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A cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

A smart, showstopping Thanksgiving side dish—whole roasted cauliflower your way Thanksgiving is all about the harvest, so why not make veggies the center of attention? This is the best roasted cauliflower recipe we've found—you can make it your own with nearly any flavors that complement the rest of your meal (even maple, although there may be enough of that already on the table). Prep is super simple and roasting brings out cauliflower's natural sweetness, making this recipe a winner. Do two or three for a crowd—they'll look quite impressive on a buffet.   Ingredients (...

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A Quick Overview Of Oral Medications

For type 1 diabetes With type 1 diabetes, you need to take insulin your whole life, since your body won’t produce any. It must be administered through injections or using a pump. If you’re wondering why no one has invented an insulin pill yet, that’s because stomach enzymes would make short work of it. In addition to insulin therapy, managing type 1 diabetes also requires exercising, eating a proper diet and monitoring blood glucose. Some oral medicines are sometimes prescribed to complement this. These include the following: Blood pressure medications are useful to preserve kidney health, especially if there is a risk of diabetic nephropathy. These medications are recommended for people whose blood pressure exceeds 130/80 mmHg. Aspirin is sometimes recommended for daily use to prevent heart problems. Cholesterol-lowering medications reduce cholesterol and are often used preventively, since diabetes increases the risk of heart disease. Note that these medications are also used to manage other types of diabetes. For type 2 diabetes With type 2 diabetes, your body still produces insulin but is unable to use it properly. The basic way to manage the disease is through better lifestyle habits: eating better, exercising, quitting smoking and losing weight. That being said, oral medications may become necessary given the progressive nature of diabetes. There are several types of oral antidiabetics, and they sometimes need to be combined to achieve the desired results. Here are the main ones: Biguanides enhance the body’s sensitivity to insulin so it can be used more efficiently while decreasing the production of glucose by the liver. Nausea and diarrhea are common, but usually temporary, side effects. Sulfonylureas stimulate the production of insulin by the pancreas. They can cause hypoglycemia and weight gain. Meglitinides increase the production of insulin by the pancreas, but are short-acting. The risk of hypoglycemia is lower than with sulfonylureas, and some weight gain is common. Thiazolidinediones, like biguanides, enhance insulin sensitivity and decrease glucose production by the liver. They aren’t used as a first-line treatment because of their potentially severe side effects (heart failure, fractures, etc.). DPP-4 inhibitors help regulate glucose levels without causing hypoglycemia, but have a modest effect. Unlike other medications, they do not cause weight gain. GLP-1 analogs slow down digestion by replicating the effect of intestinal hormones that play a role in controlling blood glucose levels. They are often used in combination with other medications, can cause hypoglycemia and nausea, and increase the risk of pancreatitis. SGLT2 inhibitors are relative newcomers to the field of diabetes treatment. These medications prevent the kidneys from storing glucose so that it is instead excreted through urine. Low blood pressure, yeast/urinary infections and a more frequent need to urinate are common side effects. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors slow down the digestion of carbs in the intestine and help synthesize them. They have very few side effects, most of which are gastrointestinal in nature (gas, bloating, etc.) and usually vanish after some time. Note – The material presented here is for informational purposes only and does not replace your physician’s advice. You may be prescribed other medications depending on your situation.  

