3 Best Winter Boots for Diabetics ( Part 1)

Autumn is upon us and that means winter will soon be knocking at the door – it’s going to get cold and wet – and that is definitely something to consider when trekking out of the warm house for even the smallest task! In order to keep warm, we layer up and wear thick winter clothes, but what about our feet? Feet need attention too during the winter time and this is especially the case for diabetic feet.

People with diabetic foot problems already have a variety of issues that they need to be aware of – poor circulation, slow healing, swelling, ulcers, and infections – with the cold winter weather adding to the list. The wet weather can easily lead to foot fungus while the cold temperature can further affect circulation as well as causing frost bite – another possibility for amputation!

To help maintain foot health during the cold and wet winter months, I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of the best diabetic winter boots. This will be a two part post with the first part for men’s winter boots and the second for women’s winter boots. The boots reviewed are based on my own personal opinion and research information found from customer reviews, product description, features, and price point.

Best Winter Boots for Men with DiabetesDrew Rockford – $276
Drew Rockford Diabetic Boots
The Drew Rockford is by far the best diabetic boots for men during the winter months – the reason I say this is because of the range of size and width combinations available! These boots start at a Men’s Size 8 with a Medium width and go all the way up to a Men’s Size 16 in the XX-Wide width or 6E. It’s a great choice for men with larger and wider feet; also available in three different color combinations: black, brown, and wheat nubuck. Other features that make these diabetic boots stand out are the following:

  • Plus Fitting System for added and double depth, the Rockford comes with  a moldable insole and a removable spacer underneath the insole
  • Tempered steel shank to help offload weight when walking
  • Waterproof leather upper
  • Dupont ThermoLite waterproof membrane lining keeps feet warm and dry
  • Slip resistant outsole (non-industry)
  • Medicare Coded HCPCS A5500 for reimbursement purposes

Runner Up – Propet Camp Walker Hi – $100

Propet Camp Walker Hi Diabetic Boots

The Propet Camp Walker Hi is available in two colors: black and brown. What I really like about it is the suede and mesh upper because it just looks very fashionable and something not typically seen. It’s also available in multiple size and width combinations starting from a Men’s 7, MEDIUM to a Men’s 16, XX-WIDE 5E/3W; one caveat however is that the shoes are not available in a WIDE width so there are only 3 width options to choose from. The best selling point about this boot is the price point of $100 because you’re getting a full featured boot at a great deal.

  • Weather resistant suede and mesh upper
  • Sealtex waterproof bootie
  • Removable footbed
  • Medicare Coded HCPCS A5500 for reimbursement purposes

Honorable Mention – Propet Blizzard – $100

Propet Blizzard Winter Boots

The Propet Blizzard takes honorable mention in our ranking of diabetic winter boots. It has all the essential features needed in a winter boot such as heat retention, waterproof protection, and a durable upper that is water and stain resistant – a real steal at $100! The only reason that it didn’t rank high is that the Propet Blizzard is not coded for diabetic use and cannot be reimbursed by Medicare.

  • Scotchgard treated leather upper with rubber toe
  • Sealtex waterproof bootie construction
  • Thinsulate lining for added warmth
  • Vaproex heat retaining insoles can be replaced with personal
  • orthotics

There you have it – top three winter boots for people with diabetes and other foot conditions that require a removable insole and wider fit! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or simply leave a comment. Stay tuned for next weeks post for the Best Winter Boots for Women!

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The Negative Effects of Soda Pop

From my previous post regarding soda and diabetes, I’ve stumbled upon even more information revealing soda to be detrimental to overall health.

A typical 12 oz can of soda contains 35 grams of sugar which is equal to about nine teaspoons! A new review in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology – the most comprehensive review on sugar-sweetened beverages to date –  has found that drinks high in sugar (soda, energy drinks, and any artificially sweetened drinks) can have an adverse affect on the heart increasing the risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. This review was performed by Vasanti Malik who is a nutrition research scientist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and Frank Hu, MD, PhD, a Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The paper reviewed data from recent epidemiological studies revealing that consuming one or two servings a day of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to the following:

  • a 16% increased risk of stroke
  • a 35% greater risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease, and
  • a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes

The reason why these sugary beverages have such an impact on overall health is because of fructose’s behavior in the body. Compared to glucose which is metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract and used as fuel for the bodies cells, fructose is metabolized in the liver and converted to fat compounds (triglycerides) leading to fatty liver, increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol, and insulin resistance which is a key factor in developing type 2 diabetes.

