6 Lifestyle Changes to Help Control Your Diabetes

6 Lifestyle Changes to Control Your Diabetes

Working closely with your doctor, you can manage your diabetes by focusing on six key changes in your daily life.

1. Eat healthy. This is crucial when you have diabetes, because what you eat affects your blood sugar. No foods are strictly off-limits. Focus on eating only as much as your body needs. Get plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Choose nonfat dairy and lean meats. Limit foods that are high in sugar and fat. Remember that carbohydrates turn into sugar, so watch your carb intake. Try to keep it about the same from meal to meal. This is even more important if you take insulin or drugs to control your blood sugars.

2. Exercise. If you’re not active now, it’s time to start. You don’t have to join a gym and do cross-training. Just walk, ride a bike, or play active video games. Your goal should be 30 minutes of activity that makes you sweat and breathe a little harder most days of the week. An active lifestyle helps you control your diabetes by bringing down your blood sugar. It also lowers your chances of getting heart disease. Plus, it can help you lose extra pounds and ease stress.

3. Get checkups. See your doctor at least twice a year. Diabetes raises your odds of heart disease. So learn your numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1c (average blood sugar over 3 months). Get a full eye exam every year. Visit a foot doctor to check for problems like foot ulcers and nerve damage.

4. Manage stress. When you’re stressed, your blood sugar levels go up. And when you’re anxious, you may not manage your diabetes well. You may forget to exercise, eat right, or take your medicines. Find ways to relieve stress — through deep breathing, yoga, or hobbies that relax you.

5. Stop smoking. Diabetes makes you more likely to have health problems like heart disease, eye disease, stroke, kidney disease, blood vessel disease, nerve damage, and foot problems. If you smoke, your chance of getting these problems is even higher. Smoking also can make it harder to exercise. Talk with your doctor about ways to quit.

6. Watch your alcohol. It may be easier to control your blood sugar if you don’t get too much beer, wine, and liquor. So if you choose to drink, don’t overdo it. The American Diabetes Association says that women who drink alcohol should have no more than one drink a day and men should have no more than two. Alcohol can make your blood sugar go too high or too low. Check your blood sugar before you drink, and take steps to avoid low blood sugars. If you use insulin or take drugs for your diabetes, eat when you’re drinking. Some drinks — like wine coolers — may be higher in carbs, so take this into account when you count carbs.

Sources

Dawn Sherr, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator; practice manager at American Association of Diabetes Educators.

McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: «Alcohol, Diabetes and You.»

American Diabetes Association: «Alcohol,» «Your Health Care Team,» «Stress.»

FamilyDoctor: «Diabetes and Exercise.»

Cleveland Clinic: «Diabetes and Smoking — Another Reason to Quit.»

www.webmd.com

Bubonic plague: the first pandemic

Published: 25 April 2019

The impact of the bubonic plague epidemics of the past still echo across the centuries, reminding us of the devastation that disease can inflict on communities.

The Roman physician Galen coined the term ‘plague’ to describe any quickly spreading fatal disease. Epidemics of all kinds have been described as plagues, but the bubonic plague is a very specific disease that first spread around the world in the 1300s.

Key facts

Bubonic plague is a highly infectious disease spread by fleas that bite their hosts (usually rats and humans) and introduce the bacteria that cause the disease into their hosts’s bodies.

Infectious diseases like the bubonic plague that spread rapidly among a community or region within a short period of time are called epidemics.

The Black Death is the name given to the first wave of the plague that swept across Europe in the 1300s.

It is called a pandemic because it spread across many countries and affected many populations.

Plague pandemics hit the world in three waves from the 1300s to the 1900s and killed millions of people. The first wave, called the Black Death in Europe, was from 1347 to 1351. The second wave in the 1500s saw the emergence of a new virulent strain of the disease. The last pandemic at the end of the 1800s spread across Asia and at last gave scientific medicine the opportunity to identify the cause of the disease and its means of transmission.

