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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Neuropathy and Cold Weather

There is definitely a connection between the two, I can feel it each time the weather takes a wrong turn. Neuropathy is a nerve damage that can be caused by various conditions; mine is due to the type 2 diabetes. Lately I have noticed that my feet became extremely sensitive to cold; it’s not that I can’t deal with it, but I am just not used to. On top of that, I feel numbness in the toes and heels and anywhere in between, especially on my bad days. The nerve pain joins in, mostly in the morning and of course, arthritis. I keep a bottle of pain pills by the bed but am trying not to take them. Am really trying because I hate meds in general as I am convinced that (sometimes) they can do more harm than good, especially in the long run.

Back to the neuropathy.  There are some theories to the effect that worsening of neuropathy in response to the cold weather can be due to the reduction of blood flow as well as muscle tightening which in turn pulls on the nerves thus bringing up all that pain and discomfort.   I however take this with a grain of salt. To me this sounds like an attempt to explain it away. Just another opinion. So why my neuropathy goes bad with the weather change even if I am indoors, and my place is always warm as I can turn the heat up as much as I want to? Aha, that’s a good question.

Actually, it tends to get worse not only in response to a cold weather but also when a rain or a storm is coming. This has to do with atmospheric pressure, sometimes also called barometric pressure.  To put it simply, when it rains, atmospheric pressure drops.

Arthritis Foundation reports a study conducted by Tufts University in 2007. It established a relationship between barometric pressure, temperature, precipitation and arthritis pain. When both barometric or atmospheric pressure and the temperature drop low especially accompanied by precipitation, arthritis pain gets worse, although researchers aren’t sure why. From my observations, similar thing happens with neuropathy as well as a few other conditions. Such as for example, high blood pressure. Now this starts making sense.

AccuWeather has coined a term for this occasion, Arthritis Index.  Not neuropathy index which is possibly for the reason that “arthritis” is easier to understand, while “neuropathy” involves an extra piece of an explanation what the heck this means in the first place.

And guess what, today’s forecast is all about rain.  I am yet to see it as so far all we’re having is a cloudy sky.   My neuropathy has been acting up somewhat but not too bad.  And my morning fasting number was 99 which is super normal for me.

 meter

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Today’s Prompt: Clean.

I am going to put blogging on hold for some time. I do realize that I should have made this announcement a while ago… yes, I know it’s an excuse. So I have decided to come clean and write this blog post. Will be back.

My fasting blood sugar this morning was 106.

Until later.

 

Inspired by Today’s Prompt: Clean

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Today’s Prompt: Hopeful

dec-31-hope-quote

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.
~ Desmond Tutu

The Daily Prompt:  Hopeful

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Merry Christmas and how to shop around in the holidays time and always

It’s holidays time, and shopping becomes a household name. Most everyone is anxious to give in to their shopping desire and go buy-buy-buy. The retailers are well aware of this fact and some of them respond by jacking up their prices a few times over.

The keyword here is to stay calm and do some shopping around first. Doing this far in advance is even better which is what I’m going to illustrate below. Will be using mineral oil, of all things, as an example.

Granted, chances are highly unlikely that you’d give a bottle of THIS as a Christmas present but as I am doing this for myself and my cutting board, works just fine. So, I have decided to start off online and see what happens. I was astonished by the results; am still scooping my jaw from the floor.

Walmart sells a 16-ounce bottle of Swan brand mineral oil for under $5, and so does Ace Hardware, $5.99. Plus a few dollars of shipping if you want to enjoy this delivered to your door. Walmart also sells another brand, Equate, for the mere $2. That sounds very reasonable; I am sure my little cutting board will appreciate.
wmt-both-together

On the other hand, Amazon website plays hard to get as their prices for said mineral oil are close to $30. For a moment there, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. But no. Here now, a 16-ounces bottle of Swan Mineral Oil goes for a whopping $23.52 plus $5 shipping; alternatively, $28.44 with free shipping. This yields roughly nearly $20 profit per bottle; sounds great for a seller but sucks for a buyer. $20 multiplied by an XXX number of sales, well you get the picture. I am pretty sure that Amazon is well aware of these tactics as the company gets a cut from the sale. A nice one, may I say.
amz-both-swans-together

However, if the online sellers can source their products from the brick-and-mortar prices, so can you. Off I’m going to Walmart.

