I’ve Been Diagnosed With Gestational Diabetes. Now What?

Congratulations! You’re pregnant! If your dreams of sitting on the couch using your big pregnant belly as a table for your giant bowl of ice cream have been squashed with a devastating diagnosis of gestational diabetes, look no further for tips on how to happily and healthily navigate the last months of pregnancy. While it might feel like the end of the world, it’s not and once you have the right information you can tackle the rest of your pregnancy with ease.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

pregnant woman
Every year, 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is diagnosed only during pregnancy and usually goes away after thebaby is born. It is a very frustrating and confusing diagnosis because doctors are not sure what the exact cause of it is, but it’s believed to be due to hormones produced by the placenta. A pregnant woman is typically tested for gestational diabetes between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. It causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health so you want to be very cautious and attentive in the event you get diagnosed. 

What Dietary Changes Can Be Made?

bowl of fruit
Gestational diabetes usually develops around the 24th week of pregnancy. Testing usually takes place between 24 and 28 weeks.

Usually there are no symptoms of gestational diabetes so if you get diagnosed it is pretty sudden and shocking. And since you get tested in your second trimester you’re probably used to a certain way of eating since you’ve become pregnant, not to mention the hormones are raging. When your doctor tells you that you have gestational diabetes you need to take in a lot of information as quickly as possible so you can make changes to your lifestyle and diet immediately but here are some tips to help accept your new way of life.

  • Eat smaller meals Perhaps you skip breakfast altogether or maybe you cram your meals into 3 larger meals of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This can have an adverse effect on your blood sugar making it hard to stabilize your levels. Since gestational diabetes affects your blood sugar, regulation is the name of the game. You want to avoid binging altogether so that spikes in your blood sugar don’t occur and one simple way to do that is by eating small, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Start eating small snacks in between smaller meals. Creating a meal plan that includes all your snacks with exactly what you’re going to eat and when takes the guesswork out of it, making that aspect of your new diagnosis less stressful. Bonus: it doubles as an easy way to grocery shop as well.

  • Add more protein to your meals and snacks. Since carbohydrates affect blood sugar it’s important to try and monitor the amount you eat and drink.  Try a string cheese with a cracker or a scrambled egg on wheat toast. High fiber carbs paired with a lean protein help blood sugar levels while delivering you and your baby the nutrients you need.
  • Stay away from sugary drinks and juices. You may think that having a glass of orange juice or ordering a smoothie from your local juice joint are healthy choices, but not when you have gestational diabetes. Stick with water or a sugar free tea when you’re thirsty. Try seltzer and adding a lemon or lime if you want something different. Juices have a ton of sugars and carbs and will spike your blood sugar. Get a cute reusable water bottle so you always have something on hand so if you’re out you’re not tempted to order a soda or juice.

What’s The Big Deal?

newborn baby
Talk to a doctor or dietitian to create a healthy eating plan.

You may be sitting there thinking “what’s the big deal? I only have a few weeks left of pregnancy. I don’t need to worry about my diet.” Well, the consequences of not managing and addressing gestational diabetes far outweigh taking the easy road and ignoring the issue entirely. If you continue eating as if you didn’t have gestational diabetes your baby is at risk of gaining a lot of weight up until delivery. In a normal pregnancy, a baby will gain around ½ pound per week and the average birth weight is about 7.5lbs. If you don’t manage your gestational diabetes, you’re more likely to gain weight as well as put your baby at risk of being born at a higher weight which doctors call macrosomia. Macrosomia is defined as babies that weigh more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces at birth and you want to avoid that if at all possible. Preterm birth is also a concern if gestational diabetes is not treated. If diagnosed you want to address it as soon as possible so that you and your baby have an uneventful and healthy pregnancy and birth.

Because gestational diabetes puts a woman into a high risk category it is important to have a health insurance plan that covers all your needs. We offer a wide range of health insurance plans from top-rated insurance companies in every state. Contact EZ for a free, no obligation quote on all available plans in your area. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a local agent, call 888-350-1890.

