Your kidney health matters
(NC) Kidneys are vital to your overall health. Did you know that as many as 50 per cent of people with diabetes may show signs of kidney damage?
It’s true – kidney disease can be caused by diabetes, and can put you at high risk for heart attack or stroke. It may start slowly and progress over a number of years, and in the early stages you might not have any symptoms. But good diabetes and blood pressure management can prevent or delay the loss of kidney function.
Whether you have diabetes or not, try including the following in your daily routine:
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Exercise (ideally 45-60 minutes four to five times per week).
- Don’t smoke.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Limit daily alcohol to two drinks or less.
Remember – Most people don’t experience any symptoms in the early stages of kidney disease, so it is important to be screened regularly to detect kidney problems as early as possible. The Kidney Foundation of Canada recommends screening which includes blood pressure, blood creatinine and urinalysis to look for protein. It is also important for people with diabetes and declining kidney function to take medications to help control blood sugar that are appropriate for their kidney health.
Don’t take your kidneys for granted. Talk to your doctor about how you can protect your kidney health while managing your diabetes.
More information is available at www.kidney.ca.
The link between diabetes and kidney disease
(NC) As many as 50 per cent of people with diabetes may show signs of kidney damage. But did you know that keeping your kidneys healthy while managing your diabetes can actually prevent or delay the loss of kidney function? Dr. Andrew W. Steele, FRCPC, Medical Director and Chief of Nephrology, Lakeridge Health Corporation and Lead Nephrologist Ontario Renal Network, Central East Local Health Integration Network works with many patients who are affected by diabetes, and has a number of valuable tips to help patients and their caregivers be mindful of kidney health related to diabetes:
- Make certain you have the best medication for you and that it is managed correctly for your situation. Some medications for diabetes that control blood sugar levels can be started and taken at all stages of kidney function.
- Ask your doctor to screen your kidneys every year following your initial diabetes diagnosis, and when starting a new medication. Testing your kidneys early means you can take action more quickly.
- Work hard to keep your blood sugar at target. High blood sugar levels damage tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, impairing their ability to filter the blood properly. Talk to your doctor about what your target range should be.
- Keep your blood pressure at target. High blood pressure can stress your kidneys too. Talk to your doctor about your personal target.
Remember – most people don’t experience any symptoms in the early stages of kidney disease, so it is important to be screened regularly to detect kidney problems as early as possible. The Kidney Foundation of Canada recommends screening which includes blood pressure, blood creatinine and urinalysis to look for protein. It is also important for people with diabetes and declining kidney function to take medications to help control blood sugar that are appropriate for their kidney health.
For more information about how you can protect your kidney health while living with diabetes, visit www.kidney.ca.
Tips to keep diabetes under control
(NC) In Ontario, 10 per cent of the population suffers from diabetes. If you are one of these people, it’s good to know that a network of registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) are there to help care for you and help you maintain your health.
A segment of Ontario’s RNs and NPs have specialized training to help you prevent or manage diabetes. If your blood sugar range suggests that you may have prediabetes, your physician or nurse practitioner may refer you to a clinic where these skilled and highly educated nurses can provide education, help you review your diet, manage threats to your health stemming from diabetes, and even – in the case of NPs – manage, treat and prescribe medications to control your blood sugar.
Many patients find out they are diabetic during a routine physical, or when they tell their care provider of some symptoms of the disease. These include frequent urination or excessive thirst. Nurses explain that diabetes can occur at any age and a family history of the disease, diet and a sedentary lifestyle put patients at risk. They add that with proper intervention, some pre-diabetic patients can make the changes needed to avoid a diabetes diagnosis.
Control of blood sugar levels is vital, says one NP with the Ontario Nurses’ Association. “The complications of uncontrolled diabetes can affect major organs of the body, such as the kidneys. It can also affect the circulatory system, and ultimately result in an amputation,” she explains. RNs also specialize in foot care for diabetics, helping their patients to avoid infections that can lead to this being necessary.
Nurses specializing in diabetes care can be found across Ontario, and their skills and care are the reason why some say an RN is invaluable in any health-care setting.
More information is available at www.ona.org/RNs.
3 steps to improve bladder health
(NC) Many women experience bladder leaks, which can lead to missed social opportunities because of anxiety and embarrassment.
To help put a stop to LBL altogether, women can work on firming up “down there” in three easy steps:
Step one: Find your pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop your urination midstream. If you succeed, you’ve found them.
Step two: Empty your bladder in the restroom and then lie on your back somewhere comfortable with your knees bent. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold for at least four seconds, and then relax. Repeat this four or five times. Work toward keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions. Make sure you control your abs and glutes to minimize movement.
Step three: Repeat. Aim to do at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day. This exercise is discreet, so you can make it a part of your daily routine. Next time you are sitting at a computer, enjoying a mani/pedi or just waiting in line, practice, practice, practice.
Firm glutes also help to strengthen your pelvic floor. Exercises like squats and hip thrusts are easy to add into your existing workout routine and can really make a difference.
Living with light bladder leakage (LBL) can feel like no big deal thanks to improvements in adult incontinence products like Always Discreet, which help neutralize urine odours and contain bladder leaks in a discreet, comfortable way. More information is available at www.alwaysdiscreet.ca.
Get the facts about the flu shot
(NC) Ontario’s acting chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams is reminding people that the flu is more than just a “bad cold.”
“Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to illness, hospitalization and even death,” he says. “Getting the flu shot is the best defense against getting the flu. It can help your body build its defenses and can make you more resilient to flu viruses.”
Flu viruses change every year so the vaccines used to help protect against them are updated as well. Each flu season, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the most common viruses that are going around. That’s why it’s important to get vaccinated every year and do it early, since it can take about two weeks for the vaccine to help protect you against flu viruses.
“The flu shot is also safe and well-tolerated,” points about Dr. Williams. “Like all medicines, the ingredients in a flu vaccine have been tested to make sure they are safe. Public Health Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada regularly perform safety checks of the flu vaccine.”
Common side effects of the flu shot are soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given. Serious reactions to the flu shot are very rare.
It is possible to sometimes get the flu even though you’ve had the shot. But this could happen for a number of reasons.
“At the time of year the flu vaccine is given, many cold viruses are circulating that have similar symptoms as the flu virus and can be mistaken as influenza,” says Dr. Williams. “Or you may have been exposed to the flu virus before you got the shot. But if you get the flu after getting the shot, you may not get as sick.”
Flu shots can be received free of charge as part of Ontario’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program at participating pharmacies, your local health care provider’s office or public health clinic.
Find the flu shot clinic nearest you at Ontario.ca/flu.
Other things you can do to avoid getting the flu include:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol.
- Coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your arm, not your hand.
- Staying at home if you are sick, and avoid contact with people who are sick with the flu.
- Cleaning surfaces often (for example, counter tops, keyboards and telephones).
Flu viruses can live on surfaces for up to 8 hours.