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Diabetes And Kidneys

Diabetic nephropathy is a kidney disease caused by type 1 or 2 diabetes. Up to 50% of people with diabetes will eventually experience kidney damage, and they risk kidney failure without proper treatment. Fortunately, good diabetes management and effective prevention can delay or even prevent many problems. What are kidneys for? The kidneys are two fist-sized organs located near the back below the rib cage. Their job is to filter blood and eliminate waste through urine. They also regulate the amount of fluid and salt in the body, which is an essential part of controlling blood pressure. What does diabetes do? Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and failure in Canada. Over time, hyperglycemia and hypertension come to damage the tiny vessels in the kidneys that filter blood. This leads to a protein called albumin ending up in urine instead of being synthesized by the body. “Microalbuminuria” occurs when small amounts of albumin are found in urine, and “proteinuria” occurs when the amounts are larger. Basically, the body gets rid of useful proteins while keeping in waste and excess products. Kidneys then have to work harder to fulfill their role, which tires them out and can lead to kidney failure. What are the symptoms? Often, no one will notice anything wrong before kidneys start failing, which is why it’s so important to get tested regularly. However, there are some symptoms that can indicate a problem, including loss of sleep or appetite, stomach pains, weakness, difficulty concentrating, tiredness, swelling in the eyelids, hands or feet, vomiting, or generalized itching. What are the risk factors? Long-standing diabetes is one of the main risk factors alongside genetics, hyperglycemia, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking, among others. How do you prevent diabetic nephropathy? To prevent this condition, it’s essential that you maintain a healthy lifestyle as recommended by your physician. Try to keep your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels within optimal ranges. Limit your alcohol intake. If you smoke, quit. Eat healthy and exercise regularly. How do you detect and treat diabetic nephropathy? A urine and blood test analyzed in a laboratory can measure the presence of albumin and thus check on the condition of your kidneys. People with type 1 diabetes should undergo testing five years after their diagnosis and then once a year afterwards. As for people with type 2 diabetes, they should be tested when they receive their diagnosis and once a year thereafter. If nephropathy is diagnosed in its early stages, your physician may design a treatment plan that combines lifestyle changes and medication (blood glucose and blood pressure control, exercise, medication to prevent kidney damage, quitting smoking and drinking, a healthy diet low in sodium and protein, etc.). If, however, nephropathy is too advanced, or if the initial treatment fails, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary. As you probably guessed, prevention is key. Take good care of your kidneys and they’ll take care of you!

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A Handy Guide To Successful Outings

Summer is back, and great reasons to get out of the house. In a perfect world, diabetes would also take a summer holiday. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, but you can easily adapt your activities to it with a bit of preparation. Going camping? From no-service grounds to RV trips, there can be a lot of variety to your outdoor adventures depending on your preferences. In any case, you need a way to keep your medication and meter cool during the day. If you have access to a fridge, great! Otherwise, a cooler will work. Speaking of medication, always bring a bit more than you think you’ll need, just in case. It’s also a good idea to set alarms on your phone to remind you of your schedule for testing, injections and so on. Going to a movie? Movie theatres prohibit outside food, and their menu is full of sugar and fat. You can call the manager in advance to explain that you are diabetic and need to bring your own snacks. You could also do what many people do and sneak in your snacks—we won’t tell. If you decide to partake of their vittles, go for water and plain popcorn, without the butter. Got tickets to a game or a show? Entertainment centres often check bags at the entrance, so it’s not always easy to bring food in. You can always eat a good, hearty meal before heading out, or check online to learn about on-site restaurant options. Many food places now offer healthy choices, and just holding back on the sweet and salty toppings will go a long way. Going on a road trip? If you’re planning on making a long journey, prepare in advance so you can resist the call of fast food signs! Make yourself nutritious snacks such as trail mixes or peanut butter sandwiches, and make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the trip. Take breaks from time to time to stretch your legs and prevent clots from forming, and remember to test your blood sugar regularly. Going to the beach? In addition to using sunscreen and staying hydrated, you have to keep your devices and drugs away from water, sand and heat—an insulated bag could work wonders here. Watch your blood sugar, since sunbathing and swimming may make it fluctuate. Ideally, you would plan out a test schedule and bring healthy snacks so the odds are on your side. Got other plans? The basic idea remains the same: prepare adequately, consult your health care professional if necessary, and have fun! Diabetes may not take holidays, but it can come along for yours.

