Treatment

Le diabète, la recherche et l'accompagnement.

Diabetes, Research and Support

How sleeping well can help keep your diabetes under control

Sleeping well is essential to support your diabetes treatment, keep blood sugar under control and help with living with diabetes.

 

12 July 2015 | Diagnosis

 

Getting enough quality sleep is vital, even for healthy people. Resting well at night boosts productivity and helps us perform well during the day. But when it comes down to it, sleeping well does much more than help you to feel alert and on top of things. It can actually help you lose weight. And, as anyone with diabetes knows, controlling your weight can help you control the illness.

 

It is estimated that an adult needs between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. If, for any reason, you don’t get that your biological clock takes a hit and your circadian rhythms are thrown off.

 

What are circadian rhythms?

 

A lot of people have heard about them but very few fully understand exactly what they involve. Commonly referred to as biorhythms, circadian rhythms are the physical, mental and emotional changes that follow a cycle of roughly 24 hours. These cycles primarily respond to the amount of light and darkness we are exposed to.

 

What part do circadian rhythms play in controlling our blood sugar levels?

 

A recent study discovered a relationship between the changing sleep-wake cycles and the change in circadian rhythms (the regulators of physical activity). Circadian rhythms control different bodily functions, taking their cue from environmental changes. They also regulate body temperature, blood pressure and the release of endocrine hormones (which regulate blood sugar levels).

 

When our work/rest cycles are changed, our blood sugar levels go up and the metabolic rate (the speed at which our body burns calories in order to obtain energy) is lowered. And as you already know, high blood sugar can lead to prediabetes, which if left untreated can develop into type 2 diabetes.

If you already have type 2 diabetes it’s quite likely you have difficulty getting off to sleep as well as staying asleep once you do. According to a study (exploring the association between sleep quality and quality of life in people with type 2 diabetes) carried out by the School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh, sleep disorders are all too common in people with type 2 diabetes.

 

300 people with type 2 diabetes participated in the study. The average age was 63 and 57% of the participants were women. Of the 300 people interviewed, 12% were being treated with insulin. Results showed that 55% had sleep disorders that they felt affected their quality of life. Interestingly, using an insulin based treatment did not seem to have an impact on sleep quality. Results did show, however, that sleep disorders were commonly associated with individuals who presented a greater number of complications typically associated with the illness, such as peripheral neuropathy (pain in the legs) or nocturia (excessive urination at night).

 

What could help me sleep better?

 

So, as you can see, sleeping well is just as important to controlling the illness as exercising and eating well. So don’t lose another minute’s sleep. If you have difficulty dropping off we recommend you try the following:

 

- Don’t overeat in the evenings. Try making lunch your main meal of the day.

 

- Try to establish a fixed sleeping pattern by going to bed at the same time each night and making sure you get up at the same time (even if it’s the weekend). If you have to take a nap after lunch, keep it short (half an hour tops).

 

- Do what you can to ensure your bedroom is as dark and quiet as possible (leaving lights on is not a good idea). The more peaceful and welcoming your sleeping environment, the better you’ll sleep.

 

- Keep the temperature in your bedroom neutral – not too hot, not too cold.

 

- Try to avoid physical activity late at night. Exercising just before you go to bed can prove invigorating rather than relaxing. What you really want is to get your body to wind down - signalling it’s time to sleep.

 

- It’s not a good idea to watch television or work on the computer straight before going to bed. The light from the screen can actually stop you from relaxing and drifting off.

 

- Try not to smoke or drink alcohol or caffeine based drinks late at night. All three of these habits have a stimulating affect - winding you up rather than calming you down.

 

- Talk things through with your doctor if you find that you’re persistently having trouble sleeping. Don’t just let it happen and hope it’ll get better on its own.

 

So say goodbye to dark circles under your eyes and falling asleep at the desk. Put the spring back in your step. Sleeping soundly is not just one of life’s greatest pleasures - it’s also has proven health benefits. Are you sure you’re getting enough?

Diet , Symptoms , Non-pharmacological treatments

 

Author: Editorial Team

 

© People Who Global

 

How to avoid diabetic foot

Diabetic foot is a complication of diabetes that affects people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes when they don't control their blood sugar.

