The Skinny on Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks its own pancreas affecting its ability to produce insulin; this usually happens at a young age.  In this case scenario, insulin has to come into your body from outside a good example of which is an insulin pump.  FYI not all autoimmune disorders happen at a young age.

Type 2 diabetes is a different ball game.  Contrary to the popular belief, increased sugar consumption doesn’t cause type 2 diabetes.

Just because type 2 diabetes is linked to high levels of blood sugar, it may seem logical to assume that eating too much sugar is the cause of diabetes.  However, it’s not that simple.  High-sugar diet can increase the risk of developing diabetes but doesn’t directly cause it.  There is no proven link between the two.   By analogy, driving on the road can increase your risk for an accident but a mere fact of driving doesn’t cause it.

What happens with type 2 is that people develop insulin resistance.  Here’s how it works.  When you consume sugar, it attaches to hemoglobin that delivers it to your body cells to be used for energy.  Think about insulin as a key to open the door (of a cell) to let glucose in.  In case of insulin resistance the door won’t open and glucose can’t get in.  As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of being absorbed by the cells.

It is believed that excess weight and physical inactivity largely contribute to the insulin resistance.  Genetics play a role, as well.

How type 2 diabetes is diagnosed:  A1C test   A1C test kit

A1C is a widely used test to diagnose type 2 diabetes. It is also called HbA1C or glycated hemoglobin test.  Hemoglobin is a substance found in the red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout your body.  When blood sugar level is elevated, sugar combines with hemoglobin making it “glycated” in which case scenario A1C test shows an elevated number.  This test is being used to show how well your diabetes is being controlled.  Since red blood cells live up to 3 months, this test should be at this interval.   This very test was used to diagnose my type 2 diabetes.

For people without diabetes, the normal range for the A1C test is between 4% and 5.6%.  A1C levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate increased risk of diabetes and levels of 6.5% or higher indicate diabetes.  The goal for people with diabetes is a A1C level less than 7%.  The higher the A1C number is, the higher the risks of developing diabetes-related complications.


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1.  DISCLAIMER

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How to sail my ship

ADRIFT quote

I’m not afraid of storms, for
I’m learning how to sail my
ship.
~ Louisa May Alcott ~

The Daily Prompt: ADRIFT

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Feeling tired? Check your blood sugar

First off, a bit of introduction. Admittedly, I have taken a break from the blogging, mostly for the reason that I didn’t know what to blog about. But decided to come back, and here goes.

Feel tired? I can relate. I have been feeling this way lately and for no apparent reason. One day I felt absolutely wiped out. I didn’t do anything special, only picked up my car from the repairs, then did some grocery shopping followed by stopping by at the Big Lots next door, and then went home.

Came home, I am super tired. Exhausted. No energy left except to crash down and sleep. And the good thing is, I slept through the entire night that is very unusual for me. Have been doing so ever since.

In the morning I went on analyzing the events that led to this and came to the conclusion that the carbs were the culprit. Granted, I overdid in that department a bit, and now the time has come to pay for having fun. Yeah what else is new; there’s always a price to pay for having fun but that is another story altogether. It’s like an instant gratification upside down.

Actually, I was the culprit. Went a bit adrift in the land of carbs.

So I decided to be proactive and for the next a few days, I watched the carbs intake like a hawk and was mostly sipping my home brewed tea with no sugar added.  Following that, I felt much better. And still do.

My morning fasting number was 101.

5. May 22. METER

And the Daily Prompt, as always, hit the nail right on the head. ADRIFT

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Flying with type 2 diabetes

This involves some advance planning. While traveling by car allows for more flexibility with food, it is not so should you choose to fly. The airline food is not necessarily the healthiest. BuzzFeed website provides information of airline meals for 20 airlines with examples for economy and a few other classes; the difference is mainly in presentation, yet nothing is screaming about low carbs.

But not all is lost. A little advance preparation goes a long way if done at the time of booking your flight.  You can try requesting a special meal. This feature is available with several airlines. British Airways for example, offer about a dozen of special meals however, not all of these are available on all flights. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that a certain special meal would be available on your flight, but the airlines “will do their best”, whatever that means.  Still, it’s worth it to give it a try.

