EATING oily fish or sushi twice a week reduces the swelling in joints affected by arthritis, scientists have revealed.
Diabetes is a life-long condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. There are two main types of the disease: Type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas does not produce insulin due to destruction by antibodies; and Type 2 diabetes, where the main issue is not only the insulin deficiency, but also insulin resistance due to excess visceral fat (fat stored within the abdominal cavity and around a number of important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines). The first affects about 10 per cent of the diabetic population worldwide, while the second affects the remaining 90 per cent.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy, or to store glucose for future use. It helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).
Diabetes, if not well managed through appropriate diet and lifestyle practices as well as the use of medication, could result in the development of long-term complications that include cardiovascular disease (stroke and heart attack), kidney failure, nerve damage, amputation and blindness.
With the introduction of good self-care skills, regular sugar monitoring and follow up with relevant health care personnel, most of the long-term complications of diabetes can be avoided.
Medical personnel emphasise that the key to achieving good blood glucose control is through regular blood glucose monitoring that is facilitated by use of a device referred to as a self-monitoring blood glucose meter.
Such meters should be of good quality to ensure the accuracy of your daily readings.
The frequency of glucose monitoring is dependent on various factors. Dr Erick Njenga advises that patients with Type 1 Diabetes should check their sugars before each meal and two hours after meals to make the appropriate adjustments to their insulin doses.
Type 2 Diabetes patients who are on tablets and have good blood glucose control can check their sugars once daily. However, if they are on insulin with significant fluctuations in their blood sugar values, they will be required to check their sugars before meals and two hours afterwards.
Diabetics and the general population should know their sugar status and have yearly checks conducted. Dr Kirtida Acharya says this is important for early detection and intervention as diabetes is on the rise in Kenya among all classes, especially in the rural and slum areas.
Diabetics who monitor their sugars regularly through an accurate self-monitoring blood glucose meter are able to prevent the complications associated with the disease. Test strips for glucose meters contain certain enzymes to help measure glucose levels in the blood. It is these enzymes that determine the accuracy of the results, and it is important to select the correct strip technology as your physician will use this data to advice you on the course of treatment.
Some commonly used strip enzyme technologies include:
GDH-FAD (Glucose Dehydrogenase—Flavine-adenine dinucleotide: Able to differentiate between ‘glucose’ and other sugars in the blood, hence giving a glucose-specific result. Also makes adjustments for oxygen bias, which is particularly important in individuals with respiratory problems and are hypertensive.
GDH-NAD (Glucose Dehydrogenase—Nictotinamide adenine dinucleotide: Has less stability due to the loss of the cofactor enzyme (NAD) in the provision of results.
GDH-PQQ (Glucose Dehydrogenase—Pyrrolo-quinoline quinine): Cannot distinguish between glucose and other sugars in the blood, such as maltose, xylose, and galactose, hence produces a higher glucose reading (hyperglycemia) which may suggest the need for clinical action. Cases of actual low sugars (hypoglycemia) may go unrecognised.
GOD (glucose oxidase): Underestimates blood glucose values when measurements have increased partial pressure of oxygen values. This is very important to note as patients who have respiratory problems and are hypertensive will have varying oxygen levels affecting their readings.
Choosing right meter
There are many brands of blood glucose meters in the market that range from the lower end to the high end, so how should you select the right one? Here, the key features to guide you:
Ease of use, especially for the elderly and pediatric age group. Large and easy-to-handle buttons, figures are clearly visible on the screen.
Size of meter which is easy to carry.
Ketone warning capabilities.
Low maintenance costs.
Special features such as adequate memory storage, ease of retrieving previous test results that have date and time information of when the readings were taken, ability to download readings to computer or smart device for easy access to physician.
No need for calibration when using a new batch of strips.
Easy to clean with antiseptics and meter is water proof.
Strips are readily available.
You can live a happy and healthy life with your family and friends, and this is captured in this short poem by Dr Kirtida Acharya on preventing non-communicable diseases:
Please think before you drink,
Laugh a lot and enjoy what you have!