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A Peek at the Pump
A Peek at the Pump

(More Video)

Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Lesson #4


What is it?

People with diabetes can't produce enough insulin, a critical hormone in the body's ability to process energy. Without insulin, the body can't take up certain substances from the bloodstream such as glucose and certain types of fats. Because of this, these substances remain flowing in the bloodstream and can rise to dangerous levels.

An excess of glucose is called hyperglycemia. Like most medical terms, the word hyperglycemia stems from Greek roots — "hyper" for above, "glyk" for sugar and "emia" for blood.

Hyperglycemia is a major factor in diabetes complications. Excess blood sugar puts a great deal of stress on bodily systems and can actually prevent certain functions.

How can you prevent it?

Because hyperglycemia can pose so many problems, preventing hyperglycemia is the best way to prevent the complications of diabetes.

By checking your glucose levels regularly, you can know when your glucose levels are getting too high. Luckily, there are clear guidelines for acceptable glucose levels, which are measured in milligrams per deciliter.

A good blood sugar range for most people with diabetes is 70 to 150 when measured either before a meal or four to five hours after a meal. If you've had a meal within the last two hours, your glucose levels should be less than 200.

Vascular Problems

What are they?

When fat can't be processed, it can adhere to the walls of arteries. As more and more deposits build up, the artery becomes more and more narrow. This can limit the flow of blood to any part of the body. This process, sometimes referred to as "hardening of the arteries," is called atherosclerosis.

This problem can become very severe. Blood flow nourishes every cell of the body — without it, cells can die. When this happens, blood vessels, tissues, organs and even limbs can be seriously damaged.

How can you prevent them?

The best way to reduce your risk for vascular problems is to make sure that your glucose levels are well controlled, or "tight." This involves, like most problems with diabetes, strict attention to blood sugar levels.

Lifestyle can also play a part in atherosclerosis. Eating greasy foods can put more fats in your bloodstream, and inhaling tobacco smoke restricts the walls of every artery in the body.

Adapting your lifestyle to include a balanced diet and regular exercise can help prevent this condition. Your doctor may also prescribe certain medications to reduce the amount of deposits lining your arteries.

Nerve Problems

What are they?

High levels of glucose are toxic to certain parts of your body. If the amount of glucose gets to be too high too often, it can damage nerves. While the exact cause of this damage is not known, high glucose levels may restrict the flow of blood to the nerves and lead to deterioration.

When nerves are damaged, they can't carry messages between your brain and parts of your body.

This nerve damage, called neuropathy, can occur in any part of the body. When the nerves of a given area become overly damaged, that area may become numb or unable to function properly. Some of the most common areas that are affected are the hands, feet, legs, bladder and gastrointestinal system.

How can you prevent them?

There are several different methods of preventing neuropathy — different tactics are used to prevent neuropathy in different parts of the body. We'll get more into these specific complications later in the lesson.

One practice that can be used to prevent neuropathy throughout the body is keeping tight glucose levels and ensuring that they do not rise to toxic levels.

Well, that about covers it. Remember that quiz you took at the beginning of the lesson? We do.

Assignment #3
Here it is again.

There, that wasn't too much, was it? Now, let's use this intellectual rambling and set forth some hands-on projects.

Assignment #4
Do one of the following, if you so please:

  1. Find out what your blood pressure is - atherosclerosis leads to an increase in blood pressure, and it's important to know how well your blood is flowing.

  2. Check your glucose level — do you have too much glucose in your bloodstream?

And that, really and truly, does it (for now).

Coming up: Lesson #5 — The Common Complications of Diabetes

See you there!!!!

Other options:

Feel like getting ahead? To access other lessons, go to the class syllabus for current enrollees.

Or directly to Lesson #5

Looking for a study buddy or got a nagging question? Check in to the Diabetes 101 Message Board. Post a question and check back for a response. You can also read other students' questions. And who knows? Someone might have already asked — and answered— your question.

To unsubscribe from this class, simply update your account at the savvyHEALTH Learning Center. (Coming Soon)

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