When it comes to diabetes, vigilance can sometimes eliminate the need of insulin as well as help you control your diabetes. Most people with type II diabetes, are not made aware of the severity of this diagnosis, are not given […]
Just after I feel proud of the way I’ve been able to handle my diabetes over these 40+ years, I find myself battling, of all things, sleep. It has easily been a year or more of feeling exhausted, run down, foggy, and falling asleep just sitting still for a moment. Not a big deal one might say, however, picture this at your work desk, or in your car in a line of traffic behind a stopped school bus, all of a sudden horns are blowing, you open your eyes to find the school bus blocks ahead of you. Not very comforting.
One might say this has happened to everyone, and I will be the first to agree, however, these things were happening more and more, and not just after a long day at work, but in the morning on my way to work!!! After what I thought was a full nights sleep. Sound asleep from the minute my head hit the pillow until my bladder woke me in the morning. Yes troubling. When I mentioned it to people they would just say it happens to all of us as we get older. Do people not realize age is not an illness!!! But that’s another soapbox. When brought to my internist attention, her first response is to do labs, ”it must be hypoglycemia, lets review my diet, exercise, or supplements, then tell me I do not fit the apnea profile. Well guess what, I do not fit the ”diabetic” profile either but here I am. When all the labs come back normal it is pushed away again, blaming the “highs and lows” of diabetes. Of course, why didn’t I think of that!!!!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a glutton for problems, but I do know when answers are needed. I gradually stopped enjoying everything I once loved, didn’t look forward to things which usually brought me pleasure, ie; vacations, visiting family, going out after work, cooking, working out, nothing. I was happier when my husband was away on business so I could come home from work and do nothing; no cooking, just sit, veg and fall asleep. I was angry ALL the time, because I knew this wasn’t me, and luckily my husband knew it too. We managed to get an overnight Pulse Ox gadget to test my vitals while asleep. Oh surprise, it turns out my 02 levels (oxygen) were dropping to as low as 72% throughout the night. Normal is 90% and over. Needless to say now my internist was paying attention. She felt the need to stress to me that of course “being diabetic” this was a perfect set-up for stroke or heart attack during the night. Now the fun part…..the overnight Sleep Study at the hospital. One would wonder how you can sleep with electrodes across your chest, wires down your pant leg, pulse ox on one hand, more electrodes wired and glued to your hair, face and neck, and an nasal canula in your nose, but tell you what, when you have gotten so little sleep, over so long a period of time, you fall asleep. Even knowing the ones watching you in the control room can tell when you move your eyes!!!
Well, the nightmare told us what we knew from the simple pulse ox, my brain was getting little oxygen during the evening, I was not going into the deepest stage of sleep, but for about 20 mins nightly and so I WAS TIRED!!!! Months later, no big change since I cannot sleep with the damn mask, now I’m up all night adjusting it,
Oh yeah!!!! Valentines Day is coming. We have finally finished, and hopefully survived the “holiday” calorie traps, now we must stand strong on chocolate hearts, pastries, and other expressions of love from people who care about us. Question is, do they know about us?
Do not find blame in others for giving gifts of sweet affection from those who do not know our resolution or nutritional limitations. Be polite and thankful someone thought of you and is following tradition, after all, who’s ever heard of giving a heart shape box of fruits and vegetables, or a bouquet of celery stalks. Simply accept with a smile and a thank you, maybe take one of your favorite out of the box, and then spread the happiness by opening the box to others in the office, or at the house.
Yes, this, my friends, is called will-p0wer, but remember that resolution, the one about starting your healthy life making smart decisions? It really gives you a sense of power and a feeling of “you” are in control of this. After all, 2 year olds and animals have no self control, you are different, you DO! You’re a smart, adult learning how to take care of yourself and being a smart example for your family. Sure, some one who loves you could give you flowers, but they die quickly, and can be expensive, or jewelry, now that last forever, and yes can be expensive, but no, they choose to buy you something they know you’ll love, not realizing this too, last forever, on your thighs and hips, and most probably in your blood work, making your next MD appt very uncomfortable. Another option is a fine dinner out, some nice restaurant with elegant atmosphere. Personally, this is my favorite because I am confident in my meal choices and knowledge of foods. It can be a disaster if you get carried away with sauces and creams and all the extras, another reason to get educated on nutrition, it’s liberating to know what you can and shouldn’t eat. Please refer to my article on Nutrition Traps.
