Diabetes Nutrition Focuses on Healthy Foods

February 23rd, 2009 healthwiki Diabetes 0

Diabetes nutrition focuses on healthy foods. But you can eat sweets once in a while without feeling guilty or interfering with your blood sugar control. The key to diabetes nutrition is moderation.

The scoop on sugar

For years, people with diabetes were warned to avoid sweets. But what researchers understand about diabetes nutrition has changed.

* Total carbohydrate is what counts. It was once assumed that honey, candy and other sweets would raise your blood sugar level faster and higher than would fruits, vegetables or “starchy” foods such as potatoes, pasta or whole-grain bread. But this is not true, as long as the sweets are eaten with a meal and balanced with other foods in your meal plan. Although different types of carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar level differently, it is the total amount of carbohydrate that counts the most.

* But don’t overdo empty calories. Of course, it is still best to consider sweets as only a small part of your overall plan for diabetes nutrition. Candy, cookies and other sweets have few vitamins and minerals and are often high in fat and calories. You will get empty calories — calories without the essential nutrients found in healthier foods.

Have your cake and eat it, too
Sweets count as carbohydrates in your meal plan. The trick is substituting small portions of sweets for other carbohydrates — such as bread, tortillas, rice, crackers, cereal, fruit, juice, milk, yogurt or potatoes — in your meals. To allow room for sweets as part of a meal, you have two options:

* Replace some of the carbohydrates in your meal with a sweet.

* Swap a high carb-containing food in your meal for something with fewer carbohydrates and eat the remaining carbohydrates as a sweet.

Let’s say your typical dinner is a grilled chicken breast, a medium potato, a slice of whole-grain bread, a vegetable salad and fresh fruit. If you would like a frosted cupcake after your meal, look for ways to keep the total carbohydrate count in the meal the same. Trade your slice of bread and the fresh fruit for the cupcake. Or replace the potato with a low-carbohydrate vegetable such as broccoli. Adding the cupcake after this meal keeps the total carbohydrate count the same.

To make sure you are making even trades, read food labels carefully. Look for the total carbohydrate in each food, which tells you how much carbohydrate is in one serving of the food.

Consider sugar substitutes
As part of diabetes nutrition, artificial sweeteners can offer the sweetness of sugar without the calories. Artificial sweeteners may help you reduce calories and stick to a healthy meal plan — especially when used instead of sugar in coffee and tea, on cereal or in baked goods. In fact, artificial sweeteners are considered free foods because they contain very few calories and don’t count as a carbohydrate, a fat or any other food in your meal plan.

Examples of artificial sweeteners include:

* Acesulfame potassium

* Aspartame

* Saccharin

* Sucralose

Artificial sweeteners don’t necessarily offer a free pass for sweets.

* Keep an eye out for calories and carbs. Many products made with artificial sweeteners, such as baked goods and artificially sweetened yogurt or pudding, still contain calories and carbohydrates that can affect your blood sugar level.

* Sugar alcohols are not calorie-free. Sugar alcohols, another type of reduced-calorie sweetener, are often used in sugar-free candies, chewing gum and desserts. Check product labels for words such as “isomalt,” “maltitol,” “mannitol,” “sorbitol” and “xylitol.” Although sugar alcohols are lower in calories than is sugar, sugar-free foods containing sugar alcohols still have calories. And in some people, sugar alcohols can cause diarrhea.

Reconsider your definition of sweet
Diabetes nutrition does not have to mean no sweets. If you are craving them, ask a registered dietitian to help you include your favorite treats into your meal plan. A dietitian can also help you reduce the amount of sugar and fat in your favorite recipes. And don’t be surprised if your tastes change as you adopt healthier eating habits. Food that you once loved may seem too sweet — and healthy substitutes may become your new idea of delicious.

Drooling In Young Children

February 8th, 2009 healthwiki Child Health 0

Many parents often wonder why their babies drool or why they drool more than some of others? Is there anything that can be done for these babies? Is excessive drooling harmful or is it just a symptom of other clinical conditions?

