Posts Tagged Diabetes

Moderate Sleep Apnea Influences Risk of Diabetes

Does mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea affect diabetes risk?
Researchers from the Sleep Research & Treatment Center at Penn State University sought to answer this question by following 1741 adults over 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period, individuals with moderate sleep apnea had an almost 3x higher risk of developing diabetes compared to people without sleep apnea.

What is the take home message?
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, talk to your health care professional about being screened for diabetes. In addition, take proactive steps to reduce your risk of developing diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight, by being physically active and by eating a healthy diet.

The above research was presented at the 2017 Sleep conference in Boston (poster number 0424).

Graham Beaton is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing at Ottawa Collaborative Care in Ottawa.

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Can you lower your blood sugar by eating foods in a different order?

A small pilot study by Shukla et al. in Diabetes Care (2015) suggests that you can.

What did the researchers do?

  • 11 type 2 diabetic individuals who were treated with metformin participated.
  • On two mornings, separated by one week, the participants were fed a breakfast consisting of bread (chibatta), chicken breast (skinless), salad (lettuce and tomato salad with vinaigrette) and steamed broccoli (with butter) and orange juice
  • For the first breakfast, the participants started their meal by eating the bread and drinking the orange juice, waiting 15 minutes, then consuming the remainder of the food (chicken, salad and broccoli). The following week, the order of the breakfast was reversed (participants ate the chicken, salad and broccoli before eating the bread and orange juice)
  • Blood sugar levels and insulin levels were subsequently measured at 30, 60 and 120 minutes after the start of both meals

What was found?

  • The participants had lower blood sugar levels when starting their meals with the chicken and vegetables at all times measured (blood glucose reduced by 28.6%, 36.7% and 16.8% at 30, 60 and 120 minutes respectively)
  • In addition, insulin levels were significantly lower at 60 and 120 minutes following the meal

Take home message

  • For diabetics, it is not only important to consider the quantity and type of foods you eat, but also the order in which the foods are consumed. This may allow you the potential to better regulate your blood sugar levels long term, reducing the risk of future disease.

Graham Beaton is a naturopathic doctor practicing in downtown Ottawa. If you have questions about managing your diabetes or how seeing a naturopath can improve your health, please call 613-290-6115.

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Worth Reading: Statins and Diabetes Risk

A recent study (April, 2015) published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine examined the link between the use of statin medications for high cholesterol levels and a subsequent increased risk of diabetes and diabetic complications.

What was found:
-Statin use increased the risk of diabetes, diabetic complications and obesity.

Take home message:
If on a statin, it is important to have regular blood tests to determine if your blood sugar levels are affected. In addition, you should consult with a Naturopathic Doctor to put together a plan to ensure that you are reducing the effect of the statin on blood sugar (e.g. by planning to eat a healthy diet and increasing the level of physical activity).

Graham Beaton is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Ottawa. For more information about diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or Naturopathic Medicine, please call 613-290-6115.

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Physical Activity for Cardiovascular Health

Physical inactivity is an important risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart attack or stroke). Given that the average Canadian is sedentary for approximately 70% of the waking day, many Canadians are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Being physically active can help to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and obesity, all of which impact heart health.

Please join us to learn more about how physical activity can benefit cardiovascular health.

Topics of this seminar will include:
-Types of physical activity and their cardiovascular benefits.
-How physical activity benefits blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
-What steps you can take to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by being more physically active.

Graham Beaton, BHSc, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Ottawa Collaborative Care Centres

Date and Time:
Thursday February 6th 2014 at 7 pm.

To register for this free event, please contact the Sunnyside Public Library or call 613-290-6115.

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Healthy Eating for New Year’s Resolution – Why eat a beet?

Graham Beaton BHSc, ND
Ottawa Naturopathic Doctor

Beets are a root vegetable with two parts you can eat – the root and the green leaves. Beats are a good source of fiber (which helps with cholesterol and blood sugar), potassium (which helps with blood pressure), iron and folate. While folate is more concentrated in the leaves, it is also found in the root and is an essential nutrient for pregnant women.

Beets can be cooked or served:

  • As a salad – try tossing grated beets with apples in a lemon dressing or in a conventional beet salad
  • As diced cooked beets – try them on their own or mixed with cooked lentils or with brown/wild rice
  • Substitute beets for carrots and make a beet cake
  • Add to coleslaw
  • Sandwiches – top meat or poultry sandwiches with sliced/grated cooked beets and onions or apples.
  • Roasted beets – try roasting the beet with thyme to infuse some extra flavour
  • Pickled beets
  • Salsa – try making a beet salsa with avocado and a blood orange
  • Soup – a chilled beet soup with dill is an excellent starter to a meal
  • Risotto – use beets to liven up a risotto

While most people just eat the root, the beet greens can be an excellent leafy side dish. Beet greens are a good source of fiber, are high in calcium, iron, vitamin A, C and K.

Beet greens are often prepared by cooking them in a skillet over a medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Try sautéing them with garlic, ginger and a pinch of salt in a covered pan for about 3 minutes. Then drizzle with olive oil. You can also add toasted sesame seeds or toasted quinoa for some additional protein and a bit of crunch.