Life Insurance Rates for Diabetics

When it comes to life insurance rates, your health plays a big role: the unhealthier you are, the more you will have to pay in premiums. That means having chronic conditions like diabetes could lead to higher rates, but the good news is that this condition no longer means being denied life insurance, and it doesn’t necessarily mean unaffordable rates. With the medical advances of the past decades, we can now control diabetes, and that also means you can get a great life insurance policy that will provide for your family when you are gone. 

How Does Diabetes Impact Life Insurance?

diabetic monitor and pills
Normally diabetes raises a red flag for life insurance companies, but because it is regulated now, it is more accepted.

Diabetes used to be considered a major health risk by life insurance companies, one that would often mean either denying an applicant or charging very high premiums. But as the number of Americans living with diabetes continues to rise, and treatments for the condition get more effective, many insurance companies are now acknowledging that, as long as an applicant’s diabetes is under control, it will not significantly impact life expectancy. 

With that being said, though, as with any health condition, life insurance companies will factor being diabetic into your premium rate. The best way to find affordable rates is to prove that you are managing your diabetes, and that it is under control. You should also be sure to compare policies from different companies, because different insurers might offer you different rates. 

Finding An Affordable Policy

If something were to happen to you, your family would be facing emotional hardships, as well as financial ones. Life insurance is a great way to help your loved ones with those financial hardships: the money they receive will help pay for expenses related to your death, and any other debts or bills they have. There are many different kinds of life insurance policies to choose from, including whole life insurance, term life insurance, and final expense insurance, so if you’re not sure where to begin, consider using online tools, or speaking with an agent. The right policy for you is out there! price tag outline

We have provided the top insurance companies that offer life insurance policies below; each can give you hassle-free assistance and the most competitive rates in the nation. Always check multiple sites to make sure you have bargaining power and know the advantages of each company. Make sure a hard time isn’t made harder by a financial burden, check life insurance rates today.

If You Have Diabetes, Watch Out For Symptoms of Lipohypertrophy

Diabetes is a very common condition in the U.S., affecting around 34.2 million Americans – and about 26%, or 14.3 million of them, are adults 65 and older. Diabetes can lead to other more serious health conditions such as heart disease and stroke, but it can also cause issues that are not as serious, but that should be identified and taken care of as soon as possible. One of these conditions is lipohypertrophy, which causes a lump of thickened tissue under the skin. You might be wondering what this is, if it will go away, and how serious it is, so let’s take a look at this often overlooked side effect of diabetes. 

What is Lipohypertrophy?

Lipohypertrophy is a lump of thickened tissue that develops in the fat layer of your skin and occurs regularly around injection sites for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In fact, up to 62% of people with type 1 or 2 diabetes can develop lipohypertrophy. 

Causes & Risk

These lumps occur when diabetes patients constantly inject insulin into the same spot. And while it’s natural to be concerned if you see a lump develop on your body, don’t worry, the lumps are not malignant. With that being said, there is some cause for concern, because if you are injecting into these lumps, your body might not be absorbing all of the insulin you are injecting, which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels).

Some risk factors that can increase your chances of developing lipohypertrophy include:

scale with a blue measuring tape on top of it

  • Being older and/or having a higher body mass index (BMI)
  • Incorrectly injecting your insulin
  • Using the same injection site each time rather than rotating several sites
  • Reusing needles

A 2020 study involving 1,227 people taking insulin for type 2 diabetes showed that structural changes in aging skin might put people older than 65 years at a higher risk of developing these lumps.

Symptoms of Lipohypertrophy 

The lumps that can form at injection sites vary in size and appearance. The main symptom of lipohypertrophy is the raised skin/lump, but there are other symptoms that can occur:

  • Thicker skin
  • Discomfort, but not pain (which is why many people do not notice and continue injecting into the same site)
  • Inflammation
  • Skin that is hot or warm to the touch
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Itchiness


a person injecting a shot into the stomach
One way to prevent lipohypertrophy is by rotating the injection sites.

Rotating your injections sites is the most important preventive step you can take, and the best way to treat any lumps that develop is to avoid injecting at the site. Changing where you inject your insulin can help reduce the size of the lump or even help it disappear. When injecting, you should stick to your stomach, upper arm, upper glutes, and thighs: the American Diabetes Association notes that the body absorbs insulin fastest from the abdomen, less quickly from the arm, and slowest from the glutes and thighs. 

