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The Not So Sweet Truth About How Diabetes Affects African Americans

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If you have been diagnosed or suspect that you are diabetic, you are probably well aware that there are times when you have blood sugar swings. Some spike up – others take you down. But why? What could be the cause? Read this article to get acquainted with things that you might be doing which could affect your levels and trigger upswings. Use this as a thought-starter to discuss with your physician so that s/he can diagnose and provide you with the proper, professional advice.


Blood sugar can rise after you have coffee. Even if it’s black coffee with no added calories like milk or sugar. It’s all about the caffeine. The same goes for black tea, green tea, and energy drinks. Each person with diabetes reacts to foods and drinks differently, so it's best to keep track of your own responses. Ironically, other compounds in coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes in healthy people. Keep a daily food and beverage diary.


While they are labeled “Sugar Free” many of these may still raise your blood sugar levels. This is because they may still have plenty of carbs from starches, which convert to sugar. Check the total carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts label before you dig in. Also pay attention to sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol on the ingredients and nutrition facts list. These ingredients can add sweetness with fewer carbs than sugar (sucrose), but they may still have enough to boost your levels.


You know which ones are we're talking about: Chinese Food, Pizza, Fries. But when it comes to Chinese food don’t be so quick to blame it on the white rice. They’re not so much the villain. It’s the fat content that can make your blood sugar level stay higher longer. So before you pick up that phone to order Chinese, Pizza or go through that drive-thru – check your blood sugar. And then do it again about 2 hours after eating. This way you can see how these foods do or do not affect you. 


Blood sugar naturally rises as your body works to fight off an illness. Drink water and other fluids to keep hydrated. if you've had diarrhea or vomiting for more than 2 hours or if you've been sick for 2 days and aren't getting better – visit or call your physician. Keep in mind that some medicines, such as antibiotics and decongestants that help to clear sinuses can also affect your blood sugar.


Overwhelmed or unhappy at work? It takes a toll. When you're under stress, your body releases hormones that can make your blood sugar rise. It's more common for people with type 2 diabetes. Learn to relax with deep breathing and exercise. Also, try to change the things that are stressing you out, if that's possible.


Go for bread instead. Bagels are super-packed with carbohydrates – way more than bread. And bagels have way more calories, too. If you just gotta have it - go for a mini.


Yup, they do a great job of replenishing fluids. But on the nope side, some of them have as much sugar as soda. Truth is, plain water is probably all you need. Especially if you work out moderately, and for under an hour. A sports drink may be OK for longer, more intense exercise. But check with your doctor first. Ask him if the calories, carbs, and minerals in them are safe for you.


We all know that fruit is a healthy choice. But we may not know the differences with dried fruits. They can pack more carbohydrates, despite their small size. Just 2 tablespoons of raisins, dried cranberries, or dried cherries have the carbs of a small piece of fresh fruit. Three dates alone can equate to 15 grams of carbs.


People take corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to treat rashes, arthritis, asthma, and many other conditions. But these medications can boost your blood sugar. Some can even trigger diabetes. Diuretics that help high blood pressure, also called water pills, can do the same. Some antidepressants also raise or lower blood sugar.


Ask your pharmacist about the possible effects of over-the-counter cold and flu medications before you buy them. Decongestants that have pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can raise blood sugar. Some cold medications also contain a little sugar or alcohol. Try to select remedies that don’t have these ingredients. One good thing is that antihistamines don't cause a problem with blood sugars.


Overall, oral contraceptives are considered safe for women with diabetes. But those with estrogen can affect the way the body handles insulin. The American Diabetes Association suggests a combination pill with norgestimate and synthetic estrogen. They also say that birth control shots and implants are safe for women with diabetes, but caution that they can affect your blood sugar levels.



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