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

Posted in A1C, About diabetes, blood sugar, diabetes, diet, Health, insulin resistance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Life isn’t always going as planned

I have taken a break from blogging lately. Not because there was nothing to write about, but because something was happening that I didn’t know how to deal with.

I have a brother in Chicagoland; he is a widower and has lived in his condo for the last decade and a half. He and his late wife worked and paid the condo off. So he owned it free and clear, or so he thought, up until the recent events. About a month ago his son was killed in a motorcycle accident and all the hell broke loose.
https://www.lakemchenryscanner.com/2019/09/17/coroner-ids-50-year-old-man-killed-after-motorcycle-crashes-into-semi-truck-in-gurnee/

And if this wasn’t enough, my brother found out that he doesn’t own his condo anymore. His son’s family does. Five years ago his son had the father sign some paperwork under the pretense that it was done for the father’s good, while actually transferring the condo ownership to self. The son wasn’t supposed to do this in his capacity of being his father’s poa (power of attorney).

The way it looks now, most likely the widow is going to evict her father-in-law from the condo. It’ll bound to happen, sooner or later. And yes, my brother’s rights were violated (breach of fiduciary duty) but good luck with proving this in the courts. In other words, one should be able to pay $$$ in attorney fees to prove they were wronged. There are some pro bono places but only theoretically; I contacted them online but alas, they are not in a big hurry to reply.

Sadly my brother will be forced to go to a nursing home as he can’t afford a lawyer, and neither can I. He isn’t ready to go there and is perfectly capable of living alone with help, but alas, he has no options.

End of story.

I wish I could help my brother. I promised our mom that I will help him if needed as we are about 18 years apart. Knowing that I can’t help is about eating me up alive. My diabetes and the neuropathy is still here regardless.

Posted in auto accident, diabetes, family, fiduciary duty, life, poa | Tagged , , , ,

Thursday’s Bumper Sticker

The best license plate if you ask me. Transformed into the bumper sticker. We all need a bit of a laugh

Michael Seidel, writer

It’s a license plate that the state doesn’t like, but I nominate it for a bumper sticker.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Low Carb Cooking

Pretty sure I didn’t invent much but I thought up the ingredients for having low carbs. I watch my carbs like a hawk and this soup followed the suit. Here goes .

Low Carb Barley Vegetable Soup in a Crockpot

First off, crockpot is a studio dwellers’ friend. Not having full size appliances calls for it out loud. This morning I was in a cooking mood and concocted this. Turned out not bad.

Please note, this was made in a small crockpot. I measured and it’s all of about 4-1/2 quarts capacity. Feel free to adjust to your size crockpot. I used squash (yellow & zucchini) in place of potatoes so this is a low carb soup. Some of the ingredients were measured, while the others were eyeballed. All the veggies were chopped or cut in small pieces. The pearl barley was “sprinkled” lightly because I didn’t want too much of it. At first I thought to roll the Italian sausage in meatballs but ended up just breaking it down in pieces. The end result is just about the same (I think)

Oh new and exciting changes. Here’s to hoping my featured image will show up. Right now it is hidden in the sidebar. Being an old school, I expected it to be right here and now. OMG it is in place of the logo. Am removing and posting in the comments. Hmm.

UPDATE: I finally figured it out but can’t fathom why I had to jump through the hoops. And whatever happened to the HTML tab. Now have to figure out how to remove the darn picture from the wrong place (where my logo used to be). Thanks for being patient with me, my dear readers

Back to the recipe.

⦁ 1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage, broken down in pieces.
⦁ 2 cups yellow & zucchini squash, combined
⦁ 1 cup grated carrots.
⦁ green bell peppers. Red bell peppers are fine too; I just didn’t have them on hand
⦁ yellow onions
⦁ celery
⦁ pearl barley lightly sprinkled on top
⦁ water to cover to about 1-1/2 inches from the top

Set this on low early in the morning, ready by the dinner time. Yum. Set it and forget it is my favorite cooking style. Standing over the pot and stirring is not one of my favorite pastimes.

Leftover of veggies were cut up, placed in the Ziploc bags and off to the freezer for the future use. Will see how this goes.

Posted in carbs, diabetes, diabetes management | Tagged , , , , , , ,

111 is my lucky number today

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This was my morning fasting BG number today.

I don’t usually check my morning fasting BG every day. Heck not even every week. But lately when I do check it, it’s always good, no matter what.