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The Right Cure For What Ails You

Summer promises plenty of fun, but can also have bad surprises in store that may ruin the day. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but we’ve also got some tips for you if the damage is already done. Sunburn. Avoid it by using sunscreen and taking shelter in the shade when UV rays are at their strongest. If you’ve got a nasty burn, take a lukewarm bath or apply a wet towel to the affected area. Aloe gel is also a good option to reduce discomfort. Athlete’s foot. Sweat and lack of ventilation are the key ingredients of this infection, which is caused by a fungus and manifests through a cracking or whitening of the skin between the toes. Over-the-counter antifungal creams help speed healing, but if you don’t have any on hand, cornstarch or baking soda can relieve pain while keeping your feet dry. See your doctor if the problem persists. Mosquito bites. The best course of action is to dodge those vampire bugs entirely: sit near a fan indoors, wear long clothing and use eucalyptus oil or some other repellent when you go into the forest or near water. Got bitten anyway? You can soothe the itch with over-the-counter ointments or, although it’s not proven, you could try rubbing the bites with the inside of a banana peel. Small cuts or scratches. Clean the wound with water and mild soap, or rinse it under running water for a few minutes. You can then apply an ointment or a bandage to protect it from external contaminants—if you’re at the beach or in the woods, for example. Bee or wasp stings. First, check if the stinger is still stuck under your skin (you’ll see a small black dot). Don’t use tweezers to remove it; it might cause more venom to be released. Instead, use a credit card or a blunt knife to dislodge the intruding object by pushing it out of the skin. Afterwards, clean the bite with mild soap and apply cold to reduce swelling. One more handy tip: use baking soda to promote healing. Dehydration. If you’re feeling the effects of dehydration or heatstroke (dry mouth, dizziness, weakness, etc.), take shelter in the shade or indoors. Of course, you need to drink fluids, but stay away from sugar-packed sports drinks; good old water will do the trick. You can also apply cold towels to your wrists and neck to cool down. Finally, make sure to test your blood sugar regularly. Poison ivy. If you touch poison ivy, you’ll feel a stinging sensation instantly. Quickly wash your skin with running water, for at least five minutes, to dilute the oils that are causing the itching. Calamine lotion or ointments can bring relief, but beware of cortisone-based formulas, as they may drive up your blood sugar. Naturally, we hope you’ll have a wonderful summer and never have to deal with any of these problems—but if they do occur, at least now you’ll have some remedies in mind!

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Life With Diabetes: Your Child And You

A diagnosis of juvenile diabetes is never easy to accept. The parents are worried, sometimes destabilized, and the child finds themselves having to take on large responsibilities for their age. Diabetes is easy to manage, but it requires a lot of discipline; insulin injections, blood glucose monitoring and diet plans are just a few important things to think about. Despite all this, your child needs to be able to experience a normal childhood without feeling limited or left out. So how can you make cohabitation with the disease easier? Here are some suggestions. Talk about diabetes with your child. Use simple, precise words to describe the disease and explain why you need to monitor blood sugar levels, inject insulin or take medication. Be transparent when your child asks you questions. Don’t hide the truth, but always emphasize the positive side—for example, by pointing out that proper treatment keeps you healthy. Debunk the myths that surround diabetes. That way, your child will always know how to answer and what to say to those who might misunderstand the disease. Have your child play an active role in their treatment as soon as possible to get them to manage their own disease. Even from a very young age, they can make certain decisions such as which finger will be used to measure blood glucose. Praise your child for their courage and maturity when measuring blood glucose or injecting insulin. This encouragement will help them view the treatment as a positive thing. Avoid phrasing things as “good” and “bad,” especially regarding blood glucose results. Your child should not feel like they are failing. Instead, refer to low, normal or high blood sugar. Avoid serving your child special meals “for diabetics.” Healthy eating habits for people with diabetes are exactly the same as healthy eating habits, period, which means your whole family can benefit from them. Explain to your child how to recognize the signs of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and how to treat each one or ask for help. As your child matures, you can trust them with new responsibilities in managing their diabetes (measuring blood glucose, keeping a record of the results, making insulin injections, etc.). Some children are ready for this earlier; others later. There’s no one-size-fits-all timeline. Inform your relatives and other adults around you (other parents, teachers, educators, caregivers, etc.) about diabetes. Explain your child’s treatment plan while specifying their needs, symptoms to watch out for, and what measures to take and who to contact in case of emergency. As a parent, your child’s diabetes may cause you a lot of stress, but despite the significant adjustments you’ll have to make, rest assured that the disease will not clip their wings in any way. With the right treatment, plan and tools, they can lead a life as full as that of any kid their age, whether they want to play sports, go to parties or go to the movies. Besides, the discipline they build is sure to come in handy in many areas later in life.  

