Diabetes, Websites, Apps Oh My!

February 28, 2017

If you missed our February 16th Support Group, don’t worry!  Here is a list of our recommended applications for your mobile devices and websites to help track your diabetes:

BG Monitor Diabetes: Allows you to track everything, calculate how much insulin you need, set reminders, create spreadsheets and graph your data. Organize your entries with tags.  Create a photo log of meals.

My Fitness Pal: Track food intake, exercise and weight. At the end of each day you are given an overall nutritional snapshot of your eating and an estimate of how long it will take to reach your weight loss goal based on current eating habits.  You can also log activity from an extensive list of exercises and the app will calculate calories burned.  You can also input numbers from a heart rate monitor from your treadmill for example of some other fitness tracker.

Calorie Counter PRO: This is a weight loss app that can help track your daily eating and can be useful when managing your diabetes. It allows you to chart your progress and take daily notes without being overwhelming.  It also tracks body measurements.

Glucose Buddy: Tracks food, insulin, blood sugar results and will show a graph of your glucose results. You can set an alert to remind you to check your blood glucose throughout the day.

Lose it: Used for weight management. Create a profile and use the apps recommended amount of calories for weight loss or input your own.  It has a large food database.  Input custom foods, scan bar codes or it will suggest foods based on a photo of your meal or snack.

MySugr: Track everything in one place, meals to mood. Create monthly reports.  This app does offer advanced services for a fee.

Fooducate: Offers good community support, has a scanner that gives groceries a grade. Good choice if feeling overwhelmed at the grocery store.

Diabetes Goal Tracker: This app was developed by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Set goals to manage diabetes based on the 7 self-care behaviors we use when tracking our program participants.  Set goals for yourself and the app will send you reminders to help keep you on track and give inspiration.  The My Nutrition section allows you to scan bar codes of foods or enter foods and track calories, carbs, fat and sodium.

Diabetes.org: This is the main website for the American Diabetes Association. Under the Food and Fitness tab you will find tips for eating out, planning meals, and carbohydrate information.  Under this tab is also a link to My Food Advisor where you can find nutrition information about various foods and even create a database of your own recipes.  You will need to create an account, but it is free.

Diabetesselfmanagement.com: This site was created by the providers of Diabetes Self -Management magazine. Good resource for recipes and general information about caring for diabetes.

Nutritiondata.com: Create your own food database; use the website to analyze nutrition content of your favorite recipes



Be Aware! Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Week

June 20, 2012

Every third week in June is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Week in Missouri–a week aimed at raising public awareness of a condition that can cause:

  • Loss of sensation in fingers and toes
  • Intense pain, aching, tingling, burning and numbness of the feet
  • Non-healing wounds or ulcers in the feet and lower extremities
  • Increased risk of lower extremity amputations.

These complications are a result of neuropathy, or nerve damage, caused by prolonged exposure to high amounts of glucose in the bloodstream (uncontrolled diabetes).

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN) is highly preventable by maintaining control of diabetes and blood sugars. Download this card to screen yourself for DPN and to guide your daily foot exams. Bring it with you to your next doctor’s appointment and make sure to discuss any symptoms you may be having. Prevention and early treatment is key in prolonging the progression of neuropathy and preventing complications. Read more about neuropathy here.

Is Cinnamon Helpful in Regulating Blood Glucose?

April 24, 2012

During my observation of diabetes education sessions at St. Anthony’s, I heard a few people ask about using cinnamon to help with blood glucose management. I personally was also really curious about how well it would work. After some research, I would like to share my professional opinion based on some studies.  

The American diabetes association states that, “There is not enough evidence from research to claim that including cinnamon in your daily diet will help regulate blood glucose in people with diabetes.” This was based on a study that measured the effect of 1 to 6 grams of cassia cinnamon on A1C and showed no beneficial effects. 1 gram of cinnamon is equivalent to 1/2 a teaspoon.

There are researchers studying the relationship between cinnamon and blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol, and results have been conflicting. From these studies, we can conclude that cinnamon might be associated with blood glucose, but with minor and various effects. Moreover, every person is different and there is a variable effect of cinnamon on each individual. Cinnamon, as a spice, appears to be safe to use in those with diabetes, as long as it’s used in moderation. If you plan to take larger doses of cinnamon, make sure you speak with your doctor, especially if you are taking diabetes medications. Taking cinnamon with certain medications may cause side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, etc. People with liver damage should use caution because a large amount of cinnamon may increase liver problems. 

