7 Reasons Why Smoking with Diabetes is Even More Hazardous

Here are 7 reasons why mixing diabetes with smoking is a very bad idea:

1) You are more likely to get nerve damage (neuropathy). This is because smoking affects your blood circulation and that in turn means your nerve endings are not getting the nutrients they need. If this happens to the nerves in your feet it could lead to sores and infections and, if not taken care of properly, even amputation.

2) There is an increased risk – double in fact – of you getting limited mobility in your joints. It’s no fun trying to bend, climb stairs or lift something when you have a painful joint.

3) Because of smoking you could develop kidney disease.

4) When you smoke your blood pressure increases. Increased blood pressure creates a real risk of heart disease.

5) Research has shown that diabetics who smoke increase, 3-fold, the risk of dying of heart (cardiovascular) disease.

6) By smoking you increase your blood-sugar levels. This makes it more difficult to control your diabetes because your glucose levels could be fluctuating quite dramatically. This, in turn, leads to other problems.

7) And it also increases your cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of a heart attack.
In fact smoking – and passive smoking – have a seriously detrimental effect on the ABC’s of diabetes management:

A – 1C – the measurement of your blood glucose over a 3-month period
B – your blood pressure, which should be below 130/80
C – your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels include LDL, HDL and triglycerides. Your LDL should be below 100. HDL levels should be above 40 (for men) and above 50 (for women). Tryglycerides should be below 150.

And, of course, on top of all that there’s the proven risk of cancer!

7 Tips For Getting Started With Exercise for Diabetes

Getting exercise is a crucial part of staying healthy, especially when you are dealing with a chronic disease. It helps not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. Here are some tips on preparing yourself to take the first leap.

1. Start with small goals

You don’t have to wake up and run a marathon. You don’t even have to go running. If it’s what your fitness requires: start by walking. Use a pedometer like Fitbit, Withings Plus or Garmin Vivofit to track your steps. It is generally recommended that you walk 10,000 steps a day to start getting fitter. If you can do that: great. If not: start with as much as you can and gradually increase the distance. Whichever the case, don’t forget that you need to try to extend your comfort zone. When you start getting tired: go a little more!

2. Measure your glucose level

Before you do any exercise, you MUST measure your glucose level. If your blood glucose level is fine, then you start your exercise. Initially try to measure your glucose level often even during exercise, so you get a feel of how your body reacts to it (a CGM is recommended). Log your measurements in an app like laborom so you can see trends in how exercise effects you levels. Also: ALWAYS bring glucagon or any fast acting carbohydrates in case you get a low during your workout.

3. Measure your weight

Your weight is a good benchmark of how well your exercise is effecting your health. Don’t worry if you don’t lose a lot of weight all of a sudden. First your body needs to build muscles to get used to the exercise, and muscle tissue is heavier than fat tissue. You can also track your weight change in laborom and you might want to think about uploading pictures of yourself to the app for each measurement so you can see how your physique is changing over time. Often, even though your weight doesn’t decrease much your shape can improve tremendously.

4. Avoid fast-food

Fast-foods are usually pumped with artificial ingredients which can really mess with your blood sugar levels. Try to eat healthy foods like salads and generally low-carb meals. Whenever you exercise bring your own food so you know perfectly well how your body will react to it.

5. Time, consistency, habit

Probably the first time you go out for a walk or a jog it will be when some time frees up in your calendar and you have nothing better to do. When you finished your exercise and took a nice shower sit down and try to think how you could fit this into your busy schedule at least 3 times a week. Make a game plan and stick to it! Try to form a habit of doing this.

6. Bring a friend

For security, or for company get a friend to join you. Exercising together with someone is always more fun and interesting. They can also help you out if you should need anything. This is especially a good idea while you and your body are still getting used to the workout.

7. Reward yourself

After each exercise treat yourself to something that you would otherwise not do or get for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, it doesn’t even have to cost money. You just have to feel better for doing it. This will help with making a workout into a habit.

Do you have your own tips that helped you get started? Is there a pro-tip you can share with the community? Let us know in the comments!

Traveling with Diabetes: 11 Tips to Make it Easy for You

Traveling with diabetes requires preparation both before and during your trip. Here are 11 tips to help you make sure your diabetes doesn’t interfere with the pleasures of travel.

1. Visit your doctor at least a month before you leave to make sure your diabetes is under control. If you need to do any stabilizing, a month will give you enough time. The same month should let your body settle down after any necessary immunization shots, so get those at the same time.

2. Get a letter from your doctor certifying that you are diabetic, and listing the various medications and supplies you must carry with you. Without this, you might have difficulties passing through Security at airports and international border crossings.

3. Also get a prescription for your insulin or other diabetes medication. Even though you should have enough syringes, strips and medication to last for the duration of your trip, it’s always good to have a prescription in case you lose them, they become spoiled because of extreme weather conditions, or your trip lasts longer than you original planned.

4. Wear an ID bracelet announcing you have diabetes, and also carry a small card saying so in the local language of the places you will be visiting.

5. Learn to express specific diabetic requirements in the local languages. Since you probably won’t know how to pronounce the words, the easiest way is to carry them on a printed card and simply point to what you want to say.

6. Pack at least twice as much medication and supplies as you think you’ll need. Put half in your suitcase, and half in a special bag that never leaves your possession. The container for these supplies should be sturdy, preferably hard sided, for protection.

7. Carry a sealed pack containing hard candies or glucose tablets in case irregular eating makes your blood sugar drop too low. Your pack should also contain emergency snacks, such as crackers, cheese, fruit, juice – in case you must wait too long between meals, which can happen when we are traveling.

8. Insulin can lose its strength in extreme temperatures, so carry your supply, as well as pills and other medication, in a thermally insulated bag.

9. Carry bandages and first-aid cream, comfortable walking shoes and protective beach shoes. Your feet need extra special care while you’re traveling.

10. While on your trip, check your blood sugar more often than usual. Many factors, such as fluctuating temperatures and changing time zones, can cause wild swings in your blood sugar levels. If you check often, you’ll be better able to take corrective action as needed.

11. Finally, contact the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers. They can provide you with a list of English speaking doctors in the countries you’ll be visiting.

As long as you take sensible precautions to care for your diabetes, there’s no reason why it needs to stand in the way of a happy travel experience. Bon voyage!