When in doubt, hold to your convictions, choose the cuddly, cute teddy bear. He’s the safest choice, hands down.
It’s easy to go out to dinner and choose their “healthy choices” menu items, however, the most important question to ask is, “healthy for whom?” Of course, being a PWD for 45 yrs, I would naturally go for foods offering; a.) less sugar, b.)less fat, c.)less carbohydrates, d.)less fried, and/or e.)less calories…??? The “healthy options are endless, and for the unknowing person, it can all be overwhelming. This is why I stress “educating yourself” learn to read nutrition labels on packages, learn the differences in fats, good carbs/bad carbs, and most importantly, learn that you are not protected by FDA who allows companies to make false claims on food labels who say they are healthy if they fit “their” guidelines of healthy. (such as GMOs).
Well, here are the quickest solutions to this trick question; a.) if there is less fat, there will be more sugar added for flavor, b.) if there is less sugar, there will be more fat added for flavor, c.) if there is a carb count, is it simple or complex carbs they’re eliminating, or is it the “other carbs”?? d.) pick broiled or baked over fried anytime, however, if it must be fried, inquire on the kind of oil they are using, e) less calories means almost nothing today, unless you are sincerely using your calorie counter with each and everything you put in your mouth, if it is one of those food “casserole” with hundreds of calories where someone could not decide which bad thing to put in, so they put it all in, just SAY NO! The point to know about fats; saturated is the worst, HINT, saturated is the fat that when left in room temperature, it forms a spongy, grayish layer over the top as it cools, yumm!! Followed by Trans fats, Mono and polyunsaturated fat is safest, they are plant based not animal or chemical. When doing your own cooking, (always the healthiest choice, but I know, it’s hard to find time) use pure virgin Olive Oil, and side note, have been doing my own research on news of margarine being one molecule away from plastic, I am now convinced this is over exaggerated, however I will still use butter in small amounts.
When reading those nutrition labels, make your self familiar with “serving size” or servings per container, mainly because this is the number you must multiply all the other numbers with for an accurate count. I have a good appetite, some single serving containers that I could eat in an instant, are actually packaged for 2 people, so those numbers must be doubled. Yeah, it’s all a trick to make it appear healthy.
What about all those healthy yogurt commercials, yikes, don’t get me started. The healthy weight, fat and sugar free variety may have no fat, but they are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, for added sweetness, (reread paragraph 2), which if you read my earlier post, is horrible for you. (Fructose, the Other Evil, 10/17/2013) Syrupy fruits added, HFCS as well. Probiotic yogurts fail to tell you that during the high heat processing, all the probiotic organism are killed, this in turn negates the “good” of the probiotics. One solution given is getting Organic Plain Greek Yogurt, add some real honey, some fresh fruit and I add flaxseed for a nutty taste, and enjoy. Processed foods, chemical additives, some you don’t even realize are chemicals, and sugar substitutes are all things to monitor. This can, and should be done to keep you and your family healthy for many more years. (and it teaches good habits to youngsters.)
Yes, we all do it…we convince ourselves we will start a new, healthier, life style this year. Our yearly “New Years Resolution”. Will it be the gym, diet, smoking, or all of the above? Well, you are the only one you need to convince. If you are NOT ready to make the life style change required, you will NOT succeed, and it must be a “life style change”. It can be small steps at a time or a major overhaul, but here is my promise, if you truly make the effort to eat healthier, in moderation, small changes at a time, your body will let you know it was the right decision to make.
This may seem extreme, however, this is how I changed my unhealthy eating habits years ago. After doing much self-educating, studying, reading and record keeping, and experimenting with how different foods affected ME as a Type 1 PWD, I made the conscious decision that I did not want my diabetes to be what kills me in the end. After being told by every doctor you see for any given ailment, whether as simple as a skin tag, or hang nail it suddenly is because of your diabetes, I was pretty much convinced my diabetes was their easy answer to everything.
Being heavier than I was comfortable with, initially I stopped adding the tasty add-ons that not only add more flavor, but tons more calories, HFCS, and artificial flavors, ie; margarine on bread, potatoes, and hot veggies, I switched to mustard instead of mayo, oil and vinegar instead of creamy salad dressings, no more gravies or melted cheese. I soon came to realize, I actually loved the unadulterated flavors of these foods without all the window dressings. Not only did I start to drop pounds, but I also did not eat as much because I was not doctoring my food for more flavor, but making it good enough to eat. Less food, fewer calories and moderation became MY life style. My blood sugars were easier to control and my A1Cs were always in the low 6s. (if you are diabetic and do not understand A1Cs, you have some self-educating or MD switching to do.)
Soon, my sister began explaining my eating habit as “eating to live, not living to eat”, as is our family tradition. It has become a good habit, I do not even think about it, or feel I’m being deprived of anything. Another healthy thing to do is, next time you just HAVE to have that pastry, or desert, or bag of chips, and you finish it, ask yourself, “was it really worth the calories, extra insulin shot, or damaging preservatives you just put in your body?” If you are honest with yourself, the answer will be NO! Another trick I use is to simply have a taste of the treat, this does, and will suffice, once you are on a better path. Read more, read about the preservatives, chemicals, additives, artificial colors and words you can’t pronounce and learn what they do, most will stop you in your tracks, then REREAD it again to gross yourself out, because this new life style will make you unwilling to put that garbage in your new, healthier body, and your body will thank you.
Yes, the Holidays are upon us. Shopping, decorating, eating, spending, cooking, eating, planning, visiting, eating. See a pattern here? Food, and I use the term losely, will be available and offered continuously. Most, however, is fat, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar filled snacks, treats and desserts. Sure someone worked hard to make them, with love I’m sure, however, if the person preparing these goodies really cares, they will not be insulted by your refusal, or your “O.K., but just a bite”, reply, and more importantly, they should not even try to make us feel guilty for not indulging.
This time of year is a good excuse for cheating, and we all do, yes, even me!!!! We must, however, choose our cheats carefully, not just one of each, or, I’ll starve myself tomorrow. Homemade foods, desserts especially, are very hard to guesstimate the carb load and the numerous other ingredient that will raise that blood sugar number up, not to mention blood fats, blood pressure, ets. If we could just not feel like we are being punished or ripped-off because we should not eat it all, and work on a mind-set of being thankful that we have a legitimate excuse, or easy out, for not packing on the pounds, or feeling bloated or stuffed. Yes, it is a whole new mind set, I’ve been working on it for many years, but it works for me. The important people I’m around understand, the others I really don’t care if they do. Ignorance runs amok when it comes to good, safe foods and snacks, and you can see it in appearances.
Be safe this Holiday, be careful to use moderation, and if it makes the cavities in your teeth hurt to eat it, watch out!!!
It came to my attention while reading some updates on nutritional info, that the EU, or European Union’s food safety watchdogs, have been looking into the safety issues of aspartame. Coincidentally, this was after sales in major soft drink company’s sales have shrunk, (meaning people really are paying attention), they have decided after several of the most “comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame ever undertaken” that if consumed as directed (dosage??) it is safe.
This is the opinion of Alicja Mortensen, chairwoman of EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and NutrientSources Added to Foods or (ANS Panel). It has found “no evidence of safety concerns at the current EU “acceptable daily intake” (ADI) level for aspartame of 40 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of body weight. Here is how one would figure a “safe” amount of aspartame; One can of diet soda contains on average 180 milligrams of aspartame, meaning an adult weighing 75 kilograms can drink up to 16 cans per day to exceed the EU’s safe level. the US’s allowable daily intake is slightly higher at 50 mg/kg. However this does not take into account all the aspartame added to just about every thing else we eat and drink, without us realizing it.
Do the math for yourself, actually, I’m horrible at math, especially the metric system, it’s just easier on my mind and physical well being that I don’t partake in the aspartame experiment which continues to go on.
(This info was from Rutgers on 12/10/13…EU food safety body sees no new health risk from aspartame.
Relationships can be difficult under the best circumstances, especially new ones. Imagine one where a young, single guy can’t figure out why his new girl is always leaving the dinner table or picnic area alone before meals, won’t snack on movie munchies without leaving the room first. She seems normal most times, enjoys outdoor activities, dancing, movies, gatherings with friends and even watching sports with you and your buddies. It’s almost like she hiding something from you but you can’t figure it out, is she doing drugs? Binge and purge, only that would be after eating! And why during or after extended activities or outings does she become flustered and confused, unable to complete a single train of thought? He was not aware I was checking my blood glucose levels.