If you feel like you are struggling to keep your health related New Year’s resolutions, would like help improving your diet, losing weight or addressing cholesterol, diabetes or blood pressure, give Graham a call at 613-290-6115.

Graham Beaton is a Naturopath in Ottawa at the Ottawa Collaborative Care Clinics.

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Healthy Eating for New Year’s Resolution – Parsnips

Graham Beaton BHSc, ND
Ottawa Naturopathic Doctor

If you are looking to maintain your New Year’s Resolution and are looking for a new vegetable to eat, try parsnips. Parsnips are a root vegetable from the Umbelliferae family which includes carrots, celery, chervil, fennel and parsley.
Parsnips are a great source of fiber (which can help with bad cholesterol), have lots of vitamin C (which helps with immune system function to fight off colds and flu), are high in the B vitamin folate and are a great source of potassium (which helps with blood pressure).

Parsnips are best at this time of year as they are the most flavorful after the first frost – when their starches turn to sugar.

Parsnips can be cooked in different ways and they taste great in soup and stews, roasted, steamed, braised, sautéed or can be used in baked goods (muffins and cakes).

If you feel like you are struggling to keep your health related New Year’s resolutions, would like help improving your diet, losing weight or addressing cholesterol, diabetes or blood pressure, give Graham a call at 613-290-6115.

Graham Beaton is a Naturopath in Ottawa at the Ottawa Collaborative Care Clinics.

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Exercise for the Control of Blood Sugar and Diabetes

Diabetes is a disorder that is characterized by high levels of blood sugar which occurs due to changes in insulin production, insulin sensitivity, or both. This long term elevation in blood sugar levels has serious health effects. Specifically, long term elevations of blood sugar can damage small blood vessels. This damage may then affect vision, kidney and nerve function, bone health, and lead to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, etc.

The prevalence of diabetes is increasing worldwide. In 1985 it was estimated that 30 million people were diagnosed with the disease. Last year, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes was estimated at 371 million people, more than a tenfold increase. This trend for increasing rates of diagnosis is even greater in Canada, where it is estimated that the number of Canadians diagnosed between 1998 and 2009 increased by 230%. It is currently estimated that 2.4 million Canadians have diabetes, and that the incidence will continue to grow1.

One of the most important ways to manage diabetes is through physical activity. It is currently recommended that people with diabetes participate in both regular aerobic and resistance exercise. The participation in these forms of exercise has been shown to be effective in improving blood sugar regulation, reducing insulin resistance, substantially lowering the mortality risk in people with diabetes, and decreasing the risk of several other diabetes related complications (bone and muscle loss, foot ulcers, nerve damage, etc).

Insulin, Blood Sugar Regulation, and the Effects of Exercise
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates carbohydrate (sugar) and fat metabolism in the body. When eating a meal, insulin is release from the pancreas, entering into the blood stream where it stimulates cells of the body (liver, muscles, fat cells) to take up sugar that was absorbed from food. The cells of the body then use sugar for energy or store it for future use.

In diabetes, the control of blood sugar is impaired. In type 1 diabetes, the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin are destroyed and insulin is not produced. This lack of insulin impairs body tissues to take up sugar. Furthermore, blood sugar levels cannot be properly regulated, remaining elevated. In type 2 diabetes, cells of the body become resistant to the effects of insulin, again leading to elevated levels of blood sugar. Moreover, as type 2 diabetes progresses, the pancreas can lose the ability to produce enough insulin, so there may be both a lack of insulin in addition to the loss of insulin sensitivity.

Exercise has been shown to be very effective in helping regulate blood sugar levels and improving the long term health of diabetics. Exercise has been shown to be effective in regulating blood sugar levels by stimulating active muscles to take up blood sugar without the need for insulin, effectively lowering blood sugar for at least 24 hours following exercise2. In addition to the non-insulin mediated absorption of sugar, exercise has been shown to lower the insulin resistance found in type 2 diabetes1.

To achieve blood sugar regulation benefits, people with diabetes should take part in both aerobic and resistance exercise. A minimum of 30 minutes per day for 5 days of the week should be allotted for aerobic exercise (e.g. brisk walking, swimming, jogging, bicycling, aerobics, dancing, etc) and at least two sessions per week of resistance exercise (weights and other forms of strength training) is recommended1.

Safety considerations with exercise and diabetes
For the majority of individuals with diabetes, participation at a moderate level (i.e. brisk walking) of physical activity is safe. However, individuals with certain pre-existing health concerns (autonomic or peripheral neuropathy, unstable angina, vision problems, or with presence of foot/leg ulcers), should speak to a health professional for further evaluation prior to starting a new exercise plan.

It is important to be aware that resistance training and vigorous aerobic activity (i.e. aerobics, jogging, brisk walking up an incline, etc.) can lead to an unsafe level of blood sugar in diabetics both during and post exercise. For example, vigorous exercise can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in diabetics who are on insulin or insulin secreting medications1-2. Thus it is important to first speak to a health care professional about how to safely monitor and regulate blood sugar before, during and after exercise.