Diabetic Supplies
Did you know that you can carry a doctor’s letter alerting the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) to the fact that you have diabetes and that you have to carry insulin, syringes, test strips and other supplies? If you’re on insulin, you need to make sure your bottles have the pharmacy labels. And of course, CGM (continuous glucose monitor), if any. As of this writing, I am unaware of this being implemented for type 2 diabetes, however Medtronics company is just as happy pushing this issue for type 2 just as well.
Mar 31. Passport PROMPT

Crossing Time Zones
This can affect your insulin dosages. However it’s very individual so your best bet is to discuss this with your doctor. You can get a general idea of how air travel can affect your diabetes by using Diabetes Travel Calculator.

Lost Luggage
This is yet another concern. You really don’t want your insulin supplies vanish or having been stored in the cargo area as it can get pretty chilly there at 30,000 feet. The safest solution to this is to carry everything you need in a bag that you’ll have on you at all times.

Traveling Alone
It is important to alert a flight attendant about your diabetes at the boarding time. Not much details are necessary but just let them know that you might need soda or juice if you experience a hypo.

Change in pressure
This happens during takeoff and landing which can make the pump to deliver more insulin. You don’t want this to happen so you just disconnect the device during these times, and reconnect again once the plane is in the cruising altitude.

Checking your BG
Make sure that you have enough wipes to clean your hands before doing a fingerstick. Per chance you forgot, use this trick. Lance your finger, squeeze a drop of blood and then wipe it away. Repeat again once or twice before taking a reading. I have confirmed this when checking fasting BG at home; the results vary greatly depending on whether or not I washed my hands prior to sticking.

And of course, don’t forget your passport. Happy flying!

The Daily Prompt: Passport

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Label everything?

Do we really need to label everything?  Here’s what Tyra Banks has to say:

Mar 20 - 21. Label

I don’t like the label ‘plus-size’ — I call it ‘fiercely real.’ On ‘Top Model,’ we call it fiercely real. I don’t want to use the term ‘plus-size,’ because, to me, what the hell is that? It just doesn’t have a positive connotation to it. I tend to not use it.

The Daily Prompt: Label

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Did you know this about bubbles?

I didn’t know this but am up for the celebration

City Skipper Gal

bath-water-915589__340

Did you know that today has been deemed as National Bubble Bath Day? I didn’t even know there was such a day, but I’ll take it.

So, quit reading this blog and go relax in a nice warm bubble bath on this very chilly day!

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How often to check blood sugar?

Checking blood sugar is an important part of diabetes management.  But how often to do so is a good question.  In this context, I am talking about type 2 diabetes. Ever since I was first diagnosed, I was instructed to check it once a day, first thing in the morning. As of now, I am not on insulin or any diabetic meds and am hoping this would last forever. Am not a big fan of any meds.

3. Mar 14. How often to check BG post

Image source: Pixabay

The answer depends on who you ask. There are several message boards where posters will tell you to do this after each meal; the time frame varies anywhere between half an hour to a couple hours.  ADA in its wisdom, recommends to check BG  before meals or 2 hours after.  Diabetes Management site states that the count of time should start at the beginning of a meal.  Oh well.

Anyway, I am not doing this (checking BG after meals). No thanks, not me. I am not going to do this every so often. Methinks it makes no sense, considering that sugar intake isn’t the only cause of elevated BG. Lots of other factors play in as well, such as lack of sleep, being sick or in pain, activity level, an occasional bad strip, change in weather or just because.   Moreover, I am not going to double- or triple- check my BG level with different meters;  I don’t even own different meters.  I think this is an overkill and totally unnecessary.

It makes me wonder who invented the concept of checking postprandial (after meals) BG; big pharma is my best guess. Of course it would be more than happy to sell you more & more strips and pens. If big pharma had to rely on me, they’d go belly up.

Back in the day when I worked in a hospital, we only checked BG before meals, even in the Intensive Care Unit. The only instance when we did check a postprandial BG was if a patient was running low (below 70), we would give them a cup of orange juice and re-check BG about half an hour later.

I am usually checking my fasting BG in the morning, once a day, and even then, not every day. What matters is A1C showing the average BG for the last three months. My last A1C was 6.0, an improvement from 6.2 three months prior.

I want to add that some folks don’t check their BG at all because they don’t like needles or fingersticks.  So they rely on how their neuropathy feels.  Although I don’t feel this way, I can’t blame them.

My $0.02.  Your mileage may vary;  this is my mileage

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Weekly Wisdom 9 March

So true and beautiful picture

MiddleMe

Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 2.32.27 PM.png

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