 2 diabetes

    Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include:

     

    increased hunger

    increased thirst

    increased urination

    blurry vision

    tiredness

    sores that are slow to heal

    It can also cause recurring infections. This is because elevated glucose levels make it harder for the body to heal.

     

    Gestational diabetes

    Most women with gestational diabetes don’t have any symptoms. The condition is often detected during a routine blood sugar test or oral glucose tolerance test that is usually performed between the 24th and 28th weeks of gestation.

     

    In rare cases, a woman with gestational diabetes will also experience increased thirst or urination.

     

    The bottom line

    Diabetes symptoms can be so mild that they’re hard to spot at first. Learn which signs should prompt a trip to the doctor.

     

    Causes of diabetes

    Different causes are associated with each type of diabetes.

     

    Type 1 diabetes

    Doctors don’t know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. For some reason, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

     

    Genes may play a role in some people. It’s also possible that a virus sets off the immune system attack.

     

    Type 2 diabetes

    Type 2 diabetes stems from a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight or obese increases your risk too. Carrying extra weight, especially in your belly, makes your cells more resistant to the effects of insulin on your blood sugar.

     

    This condition runs in families. Family members share genes that make them more likely to get type 2 diabetes and to be overweight.

     

    Gestational diabetes

    Gestational diabetes is the result of hormonal changes during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones that make a pregnant woman’s cells less sensitive to the effects of insulin. This can cause high blood sugar during pregnancy.

     

    Women who are overweight when they get pregnant or who gain too much weight during their pregnancy are more likely to get gestational diabetes.

     

    The bottom line

    Both genes and environmental factors play a role in triggering diabetes. Get more information here on the causes of diabetes.

     

    Diabetes risk factors

    Certain factors increase your risk for diabetes.

     

    Type 1 diabetes

    You’re more likely to get type 1 diabetes if you’re a child or teenager, you have a parent or sibling with the condition, or you carry certain genes that are linked to the disease.

     

    Type 2 diabetes

    Your risk for type 2 diabetes increases if you:

     

    are overweight

    are age 45 or older

    have a parent or sibling with the condition

    aren’t physically active

    have had gestational diabetes

    have prediabetes

    have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides

    have African American, Hispanic or Latino American, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, American Indian, or Asian American ancestry

    Gestational diabetes

    Your risk for gestational diabetes increases if you:

     

    are overweight

    are over age 25

    had gestational diabetes during a past pregnancy

    have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

    have a family history of type 2 diabetes

    have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

    The bottom line

    Your family, environment, and preexisting medical conditions can all affect your odds of developing diabetes. Find out which risks you can control and which ones you can’t.

     

    Diabetes complications

    High blood sugar damages organs and tissues throughout your body. The higher your blood sugar is and the longer you live with it, the greater your risk for complications.

     

    Complications associated with diabetes include:

     

    heart disease, heart attack, and stroke

    neuropathy

    nephropathy

    retinopathy and vision loss

    hearing loss

    foot damage such as infections and sores that don’t heal

    skin conditions such as bacterial and fungal infections

    depression

    dementia

    Gestational diabetes

    Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can lead to problems that affect both the mother and baby. Complications affecting the baby can include:

     

    premature birth

    higher-than-normal weight at birth

    increased risk for type 2 diabetes later in life

    low blood sugar

    jaundice

    stillbirth

    The mother can develop complications such as high blood pressure (preeclampsia) or type 2 diabetes. She may also require cesarean delivery, commonly referred to as a C-section.

     

    The mother's risk of gestational diabetes in future pregnancies also increases.

     

    The bottom line

    Diabetes can lead to serious medical complications, but you can manage the condition with medications and lifestyle changes. Avoid the most common diabetes complications with these helpful tips.

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