Exercise is an essential component for the prevention and management of diabetes. It can help to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, and can reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes.

If you have diabetes, or if you are at risk of developing diabetes, it is important that you ensure that your blood glucose levels are monitored and properly controlled. Diabetes treatment and blood glucose control should include a personalized diet and exercise plan that is tailored to one’s specific situation. In practice I help patients who are at risk of developing diabetes, or who have diabetes, to improve their blood sugar control through diet and exercise. If you have questions about diabetes, exercise, how to exercise safely with diabetes, or how Naturopathic Medicine can help you, please call 613-290-6115.

Graham Beaton is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Ottawa at the Ottawa Collaborative Care Centres.

1. Sigal, R.J. et al. Physical Activity and Diabetes – Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee. Can J Diabetes 37;2013:S40-44.
2. 2. Colberg, S. R. et al. Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes: the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association join position statement. Diabetes Care 2010;33(12):e147-e167.

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Upcoming Health Seminar – Diabetes and Blood Sugar Control

Diabetes and impaired blood sugar control are significant health concerns affecting more than 9 million Canadians. If untreated or improperly controlled, diabetes can lead to disease of the heart, kidneys and eyes, as well as nerve damage. Come and join us for this free seminar to learn more about diabetes, diabetic health complications and treatment strategies.

Topics of this seminar will include:

  • Physiology of blood sugar control
  • Methods of evaluation and diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar
  • Description of management

Graham Beaton BHSc, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Common Ground Collaborative Care

Date and Time:
Thursday December 4th, 2014 – 7 pm

1049 Bank St, Ottawa ON

To register for this free event, please contact the the Sunnyside branch of the Ottawa Public Library or call 613-290-6115.

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Diabetes and the Brain – Increased risk of Cognitive Dysfunction and Alzheimer’s Disease

Graham Beaton BHSc, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Diabetes is a prevalent chronic disease amongst Canadians. Currently in Canada there are approximately 1.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes. Moreover, it is expected that with demographic changes, such as an aging population and increasing obesity rates, the number of those diagnosed with diabetes in Canada will increase to 2.4 million in 20161.

Diabetes can cause damage to many organs in the body. For example, it is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and non trauma related amputations in Canadian adults. As well, diabetes dramatically increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, increases the risk of osteoporosis, affects thyroid function, digestive health, damages nerves and may increase the risk of depression. Additionally, diabetes appears to have an impact on the brain, increasing the risks of cognitive dysfunction (characterized by changes in memory, attention, processing speed, executive function (e.g., conceptualization, reasoning and memory tasks), and general intelligence scores), dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Diabetes mellitus is a group of disorders that are characterized by impaired glucose control, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. This impairment is caused by insufficient production of insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar) by the pancreas, insulin resistance, or both.

Diabetes, Cognitive Dysfunction and Dementia
Diabetes has shown to be a risk factor for changes in cognitive function and for increased risk of dementia2. While the exact mechanisms that cause cognitive dysfunction are not fully understood, there are several mechanisms that are proposed to play a role. High glucose levels cause damage to the brain, as they have toxic effects on nerve cells, causing injury. Furthermore, high glucose levels stimulate an unregulated immune response in the brain which damages nerve cells, affecting brain function3.

In addition to blood glucose levels causing damage to the brain, insulin resistance can affect cognitive function and memory. The transmission of information between nerve cells is impaired with elevated glucose levels, further affecting memory. Moreover, blood vessels in the body, including in the brain, are affected by high glucose levels, which impairs the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells in the brain, causing damage4.

While diabetes has been shown to play a role in cognitive dysfunction and dementia, an important factor that mitigates the risk is achieving proper glucose control. In fact, for diabetic patients who are able to maintain glucose control, cognitive function is typically preserved5.

Diabetes and Alzheimers’s Disease
Diabetes has also been linked with increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease6. While a full understanding of this relationship is not known, it has been shown that there are changes in glucose utilization in the brain during initial stages of Alzheimer’s disease. These changes are exacerbated in diabetics who do not have proper blood glucose control and who have insulin resistance. In these individuals, elevated glucose and insulin resistance leads to further degeneration in the brain, causing Alzheimer’s symptoms to be apparent earlier, and prompting a faster rate of cognitive decline compared to non-diabetics (or diabetics with adequate blood glucose control).

As with cognitive dysfunction, proper glucose control has been suggested to lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease7.

If you diabetic, or if you are at risk of developing diabetes, it is important that you ensure that your blood glucose levels are properly controlled. Blood glucose control will not only decrease the risk of developing cognitive deficits associated with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, but will also help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness and other diabetes complications. As a naturopathic doctor, I work with individuals who are diabetic or at risk of developing diabetes to establish individual treatment plans that are designed to improve glucose control using nutrition and physical activity.

Graham Beaton is a Naturopathic Doctor in Ottawa.  He is in practice at Ottawa Collaborative Care Centres – 102 Lewis Street (Ottawa, Ontario). If you have questions about diabetes, vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or on how Naturopathic Medicine can help you, please call 613-290-6115.
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