And how reliable is it? Just as reliable as your meter. If you check your BG with another meter, chances are the numbers will be different. Some folks actually do this, not sure why. Some will check their BG after meals, about half an hour after, to see as they claim, how different foods affect them. I am not one of them. I only check my morning blood sugar level, and even then, only when a mood strikes or if I try a different food. Not that postprandial number matters unless of course it was doctor ordered. In my opinion, morning fasting BG is more than enough. What actually matters is the average levels detected by A1C test. Even that one is as reliable as the equipmentthat the lab is using. If you change doctors or if the lab is using a different meter, guess what. This will reflect on your numbers and not always in a good way.

Then again, the food including how much, how often, and the sequence. And if this wasn’t enough, the season of the year, your physical activity, whether or not you happened to be sick otherwise, pain, hormonal changes and more. Things happen when you sleep such as Dawn phenomenon or a Somogyi effect that I blogged about a few years ago https://comeinsitdown.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/morning-highs/

Good carbs, bad carbs, sugar-free – oh this is my favorite. A while ago I discovered sugar-free pancake syrup and was proud of myself for doing so. However my pride was short lived as the BG numbers went up. Turned out it does contain sugar albeit a different variety but it managed to raise my BG number. Off to the trash it went and I developed a habit of ALWAYS reading the ingredients labels.

Diabetes in control website claims that 2 tablespoons of vinegar before a meal will reduce the postprandial BG numbers. Have no way to test this as I don’t check postprandial BG. I don’t even check morning fasting each and every morning. This morning I was in the mood so went ahead and did it. Wow, 111. I braced myself for a higher number because my neuropathy was acting up lately and this can affect blood sugar levels, too. But no. Today is my lucky day. Cheers

Posted in diabetes, diabetes management | Tagged , , , , ,

Diabetic neuropathy, again!

Lately my feet were acting up.  Killing me.  I thought it was neuropathy and maybe arthritis too. Either way it was bad. Hot shower helped but only briefly, and then the pain was right back. Both numbness and pain at the same time that is difficult to explain to someone who never experienced this.

I considered the possibilities. Haven’t seen my doctor in ages and haven’t taken any meds in about the same time span. Maybe the time has come to reverse aka see the doc and ask for some meds. Argh. Hated even thinking about it.

And then it dawned on me. Diabetic socks of course!  And here they are.

July 31. D socks

I am getting these babies free each month through my insurance plan, Aetna. Yep, Aetna gives you a monthly allowance, $15 for me, and then I can pick some freebies online within the allowance. I usually pick the socks and a couple more of this and that. Hey they are free. Listed as Diabetic Socks in the list of freebies yet the package says Comfort Socks. Anyway, all purpose socks that worked magic for me. I’ve accumulated tons of them that were quietly sitting in a drawer up until now.

Whatcha know, it worked. Yay! In addition to wearing these socks, I upped the heat a bit for a while.  The temps dropped to about upper 60s so I figured why not.  Both are free because of what Aetna is doing, and because the heat is included in the monthly condo fee. Long live freebies!

I feel like a million dollars now that the pain is gone. Doing a happy dance.

Posted in diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Overcoming the Writer’s Block

Last time I posted, one of my readers suggested to overcome the writer’s block. I am working on it. Meantime, here a few quotes on the subject.

Writer’s Block Quotes
Source: dictionary.com

1 Benjamin Franklin
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”                                                                                               – Benjamin Franklin

The first half of this quote is this post. The second one is in the works

 

Isaac Asimov

“Writing to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”                                 – Isaac Asimov

  Am working on the connection.

Lee Iacocca

“The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.”
– Lee Iacocca

Am trying to make that first step right now and here.

 

Anne Lamott

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.”                                          – Anne Lamott

Posted in blogging, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

My new computer

As you might as well noticed, I have taken a long break from blogging. Full five months, no kidding. Just drew a blank and didn’t know what to write about. Nothing much is happening, my diabetes is still here and so is the neuropathy. I am not on any meds, managed not to take any pain pills and just live one day at a time. I firmly believe that all meds have side effects and we are overmedicated in general. This however is food for thought for another post that I will do eventually. So here I am, meds-free. Hot shower helps.

Meanwhile I have a new computer. Completely brand new, HP Pavilion 15. I had it free in exchange for my review which was positive as I just love it. It runs very cool compared to my old Dell Latitude.

It runs Windows 10 Home that I am still taking time to get acquainted with. Hated the password screen but had to live with it or so I thought. Entering password on wakeup was there by default. Argh.

