Simple ways to help beat diabetes

August 31st, 2020

Healthy food and clean eating.

By Alisa Star

There is nothing easy about reversing a chronic illness, especially an illness like type 2 diabetes that more than 1 million Americans are newly diagnosed with every year. But new research shows there are ways to help stop type 2 diabetes in its tracks. In fact up to 40% of people in a small study who cut calories, exercised, and took the proper drugs to control their blood sugar levels were able to reverse the disease.

Everyday stress such as  parent-teacher conferences, work related to planning Thanksgiving dinner for 15 people. Everyday life causes stress and is no trip to the spa!  The hormone Cortisol  increases your body’s blood glucose level and by decreasing your stress levels can help lower your glucose level. When you are stressed your body  produces long term effects. This  causes you to increase your insulin resistance and weight gain. Both of which increase the risk of  getting type 2 diabetes. There is no  easy fix but it helps to get up and get moving. Try taking 30 minutes out of your day and go for a brisk walk.You may also choose to do squats,leg lifts or jog in place. It is proven people who are active have better blood sugar control than people who stay sedentary. Case in point: People with pre-diabetes who lose just 5% of their body weight have more than half their chance of not getting diabetes.

Following a healthy diet plan is also key to preventing this disease. It is important to watch your calorie and sugar levels of what you eat and drink each day so you can lose weight and keep it off. In order to do that it helps to eat smaller portions, less fat and sugar. You should choose to  eat a variety of foods from each food group. These include  whole grains, fruits that are low in sugar, and lots of fresh vegetables. It is also a good idea to limit red meat and avoid processed meats. Also did you know smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes as well, if you are a smoker it is in your best interest  that you quit.

Diabetes is also a hereditary disease. If you have family members with this disease  the chances of you or your child have a higher risk of getting diabetes. Myself I have type 2 diabetes that runs in my family. It has struck several  members who are insulin dependent. Your lifestyle is forever changed and this can lead to severe health problems. This doesn’t mean you will get it, it means you have a greater chance of it. But with the right  diet and exercise will  help you fight diabetes.

Finally, keep healthy, moving, eat and drink properly. It is good practice to visit your doctor regularly for check ups and taking the right measures can save your life.

Bachelor & bachelorette auction raises thousands for diabetes research

October 1st, 2018

The Bay Area’s most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes on stage at Sundance Grill II.

Well Houston had its list and Galveston had its list, so it was time for the Bay Area to have its list of most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. The honorees were chosen for their contribution to the cities in Galveston county. They are Lance Fegen, Ange Mertens, Hank Dugie, Wendy Shaw, Dr. Louie Robinson, Erin Webb, Kevin Smith, Blaine Ochoa and Justin Gripon.

Ange Mertens had the idea to use the community involved honorees to raise some money for the American Diabetes Association. She put together the fun Date Auction night that was held at the beautiful Sundance Grill II, where the venue and food was graciously donated by Hans Mair. The bidding went wild when the Bachelors and Bachelorettes each walked the runway. Dates with Lance Fegen and Wendy Shaw went for the highest bids of the night at a wonderful $3,000 each. Lance Fegen is the Culinary Director for the Liberty Kitchen restaurants and offered a dinner for eight people in their home with him as the chef, and that exciting auction item went for $2,300. The bidders and audience alike had a great time as the honorees strutted their stuff and brought in $18,000 for the American Diabetes Association!

League City Mayor Pat Hallisey was the Emcee and shared his story of the heart attack he had last year while working hard after Hurricane Harvey. Hallisey is a Type 2 diabetic and had to have his leg amputated from complications from his diabetes and warned the audience of the evils of uncontrolled Diabetes. The illustrious Rick Clapp from Bay Area Houston Magazine did a great job as the auctioneer. Ange, who is a Type 1 diabetic, spoke at the end of the auction and thanked everyone for coming, asked everyone to be cautious of the signs of diabetes and told everyone about the research and support you can find at Mertens also thanked the sponsors, Liberty Kitchen Restaurants, Tax Recourse, Elite Care 24 -hour Emergency Room, and Sundance Grill II. Attendees then enjoyed a night of listening to and dancing to the tunes of MECHANIX.

So you have diabetes, now what?

March 1st, 2015

khan_headshotBy Dr. Sonya Khan

Every visit, patients get a quick finger stick and hold their breath to find out what their Hemoglobin A1C is.  This magic number defines whether or not they were on track the last three months.  Why is this number so important?  A Hemoglobin A1C measures what percentage of hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The higher the Hemoglobin A1C level, the poorer the blood sugar control – which means an increased risk for diabetic complications.  This number basically tells the doctor how good or bad you’ve been since your last visit.   Based on age and other medical conditions, the target Hemoglobin A1C is usually 6.5 to 7.0 percent.  This comes out to an average fasting (before breakfast) blood sugar less than 110 mg/dl and daytime blood sugar less than 140 mg/dl.

However, is it all about the sugars?  Though much of diabetes care is centered around the blood sugars, it is also important to look at other factors and measure other goals.  Diabetes is a disease that is not only a dysregulation of carbohydrates, but also a leading cause of heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure, and amputations. On a microvascular and macrovascular scale, the whole body is affected by diabetes so it is important not to concentrate on only the numbers.

The most effective way to protect against a heart attack and kidney failure as a complication of diabetes is to control blood pressure.  Many times doctors will prescribe a blood pressure medication to keep your numbers at a goal—less than 140/90 (per American Diabetes Association guidelines).  Ask your doctor if this medication will also help with kidney protection, because certain blood pressure medications are also kidney protective.  The most effective way to maintain proper blood pressure control is to avoid excess salt in your food.  Canned foods and restaurant/fast foods are very high in salt.  Items such as instant noodles are also very high in salt or sodium. Monitor blood pressure daily with an arm cuff that can be purchased at a local drug store.  A combination of controlling your blood pressure and limiting fried or fatty foods is the key to a healthy heart.

To avoid the complications leading to blindness, prevention is the key.  Retinopathy or damage to the blood vessels in the eye is a severe complication of uncontrolled diabetes.  According to the American Diabetic Association, every diabetic should have a dilated eye exam yearly.  There is no way to predict which diabetics will have eye disease, so everyone should be vigilant and have their eyes examined regularly.    There are little to no symptoms for retinopathy so it is important to be monitored even before developing any signs.

Another complication that can be prevented is amputations.  Though most people claim to have good foot care, many of us rarely actually look at the bottom of our feet.  It is important to have a complete foot exam regularly with your doctor.  Diabetics have an increased risk of amputations due to uncontrolled sugars.  The nerves in the feet get damaged which leads to numbness, and this numbness allows cuts, scrapes, and bruises to go unnoticed.  The way to avoid this complication is to have good foot hygiene.  Check your feet daily and report any abnormalities to your doctor right away.

Many of my patients, who are diagnosed with diabetes, live long and healthy lives.  Establish a good relationship with your doctor and find a regimen that fits your lifestyle and brings you to your glycemic goals.  Make sure you keep up with your blood pressure goals, cholesterol goals, and your eye and foot care.  Your weight is the last important metric.   Discuss with your doctor your proper weight because the proper weight for your body type will make all the things discussed above easier to maintain.

Diabetes is an all-encompassing disease, but when you are well informed and regular with your follow up appointments, it is not difficult to prevent complications.  Make sure you discuss these goals with your doctor on your next visit and start the conversation to a healthier you.

Bay Area Houston Magazine