In conclusion, I recommend exercise and healthy diet as the best way to control your blood glucose.  These methods are proven to work in everybody with great outcomes! People with diabetes should watch their intake of unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fat) and sodium (salt) to keep their cholesterol and blood pressure under control. Cinnamon and other spices and herbs are a great option when it comes to flavoring your food, whether or not they have beneficial effects on blood glucose and cholesterol. Try using spices and herbs instead of fat and salt to enhance the flavor of food. Spices and herbs add almost no calories, fat, salt or carbohydrates to your dish. If you do plan on using cinnamon, here is one recipe that may help you increase your cinnamon intake while cutting down on sodium and fat.

Written by: Yisi Wang, SLU dietetic intern
Photo credit: Grant Cochrane

Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops
Serves 2; Serving size: 1 pork chop with apples

2 tsp canola oil
1 large apple, sliced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 3-oz lean boneless pork chops, trimmed of fat

1. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil. Add apple slices and saute until just tender.
2. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg, remove from heat, and keep warm.
3. Place pork chops in skillet, and cook thoroughly. Remove pork chops from skillet, arrange on a serving platter, spoon apple slices on top, and serve.

Nutrition Information:
Exchange/Choices: 1 Fruit, 2 Lean Meat, 1 Fat

Calories: 212
Total Fat: 10 g
  Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 44 mg
Sodium: 36 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 15 mg
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 11 g
Protein: 16 g

Setting successful resolutions

January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

The New Year traditionally marks a fresh start–a time when we all begin to think about what we want to improve upon in the upcoming year. Self-evaluation is great. But I don’t like resolutions. You may think that sounds synical; but here’s why: they tend to be short-lived. Think about it–how many times have you set one of these goals for your New Year’s resolution: “This year I will lose weight” or “I will take better care of my diabetes this year.” Did you succeed?

Usually New Year’s goals are not successful because they are too lofty in the first place and not set up for action. You may have some great resolutions in mind; but they’re usually great long-term goals. Successful resolutions start with a clear-cut plan of the actionable steps you will take to reach these goals. That means set a small, measurable and achievable goal that will lead to success. When you achieve one goal, set a new one. Now you’re on your way! Here’s a couple examples:

Instead of: “This year I will lose weight,” set a smaller goal that will help you get on track for weight loss by making a small improvement in your current lifestyle. Some small goals that you could select are:

  • I will include a vegetable at lunch and dinner
  • I will keep a food record to track my calorie intake
  • I will only eat out twice during the week
  • I will exercise 3 times per week and my options are walking outside, doing an exercise video or going to the gym.

Instead of: “I will take better care of my diabetes this year,” smaller goals you could select are:

  • I will check my blood sugar once per day and record it in my logbook
  • I will read labels and count the carbs at each meal
  • I will exercise 3 times per week and my options are walking outside, doing an exercise video or going to the gym.

If you’ve met with one of our Educators, you’ve worked through that process. So pull out your list! If you haven’t set any goals, perhaps set some now; just make sure they are reasonable, like the ones above. These goals aren’t resolutions, but steps toward lasting change that will help you achieve a healthy lifestyle and better diabetes control.

Are you still wondering what might be the right goals to set? Did you know that Diabetes Educators can help you figure this out? We’ll also help you decide what might be reasonable and achievable for you. All the while answering your questions about carb counting, blood glucose monitoring, exercise, etc. If you want help getting the New Year started off right, schedule an appointment with the St. Anthony’s Diabetes Educators by calling 314-525-4508. If you don’t have diabetes, our experienced, Registered Dietitians can help you too.

Have a happy, healthy New Year!

New dosing guidelines for Tylenol containing products

December 30, 2011

Today, more than 600 over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx) medications contain acetaminophen (Tylenol). Some people accidentally exceed the recommended dose when taking multiple acetaminophen-containing products at the same time, often without realizing they contain acetaminophen or by not reading and following the dosing instructions.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare (McNeil), the makers of TYLENOL® is leading the industry in implementing new steps designed to lessen the possibility of accidental acetaminophen overdose and help ensure that people who use TYLENOL®, and other products containing acetaminophen, use them appropriately. As one step toward that goal, on December 19, McNeil voluntarily introduced new dosing instructions for single-ingredient Extra Strength TYLENOL® sold in the United States.

The revised dosing instructions on the OTC label for Extra Strength TYLENOL® (500mg size) reflect the following changes:

Take 2 caplets (1,000 mg) every 6 hours while symptoms last
(revised from 2 caplets every 4 to 6 hours).
Not to take more than 6 caplets (3,000 mg) in 24 hours, unless directed by a doctor
(revised from 8 caplets in 24 hours).
The Warnings section will be modified to reflect the new daily dose.
Specifically, the liver warning on the OTC label will continue to state that severe liver damage may occur if more than 4,000 mg of acetaminophen is taken.