Needless to say, I didn’t like it and googled the ways to get rid of it. Done and over with, password enter screen is gone but so is Win+X shortcut. Since it was here before my password screen tweaking, there was an obvious connection between the two. Win + X keyboard shortcut is beautiful. Here now, a screenshot showing what it can do in Win 10. It does something different in Win 7.

Win + X

I had to make a choice and decided to re-activate the password screen. However after doing so, I noticed that the password screen didn’t come back which is good. But Win+X shortcut came right back, and I am just as happy. Don’t ask me to explain.

Go figure.

Posted in computers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Brown fat, cold weather and diabetes

About a week ago my morning fasting BG was a whopping 118; I couldn’t believe it. Thinking that it must have been a bad strip or a glitch of sorts, I rechecked and it was about the same. Ditto for the postprandial BG that I usually don’t check.

I was baffled. How come? C’mon now, I didn’t eat anything I wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t do absolutely anything to cause this. Where did this come from? In an instant I could foresee diabetes meds in my near future. Oh no, not me.

I turned to the internet and after a bit of googling found out that it could be the cold weather to blame. A number of websites including Healthline report a higher A1C as well as more people diagnosed with diabetes in the colder months.  What’s more, diabetes is more common in European countries that in say, Africa or South America, because it’s colder up north in Europe. And there is a reason for it. It all has to do with the brown fat and adaptation to cold.

Back in the prehistoric days, says Healthline, our ancestors lived in constant freezing temperatures. For that reason, they had lots of brown fat so they could have become insulin resistant to raise blood sugar as well as raise the freezing point of their bodies, while at the same time giving their brown fat plenty of fuel to keep them warm. As brown fat plays a role in glucose control, their BG levels never reached critical levels, so they were able to survive.

Now this starts making sense. I knew it wasn’t me, I just knew it. And now turns out that it was the cold weather to blame.

In the next day when the weather warmed up a bit, my fasting number was 105. And then a 100.

That’s more like it. I don’t check my fasting BG every day. I do it about once or twice a week. Looking back at my records, I noticed that the numbers in the winter time are around 100, while at summer they are typically in the mid 90s.

Oh well. You live and learn.

Posted in blood glucose, diabetes, diabetes management | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Blue Light Eye Opener

The reason I’m saying this is because I am the last person on earth to have learned about the mere existence of a blue light. My (now former) eye doctor didn’t utter a word about it, either for lack of knowledge or who knows why. Up until searching the net, I was clueless. And discovered the blue light while searching how to manage my CAT. For those unfamiliar, CAT is my own abbreviation for the cataract that I blogged about earlier.  I am far more comfortable with a short form rather than spelling it all out. Yikes.

Our eyes are vulnerable things, and usually we take the ability to see for granted. However, a matter as trivial as looking at a computer screen while blogging away can do much harm, and not only to the eye lenses but to the retina as well. The latter can result in macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness. Contrary to the popular belief, not caused by diabetes but by exposure to the blue light. This is according to the All About Vision website but not an eye doctor?  Unbelievable.  Smh

To deal with the blue light, you need to find some ways to block it. Enter blue light blockers (eyeglasses), whether with magnification or not. Yes, they do exist. Not sure that my now former eye doctor was even aware about it. But now I know, bingo. Long lives internet.

Off I went to buy said glasses. This took some time and lots of googling. The choices are endless to send my head spinning. There are distance eyeglasses, readers, sunreaders, of course blue light blockers and countless combinations of all to boot. And if this wasn’t enough, there are literally tons of features to consider.

After you hopefully figured out what you want, you have to make sure that your new glasses are a good fit. Welcome to a virtual fitting room for lack of a better word. Roll up your sleeves and measure the following using your existing glasses as a template. I’m talking about things like lens height and width, ditto for the frame; add a bridge width and an arm length to the mix, and with a little bit of luck you will get the picture.

After looking high and low on the net, I came across this wonderful website that describes the eyeglass frames in great detail. Eye Heart, based in California.

1. eye heart

Image Source: EyeHeart.com

Found this one on the Amazon website:

2. measurements

Image Source: Amazon.com

I have ended up with a pair of Eyekepper reading glasses from Amazon that are only slightly amber tinted therefore provide only about 20% blue light protection. I really wanted more protection, something that Uvex glasses would provide, and I don’t really care if I see everything amber tinted.

As long as I know that my eyes are protected, this is all that matters. Uvex glasses unfortunately don’t come with magnification. Besides, turned out that most folks (buyers) don’t like too much of an amber tint therefore Eyekepper doesn’t make them this way, so I am currently putting up with the less protection. Still better than nothing.

