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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The Daily Prompt: LEARNING. Partying with diabetes

Aug 23.  TDP Prompt - Learning.  Food Served

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My friends are hosting a cookout and I am invited. I however have some reservations. Now don’t get me wrong, I love cookouts and socializing, it’s just that now I have diabetes which makes everything slightly complicated. It was so much easier back in the day, in my before-diabetes days.

I love wine coolers but alas, can’t have them because of the carbs. Am trying in vain to avoid eating hot dog buns. I can’t eat anything sweet as these things are usually loaded with simple carbs.  Going easy on virtually everything with high fat and no doubt high sugar content in that yummy homemade BBQ sauce becomes a project.

Aug 23.   Food-chicken-meat-outdoors-medium

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I’m catching a few of those looks. Suddenly everyone wants to know if I’m okay. In an instant everybody becomes an expert in diabetes and throws a bunch of advices.  It is assumed that I am a Type 2 by default but only because no one’s aware of the other type.  I take it the things could be much worse had I been a Type 1.

Partying with diabetes definitely takes some learning curve. I’m getting there.

This post was inspired by the Daily Prompt: LEARNING

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Slow eating and diabetes

I was wondering about this for the longest time. My rationale was that if you eat slower, the carbs get into your bloodstream at a slower rate which should contribute to the lower blood sugar numbers overall.

Diabetes Self-Management site reports the findings of a study on eating slow. It states that eating faster increases chances of developing diabetes about twofold. Actually, two and a half times. The speed of eating is linked more strongly with diabetes than the content of meals alone. Eating fast can increase postprandial blood sugar level and all the consequences of that.

The site goes on further stating that blood sugar level after eating generally goes up in everybody, but it’s crucial in PWD (people with diabetes). It can go up faster if you have diabetes because of your body compromised ability to deal with increased blood sugar levels due to insulin resistance or not producing enough of insulin.

The site continues, the faster you eat, the faster sugars get into your bloodstream, and vice versa. My thoughts exactly.

In view of this, I have developed a technique for eating slower while feeling full at the same time. This includes 3 steps: eat – drink water – repeat. Using this technique, you can manage to eat very slowly providing of course, that you have some time to spare. This works for me as I am motivated to no extent.
Bottle H2O Here now, my daily constitutional bottle with water.

This of course works best when eating at home, because what goes in, should come out and come out it does after drinking all that water. This can become slightly inconvenient when eating out.  Imagine that.

Doing this will lift your moods too, because you know that you’re doing something right, therefore going in the right direction. Anticipating results of your hard work does wonders to your spirits. Your blue feelings go right out the window.

Today my morning fasting number was 106.

Meter on Aug 20

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Hot Summer, Cold Avocado Soup

Sounds fantastic. The only thing is, I will probably substitute buttermilk for kefir. It’s worth giving it a try.

Half Dietitian Half Human

Hey guys. So with this hot hot summer heat I wanted to post a recipe that is: refreshing, delicious, nutritious, and doesn’t require an oven.

Full disclosure I initially saw this recipe in Runner’s World in their July issue. However, at this point I have made this soup so many different ways that I feel I can offer up some interesting twists. But no one likes a copy cat.

So one of the reasons I love this recipe so much is: I spend A LOT of time in my car, I eat most of my lunches in my car. This is by no means a complaint- it just means I need to be creative if I’m going to avoid eating out.

Part of this creativity entails making meals I can consume while driving. This is not mandatory but a timesaver.

Enter this article. And my life changing forever.

So far…

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Share your blog!

What a great idea of how to spread the word!

Roberta Pimentel

First of all If you reblog this post you help me, I help you and you help your readers, so everyone wins..

There are thousands of good blogs out there and think of all of that we are missing just because they are not visible to us. That’s why I want to encourage you to share your blog with me so that I can read and hopefully many of my other readers as well. This is also a good opportunity for you to get some new readers and I believe in helping one another since we all want to spread our message to the world.

Leave your blog page link as a comment and I will definitely read it. Please be patient because I have some hectic days in front of me. I encourage everyone to read one another blogs to get motivation and thereby also motivate one another.


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Today’s Prompt: Ghost. An eerily empty hallway

My studio doesn’t provide much closets to speak of but a storage locker comes to the rescue. It’s located down in the basement, all the way through to the next building over.

I am on my way to the storage locker, walking in what seems to be the longest hallway of all. It’s eerily empty and quiet, save for my sound steps. Passing by a window serves as a reminder that I am actually underground, alone on my long way, and not a soul passing by.

The hallway is awfully long and it has turns here and there. Still empty and I almost expect to meet a ghost face to face right around the corner…

Aug 17.  2

This post was written in response to the Daily Post Prompt: GHOST.

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Diabetes Management and Diet-to-Go

First off, I will disclose that I have received complimentary meals in exchange for my unbiased review.  That being said, I am satisfied with the quality of meals, customer service and my BG levels while on the plan.  I even managed to lose 1.5 pounds in the process and love it; this is something I couldn’t achieve prior to participating in the plan.  My daily fasting BG was around 104 – 105 consistently.  Even my neuropathy felt better.

Cooking isn’t one of my favorite pastimes; if I cook, it usually happens either because I have to or else at the spur of the moment.  Throw in the mix my studio appliances that aren’t very efficient, and you get the picture.  Still, I was able to manage my diabetes but was looking for a way to do so without having to cook.  This is when Diet-To-Go came along.

This plan is not a one-size-fits-all; you’re actually able to adjust and choose your meals based on your preferences.  The company was aware that I have diabetes; besides, the customer service inquired about my food allergies and/or preferences.  I thought this was very thoughtful and spoke volumes how the company cares about its customers.  I did have a few preferences that were taken into consideration when putting the plan together.

1 styro box

The meals arrived promptly in a matter of two days, delivered right to my door and packed in a huge styrofoam box with ice packs all over the place.   A printed menu was enclosed as well.   Since the box came in the late afternoon, there was a dinner for this very day; a Portobello lasagna with mixed vegetables.  It contained just a little over one carb or 20g (1 carb = 15g), and no trans fats.  It was tasty and the portion was just right.  Afterwards, I exercised and drank lots of water, then exercised more.  I felt this was a good start.   My starting weight on that day was 152 pounds.  I knew I could stand to lose a few of these and was very motivated to get there.

What I like about the plan meals is variety.  None of the entries ever repeat, it’s different every day so it’s not like you’re eating the same thing over and over again.  Definitely couldn’t do this with my home cooking.

Once you open the box, the contents look like TV dinners but don’t let this fool you.  The meals are fresh, healthy and taste delicious.  They are low-carb, low-fat, and the portions are just right. The entrees are big on vegetables. All the bread products (bagels, waffles) are whole-wheat with high fiber content.  The peanut butter was definitely homemade; unlike the commercial brands, it wasn’t sweet and had a pleasant nutty taste.  The Salmon with Brussels Sprouts I had for dinner was absolutely out of this world.

2 porto lasagna - Copy ww

3 Turkey Patty & chicken pizza - TWO TOGETHER - NEW

The meals were accompanied by a personal menu so you know exactly what you’re eating every day.

In the process of participating, I have lost 1.5 pounds, I feel more energetic and my blood sugar levels were in the normal range.  In fact, my diabetic neuropathy feels so much better now, thanks to the balanced diet.  I highly recommend this plan; try it, you won’t regret it.

The picture below shows my weight before and after.

4 weight BEFORE and AFTER

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Neuropathy, diabetic and non-diabetic

First off, the word ‘neuropathy’ is a medical term.  When translating medical terms into English, you start from the end.  In this case, you start with the –pathy which means a disorder.  Neuro means related to a neuron or a nerve cell.  So neuropathy means disorder of nerve cells, usually the peripheral nerves as opposed to the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord).

Causes of neuropathy.  Most everybody assumes that a neuropathy is always a result of diabetes as a default.  This however can’t be taken for granted because there is a host of other conditions that can lead to a non-diabetic neuropathy.   Some of the neuropathy causes include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, injuries, using crutches that can cause compression of the brachial nerve in the armpit area, chronic kidney or liver disease, some tumors that are pressing on the nerves, high alcohol levels, infections such as Lyme disease or Shingles, and some medications.  About 30% of neuropathies are of an unknown cause.  In my case, several neuropathies occurred long before I was diagnosed.

There are 4 major types of a neuropathy:  peripheral, proximal, autonomic, and focal.

Peripheral Neuropathy or nerve pain as it’s otherwise known, is the most common form.  It affects nerves leading to the extremities.  The nerves going to the feet are the longest in the body.  They tend to get damaged more often as there’s more to be damaged to begin with.  This can lead to the leg & foot problems.  Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of the peripheral neuropathy.

The symptoms depend on which nerves are damaged and usually develop gradually.  They include numbness, tingling, cramps, muscle weakness and insensitivity to pain and/or temperature.  The symptoms tend to get worse at night; I know that is right.  I think that a foot drop that I had years ago, long before being formally diagnosed, was due to the peripheral neuropathy.  It had lasted a few months and went away on its own.

Proximal or Motor Neuropathy is the second most common type of diabetic neuropathy.  It affects muscles in the upper part of the legs, hips, buttocks, and thighs and can cause muscle weakness and nerve pain.  The pain can shoot from the low back & down the leg (sciatica).  As opposed to the peripheral neuropathy, this type usually resolves with time or treatment.  I hope that mine has resolved with time; I used to have shooting pain down the leg but it didn’t happen lately.

Autonomic Neuropathy.  Autonomic Nervous System is responsible for the function of internal organs and bodily functions that are not controlled consciously such as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, body temperature, digestion and metabolism.

This system has two parts:  sympathetic and parasympathetic.  The former prepares the body for stressful situations – fight or flight.  The latter controls body response during ordinary situations.   This makes me think that chances are, anxiety attacks can be due to the Autonomic Neuropathy when the fight or flight response happens at the wrong time which contributes to the state of anxiety.  I couldn’t however find a confirmation for this, so can only guess.

Autonomic Neuropathy can affect a wide variety of the body systems, and the symptoms largely depend on what specific nerves are damaged.   It can be dizziness after standing, irregular heart rate, trouble with night vision or during sudden light changes, digestive problems, and hypoglycemia unawareness that I blogged about last year.

Focal Neuropathy affects a nerve or group of nerves causing sudden weakness or pain most often in the wrist, thigh, or foot.

The symptoms depend on what nerves are involved.   If for example, the cranial nerves are involved, this can cause pain in and around one of the eyes, trouble moving the eyes, difficulty focusing, and double vision.  If a femoral nerve is malfunctioning, then one can experience weakness in the leg and difficulty going up and down stairs, especially down with the feeling of the knee giving way or buckling.

Unlike the other types of diabetic nerve pain, focal neuropathy comes on suddenly and the symptoms usually go away after a few weeks; these aren’t long -term symptoms.

Bottom line, diabetes isn’t the only cause of a neuropathy.  Non-diabetic neuropathy exists just as well.

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