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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I saw a hand surgeon today

10 Oct 1 PIC

First off, my hands are crooked, especially the right one, thanks to Rheumatoid Arthritis. So I secured a referral from my PCP doctor and went to see a Hand Surgeon today. I went in with the high hopes as I heard good things about this particular doctor, that he could do something close to a miracle.

Not so fast.

Xrays taken, I am being whisked to another room, am sitting tight and waiting.  An assistant peeks in and asks if I am in pain, and off on his merry way. He seems to be in a big hurry, didn’t take my vital signs or asked more questions that I thought was a given but not a problem.

In comes a lady wearing a white gown of sorts and asks how I am. I am like, I am here to see a doctor so-and-so, and who are you?  Then she confesses to being a resident, and proceeds asking questions.  Mind you, it’s one of the Health Centers of Cleveland Clinic, hence the red tape. I told her that I would much rather see a doctor sooner than later. Argh, this is exactly what I hate about big places with the big red tapes.

Finally the hand doctor comes in, takes a look at my hands and delivers the news. Not of a good variety. Basically he says that a surgery won’t help in that it’ll limit my range of motion.  This coupled with a fact that I am not in pain, played into him not recommending surgery.  End of story.

I was crushed. I was having high hopes and in a matter of minutes they were poof, gone. My whole world came crumbling down. Maybe he is right but I am at the receiving end. Oh well. I went home feeling pretty much hopeless and gloomy. Life however goes on, and so is the street traffic. I went out a different way than I went in, took chances with an unfamiliar exit from the parking lot and ended up going the right way after all.

On my way home stopped for a grocery shopping and splurged on a few things, which is something I usually don’t do. But now it didn’t matter. Nothing matters. My hands are doomed to be crooked for the rest of my life, so what’s the point in saving a few bucks?

Came home, googled a bit. Found out that the doctor was actually talking about a joint fusion. There is however an option of a joint replacement, but I likely won’t do it. Will sit tight and wait, maybe something else pops up. A new procedure, a new technology. C’mon now, this is the 21st century, after all.

There’s still a glimpse of a hope (I think).  Thanks for the ear, my dear readers.

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What happened to my morning fasting BG

Lately it’s been around 100, give or take. I however found out that the variations have to do with sleeping or not for the full 8 hours at night. Yesterday someone texted me at 4 am which woke me up, and I just couldn’t go back to sleep. So I slept a total of about 4 or 5 hours. I checked my fasting BG anyway and boom, 115. Oh no.

I know for a fact that I haven’t done anything to cause this disaster. Not that I had tons of sweets; I actually did everything by the book, so it must have been something else. Most likely lack of sleep.

In the day before, my morning fasting number was 101. And today, 97. My phone is set to silent from now on.

9 Sept 9. IMG_0331

If only someone invented self-cleaning shower liners, my life would be nearly perfect

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The Journey of a Test Strip — where to buy them.

Where do you buy your strips? This is the question of the day.  Actually not exactly a question but I was at a loss how else to word it. Am still recovering from a shock at hearing local drugstore prices.

Of course you can buy them anywhere and pay through the roof as I just discovered. I was quoted a price over $50 for a 50-count bottle at a local pharmacy. And that is my insurance co-pay. At first I thought I didn’t hear it right and asked again. The pharmacist wasn’t a bit surprised and repeated, $57.99 after some discount whatever that means.

I briefly stopped by at the Rite-Aid site that of course follows the suit in terms of prices.  Since my brand has no reviews and I am a review junkie, I tried to leave one. I said that these strips are grossly overpriced and that off I’m going to the greener pastures with reasonable prices. Predictably enough, this review was moderated for violation of some terms.

I still have one good bottle of 50-ct test strips to go; it expires in October. But now that I was done with all the local pharmacies, I turned to the online sources.

eBay was my first stop. There are some good prices, however few and far between, and then there are some sky high ones. An expiration date remains a gray area and more often than not is not stated. The excuse is that even though the strips did expire, they are still good. The others make a sweeping statement that the strips don’t expire because they are not medication. Really.

Here now, see for yourself:  8 Aug 27. not medication

You need to exercise quite a bit of a due diligence here. I blogged about this yesterday. The strips do expire because they contain enzymes (proteins).  The above strips turned out to have expired last year.