The Eyekepper glasses came in a nice zipped hard case that did wonders to having things organized. Now I know exactly where my beautiful blue light blockers are instead of looking up all over the place, oh where did I put the darn glasses? No more.

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But you know what? Since wearing these glasses, I started sleeping at night. You hear this from a non-believer as I have always thought that the melatonin production in relation to the blue light blockers eyeglasses is nothing but a sales pitch. But have to admit, I was wrong. You know how easy it is to admit your wrong? Yea right. This is exactly where I am right now.

Zzzz

I have learned to sit about 20 inches away from the screen, use ambient light when the  room is dark and nothing but a TV or a computer is on, as well as take breaks from sitting by the screen. Perfect time to do some chores waiting on the back burner to eventually get done. Such as bringing my shower curtain liner back to life. Here’s to hoping that all this will help me to buy more time being able to see.

 

UPDATE: after all said and done, I went on browsing WordPress for the similar posts and found this gem. Here now, Helen Hayward is talking about a certain eye exam that her doctor was unaware of. No kidding! Perhaps we should set up a society of the eye doctors who lack in knowledge… something like that.

Read her post here:  blue light

Posted in Blue light, cataract, How to buy eyeglasses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My CAT

No am I not talking about a kitty cat.  In this post I want to cover cataracts.  I really don’t like this word; sounds like something creepy straight out from Halloween walking around… can’t even describe. I would much rather use the first three letters and call it CAT (all caps on purpose).

In a nutshell, CAT is a cloudy area in the eye lens. The lens is located in the front part of the eye, right behind the iris.  Normally when the lens is clear, the light enters the eye through said lens and focuses a clear image on the retina, much like a camera does. When however lens is cloudy (or you jerk the camera), the image goes blur. Uh oh.

Here is what our eyes are made of.

See the lens?  There is a nucleus right smack in the middle of it.  Not seen in this picture but trust me, it is there.  Will come back to this later when I describe the types of a CAT.

I first learned about having a CAT about a year or two ago.  Based on the fact that I am still able to see, I assume that mine is a slowly developing kind.  Likely a result of a lifelong sun exposure.  Once I learned that, all my going to the beach flashed in front of me, and I wanted to beat myself up.  Not that it would help any.  But the good news is, this probably is not diabetes related.  Actually my diabetes is under control now.  This morning my fasting number was 94.

IMG_1015-001

As my eye doctor was silent about the details of my CAT, naturally I turned to the internet.  And came across this great website, VisionAware that describes the CAT types in great detail.

There are three types of a CAT.  And contrary to the popular belief, not all of them are caused by diabetes.  If you however do a google search for causes of a CAT, the first two that pop up are older age and, you guessed it, diabetes. This sounds almost politically correct, however is not always true.  There are other reasons including trauma, inflammation and certain meds; and CAT can also happen to babies or older kids with no diabetes in sight.

The first type is a Nuclear CAT.  Remember nucleus inside the lens?  This is it. Exactly the part that gets damaged.  Nucleus begins to harden, and when that happens, the trouble begins yet progresses slowly and silently (without symptoms) for many years before it begins to actually affect vision.

Traditionally and not surprisingly, Nuclear CAT is associated with aging.  However merely growing older does not cause CATs.  The damage begins when one is still fairly young but then the CAT is relatively small and doesn’t affect vision, hence is not detected.  Only later on when it does affect vision, you see your doctor and receive the breaking news.  Of course  the jury is out on this one and you can find plenty of different opinions on the net. But I believe this is exactly what happens and the developing of a CAT is not necessarily age-related.  YMMV.

Then there is a Cortical CAT.  It affects the cortex, or outside edge of the lens, where the white cloudy areas (opacities) develop.  Those of us with diabetes are at risk for this type of a CAT.

The third one affects the back part of the eye and is called Posterior CAT.  Posterior means the back of the eye which is where cloudy or opaque area form.  Those of us who are on steroids or having diabetes are at risk.

These three are basic types.  There is a small bunch of subtypes of each but I don’t want to go there.  Too complicated.

All said and done, you might start thinking that CATs happen to the older folks only. Oh well, this isn’t always true.  Sometimes babies are born with it, or the older kids develop it, for a number of reasons, including genetics.  It’s called congenital CAT, or childhood / juvenile CAT. If a surgery is needed which is not always the case, it can be done as early as at six weeks of age.

Done with the CAT, next thing I’ll be talking about some eye protection that deserves its own post.

Did you notice?  You type the word cataract with left hand only, let alone CAT.

Posted in cataract, diabetes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment