Finding Humor in Diabetes for a Healthier You

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Finding Humor in Diabetes for a Healthier You

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Diabetes being a life-long disease is no joke, but given the implications of humor and laughter on health, it might help to have a little bit of fun. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the 2017 global diabetes atlas recorded 425 million diabetic people, with the number expected to rise to 629 million by 2045.  

Apart from a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits, psychological stress can increase the severity of diabetes. Research shows that diabetes patients improvtheir odds for a longer life by developing an elevated sense of humor. Humor has also been found to have a positive effect on pain and discomfort, blood pressure, depression, and anxiety.  

What’s not funny about Diabetes? 

Suffering from a chronic disease like diabetes can be a serious matter. Diabetic patients suffer from many adverse effects including kidney failure, stroke, heart attack, and blindness. Iisn’t funny when you wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat with a glucose level of 36 mg/dL and have to stumble to the kitchen for a glass of juice to save your life.  

Because diabetes is a chronic diseasethese effects may be experienced for the rest of the patient’s life. Long-term illnesses lead to chronic stress which can then increase the adrenaline of stress hormones and cortisol. Adrenaline instructs your liver to pump more glucose into the bloodstream, while cortisol tells your body to resist insulin. The two hormones boost the body’s inflammatory effect which speedup the advancement of illnesses detrimental to diabetes including cardiovascular disease.  

With type 2 diabetes, you are likely to experience an increase in inflammatory cytokines responsible for insulin resistance. Therapeutic humor is a tool that can help diabetes patients to deal with their suffering and pain. Humor and laughter have been found to reduce complications related to diabetes. Clinical studies show that a positive mood improves the cardiac autonomic function of glycemic control. It also drastically reduces episodes of cardiovascular events and boosts cognitive function.   

Therapeutic Humor and its Effects in Diabetes 

Fear, anxiety, and sorrow are the 3 main factors known to elevate the levels of blood glucose. Conversely, laughter and humor have been found to stabilize the levels of blood sugar linked to negative emotions. Humor enhances communication and offers positive social and psychological benefits.  

These benefits can prove useful to people who have diabetes. Laughter and humor are sure ways of coping with diabetes and it influences the body’s biochemistry. This ensures that the chemical messages released, works for you and not against you.  

Psychological Effects 

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that can adversely affect the quality of life. Psychological stressors tend to create a bidirectional effect in controlling the disease. Pressure can then increase the risk of its severity through the stimulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA), parasympathetic withdrawal, and sympathetic axes which then heighten norepinephrine, cortisol, epinephrine, leptin, and the growth of hormones. The activation of HPA is linked to poor control of blood sugar and diabetes complications such as diabetic neuropathy. Chronic stress can result in hypertension, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of CVD.  

If you have diabetes and you are able to keep your blood sugars under control, this would help in decreasing the onset of kidney disease. Several studies suggest that patients with prediabetes and diabetes record a reduced level of blood glucose after watching a funny movie for about 30 minutes.  In a different study, patients with diabetes and those without the disease were exposed to a 6-months regimen of watching funny videos at least once a week. At the start of the study, the renin levels of diabetics were seen to be higher than those of non-diabetics. In the third month, the levels of renin and angiotensin had dropped drastically. Researchers then concluded that laughter therapy could be used by diabetics as a non-pharmacologic treatment to prevent microvascular complications.  

Sources of Humor 

Diabetes patients tend to feel isolated. Pain, restricted diets, and treatment can accelerate the feelings of self-pity which can then elevate the blood sugar levels.  But how do you find the humor when life has too many frustrations?  

Media Outlets: There are many comedies and funny movies on the internet, theatre, TV, and radio. A hilarious show can be an easy way of attracting laughter into your life.  

Laugh with friends: Did you know that laughter is contagious? Research shows that people are about 30 times more likely to be swayed into laughter. Attending parties can be a great laughter setup.  

Humor as a Form of Exercise 

Laughter is a form of exercise that can effectively reduce stress and help in controlling diabetes. It offers an effective cardio workout, that accelerates the heart rate for better stabilization of blood sugars. Abdominal stretching stemming from laughter is believed to play a significant role in the regeneration of pancreatic cells. Because the diaphragm is the only muscle attached to other tissues in the body, all other internal organs are jogged when you laugh.   

A good laugh stretches the diaphragm, tones the midsection, respiratory accessory, back muscles, abdominal organs, muscular-skeletal system, and intestinal tract. It is also a great cardio activity for the lungs and the heart.  Laughter is a low impact exercise that burns calories, boosts lymph and blood circulation, and enhances the flow of oxygen in the body. It can, in turn, improve the sensitivity for β-cells, the secretion of insulin, and blood supply to the muscles. Because hormonal homeostasis is in the process improved, glycemic control is experienced. Humor is a therapy that also reduces proinflammatory responses and improves immune function.   

Although diabetes is a chronic illness presented with many life stressors, humor can be considered a form of exercise that can make it easier to control blood sugar levelsIt acts positively on the body and the mind and can improve flexibility and mobility. Humor as therapy is known to change various neurotransmitters and hormones. Joy and euphoria occur due to an increase in the β-endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin levels. Humor and laughter also reduce postprandial blood sugar, fasting blood sugar, anti-diabetic drug requirement, and hemoglobin A1c.  

Choose the right Socks for your Swollen Feet

Choose the right Socks for your Swollen Feet

Choose the right Socks for your Swollen Feet

Choose the right Socks for your Swollen Feet

Swelling of the legs and feet often occur due to edema, diabetes, or foot injury, all of which can be extremely uncomfortable with the wrong footwear. Podiatrists and chiropodists recommend specialist socks for such cases to eliminate the restriction that could cut off the flow of blood. If you are struggling with aches resulting from swelling, appropriate socks can be a game changing addition to your wardrobe.  

There are several measures that can be employed, some as aggressive as surgery to repair blocked drainage system. The most popular solution to swollen feet is the snug-fitting compression socks. Compression socks are non-invasive and are readily available.  

These socks use granulated pressure, vital for increasing the flow of blood to the lower extremities. Compression socks, when worn all day, can reduce and prevent swelling associated with disease, standing/sitting for long or traveling.  

Compression Levels Right For Your Feet 

Compression socks are medical grade devices designed to boost the flow of blood to and from your feet. They come in different lengths. For instance, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) sufferers would require socks that go below the knee, but there are also thigh-high varieties. Although these socks should feel snug, they should not be painfully tight.   

Measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), these come in multiple support levels from mild, medium, firm, and x-firm.  

  • Mild compression (8-15 mmHg) – Provides relief to achy legs and relieves minor swelling of feet, ankles, and legs. 
  • Medium (15-20 mmHg) – Gives relief to moderate varicose veins and minor swelling of the feet. It also helps in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis. 
  • Firm (20-30 mmHg) – Relieves moderate to severe varicose veins and helps in the treatment of severe edema.  
  • Extra firm (30-40 mmHg) – Helps in the prevention of severe varicose veins and treats severe edema. 

Compression therapy stockings should be put on in the morning before swelling occurs and then removed before getting to bed at night. The pressure exerted on the legs by the stockings causes your blood vessels to work better. Arteries responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to the muscles also relax, allowing for a free flow of blood.  

When worn during the day, blood is prevented from pooling in legs and forming a clot. Understand that clots can break and be carried by the blood to your vital organs such as lungs.  Should the clot travel to the deep veins, pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition can set in.  

Before purchasing these graduated stockings, it is advisable that you get a recommendation from your doctor to get the right grade.  

How should you Wear Compression Stockings? 

Compression stockings must be smoothed out to ensure they lie against your skin. Do not roll them because doing so could cause blood flow problems. Folding or rolling can also cut off circulation. If you have serious swelling issues and your doctor recommends them, wear the socks throughout the day but take them off when you shower or when going to sleep.  

Compression Stocking Styles 

High-quality compression stockings offer maximum pressure to your legs from the ankle to the upper calf. Style is a variable to consider, given that they range from ankle-high to full height. People with knee pain, for instance, will want to choose thigh-high stockings while those suffering from heel pain will select the foot-sleeve variety.  

Here, we discuss the 2 best compression socks that offer firm pressure without sagging, yet are comfortable and effective. 

1. Knee-high Compression Stockings 

These socks come in a variety of thicknesses. You can find them in ultra-thin sheer pantyhose material or thick cotton. They are available in the open and closed versions and come in varying colors.  

 2. Thigh High Compression Socks 

These are worn when compression is needed on either one or both legs. They also come in variations of closed and open toe options with varying colors and fabrics to choose from. 

What to Consider when Buying Socks for your Swollen Feet 

Materials used in socks vary by brand. The three most common are spandex, rubber, and Lycra. Personal comfort is vital, so try each to make a perfect pick. Specialist socks are made from cotton and nylon and can make a huge difference for people suffering from swollen feet.  

Time invested in selecting the right type of socks is vital. Here are some of the features you need to pay attention to: 

  • Non-elastic and non-constrictive top: Regular socks have elastic which can leave sock marks and cause discomfort and pain. With swollen feet, purchase socks with a loose nonconstrictive mesh to ensure blood flow is not restricted.  
  • Fitting socks: The socks must fit your shoe size and should contain extra material to accommodate the swollen foot.  
  • Cushion sole: Get socks with padding to reduce irritation on your sensitive pressure points such as the ankle or the sole of your foot.  The socks should have the right cushioning. Too much cushioning can also be very uncomfortable.  
  • Breathable socks: Purchase socks made from natural fiber such as merino wool or cotton for proper air circulation around your feet. This will prevent the occurrence of blisters and irritation.  
  • Seamless toe socks: A lot of modern socks have seams across the area surrounding the toe. The seams can irritate, especially if you have swollen feet. The socks you buy should have a flat seam. 

What should you do about your Swollen Feet? 

The first measure is to check with a medical expert. Swollen feet can be a signal of a serious underlying condition such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. If you are already diagnosed with diabetes, here are a few cautions to observe.  

  • Never walk barefoot 
  • Do not cross your legs while sitting. Doing so can reduce the circulation of blood to your feet 
  • Only wear socks and shoes with the features recommended for diabetics 
  • Wear fitting footwear. The shoes you wear must not put pressure to your feet 

If you have an illness that is leading to the swelling and have not had treatment, compression socks cannot be used as a diagnosis before a physician is consulted. While occasional sore feet are common, swollen feet must not be ignored especially when just one leg has the swelling.