Speaking of brick-and-mortar prices, on my last trip to a local Dollar Tree store, I had purchased a hair coloring kit that worked just the same as the overpriced one by a big brand name. A dollar price has likely paid off for my entire shopping there. This is what I’d call a Christmas present to my budget.

Christmas time isn’t exclusive to the price hikes; The Fiscal Times website reports Big Pharma raising their drug prices “by staggering amounts” and raking in billions in revenues at the expense of shocked consumers. Read about it here.

By the way, should you want to use mineral oil as laxative, I would suggest looking for the alternative as using mineral oil can wreak havoc on the vitamins content in your body. Try eating things like dry beans, corn on the cob and other products with high fiber content.

Dry beans is super easy to cook in your favorite crockpot. I usually pour hot water over my pinto beans, soak them for a couple of hours and then cook on high for about five hours more. Yum.

Merry Christmas, everyone!   This of course was inspired by the Daily Prompt: CALM.

dec-22-xmas-shopping-unfin

DISCLOSURE: The above images of mineral oil are from Amazon and Walmart websites, respectively.  The images were slightly modified as to better fit the format of my blog;  the contents are original.

Posted in Christmas, Daily Prompt, Holidays, shopping, The Daily Post Prompt, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Winter Blues and how to beat them

It’s a full-blown winter here in the Midwest, and with it, comes oh so familiar feeling of depression. Winter blues, they make us feel hopeless or worthless, lose interest in doing just about any kind of activity, not wanting any social interaction, might have problems with sleeping or appetite.  We don’t feel like doing much anything including blogging which is my lame excuse for taking a break in writing; however lately I felt compelled to scribble out my feelings so here goes.

Winter Blues are also known as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. There is also such thing as summer blues but winter depression is the most common type.

Winter Blues are here, and you could find yourself having a problem waking up in the morning; it’s a dark winter morning, gloomy and cold, and you just don’t feel like getting out of bed.

A bright sunlight could make a difference, mainly because it boosts the production of the body chemicals that contribute to the feeling of happiness, however good luck with getting it in the wee hours of the winter morning. A Wake-Up Light can provide a substitute. It’s basically a programmable variation of an alarm with a sunrise function. It begins to brighten gradually and is fully lit by the alarm preset time; the sound is optional. This might just work, or else you might want to try an alarm clock with bed shaker and lamp flasher… not sure I would want this one. It’s a matter of the preference though.

Speaking of falling asleep, some sources recommend to eliminate electronics in your bedroom including the cell phone. This way the bedroom is designated for sleeping only. Am not sure this would work for me as I have developed a habit of falling asleep with the TV going on and playing one of my favorite DVDs.  Have been doing this for the longest time.

Bedroom TV

Image Credit: Pixabay

This does wonders for my sleep quality and needless to say, I’m enjoying it. My cell phone is plugged in and charging nearby, while it can be set on a silent mode. This works for me just fine. Each to their own, I guess.

Back to the winter morning. F5 your mood or in other words, refresh it. Color your mood, paint your walls; some sources recommend painting them in bright colors. My walls are a blah off-white that I’ve always had a nagging feeling to paint in some other color. Not sure about bright colors but maybe a shade of green or lavender, and save bright colors for the accessories. This goes on my list of the next projects.

Inasmuch as my walls aren’t undergoing any changes in the near future, I am focusing on lighting a candle and taking a hot shower. Doing these two simultaneously sounds like a good idea.

Add chocolate to the mix. I always knew that there was an underlying reason for craving it. Actually, some ingredients of chocolate are used by the brain to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter related to that feeling of happiness. I am all for the dark chocolate but of course, can’t indulge.