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When Diabetes Goes For The Eyes

It’s not a myth: diabetes really can affect eye health. Blood glucose, cholesterol levels and blood pressure are all variables that can cause serious long-term damage and, in the worst-case scenario, blindness. That’s why it’s so important to discuss this issue and focus on prevention. Here’s a quick overview to help you see the big picture. Glaucoma Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up in the eye and damages the optic nerve and blood vessels. This disease causes a gradual loss of vision, starting with the periphery, and can lead to blindness if it isn’t treated. The big problem with glaucoma is that it often shows no symptoms for many years. Cataracts Cataracts are often associated with age, but the effect of diabetes can cause them to appear much earlier and develop more rapidly. They manifest in the lens becoming partly or fully opaque, which leads to a progressive loss of vision with symptoms such as sensitivity to light and blurred or hazy vision. Diabetic retinopathy Around 2 million Canadians—the majority of diagnosed diabetics—will at some point suffer from some form of diabetic retinopathy. This term refers to any disorder of the retina caused by diabetes. In the early stages, known as “non-proliferative retinopathy” or “background retinopathy,” retinal blood vessels weaken and cause small hemorrhages in the eye, often resulting in swelling and impaired vision. If the problem is not treated, it eventually degenerates into proliferative retinopathy. As blood circulation contracts, some vessels in the retina are deprived of oxygen and die. New vessels form, but they are abnormal and extremely fragile. They burst easily, sending blood into the retina and the vitreous, which causes floaters and a decrease in vision. This phenomenon occurs repeatedly over many years, eventually leading to blindness. In addition to the loss of vision, symptoms often include seeing light flashes or black spots and having trouble discerning colours. Macular edema Macular edema is a complication of retinopathy stemming from the thickening of the macula, the part of the retina that’s responsible for detailed, central vision. Half of people with proliferative retinopathy also suffer from macular edema. Risk factors Beyond just diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, pregnancy, hyperglycemia and high cholesterol may trigger or worsen eye problems. Prevention Eye diseases can wreak havoc on someone’s life, but fortunately, they can usually be prevented or treated by taking appropriate measures: Visit your optometrist once a year to detect early signs of glaucoma, cataracts, retinopathy and macular edema. See your physician regularly and follow your treatment plan (diet, exercise, medication, etc.). Keep your blood glucose at optimal levels. The same advice goes for blood pressure and cholesterol. Monitor your A1c test results (blood glucose over two or three months). Ideally, you would shoot for 7.0 or less, but your target level may differ depending on your health care professional’s recommendations. Who should get an eye exam? Anyone with type 1 diabetes from the age of 15 or 5 years after diagnosis, anyone with type 2 diabetes at the time they are diagnosed, and any woman with type 1 or 2 diabetes before getting pregnant. After that, a yearly eye examination is recommended. Since many eye problems are initially asymptomatic, prevention is your best ally to protect your ocular health—and continue seeing life in the best possible light.