Drooling means saliva coming out from mouth. Typically infants do not have the ability to swallow saliva efficiently. Until their muscles in the head, face, mouth, jaw and neck develop, infants tend to drool or salivate.

By the time a baby is between 4 to 6 months old they gain better head and neck control, and they can handle better their secretions. At this time, parents expect their babies’ drooling to diminish, but unfortunately it tends to continue due to teething. Six months is the average age for the first tooth eruption. Care for drooling due to teething includes good oral hygiene. Take care to avoid choking when a child uses any of these objects.

Besides teething, excess salivation or drooling may be due to helminthic infestations. In that case, children have to take anti-helmihthic drugs.

Fungal infection is other major cause of drooling. In such case, nystatin drop or miconazole oral gel is the solution.

Other causes of drooling includes nausea, mouth sores, an abnormality of the airway, protruded tongue, pain in the throat or certain infections. Cerebral palsy or developmental delay is one of the major cause of drooling.

Occasionally, a child does not develop muscle tone and coordination with age as expected. Instead they develop hypotonia or low muscle tone which results in symptoms such as delayed speech development, persistent drooling, problems in feeding, difficulty with the introduction of new foods and difficulty drinking from a cup. Children with these symptoms should be evaluated by their doctors.

Parents can help their baby develop and improve his oral motor skills by allowing him to suck. All babies have a natural need to suck during the first 6 months of life and parents can help satisfy this need through the use of a pacifier. Some parents are cautious about introducing a pacifier because they are afraid that it will become a habit. But it will not become a habit if you discontinue the pacifier at 6 months of age when an infant naturally overcomes the need to suck.

If baby develop a sudden onset of drooling or excess salivation along with difficulty feeding, labored breathing, stridor (a high pitched inspiratory sound), changes in the sound of his cry, a weak cry, insufficient weight gain, irritability, fever, mouth sores or developmental delay, this would call for an evaluation by child specialist as soon as possible, although these occur rarely.

It is normal for newborns to drool. If a baby is seemingly healthy like eating well, gaining weight, free from respiratory symptoms and without fever there is no need to be concerned.

The Rising Concern Childhood Weight

February 8th, 2009 healthwiki Child Health 0

Do you know when to be concerned about your child’s weight? Of course, all children gain weight as they grow older. But extra pounds — more than what is needed to support their growth and development — can lead to childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents.

It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start kids on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Although there are some genetic and hormonal causes of childhood obesity, most excess weight is caused by kids eating too much and exercising too little.

Children, unlike adults, need extra nutrients and calories to fuel their growth and development. But children who eat more calories than needed gain weight beyond what is required to support their growing bodies.

Risk factors
Many factors — usually working in combination — increase your child’s risk of becoming overweight like diet, inactivity, genetics, psychological factors, family factors, socioeconomic factors and so on.

When to seek medical advice
Not all children carrying extra pounds are overweight or obese. Some children have larger than average body frames. And children normally carry different amounts of body fat at the various stages of development. So you might not know just by looking at your child if his or her weight is a health concern.

If you are worried that your child is putting on too much weight, talk to a physician. S/he will evaluate if your child’s weight is in an unhealthy range.

Obese children can develop serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, often carrying these conditions into an obese adulthood.

Overweight children are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Metabolic syndrome, High blood pressure, Asthma and other respiratory problems, Sleep disorders, Liver disease, Early puberty or menarche, Eating disorders, Skin infections

The social and emotional fallout also can hurt your child, especially resulted in low self-esteem and bullying, behavior and learning problems and depression.

Healthy eating
Parents are the ones who buy the food, cook the food and decide where the food is eaten. Even small changes can make a big difference in your child’s health.

* When buying groceries, choose fruits and vegetables over convenience foods high in sugar and fat. Always have healthy snacks available. And never use food as a reward or punishment.

* Limit sweetened beverages, including those containing fruit juice. These drinks provide little nutritional value in exchange for their high calories. They also can make your child feel too full to eat healthier foods.