And if the lump or lumps do not go away, there are medical or cosmetic solutions for getting rid of them: you can take steroids to minimize the lump, or get liposuction to remove the thick skin. Removal is not necessary since the lumps are not dangerous, but you do have the option to do so if you are uncomfortable with their appearance.

If you are concerned about a lump that has developed and want to make sure it is due to thickened skin or from injecting in the same spot, visit your doctor so you can get examined. This is important because lipohypertrophy can interfere with how your body absorbs your insulin, which can be dangerous: if your sugar levels get too low or too high, it can lead to a stroke or death. 

If you’re on Medicare, seeing a doctor and getting treated for these lumps will be covered, but you will still have out-of-pocket expenses, such as your Part B deductible and 20% Part B coinsurance, which can add up to a lot. It’s worth looking into a Medicare Supplement Plan to save as much money as you can, so speak to an EZ agent for all of your options. EZ’s agents work with the top-rated companies in the nation and can compare plans in minutes for you at no cost. To get free instant quotes for plans that cover your current doctors, simply enter your zip code in the bar on the side, or to speak to a licensed agent, call 888-753-7207.

Don’t Wait! Start An Emergency Fund Today

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes the unexpected happens. Unfortunately, has also taught many families that they are financially underprepared for a crisis. In 2019, research by the Federal Reserve revealed that 22% of Americans regularly expect to forgo or make late payments on some of their bills. In fact, 40% of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency. Many of us are that close to financial danger. That’s one veterinarian’s bill, two flat tires, or a few days of missed work. caucasian man and woman sitting on a couch looking worried with a piece of paper in the womans hand

Financial insecurity means more than overdue bills and missed payments. Debt causes stress that can have pretty drastic physical and psychological repercussions. If you are worried about your financial future, or if you feel like you’re in dire straits right now, know that it’s not too late to turn things around. We’ve compiled some financial tips and tricks from the experts to get you on the road to rebuilding your savings account and starting an emergency fund. 

The Physical Side of Stress

If financial issues have you feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone: 62% of adults report often feeling stressed about money. That stress can wreak havoc on our bodies. Considering that American debt has increased by a whopping 300% since the 1980s, is it a coincidence that we are also experiencing higher rates of chronic diseases? Experts have mixed opinions, but there is some speculation that the amount of stress Americans are under is the culprit, along with other systemic, environmental, and psychological factors. For example, high levels of stress   are associated with:

blood pressure machine with a weekly pack of pills in front of it
Being stressed out can lead to high blood pressure , which can lead to other serious health conditions with your heart.
  • High blood pressure. Often linked to heart attacks, strokes, and a myriad of other health issues, high blood pressure can be triggered by stress. This could be due to the body’s overproduction of stress hormones like cortisol, or due to poor coping mechanisms like binging on snacks. 
  • Diabetes. Evidence suggests that chronic stress can increase the risk of diabetes in adults. To make matters worse, financial uncertainty can limit a person’s access to healthy foods and time or ability to exercise, which can further add to the problem. Evidence also suggests a link between a family’s financial struggles and the incidence of type 1 diabetes in children.
  • Digestive issues. There is a well documented connection between stress and gastrointestinal issues. When under heavy financial stress, many don’t follow regular eating habits. Healthy food may not even be accessible or affordable for those in financial trouble. In addition, 27% of people with high debt stress reported having ulcers or other digestive tract problems, compared to just 8% who did not report high levels of financial-related stress.
  • Muscle tension. Over half of all people who experience high debt stress report muscle tension and back pain. When you’re worried about supporting yourself, or your family, it really can feel like you’re “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders”. To help relieve these symptoms, consider simple stretching and de-stressing exercises

Of course, it doesn’t help that people who are under financial stress often avoid seeing the doctor out of fear of medical bills. In fact, 1 in 5 people say they have skipped or have considered skipping a routine or sick visit to the doctor’s office. This is understandable, considering that 56 million Americans have difficulties paying their medical bills – just one of the many reasons to work on building an emergency fund! 