A cup of coffee and back to blogging. Stay warm, everyone, and away from the winter storm that’s sweeping through the Midwest USA as we speak.

Home Office. Laptop, writing pen and a cup of coffee

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Almost a Martyr

According to the Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of martyr is victim.  Speaking of which, I had a close call earlier today but now I am home in one piece so I guess I am Almost a Martyr.

I went for a grocery shopping and was driving down the street when I noticed a truck right behind me. It was a commercial garbage-truck looking thing. Not being particularly fond of a truck on my tail, I changed lanes. The truck did the same.

It’s just a coincidence, I thought. And changed the lanes back, if only to see what happens. And it did happen again.

I made a right turn into another street; the truck followed. This cat-and-mouse game continued in the same pattern for a few blocks, and even when I took a red light, the truck took it, too. Now it wasn’t a coincidence any more. Finally the truck turned into a side street and vanished. Gone.

In light of the recent string of carjacking going on in the area, I was all shaken.

A bit of history. Carjacking is swiftly sweeping across Ohio when a car is rear-ended and once the driver steps out to exchange insurance information, the car is taken over. The other scenario is when a car is followed and then stolen from the driveway at a gunpoint.

All this flashed before my very eyes as I tried to regain composure and keep on driving. I was close to the state of panic. My heart was racing, my neuropathy kicked in immediately; likely BG levels followed close behind. I made it to the shopping center and took my time to calm down and get ahold of my senses.

Done with the shopping, I have made it home safely while watching the road around me like a hawk. Having jotted the truck plate number down, I made a call to a non-emergency police number. I described what happened and spelled out the plate number. I was asked what color it was and I said gray, but honestly I don’t know the color. I thought I was running for the dear life and the police asks me about the color?? Not that it mattered, as they aren’t going to do anything anyway. These were their words exactly.

After all, I have made it home in one piece, which is what counts. I am safely in my studio; my car is parked in the garage. Nothing is going to happen while the things are the way they are at the moment.

Almost a victim, almost a martyr.

 

All of the above coincided with the Daily Prompt: Martyr

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Gluten-Free Diet, part 1

First off, I want to acknowledge this topic as being controversial. I understand that your opinion might differ and I respect that. I felt compelled to write about this as a continuation of my series about food labels.

That being said, I was always wondering what the story was behind the gluten-free diet. Considering the fact that food proclaiming free anything is usually perceived as healthy, I was taking this with a grain of salt and thought, oh well, another fad diet. But curiosity got the best of me and off I went on doing my research. Hence this post. I will start with explaining about gluten and celiac disease.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a kind of the protein found in grains like wheat, barley, or rye. It can wreak havoc on those affected with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. It can trigger an inflammatory response damaging the lining of the intestines and interfere with food absorption process.
nov-27-grainsCeliac disease belongs to the group of autoimmune disorders, when immune system attacks the other organ systems, instead of doing what it is supposed to do. This disorder proves somewhat difficult to diagnose since it can mimic a host of other GI conditions so oftentimes it goes undiagnosed. Off the topic but ditto for type 2 diabetes. Celiacs, you are not alone.

As of this writing, there is no cure for the Celiac disease so gluten-free diet is a godsend to them. Those affected have no other choice but to stick to this diet. Some websites such as Nutrition Facts even go as far as arguing that celiac patients can actually be cured by going on a gluten-free diet. I respectfully disagree. What happens in this case scenario is that people with celiac disease have no symptoms while being on a gluten-free diet but by no means they are cured. Had they gone back to eating products containing gluten, their symptoms will be back in no time flat.

By the same token, if people with diabetes like myself completely eliminate sugar from their diet, their BG levels could be normal but unfortunately they’re not cured.  If we start consuming sugar-containing food in the before-diabetes quantities, guess what will happen.  I don’t really want to go there.

Is gluten-free diet good for the rest of us?

To be continued

Posted in celiac disease, diet, Food labels, Gluten, Gluten-free, meal planning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments