Friday, October 27, 2006

Low Blood Sugar Level

A low blood sugar level means that the amount of glucose in the blood has dropped below what the body needs to function efficiently. Normally blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day, between meals, after meals, and during physical activity. For individuals who have diabetes, a low blood sugar level can be very serious. A low blood sugar level occurs when the glucose drops below 65 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Symptoms can come on rather quickly, within ten to fifteen minutes, and be due to a number of factors, such as the start of the menstrual cycle, too much insulin, skipping a meal or snack, exercising without eating, or by drinking too much alcohol. Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications can also cause a fluctuation in glucose leading to a low blood sugar level. A health care professional should always be consulted before taking a new medication about the possibility of it causing a reaction.

Symptoms of a mild low blood sugar level may not always be apparent until it begins to drop further. The diabetic may begin to experience fatigue, dizziness, sweating, rapid heart rate, difficulty concentrating, shakiness, weakness, irritability, blurred vision, or confusion, and if some type of sugar is not eaten immediately, symptoms of a low blood sugar level can progress to loss of consciousness, seizures, and coma. Most diabetics are aware of even the slightest onset of symptoms, especially if they have had the disease for a while. Diabetics are encouraged to check their blood sugar levels frequently throughout the day, usually before breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime, or at any other time that there is a question whether a low blood sugar level is suspected.

Treatment for a mild low blood sugar level reading of 65 mg/dL, would be to drink sweetened juice, milk, or glucose tablets. As the glucose level drops further, symptoms become more severe and a glucagon injection may be needed to bring the level up quickly. If a low blood sugar level is around 40 mg/dL or less glucagon should still be given, but at this time unconsciousness has probably occurred and paramedics should be called immediately. Diabetics should always carry some form of sugar with them at all times, and they need to check their glucose level often, and keep their diet within the proper limits to keep their diabetes controlled. As with any serious health condition, it is advised that diabetics also wear a medical alert bracelet and keep identifying information with them at all times.

Read more:

- Why Low Blood Sugar Affects The Brain?

- Diabetic Supplies

Diabetic Supplies

If you are a diabetic you know the importance of keeping track of your blood glucose readings on a regular basis. In order for you to do this, you must have the appropriate diabetic testing supplies available and on hand, including an accurate glucometer, alcohol wipes, lancets, and test strips. Where you purchase your diabetic supplies greatly depends on what type of insurance you have. Medicare and Medicaid will cover most of these expenses, but will only cover so much within a certain time period. So if you lose your testing kit, or your glucometer melts in the sun, you may not be able to get more diabetic supplies if it is too soon according to the standards set by your insurance plan.

If you do not have insurance to cover the cost of your diabetic supplies, then you may want to shop around to find the best deal. Online medical supply stores advertise low cost diabetic supplies as well as someone available to answer any questions you may have regarding products they carry. These mail order companies also offer free shipping in many cases, and customers can order up to a three month supply of supplies at a time, so that there is always plenty on hand. Companies like Liberty Medical also have a prescription drug service available, so if you would like you can purchase your diabetic medications as well as your diabetic supplies you can.

The importance of always having the appropriate diabetic supplies on hand just goes without saying. Part of managing this chronic disease is monitoring blood glucose levels on a regular basis as directed by your primary health care provider, and in order to do this you must have diabetic supplies readily accessible and available to you. If you do not test often enough, a number of things can happen. Blood glucose can be either too low or too high, and the proper intervention must be taken. Without taking a blood glucose reading it is impossible to know how much insulin is needed (for an insulin dependent diabetic), or if current treatment strategies are working. The importance of having proper diabetic supplies available cannot be stressed enough. Testing is the best way to manage the disease, in addition to taking medications as prescribed, and exercising and eating well. Diabetes is completely manageable with the proper equipment and medical intervention.

Read more:

- Natural Diabetes Cures

- Why Low Blood Sugar Affects The Brain?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Diabetes insipidus (DI)

Diabetes insipidus (DI) characterized by excretion of large amounts of severely diluted urine, which cannot be reduced when fluid intake is reduced. It denotes inability of the kidney to concentrate urine. DI is caused by a deficiency of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), or by an insensitivity of the kidneys to that hormone.

Symptoms of Diabetes insipidus (DI) :

Excessive urination and extreme thirst (especially for cold water) are typical for DI. Symptoms of diabetes insipidus are quite similar to those of untreated diabetes mellitus, with the distinction that the urine is not sweet and there is no hypergyclemia (elevated blood glucose). Blurred vision is a rarity.

The extreme urination continues throughout the day and the night. In children, DI can interfere with appetite, eating, weight gain, and growth as well. They may present with fever, vomitus, or diarrhea.

Adults with untreated DI may remain healthy for decades as long as enough water is drunk to offset the urinary losses. However, there is a continuous risk of dehydration.

How to Diagnosis Diabetes insipidus (DI) ?

In order to distinguish DI from other causes of excess urination, blood glucose, bicarbonate and calcium need to be tested. Electrolytes can show substantial derangement; hypernatremia (excess sodium levels) are common in severe cases. Urinalysis shows low electrolyte levels, and measurement of urine osmolarity (or specific gravity) is generally low.

A fluid deprivation test helps determine whether DI is caused by:
- excessive intake of fluid
- a defect in ADH production
- a defect in the kidneys' response to ADH

This test measures changes in body weight, urine output, and urine composition when fluids are withheld. Sometimes measuring blood levels of ADH during this test is also necessary.

To distinguish between the main forms, desmopressin stimulation is also used; desmopressin can be taken by injection, a nasal spray, or a tablet. While taking desmopressin, a patient should drink fluids or water only when thirsty and not at other times, as this can lead to sudden fluid accumulation in central nervous system. If desmopressin reduces urine output and increases osmolarity, the pituitary production of ADH is deficient, and the kidney responds normally. If the DI is due to renal pathology, desmopressin does not change either urine output or osmolarity.

If central DI is suspected, testing of other hormones of the pituitary, as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is necessary to discover if a disease process (such as a prolactinoma) is affecting pituitary function.

Habit drinking (in its severest form termed psychogenic polydipsia) is the most common imitator of diabetes insipidus at all ages. While many adult cases in the medical literature are associated with mental disorders, most patients with habit polydipsia have no other detectable disease. The distinction is made during the water deprivation test, as some degree of urinary concentration above isosmolar is eventually obtained before the patient becomes dehydrated.

Treatment of Diabetes insipidus (DI)

Central DI and gestational DI respond to desmopressin. In dipsogenic DI, desmopressin is not usually an option.

Desmopressin will be ineffective in nephrogenic DI. Instead, the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCT or HCTZ) or indomethacin can improve NDI; HCT is sometimes combined with amiloride to prevent hypokalemia. Again, the patient should be reminded only to drink fluids when thirsty, and not at other times.

Even if untreated, DI does not cause death or reduce life expectancy unless the patient gets into a situation in which he or she cannot get an adequate supply of drinkable water.

Read more:

- Natural Diabetes Cure

- Why Low Blood Sugar Affects The Brain?

Why Low Blood Sugar Affects The Brain?

Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar, called glucose, is abnormally low.

Why Low Blood Sugar Affects The Brain?

Like most animal tissues, brain metabolism depends primarily on glucose for fuel in most circumstances. A limited amount of glucose can be derived from glycogen stored, but it is consumed within minutes. For most practical purposes, the brain is dependent on a continual supply of glucose diffusing from the blood into the interstitial tissue within the central nervous system and into the neurons themselves.

Therefore, if the amount of glucose supplied by the blood falls, the brain is one of the first organs affected. In most people subtle reduction of mental efficiency can be observed when the glucose falls below 65 mg/dl . Impairment of action and judgement usually becomes obvious below 40 mg/dl . Seizures may occur as the glucose falls further. As blood glucose levels fall below 10 mg/dl (0.55 mM), most neurons become electrically silent and nonfunctional, resulting in coma.

Brief or mild hypoglycemia produces no lasting effects on the brain, though it can temporarily alter brain responses to additional hypoglycemia. Prolonged, severe hypoglycemia can produce lasting damage of a wide range. This can include impairment of cognitive function, motor control, or even consciousness. The likelihood of permanent brain damage from any given instance of severe hypoglycemia is difficult to estimate, and depends on a multitude of factors such as age, recent blood and brain glucose experience, concurrent problems such as hypoxia, and availability of alternative fuels. The vast majority of symptomatic hypoglycemic episodes result in no detectable permanent harm.