Turn It Around Today! 

It’s not too late to take steps towards lightening your financial load. The best way to start is by saving for an emergency fund. Having money put aside can grant you some peace of mind: you’ll know that your expenses would be covered for a while should you lose your job or become unable to work, or that you would be able to cover a surprise expense, like a large medical bill or automotive repairs. Some financial experts suggest squirreling away three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund that you can access if you need it – so, not in an IRA or 401k account. For some people, three to six months worth of expenses is an unimaginable amount of money, so start with these five small, but meaningful steps:

  • Learn about the cycles and struggles of debt. Understanding how debt compounds and impacts your psychological and physical wellbeing is the first step to breaking out of that cycle.

    pink piggy bank standing on top of some money
    Reevaluate your budget and begin saving money so you can be prepared for the worst.
  • Re-evaluate your budget. Nothing in life is constant, so it is important to evaluate your budget regularly. Turning to auto-payments is a great place to start, and reduces the risk of late fees.
  • Pay yourself first. Treat your savings account like a bill, and pay it. Some people deposit a percentage or a flat amount of each paycheck, others deposit monthly. Whatever schedule works for you, stick with it! 
  • Turn your savings into profit. Make sure you’ve got your savings funds in an account that accrues interest. It might not add up to much – the average return for most bank accounts right now is between around 0.3% and 0.8% –  but every bit counts! 
  • Turn your debt into savings. After you pay off a debt, continue budgeting for it – but, instead of funneling money into that debt, use it to overpay on another balance owed;  otherwise, put it right into your savings account. 

You’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the stress of debt and the fear of unexpected financial crises. Digging yourself out of debt is hard, but with some simple changes you can get back on track. And doing so, even with baby steps, will help to ease your mind and support your good health.

Can Smartphones Detect Diabetes?

It’s almost impossible to walk anywhere these days without seeing a smartphone in nearly everyone’s hand. Smartphones are wildly popular, and their technology has advanced greatly in the last few years alone, so it makes sense to put them to good use. Researchers at UC San Francisco have done just that: they have developed a “digital biomarker” that uses a smartphone’s camera to detect diabetes. Diabetes is one of the world’s most prevalent diseases, making this is a potentially huge development. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so let’s look at exactly how a smartphone can detect diabetes.

caucasian hand over the heart area.
People suffering from diabetes are twice as likely to die of heart disease, which is why a change is needed.

A Change Is Needed

Diabetes can lead to many other health problems. For example, those suffering from diabetes are twice as likely to die of heart disease than those who do not have diabetes. What’s worse is that half of all people with diabetes are unaware that they have it, and therefore are unaware of  the risks to their health. Finding a quicker and easier way to diagnose diabetes would make a huge difference when it comes to early detection and treatment. Finding the disease early is key: the sooner people know they have diabetes, the sooner they can begin controlling it – and possibly rid themselves of it altogether. Unfortunately, doctors have been struggling for a long time to find a better way to diagnose the disease. That is, until now.

“Diabetes can be asymptomatic for a long period of time, making it much harder to diagnose,” said Robert Avram, MD, MSc, clinical instructor in cardiology. “To date, noninvasive and widely-scalable tools to detect diabetes have been lacking, motivating us to develop this algorithm.”

Creating An Algorithm

Researchers have been studying how they can use existing smartphone technology to diagnose diabetes, and have found success with the Azumio Instant Heart Rate app. This app, using a smartphone’s camera and flashlight, can detect not only irregular heartbeats, but also changes in blood volume in a vessel, just by shining the flashlight on the user’s finger. Using this technique, known as photoplethysmography (PPG), the app can detect poor blood flow, which is common in diabetes. 

caucasian hand with the pointer finger pressing on a faded white box

To put this app to work for their study, researchers created an algorithm using nearly 3 million PPG recordings from 53,870 patients. The algorithm used was able to correctly identify the presence of diabetes in up to 81% of patients. Data also showed that the algorithm was able to accurately rule out diabetes in participants in the study around 92-97% of the time.