The Black Death

The Black Death was probably the earliest recorded pandemic. It took around four years to make its way along the Silk Road from the Steppes of Central Asia, via Crimea, to the Western most parts of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

In Europe alone it wiped out an estimated one to two thirds of the population. Many communities encountered the disease for the first time and had no idea how to respond.

It’s possible that outbreaks of other diseases such as smallpox and leprosy were also attributed to plague at the time. But the pattern of symptoms described were largely consistent with one disease, and the collective experience was of that disease.

Common symptoms were the appearance of painful bubos⁠—hence the name bubonic plague⁠—in the groin, neck and armpits, which later secreted pus and blood. These were followed by acute fever and vomiting blood. Victims usually died between two and seven days after being infected. The death rate was 60–90 per cent.

The medical authorities of the day had little to offer. ‘Leave quickly, go far and come back slowly’ was the general advice about what to do if an epidemic came to your town.

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Controlling the spread of plague

The Black Death arose at a time of emerging empires, greater exploration and new discoveries. Armies, colonisers and traders all imported and exported the disease in ships and overland.

When the plague first came to Europe on Italian trading ships, arriving from Crimea, the Italian authorities instituted some of the first official public health measures. Many local and civic authorities became involved in public health for the first time and many of the measures they instituted were used for centuries afterwards to control the spread of any infectious disease outbreak.

Public Health measures

Many of the public health measures that we would recognise today first emerged during the Black Death. These included:

Medical inspections. A plague doctor would come to inspect suspected cases of plague and isolate the infected and their families in their homes.

Isolation of people who were sick in plague hospitals. Hospitals were built throughout Europe and remained as fever hospitals for infectious patients up until the 1900s.

Restricting ships to port. In 1347 the Venetian authorities isolated ships in port for 30 days to ensure they were not infected. The period was extended to 40 days, and the word ‘quarantine’ comes from the italian word for 40.

Control of the movement of people and goods.

Epidemic waves across the centuries

The first pandemic wave of plague began to die out in Europe after four years, but pockets of the disease remained, and small isolated outbreaks continued until the rise of the second pandemic in the late 1500s.

The second pandemic saw a more virulent form of the disease, which hit France particularly badly, killing two and a half million between 1600 and 1670. Epidemics also hit Italy, Holland and England. The last major outbreak in London was 1665–1666, just before the Great Fire of London.

Outbreaks in Western Europe declined from the mid-1600s. The last great epidemic in France was 1720 and Russia in the 1770s. Why it declined is unclear.

A bacterial infection is confirmed

Outbreaks of plague continued in Asia throughout the 1800s. The third pandemic wave began in Southern China in 1865, spreading south and west. Between 1894 and 1929 there were over 24,000 cases in Hong Kong. From Hong Kong it entered the ports of India, where at least 12 million people died over 20 years.

By the end of the 1800s, developments in bacteriology and infection control meant that medical researchers were able to observe and investigate the disease in detail for the first time.

A team of European scientists was sent to colonial Hong Kong in the 1890s to study the epidemic. French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin isolated the bacterium that caused the disease in 1897, and it was named Yersinia pestis after him.

In 1898 Paul Louis Somond established the mechanism for transmission was via fleas, which transferred bacteria from infected hosts to the non-infected through their bites. The fleas were transported around the world overland and on ships by black rats.

Known as house rats or ship rats, black rats liked to live in close proximity to humans. When the rats died the fleas moved onto human hosts. The fleas also infested clothing and could be carried to other locations in that way.

Bacterial infection — gallery

Alexandre Yersin, who isolated the plague bacterium in 1897.

Wellcome Collection (CC BY)

Spores of Bacillus pestis which caused the plague and its vector the human flea (Pulex irritans). Coloured drawing by A J E Terzi.

Wellcome Collection (CC BY)

Gold cuff links, possibly by Fabergé, decorated with pictures of two different strains of these bacteria. The names of the strains are engraved on the back.