 

6 September 2015 | Diagnosis

 

As the name suggests, the term ‘diabetic foot’ is used to describe a variety of complications affecting the feet of individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, often those who struggle to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Not all people with diabetes develop diabetic foot, as it’s a complication that can easily be prevented by taking a few simple precautions: keeping your blood sugar levels in check and carefully monitoring the condition of your feet.

 

What complications are associated with diabetic foot?

 

There are two chronic complications associated with diabetes that can put the health of your feet at risk. They generally develop over time and are often brought about by bad habits and a lack of care and attention.

 

- Diabetic neuropathy: This condition affects the nerves in the feet and legs, leading to a decrease in sensitivity that impairs the individual’s ability to perceive pain or extremes in temperature. It can also cause muscle weakness, loss of reflexes (particularly deep tendon reflexes) and biomechanical abnormalities of the foot. This results in an increase in pressure (when walking) on certain parts of the foot which, in turn, can lead to ulceration. Diabetic neuropathy can also cause the skin to dry out and crack, putting you at greater risk of infection.

 

- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD): PAD is a condition that affects the blood vessels that supply the legs and feet. It can lead to ischemia (reduced blood supply to the lower extremities).

 

Ulcers are more commonly found in males with poor metabolic control who have had the illness for ten years or more and who are already presenting at least one other vascular complication associated with diabetes. They should not be taken lightly, as severe cases can lead to hospitalization or even amputation. In fact, statistics show that around 80% of amputations are caused by diabetes-related ulcers. While it is good to be aware of this, you should try not to let your natural concern turn into an unhealthy obsession – remember, if you take proper care of yourself the risk of suffering complications is practically non-existent.

 

How to look after your feet?

 

As previously stated, managing your illness and keeping a strict watch on the condition of your feet is vital when it comes to avoiding associated complications. So, if you have type 1 or 2 diabetes and are serious about avoiding diabetic foot we recommend you heed the following advice:

 

- Do your best to keep your blood sugar levels under control. This will make developing any diabetes related complications (diabetic foot included) much less likely.

 

- Keep active. Walking is an extremely effective form of exercise as it helps improve blood flow to the legs and feet. Try wiggling your toes too – it’s a simple but effective way to maintain flexibility.

 

- Take care to keep your feet clean. We recommend washing your feet daily. Use warm water and remember to dry them off well (especially between the toes) with a soft towel.

 

- Don’t forget to moisturize. If you let your skin dry out it will be much more likely to crack, and cracked feet are at greater risk of becoming infected.

 

- Check your feet on a daily basis. If needed, use a mirror to check for any lesions, grazes or redness. Catching and treating any problem areas early will help make sure they don’t develop into something more serious.

 

- Pay special attention to any areas that turn red (indicating infection), blue (indicating lack of blood flow) or dark (a sign of dead tissue).

 

- Make sure your toenails are kept short. Cut them straight across (rather than curving in at the sides). This will help you avoid ingrowing toenails. Use a nail file rather than scissors on smaller toes.

 

- Get your feet checked over by a chiropodist at least once a year. It is always wise to get an expert opinion when dealing with diabetic foot.

 

- Avoid exposing your feet to extremes in temperature. Avoid hot water bottles and sitting too close to the fire.

 

- Avoid chafing by using comfortable, loose fitting footwear. Try to avoid plastic and other materials that don’t let your feet breathe.

 

- Use cotton, linen or wool socks and avoid synthetic fabrics like Lycra. Make sure your socks don’t wrinkle when you put your shoes on.

 

- Avoid walking barefoot (take particular care at the beach). Train yourself to walk carefully, being mindful of not hitting or bumping your feet.

 

Using custom-made insoles is one of the best ways to avoid long-term foot related problems. These can be supplied by your chiropodist (or podiatrist), so make sure you keep in regular contact. And it goes without saying – if you notice any change in the condition of your feet, no matter how slight, get it checked out as soon as possible. The health of your feet is not something that should be taken lightly.

 

Symptoms , Exercise , Non-pharmacological treatments

 

Author: Medical Team

 

© People Who Global, iStock.com

 

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