* Sit down together for family meals. Make it an event — a time to share news and tell stories. Discourage eating in front of a screen, such as a television, computer or video game. This leads to fast eating and lowered awareness of how much you are eating.

* Limit the number of times you eat out, especially at fast-food restaurants. Many of the menu options are high in fat and calories.

Physical activity
A critical component of weight loss, especially for children, is physical activity. It not only burns calories but also builds strong bones and muscles and helps children sleep well at night and stay alert during the day. Such habits established in childhood help adolescents maintain healthy weight despite the hormonal changes, rapid growth and social influences that often lead to overeating. And active children are more likely to become fit adults.

To increase your child’s activity level:

* Limit recreational screen time to fewer than two hours a day.

* Emphasise activity, not exercise.

* Find activities your child likes to do.

* If you want an active child, be active yourself.

* Vary the activities.

Whether your child is at risk of becoming overweight or currently at a healthy weight, you can take proactive measures to get or keep things on the right track.

* Schedule yearly well-child visits. Take your child to the doctor for well-child checkups at least once a year.

* Set a good example. Make sure you eat healthy foods and exercise regularly to maintain your weight. Then, invite your child to join you.

* Avoid food-related power struggles with your child.

* Emphasise the positive. Encourage a healthy lifestyle by highlighting the positive — the fun of playing outside or the variety of fresh fruit you can get year-round, for example.

* Be patient. Many overweight children grow into their extra pounds as they get taller. Realise, too, that an intense focus on your child’s eating habits and weight can easily backfire, leading a child to overeat even more, or possibly making him or her more prone to developing an eating disorder.

Coping and support
Parents play a crucial role in helping children who are obese feel loved and in control of their weight. Take advantage of every opportunity to build your child’s self-esteem.

Consider the following advice:

* Find reasons to praise your child’s efforts.

* Talk to your child about his or her feelings. Help your child find ways to deal with his or her emotions that don’t involve eating.

* Help your child focus on positive goals.

Mouth Sores Are Small Ulcer

February 8th, 2009 healthwiki Health Resources 0

Mouth sores are small ulcer patches that grow on certain areas around oral cavity. They can appear very red or white, may have a tendency to bleed and can become infected if left untreated.

Mouth ulcer is very painful and discomforting especially while eating or drinking. Many people suffer from mouth sore repeatedly. The factors that can lead to mouth sores are:

* Poor oral hygiene

* Infection: Viral, bacterial, fungal

* Trauma: Ill fitting braces and dentures

* Immuno deficiency like HIV infection

* Dietary: Vitamin C deficiency, Vitamin B12 deficiency, Zinc deficiency

* Cancer: Squamous cell carcinoma

* Excessive intake of alcohol

* Cigarette smoking

* Medical conditions: Behcet’s disease, Bullous pemphigoid, oral lichen plamus, oral thrush

Although painful, most of the ulcers in the mouth are benign in nature and resolve within week. But in certain instances this painful ulcer remains unresolved for a longer period. If anyone has ulcer for a longer period s/he must consult with a physician. Biopsy and histopathology is mandatory for long term painful mouth ulcer.

The first line treatments of oral ulcers are symptomatic. The treatment guideline includes:

i) If cause is known, then treatment of the cause is recommended

ii) Adequate oral hygiene using anti-bacterial mouthwash

iii) Apply topical paste on mouth sore directly. These topical application should be done according to doctor’s advice to avoid complications

iv) Visit your doctor for some oral medications

v) Brush your teeth with soft-bristled toothbrush

vi) Use appropriate toothpaste to clean your teeth and mouth surfaces. Make sure to apply mild to moderate toothpaste that contain fluoride. Strong toothpaste should be avoided

vii) Take your dentures off and clean them between meals

viii) Keep your mouth and whole system well-hydrated. Drink adequate water everyday to fight dehydration. Adequate moisture allow your sore to heal fast

ix) Avoid spicy foods, cigarettes and other aggravating factors.