Science Museum Group Collection

Hong Kong Plague Medal, awarded to Private S Abbey of Shropshire Light Infantry in 1894 by the Hong Kong community for his services during the plague epidemic.

Science Museum Group Collection

An international vaccine for a pandemic disease

From Hong Kong the epidemic spread to the major Indian ports. When the plague broke out in Bombay in colonial India in 1893, in the Nowroji Hill district, a Goan doctor called Acacio Viegas was the first to identify the disease as bubonic plague. His vociferous campaign to clean up the slums and kill rats prompted the colonial authorities to call in scientific experts, including Waldemar Haffkine (1860–1930).

Haffkine had worked at the Pasteur Insitute in Paris and was developing a cholera vaccine at the time. He established a laboratory in Bombay in 1893 where he worked on a plague vaccine.

The immunology of bubonic plague proved challenging but in October 1896 he produced a vaccine ready for human testing. Haffkine tested it on himself first, then on prison volunteers.

There were some side effects from the vaccine, and incomplete protection but the risk of contracting bubonic plague was reduced by 50%. By 1900, over four million people had been inoculated.

Controlling plague in colonial India

The experience of plague in 1800s Bombay shows just how complex it can be to control an epidemic in large populations.

As with other plague epidemics, the outbreak in India had a major social impact. Many people left the city, causing a significant drop in the population. Many in the infected area were mill workers and the epidemic effectively brought the textile industry to a halt.

The colonial authorities instituted an aggressive programme of anti-plague measures, including house searches for victims, enforced evacuation of residents in infected areas, detention camps for travellers and the exclusion of traditional medicine practitioners from infected areas.

The restrictions were imposed by the Special Plague Committee and enforced by the colonial army. Such tactics caused widespread protests and alarm among the various communities, culminating in the murder of the British chairman of the Special Plague Committee in the city of Pune.

But as with earlier outbreaks, some of the measures laid the foundations for public health in modern India. After the outbreak, the authorities in Bombay set up the Bombay City Improvement Trust to try to create a healthier city. Wider roads were planned to channel fresh sea air into the more crowded areas, as a sanitary measure.

And the Haffkine Institute for infectious disease continues its biomedical research in modern Mumbai (formerly Bombay).

Plague today

By the 1930s plague epidemics were a thing of the past. A few small pockets of infection remain around the world, particularly in central Asia where the disease is endemic.

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With modern antibiotics the mortality rate has fallen from over 60% to 11%. But drug resistant forms of the bacteria were identified on the island of Madagascar in 1995. In 2017 the deadliest outbreak in modern times killed 170 people and infected thousands on the island.

Using techniques such as genome mapping, scientists have been able to identify the exact strains of bubonic plague that they encounter and their origins, making it easier to track the spread of epidemics. Genetic evidence of the Yersinia pestis bacterium in several plague burial grounds from 1348–1590, has also confirmed that the Black Death was, in most cases, bubonic plague.

The plague epidemics of the past are a reminder of the social as well as medical impact of epidemics. They led to important developments in infectious disease control—many of which we still use. But the continued presence of bubonic plague is a reminder that epidemics are not necessarily a thing of the past.

broughttolife.sciencemuseum.org.uk

10 Best Home Remedies to Get Rid of Gophers and Ground Moles

Isn’t it disheartening to see that beautiful garden of yours being wrecked by those atrocious gophers and moles? Gophers, to be precise, only like to feed on plants and you probably can’t even start to imagine the havoc that these pests can cause to your lawn. Gophers have an innate talent for destroying your lovely plants and lawn. They tend to infest your garden while leaving your neighbour’s lawn completely untouched. If you come across a mound of brown dirt overturned in your yard, then that often means there are gophers, mole, or a combination of both skittering under the ground and destroying your lawn and garden in the process. Gophers and moles do not tend to hibernate like other animals generally do, which is why they need continuous supply of food. The mounds and tunnels in your garden become prominent owing to their incessant need to dig for food. There are multiple home remedies that can help you drive these critters out of your lawn and yard.

