Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Can people with Type1 diabetes seriously think about taking part in a major event such as the Olympics?

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to produce insulin. Without insulin, the body's ability to use glucose as a fuel source is impaired. That does not mean that people with Type 1 diabetes have to give up their dreams of a successful sports career. Pakistani batsman and fast bowler Imran Khan and swimmer Gary Hall Jr. are just a few athletes with Type 1 diabetes who have competed at the highest level of demanding sports. With good management, it is possible to participate in sporting activities with this condition.

Why is insulin important?

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. It has a number of important functions in the body, including a regulatory effect on carbohydrate metabolism.
Insulin stimulates body cells to take up glucose and use it for fuel.
It inhibits the release of glucose from glycogen in the liver and stimulates the synthesis of muscle glycogen after exercise.

In the absence of diabetes, insulin is released according to the body's needs and the concentration of glucose in the blood is kept within a tight range.
People with Type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin and so the body is unable to use glucose properly as a fuel source and starts to rely on fat and protein as fuel. This causes blood glucose levels to rise excessively and toxic by-products from fat breakdown (ketones) to build up in the blood. . Therefore, regular insulin injections are needed to simulate what the pancreas would be doing if it could make insulin.

The amount and timing of insulin administration needs to be matched to factors such as food intake, individual metabolism and activity level.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Importance of Dental Care With Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that can affect the whole body, including your mouth. Dental care is particularly important for people with diabetes because they face a higher than normal risk of oral health problems due to poorly controlled blood sugars. The less well controlled the blood sugar, the more likely oral health problems will arise. This is because uncontrolled diabetes impairs white blood cells, which are the body's main defense against bacterial infections that can occur in the mouth.

What Dental Problems Are People With Diabetes at Higher Risk For?

People with diabetes face a higher risk of:
  • Dry mouth. Uncontrolled diabetes can decrease saliva flow, resulting in dry mouth. Dry mouth can further lead to soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay.
  • Gum inflammation (gingivitis and periodontitis). Besides impairing white blood cells, another complication of diabetes is that it causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients to and waste products from body tissues, including the mouth. When this combination of events happens, the body's ability to fight infections is reduced. Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, diabetics with uncontrolled disease may experience more frequent and more severe gum disease.
  • Poor healing of oral tissues. People with uncontrolled diabetes do not heal quickly after oral surgery or other dental procedures because blood flow to the treatment site can be impaired.
  • Thrush. People with diabetes who frequently take antibiotics to fight various infections are especially prone to developing a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. The fungus thrives on the high levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Burning mouth and/or tongue. This condition is caused by the presence of thrush.
People with diabetes who smoke are at even a higher risk -- up to 20 times more likely than nonsmokers for the development of thrush and periodontal disease. Smoking also seems to impair blood flow to the gums which may affect wound healing in this tissue area.

Day-to-Day Dental Health Care Tips

  • Have your teeth and gums cleaned and checked by your dentist twice a year. (Your dentist may recommend a closer interval depending upon your condition.)
  • Prevent plaque buildup on teeth by using dental floss at least once a day.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • If you wear dentures, remove them and clean them daily.
  • If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
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