Hu explains that fructose is rarely consumed in isolation and the major source in our diet comes from fructose-infused drinks containing sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. Hu also states that their findings reveal the urgent need for public health strategies that call for a reduction in the consumption of these drinks.

Although halting the consumption of sugar infused drinks isn’t going to be the cure-all for heart disease and diabetes, it can definitely play a role in reducing the epidemic to have a measurable impact.

To better educate the consumer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a new labeling system identifying the amount of sugar added to a product, compared to the amount that naturally occurs. Hopefully this will play a role in reducing the daily intake of these sugar infused drinks.

What Does Google Have to do with Diabetes?

google contact

Google is at it again with innovation to benefit humanity! As many of you know, Google has been placed into a subcategory of the Alphabet corporation in order for google to run ventures that aren’t necessarily related or in the same field.

The new Life Sciences division announced that diabetes would be the first major disease that they wanted to target. Technology has become so innovative and in tune to peoples needs by  incorporating wearables, data and analytics that it seems like this would be the perfect time for Google to jump into the field. It’s also a no-brainer seeing how the cost of diabetes management in the U.S. alone was recorded at $245 billion in 2012.

Google’s emerging product to help with diabetes management is a contact lens that can measure glucose levels in tears. Google is partnering with the pharmaceutical company Novartis and they have already been granted a patent earlier this year.

Novartis Chief executive Joe Jimmenez stated that the project is progressing well with human trials beginning in 2016.

Want Type 2 Diabetes? Drink More Soda!

Fanta
“Sugarland aka Supermarket” by Vox Efx licensed under CC BY 2.0

You like soda? Me too! You like diabetes? I didn’t think so! Well if soda is part of your regular diet, then you’re headed for the land of high blood sugars, insulin resistance, obesity, and a whole range of detrimental health issues. In fact, a recent study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) estimates that the consumption of sugary sweetened drinks may be responsible for nearly two million cases of diabetes over a period of ten years in the United States, and 80,000 in the United Kingdom.

This study was performed at the University of Cambridge under the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit with the aid of an international team of researchers. The study assessed whether the chronic consumption of drinks sweetened by sugar whether artificial (high fructose corn syrup) or natural (juice) had any association with the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D), as well as to estimate whether the 10-year risk was attributed to the consumption of sugary drinks in the US and UK.

Seventeen different observation studies took place and the researches found that the habitual consumption of drinks sweetened by sugar had a positive association with the frequency of T2D, excluding the status of obesity.

There was less evidence regarding an association between artificially sweetened drinks and fruit juices with T2D, but researches found little benefit for the consumption of these types of drinks as a substitution, concluding that these these drinks are unlikely to serve as a healthy alternative for preventing T2D.

One point of emphasis that the researchers stressed however was that the studies analyzed were onlyu observational, thus no definitive conclusions could be made between the cause and effect relationship. Although only observational, the researchers assumed a small correlation and estimated that new diagnosis of T2D events in the US to be two million and 80,000 in the UK from 2010 to 2020.
The study was lead by Dr. Fumiaki Imamura who was the lead author; he stated that the

“…findings together indicate that substituting sugar sweetened drinks with artificially sweetened drinks or fruit juice is unlikely to be the best strategy in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes: water or other unsweetened beverages are better options.”

There have been multiple studies done regarding the link between high calorie beverages loaded with sugars; this is just another one to add to the list. By having self control and limiting what goes into our bodies, we have better control of our health and well being.

The complete study can be found here.

“Mart Bittman Soda Quotation” by licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Mart Bittman Soda Quotation” by licensed under CC BY 2.0

Swollen Feet: Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention

“Morning and Evening Feet” by Hope and Megan licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Morning and Evening Feet” by Hope and Megan licensed under CC BY 2.0

Swollen feet and ankles – also known as edema – actually occurs quite often in people. For people in good health, swelling in the feet and ankles can occur occasionally and is easily addressed by elevating and resting the feet, reducing the blood flow to these swollen extremities.

Swelling in the feet and ankle have a multitude of minor or temporary causes which can be a result of standing or walking for extended periods, as well as sitting for lengthy periods of time due to travelling. Other factors that can influence swelling is diet; salty foods are a major caused of edema as it causes water retention in order to dilute the level of salt in the body. Other factors that may cause foot, leg, and ankle swelling is being overweight as well as increased age.