1. Vibrating Stakes

Vibrating stakes frighten both gophers and moles. Generally, these vibrating stakes are invisible as they are completely bore into the ground. You can also choose to use a lawn ornament that will project out of the ground, exactly like a windmill. These type of windmill vibrating stakes do not need any battery as they vibrate solely using wind power. Batteries are used for stakes that are buried into the ground. Gophers are moles are not frightened easily as they are continuously exposed to vibrations and noise from vehicles, people moving about and power equipment. Hence, they sort of become immune to it.How to use: Dig a hole in your lawn or garden and put the vibrating stake into it. Next put the soil around the hole and compact it until the stake is tightly seized. Make sure not to push or hammer the stake onto the ground. Within a few days, you will see the population of mole and gophers go down.

2. Plants

Euphorbia Lathyris is most commonly recognised as “Gopher Spurge”. It is said to be highly successful in controlling subterranean borrowers such as moles and gophers. You can get your hands on these plants easily as they are available in nearly all nurseries. All you need to do is grow these species of plant all over your lawn and yard, especially in regions where these critters are frequently found. Another effective way to get rid of these mole and gophers is to plant daffodil, marigold and castor bean in your garden as these pests hate the taste and smell of these kind of plants.

3. Poison

Poison is another alternative that you can go for if you want to get rid of gophers and moles from your lawn and garden. However, a word of caution is that you have to use this home remedy very carefully if you have children or pets at home. There are several poisons available in the marketplace that can help you get rid of these critters. The two most popular poisons among them are strychnine and zinc phosphide. Strychnine is a poison that is naturally found and is blended with grain. Make a hole on the gopher tunnels using a shovel or a broomstick and apply the poison by hand inside the tunnel. This remedy can also be done mechanically when the ground is heavily infested. Mechanically, it is done the same way. An artificial hole is dug by a mechanical bait applicator and the poison is placed in small quantities in every burrow three to four feet down. Another type of poison that you can use is diphacinone. To use this poison, at first a solid block of diphacinone, wax and grain is made. This block is then placed inside the gopher tunnels. The pests are killed as soon as they feed on it. You will surely see gophers and moles disappearing faster than you expected.

4. Castor oil repellent

Easily accessible castor oil is a famous home remedy to get rid of moles and gophers. The usage of castor oil for getting rid of these pests is scientifically verified in the Easter United States. The moles and gophers get diarrhoea when they eat this. Because of this they leave their current habitat in search for a new one. How to use: To make this repellent, mix a quarter cup of castor oil with two tablespoon of dish washing liquid. What you have to do right now is dilute this concoction by mixing one gallon of water with two tablespoon of this mixture. Spray this concoction on the gophers infested areas of your yard and lawn and you will see these pests gone in no time. Furthermore, you can choose to plant the castor oil plant on your garden and lawn to get rid of these critters.

5. Burrow blasters/detonators

Burrow detonators and blasters are one of the most famous remedies for the absolute removal of these pests from your yard and lawns. For these burrow detonators, a mixture of propane and oxygen is used. What this remedy does is cause pulmonary haemorrhage in the critters and kills them. There are many devices used to control pest infestation. Propane is used in several of these devices. Few of these mechanisms are devised to create loud noises which usually scares these pests away and other devices are used to kill them. A word of caution: you need to be careful while using this method to get rid of moles and gophers as this technique is known to have some injury hazards.

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6. Gopher baskets

Gopher baskets are usually made of chicken wire. This helps in protecting the early roots till the time they are established fully. You can use these gopher baskets to plant vegetables and various other plants as well. You can buy these baskets either from nurseries or from farm supply facilities. You can also opt to make this at home. You need to use a dual layer of one inch of mesh chicken cable. This is mainly used for trees and shrubs that needs to be safeguarded only when they are young. You need to remember to leave sufficient space for the roots to develop. You can use gopher baskets that are made from half inch of mesh chicken wire for plants and shrubs that require long term protection. But you need to know that this is generally a temporary problem solution as moles and gophers are perfectly able of digging lower than around 24 inches. In order to protect the parts of little plants that is above the ground, you need to use one gallon plastic tubes or plant containers.

7. Exhaust or gas of vehicles

This home remedy is genius. The exhaust or gas of your automobile contains harmful carbon monoxide. This is poisonous for the gophers and moles. So, use your vehicle’s exhaust for a good cause and all you need to do is flood the tunnels dug by these critters. How to use this remedy: Connect your vehicle engine exhaust to a pipe and place the pipe inside the gopher burrowed tunnels. Pack the soil around your pipe tightly and start the engine. This will flood the entire tunnel network. Do this for three to four minutes. This particular method to get rid of pests is commonly known as Pressurized Exhaust Rodent Control (PERC). For the control of pocket gophers, burrow fumigants like flammable gas cartridges and aluminium phosphate are generally registered. A word of caution: fumigants should never be sued on lands, gardens or yards. They are just meant for usage in gopher and mole infested tunnels.

8. Mothballs

Mothballs are another gopher repellent by which you can keep gophers and moles away from your lawn and yard. This is an inexpensive yet a pretty effective home remedy to successfully get rid of gophers without killing them. All you need to do is place numerous naphthalene balls in a mole and gopher tunnel entrance. Make sure to wrap these naphthalene balls with plastic to keep their smell intact. How it works: As soon as those nasty moles and gophers are hit by the smell of these naphthalene balls, they will scurry out of your garden and lawns as quickly as they came. A word of caution: You can use this remedy only when there is a minor gopher infestation in your yard and lawn. It won’t work for heavily infested grounds. Also, this is a temporary solution.

9. Traps

One of the best ways to get rid of ground moles and gophers is to trap them in your yard. There are several kinds of traps available in the market but the most successful one is the scissor trap. Scissor traps usually consist of two scissor like, four in all blades that sits in the gopher dug tunnels. These blades are connected to a trigger mechanism and a handle that is placed above the ground. How to set the trap: Target the gopher infested tunnels and dig a small hole in the middle of the mound using a shovel or a broomstick. Keeping in mind the fact that critters like moles and gophers have a habit of reopening blocked tunnels, place the trap right in the middle of the tunnel that is dug. Wrap the area and cover it with a burlap or a black plastic piece of sheet so that light doesn’t reach inside the hole. Read the instruction given on the box and set the trigger accordingly once the trap is correctly placed. You need to check the trap every day in the evening and get rid of the dead gophers and moles and discarding it somewhere else. Once you have removed the gophers and moles, fill in the tunnel by pressing your foot down it, so that the gophers cannot infest it again.

10. Tabasco sauce

Tabasco sauce is one such ingredient that is usually very readily available in everybody’s home. You can make good use of this ingredient to get rid of moles and gophers that have infested your lawn or garden. How to use: The ingredients needed are tabasco cause, peppermint oil, water and castor oil. All you have to do is create a mixture simply by mixing one cup of water, half a cup of castor oil, few drips of peppermint oil and one teaspoon of tabasco sauce. Take this mixture in a bottle and shake the mixture well until it has completely blended. Take some cotton balls and immerse them with this mixture and put the cotton balls into the holes dug by the moles and the gophers. Those critters will quickly leave your lawn and garden alone.

Few things that you need to keep in mind while using these mole extermination remedies is to wear gloves while using gopher poison, traps and mothballs as the repellent. You can also keep a pet to scare them away. These nasty rodents can create a havoc and destroy your lovely garden and lawn, hence it is absolutely necessary to get rid of them. These are a few of the most effective home remedies that you can go for to get rid of gophers naturally.

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