Controlling blood sugar important for diabetics

BY DR. CARLOS E. MORALES and DIANA F. RAMIREZ

Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. In general, diabetes is classified in

Type I in which there is absolute insulin deficiency due to destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas and Type II, characterized by hyperglycemia due to variable degrees of insulin deficiency and resistance. Ninety percent of all cases of diabetes are Type II, which plays a significant role.

Diabetes is quite common: 9 percent of the American population suffers from diabetes. This number is much higher in our corner of the world.

Diabetes affects the micro and the macro circulation. Damage to the micro circulation produces eye and kidney disease and neuropathy whereas damage to the macro circulation produces coronary and peripheral arterial disease.

Diabetics not only have a higher prevalence of coronary artery disease but this tends to be more extensive and associated with a higher probability of heart attacks (of which 25 percent of them will occur without pain). Diabetes doubles the mortality in men and triples it in women.

Diabetes is not only an independent risk factor for cardiovascular complications but it is also associated with other risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, lipid abnormalities and elevated fibrinogen.

Control of the blood sugar is important in Type I and II diabetes mainly because of benefits in the micro circulation; however strict glycemic control to benefit abnormalities of the macro circulation (heart attacks, amputations and peripheral artery disease) has not been documented in Type II diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend the following approach to prevent complications:

>> Keep blood pressure less than120-130/80 mmHg.

>> Low carbohydrate and low fat diet, weight loss and physical exercise.

>> Statins (Crestor, Lipitor at a maximal tolerated dose) if there is a prior history of cardiovascular disease. If there is no prior history of cardiovascular diseases then statins are recommended in men with one additional risk factor and in women with two or more.

>> Keep HbA1C less than 6.5 percent.

>> Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors should be used regardless of the blood pressure.

>> Aspirin in high risk individuals (weak recommendation)

>> Smoking cessation.

>> Flu and pneumococcal vaccination.

>> Routine stress testing in asymptomatic individuals is not recommended.

The RGVDA offers free monthly cooking classes in Edinburg on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, and in Weslaco on the 4th Tuesday of the month. Please join us to learn more about preventing diabetes complications and tasting the recipes listed.

SERVINGS 4

INGREDIENTS

>> 2 medium zucchini

>> 2 teaspoons olive oil

>> 1/2 tablespoon , Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Blend

>> 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Clean the medium zucchinis well, cut the ends off, and slice them lengthwise into quarters so that you have eight pieces.

Coat the bottom of a baking dish with the olive oil and place the zucchini pieces in the dish.

Sprinkle with the seasoning salt (Lightly spray the zucchini with pan spray before sprinkling on the seasoning salt), then with the Parmesan cheese.

Place uncovered in the oven and bake for 20 minutes on 350 degrees F.

The Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association provides monthly articles to The Monitor to help educate the area about the prevention and control of diabetes through monthly articles. The RVGDA is a local, independent, not for profit diabetes association for Hidalgo County. Providing programs and services tailored specifically to this area guarantees funds generated by the RGVDA are used in Hidalgo County.