My next stop was Amazon. You can find reasonable prices here, expiration date isn’t posted but I hope it’ll be within the range. I would rather shop for the strips here as I’m buying a gift card at a local grocery store for which I get gas discounts and double points on my credit card that I redeem as a statement credit.

Here now, meet my shopping cart.  Isn’t it lovely?  No bidding and no hassle.

8 Aug 27. Amz shopping cart

Walmart is still on my list as they carry budget test strips. Such as Reli-On, OneTouch and FreeStyle, all are priced rather nicely. OneTouch strips however can get slightly complicated; will cover this later.

And then I came across this gem. Can you believe it? Accu Chek sells the strips on their site with or without a prescription. 8 Aug 27. PRICES on A site

Home delivery is available with the subscription, and naturally, the more you buy, the less you pay per unit. Delivery frequency is between one and six months and the limit is set to six 50-ct strip vials per home delivery order. Subscriptions are available in one-, two-, three- or six-month intervals, and can be canceled any time or so they say. The expiration dates are guaranteed for six months as per email. Wow.  This one definitely took my breath away.

I still don’t get it how come that the strips are available from the manufacturer at rock bottom prices while the drugstores charge through the roof. An unbelievable overhead.

To be continued. I am not quite done yet.

Posted in diabetes, diabetes management, Prices, test strips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Journey of a Test Strip

I am of course talking about diabetic test strips that I use on a daily basis.   First off, a bit of history.

Test strips and meters likewise are an important part of managing diabetes at home. Nowadays we take them for granted but it wasn’t always this way. Imagine having to do this in a lab and then wait for the results, reportedly ready in a few hours but I bet in my case it would be a few days easily. Then the first meters came into the play. They were bulky, required a few steps and were difficult to use.

The modern meters are easy to use but the strips come with a caveat. They have an expiration date, and I wouldn’t take chances using the ones that have said date in the past. Of course the jury is out as far as strips accuracy or effectiveness but I’m not into this right now. Anyway, the test strips appear to the be the most controversial of all. I am not on insulin or any diabetes medications so can’t comment about effectiveness of the strips related to this. In this post I will discuss the expiration date and the price.

Just how important the expiration date is, is described in detail on the Healthline site.  In regards to the test strips, it is compared to milk.  Apparently it’s not that simple and lots of other variables come into play. With milk, it depends on a brand name, how far it’s been transported and where from etc. Which reminds me of buying a Chobani Greek Yogurt that turned out all mushy and runny; possibly due to the storage problems. After having contacted the manufacturer, I received two coupons for this very product. But I digress.

Back to the test strips. Possibly the milk analogy applies to the test strips just as well, but I wouldn’t take chances with either one. And yes, contrary to some folks’ popular belief, test strips expiration dates do exist. Let’s take a closer look into it.

What makes the strips work?

The little strips despite looking pretty dry, in fact contain enzymes and chemicals. Enzymes being essentially proteins, do expire. So for example if you take nutritional supplement that has past due expiration date, it just won’t be as effective. However it is crucial with the BG test strips, especially for those on insulin.

Of course, the price comes into equation, especially for those whose insurance policy puts limits on the amount of strips per month.

Where oh where do you buy your strips? Will discuss this in the next post. Stay tuned.

And by the way, today my fasting number was 101

8 Aug 26. 101, part 1

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Diabetes is unforgiving

It won’t allow a single misstep. No simple carbs means just that which I found out the hard way when enjoying regular Mountain Dew last month. With it being a lemon-lime flavor, it didn’t even taste like an old Mountain Dew was but tasted like heaven regardless.

Eventually it went down to 114, but went up briefly once again when my computer crashed and had BSOD. My carbs schedule was disrupted for awhile but diabetes doesn’t care.

Now I’m back to watching my carbs, and this morning my fasting number was 106. Woo-hoo! This made my day.

8 Aug 18. 106

 

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This Is America To Me!

This is what America should be!

The Tony Burgess Blog

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All of this is what will make America awesome again.

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It’s 114, yay!

Today my morning fasting BG was 114. Down from 121.

Yay! Doing a happy dance.

7 July 19. Fasting BG 114

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