Swelling is a result of fluid build-up in the areas between the cells in the body. The body is actually having difficulty fighting gravity and recirculating blood and fluids back up the legs toward the heart and through the lymphatic system. This build-up of fluid causes the feet, ankles and even legs to swell.

Leg WedgeIn minor cases of temporary swelling that are not accompanied by other symptoms, the first line of treatment is elevation. Elevating the legs above the heart helps fluid to flow away from the legs not only using the body’s natural fluid transport system but also by the assistance of gravity. Elevation of the legs also helps to reduce pressure on the knees, calves, thighs and lower back. One device that helps with elevation is a leg wedge – use during sleep – as it can be highly effective in the reduction of swelling.

Compression SocksOther health tools that can aid in the reduction of swelling include compression stockings which helps with temporary relief for swelling by providing graduated compression on the foot, ankles, and legs to aid in circulation. Compression socks are also an excellent option for people that spend extended periods of time standing or sitting. They not only help to prevent and/or reduce swelling but also help to reduce fatigue in the lower extremities.

Tips to Help Prevent and Reduce Minor Swelling

  • Wear properly fitting shoes and socks that don’t cause excess binding
  • Don’t wear tight clothing that can restrict blood flow in the legs
  • Avoid prolonged periods of standing
  • Walk regularly to improve muscle activity and circulation
  • Take breaks when travelling to stand and move around
  • Avoid putting weight on the feet when sitting
  • Drink plenty of water and limit salt intake
  • Maintain a healthy body weight

Swelling of the lower extremities which occurs with other symptoms may be a sign of more serious health problems affecting the heart, kidney, liver, or blood vessels. A physician should always be consulted regarding health issues.

Be sure to consult a physician if:

  • Increase in the swelling of one or both legs
  • Redness occurs with swelling
  • Swelling occurs with pain

It is of utmost importance to pay attention to your feet. There are checks and balances in the body that help circulation and feet do not simply become swollen on their own. If certain activities may be causing swelling, it might be best to stop those actives altogether. A simple change in lifestyle and diet can improve overall health as well as prevent other f0ot related problems.

3 Huge Benefits of Walking for Diabetics

WalkingWalking is a simple form of exercise that everyone in good health can perform but the benefits of walking for people with diabetes is huge! Not only is it one of the most popular physical activities for people with diabetes but it is also the most widely recommended because of its low impact on joints but also because it is readily available to anyone – it requires no special equipment and can be performed just about anywhere!

A steady regimen of walking – thirty minutes to an hour each day – can bring great results in lasting health benefits as well as helping to control diabetes. Below are three health benefits for managing diabetes that are a result of establishing a regular walking routine.

1. Better Glucose Control

Physical activity such as exercise helps muscles to absorb sugar in the blood. This prevents glucose from building up in the blood stream which can be detrimental to a diabetic. Although this effect can last for hours and even days, it is not permanent which is why implementing a regular walking routine is a great option for continued control of blood glucose levels.

2. Improved Cardiovascular Health

People with diabetes are much more susceptible to heart disease. In fact diabetics are at least twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer from a stroke, compared to someone who does not have diabetes 1. Walking helps to improve cardiovascular function which in turn helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.

3. Weight Management

Incorporating regular walks into a daily routine is an effective way of managing weight. Pairing exercise with a good diet helps to lower weight and also reduce other health risks.

Consult a Health Care Provider!

Before starting any new exercise regiment, a health care provider should always be consulted – especially for diabetics – to make sure it’s okay to increase activity levels. An additional concern for people with diabetes is foot problems so a consultation with a podiatrist might also be in order before starting a new exercise regiment.

Get Walking!

Once the go-ahead has been given, start by taking it slow. A major point of emphasis when starting any new exercise regiment is to avoid injury. Another key point is to make sure that walking becomes a part of the daily routine in order for long term improvements in health. The optimum walking duration is about forty-five minutes to an hour at five to seven days a week; remember to gradually build up the duration and frequency of walks in order to prevent injury for long term success.

Other recommendations to help with motivation and maintain the new regiment are walking with other people such as family members and friends. Another suggestions is joining a local walking group or a Meet Up; this also allows for social accountability and encouragement among peers, increasing the likelihood that walking becomes part of a daily routine.

So what’s the hold up? The only thing that is preventing improved health as a diabetic is ourselves; take action towards a better you today!

1 http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/diabetes-heart-disease-stroke/Pages/index.aspx#connection