“We demonstrated that the algorithm’s performance is comparable to other commonly used tests, such as mammography for breast cancer or cervical cytology for cervical cancer, and its painlessness makes it attractive for repeated testing,” said study author Jeffrey Olgin, MD, a UCSF Health cardiologist, professor, and chief of the UCSF Division of Cardiology. “A widely accessible smartphone-based tool like this could be used to identify and encourage individuals at higher risk of having prevalent diabetes to seek medical care and obtain a low-cost confirmatory test.”

The Possibilities

This breakthrough opens the door to endless possibilities. If researchers can use an app to diagnose diabetes, then there is hope for using smartphones as a useful tool for our health in other ways.

“The ability to detect a condition like diabetes that has so many severe health consequences using a painless, smartphone-based test raises so many possibilities,” said co-senior author Geoffrey H. Tison, MD, MPH, assistant professor in cardiology, of the Aug. 17, 2020, study in Nature Medicine. “The vision would be for a tool like this to assist in identifying people at higher risk of having diabetes, ultimately helping to decrease the prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes.”

A Coffee A Day Keeps Alzheimer’s at Bay

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and has been for a while. It gives you a boost when you first wake up, the smell is satisfying, and it tastes delicious. In the past, negative aspects of coffee have circulated. However, recent research shows it can actually improve your brain, and overall health as you age.

Different cups of coffee with cream in it or black.
Coffe boosts brain health and function. Studies show that it can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Delay The Onset Of Alzheimer’s

Just by consuming coffee, people with mild dementia and cognitive impairment can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. A study conducted of 124 older adults with mild cognitive impairment ages 65 to 88 revealed that caffeine blocks brain inflammation and fights off the receptors that cause cognitive decline. The participants with early dementia and cognitive impairment were tested once and then again 2-4 years later. These studies revealed that the test subjects with high blood caffeine were less likely to develop full-blown Alzheimer’s. 

Neuroscientist Chuanhai Cao, who partook in the study, stated that “These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee, about three cups a day, will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s.”

Live Longer

Coffee can be an answer to living longer. One large-scale study that had over 400,000 mature adult participants gave some surprising results. Men who drank 2 cups of coffee a day lived 10% longer than those who did not. Women who drank the same lived 13% longer than women who did not imbibe caffeine. 10-13% might not seem like a large number, but wouldn’t you like a 10% increase in longevity? 

Boosts Brain Function & Memory

A study conducted at the University of California showed that people who consumed 200 mg of caffeine before taking a memory test received greater scores than those who did not. The participants looked at images and then were asked to come back a day later and correctly identify them. The coffee drinkers scored higher, proving that caffeine enhances long term memory. On the other hand, the study proved that people who consumed 300 mg of caffeine (more than 3 cups of coffee at once) did not do much better on the test, and complained of feeling jittery with headaches.

Caffeine will boost your brain function and memory, but it is important to note that only a certain amount will help.

All black picture of a brain with strong arms on both sides of it.
Drinking 2 cups of coffee will boost your memory and brain function throughout the day.

More than 200 mg can have negative side effects. So, stick with two cups.

Protective Effects Against Stomach Cancer

About 27,000 cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed this year, but coffee might help reduce your risk. A 2016 study compared regular coffee drinkers to non-coffee drinkers, and the results were minor but hopeful. Regular coffee drinkers had a 7% reduced risk of stomach cancer, and those who drank more coffee saw higher reductions. People who drank three to four cups per day were 12% less likely to develop stomach cancer. 

Prevents Diabetes 

Drinking coffee, whether caffeinated or not has benefits towards your glucose levels. Studies have shown you can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes just by drinking decaffeinated coffee. The author of the study stated that  “compared with no coffee consumption… six cups a day of coffee was associated with a 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”

This can greatly help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s as well because about 70% of people with type 2 diabetes go on to develop Alzheimer’s.

Drinking at least 2 cups of coffee a day has been found to greatly reduce the risk of most diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and cancer. If you are an avid coffee drinker, then great, keep doing what you’re doing. If you are not, then consider drinking at least a cup a day, or opt for a non-caffeinated coffee. You can increase your overall health by adding something as simple as a cup of joe to your daily routine.