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Diabetes And Sexual Health

In a society where sex is omnipresent, it’s surprising to realize that it’s still a taboo topic. Although we openly discuss many of the complications of diabetes, there’s very little talk about sexual problems—which occur more frequently and earlier in people with diabetes. When desire flags Blood glucose levels are sometimes behind this, especially if they’ve been poorly managed for years. The inflammation, nerve damage and circulatory problems caused by improper blood glucose management can hinder libido. There’s also a link between diabetes and low testosterone, a hormone that’s closely related to sexual desire and which is, contrary to widely held beliefs, found in both men and women. Finally, the heart of the problem may lie in psychological factors, lifestyle habits or medication, which means the treatment will vary based on the cause. When pleasure fails to show up Men and women with diabetes may have difficulty reaching orgasm despite experiencing sexual desire. In women, this is sometimes due to a diabetes-related nervous or hormonal problem that results in a loss of sensation. Men can be unable to ejaculate or experience retrograde ejaculation (with sperm ending up in the bladder) due to blood flow or internal muscle contraction issues. Many other factors may be involved, both physically and psychologically, and again, measures to deal with the problem will depend on what caused it. When it’s painful Diabetic women are twice as likely to suffer from vaginal dryness, the causes of which can include nerve damage, low estrogen or hormonal disorders. They are also more likely to develop urinary or yeast infections, often linked to chronic hyperglycemia. Diabetic men, on the other hand, are more likely to contract Peyronie’s disease, a condition characterized by the formation of scar tissue in the penis causing curved and painful erections. It should be noted that all of these painful situations have a solution (lubricants, medication, physiotherapy, surgery, etc.). When your body can’t keep pace Erectile dysfunction is the most common sexual disorder in men with diabetes. It is defined as the inability to have or maintain an erection. Besides age, several factors increase the risk of erectile dysfunction, such as overweight, high cholesterol, smoking, alcohol, hypertension, medication and poor blood glucose management. One side effect of hyperglycemia is to damage blood vessel walls, which hinders the flow of blood to the penis. Fortunately, several treatments can help regain a fulfilling sex life—for example, lifestyle changes, medication and physical aids (constriction rings, pumps, etc.). An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure! There are several things you can do to limit the effect of diabetes on your sexual health: Manage your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol optimally. Quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake. Exercise and eat a balanced diet. Maintain a healthy weight. Find good ways to manage your stress. Follow your treatment plan. But when you do need a cure… Nowadays, we have plenty of solutions to address sexual problems. There is no need for you to suffer in silence, and most importantly, you have no reason to be ashamed. Talk to your doctor or health care professional; they can help you find the right treatment by asking you questions, performing a physical exam, and conducting additional tests as needed. Diabetes is part of your life, but it certainly doesn’t have to be a guest in your bedroom!  

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The Complications Of Diabetes

Diabetes is a challenge in itself, and it can also lead to additional, sometimes very serious, health problems. But the good news is that you can delay or even prevent the appearance of many complications. Hypertension People with diabetes are more prone to hypertension (or “high blood pressure”), which in turn increases their risk of developing other problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Lifestyle habits play a key role in preventing hypertension, as does being monitored by a health care professional. Heart disease and stroke Diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke due to several related factors such as hyperglycemia, hypertension, overweight and general lifestyle. However, you can (greatly!) reduce your risk by emphasizing prevention. Kidney disease Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure in Canada, and up to 50% of people with diabetes will eventually suffer kidney damage. Following your treatment plan, adopting a healthy lifestyle and stabilizing your blood glucose and blood pressure are all good ways to prevent problems. Eye conditions Diabetes increases the risk of glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders (diabetic retinopathy). Damage can go as far as blindness and occur without any symptoms, which is why it’s important to undergo an eye exam once a year. Mouth problems Diabetic people are at greater risk of developing gum disease and having it progress more quickly. The problem can be ordinary (gingivitis) or more serious (periodontitis), which is why it’s important to visit your dentist at least twice a year. Foot disorders In people with diabetes, foot problems develop mostly when nerve damage occurs and affects sensitivity. In such situations, small foot injuries can become exacerbated or infected without causing any pain as the usual alarm signal. That’s why it’s important to monitor the condition of your feet and take certain precautions (avoiding walking barefoot, wearing good shoes, etc.). Skin problems Diabetes often creates dry skin that’s more prone to injuries and fungal or bacterial infections. Some complications, such as blisters, are relatively benign, but others require medical attention and appropriate medication. Any change in skin appearance should be brought to the attention of a health care professional. Sexual problems Diabetes can cause sexual problems in both men and women by messing with blood glucose management or testosterone levels. Maintaining a healthy weight, stable blood glucose and a good diet greatly limits the risks, but several treatments are also available to restore a fulfilling sex life. Neuropathy The hyperglycemia often associated with diabetes can damage nerves and therefore change your perception of pain. If you experience a loss of sensitivity or a tingling sensation, for example, make sure you discuss it with a health care professional. Depression Nearly 10% of people with diabetes will one day experience major depression, and about 30% will experience some symptoms of it. Living with diabetes brings its share of difficulties, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes. But don’t suffer in silence—if you’re not feeling OK, speak up. Note – The material presented here is for informational purposes only and does not replace your physician’s advice. Diabetes can also cause other complications.  

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