For people whose pain or fever recurs despite the administration of a total daily dose of 3,000 mg, it is recommended that a Physician or health care Provider should be consulted. If you are not sure if some of the routine medications you take contain acetaminophen, check with your local Pharmacist before adding an over the counter product. For your safety, carry a list of all medications, prescribed or OTC, and supplements that you take and share that list with any Physician or Specialist that you see.

Rewarding experience for me

December 27, 2011

Recently I shared an experience on the “Personal Stories” page because it reminded me of why I’m a dietitian. Please read my story by clicking here.

The blog is set up so that you can also easily share some of your stories about living with diabetes or caring for someone with diabetes too. We know there are many successes and struggles along the way. This blog represents a community of readers who share many similar experiences and you never know, your story might help someone else (or vice versa). To share a story, follow these simple steps:

1) Log in or register for a WordPress account. It’s free.

2) Go to the Personal Stories page by clicking on the “Personal Stories” tab at the top of the page, under the TalkDiabetes banner.

3) Enter your story in the “comments” box. It’s allowed to be as long as you’d like. After you’re finished writing your story, click on the “Post Comment” button under the comment box. Please keep in mind that your story might not post right away, but we’ll see it. Everything that is posted on the blog must be approved by our writers before it goes public. We might make minor changes, but your message will not be affected. This is just to make sure that our blog maintains the professional image that you expect from our St. Anthony’s Diabetes Educators.

Please feel free to share or comment as often as you! You can comment on any of the posts on the blog, at any time. Also encourage your friends and family members to subscribe to the blog and share their stories too. The more, the merrier!

Traveling for the holidays?

December 20, 2011

Packing your bags this holiday season? Whether it’s out of town or just down the road, whenever you leave your house, you are “traveling” with diabetes. Changes in your usual daily routine can include different food choices, changes in timing of food or medications, and more or less exercise. Planning ahead for these changes will help to minimize the possible effects on your overall blood glucose control.

The following tips can help you manage diabetes while traveling:

1) Carry emergency information with you. This includes:

  • Identification that indicates you have diabetes
  • An updated list of all medications and supplements you are taking. This can help keep you safe in an emergency by preventing duplication or drug interactions
  • Enter your “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) contact phone numbers in your cell phone.
  • Depending on your destination, prescriptions may be required to re-fill your medications or testing supplies. Take them just in case you forget to pack supplies in your luggage.

2) Remember hydration! Drink plenty of water, especially if flying. Keep alcohol intake to a minimum; and if you do drink, do so with a meal, not on an empty stomach. Some cholesterol medications and metformin can be affected by alcohol. Talk to your physician or diabetes educator if you have questions about your medications.

3) Carry snacks. Depending on the type of travel or the location of your destination, meals may not be served at your usual times or may not be provided at all. Carry healthy snacks that will not spoil in travel. Snacks can prevent low blood glucose events, can help prevent over-eating when meals become available and prevent delay in taking medications that are not supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. Click here to reference our previous post on healthy travel snacks (check “Nutrition Junction”)!

4) Be mindful of time zone changes, especially with timing of medications, like insulin. If you use an insulin pump, re-set the clock on your pump: the basal rate will run based on the rate set for the time of day, no matter where you are located. Also, the insulin on board (IOB) feature is based on the clock/time of previous bolus. If flying with an insulin pump, changes in cabin pressure may affect delivery during take-off or landing so check the User Manual or with the pump company’s customer service for details and any possible precautions. Carrying a Glucagon Emergency Kit can help treat a severe low blood glucose; just be sure to check the expiration date and make sure someone close to you knows how and when to use it. (For non-severe hypglycemia, always carry glucose tablets).

5) If you get sick, don’t delay getting medical attention. Illness can cause dramatic fluctuations in your blood glucose. Ask your healthcare provider to recommend over-the-counter medicines that can help relieve colds, heartburn, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

6) Test, test, test……..Carry your meter and testing supplies at all times to check your blood glucose (and record the results) more often, which will help detect how the hustle and bustle of the holidays affects your diabetes health.

Become familiar with these safety tips, even consider setting up a “diabetes travel case,” including this list, to make preparation for travel easier the next time. The best way to enjoy your family and to let them know that you are doing okay is to do the best you can in caring for your health, even during hectic times!

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