Well, my better half, Pat, since 1987 learned through living it with me, the “life and times” of the PWD. My husband, who can be described best as a busy and dedicated man in his field, took on the life of living with a Type 1 diabetic who initially new little, but was determined to learn all she could. Fortunately for me, so did Pat. Together we learned what I should and shouldn’t, could and wouldn’t, and well, O.K. maybe I will, do things. The hardest part is my diabetes did not read the owner’s manual on what will work and what won’t. Luckily, my husband learned the signs and symptoms of low blood sugars, and has saved me many times, despite my fighting and cursing that ” I AM FINE.”
I did not have insurance, we were not married yet, however, he did not back down when it came to helping me attain what I needed. Initially, it was not much, as I was pretty self sufficient and healthy PWD, however, as things mature, relationships, knowledge and unfortunately our bodies, so does wear and tear. My low blood sugars took on “new and exciting” characteristics. Soon I could talk and communicate with no slurring or tripping over words, or fragmented thoughts at blood sugar readings in the 30s. This began to concern Pat, I no longer broke out in sweats. This caused me to have to test twice as much, because when I did goof up, it “HAD” to be low sugar.
I certainly cannot fault Pat for his concern. Imagine having someones life in your hands even when that other person does not realize it! I have regained consciousness, standing in the bathtub, in my pajamas, with a glass of juice in my hands. Dripping wet from sweat with Pat holding a cold wash cloth for me, never judging. I have become aware of someone talking in our bedroom, apologizing for having to have called the EMTs, repeating, “I know you’re gonna be mad, but I couldn’t wake you”, over and over. I would look at him pacing with the phone in one hand, a blood monitor in the other, and the taste of juice in my mouth. I could move or speak well, but he was always so happy to see I was responding. It breaks my heart that I cause him this pain, and I try to make him realize how much he means to me.
Hopefully, we all have our guardian angels close by. That we all were able to grow and learn together what to do, what to watch for and how to respond. This is not a single persons disease, but one that requires someone to monitor at times, especially if the PWD is trying to live a healthy lifestyle and live a long time. Low blood sugars are a serious event, causing immediate effects and requiring immediate attention. Telling the people you love, the people you work with, or the people you hang with is of the utmost importance for these reasons.
In the early 80s, soon after leaving home, I was an uninsured Type 1 diabetic with little knowledge of what diabetes meant other than “limits on everything”, from foods, to activities, to extended times away from my apartment where my supplies were being refrigerated. I had no idea what my sugars were running mainly due to having no knowledge of blood glucose monitors, I was still using the urine test strips, which I could barely afford. I figured as long as I didn’t eat “sugar” I would be fine.
I was working in the food and beverage industry in the Florida Keys when low and behold, I learned my bosses wife was also diabetic, a well informed and insured diabetic who knew enough to help me make some better choices and taught me just enough to make me want to know more. We talked often, however, it was evident she did not do as she preached. Shortly thereafter, I gained employment in a hospital setting where I was able to get group insurance, find a doctor and get my first blood glucose monitor. One of the main things I did learn the hard way, was to inform the people I spent most of my time with, about my condition, as you will soon read why.
Now armed with my blood monitor, and a desire to lose weight and slay the world, I continued working 2 jobs, little time to eat, which fit right into my plan of weight loss. I soon came to learn what a low blood sugar felt like, only I didn’t know that that is what I was feeling. One afternoon, when I was suppose to be getting up to work across the street, third double shift in a row, I woke but could not move, could not talk, my mouth was filled with blood. I tried to roll out of bed, landing face down on the floor, not being able to rise. Holy Crap! Had I had a stroke, I sounded like it. I drug myself across the floor, on my belly, to the phone which, unfortunately was hanging on the wall over the kitchen table. Pulling up on the chair to stand didn’t work, my legs were like putty. I reached for the phone, dialed work and heard myself talk for the first time, Oh my god!! I must have had a stroke, next thing I know, I was tipping over backward, pulling the phone out of the wall and landing on the floor again, fortunately it was by the door. I reached up and turned the knob just enough to unlock it, just in case someone would come, then I just laid back down as I had no energy for anything else. Luckily, everyone at work new I was never late, some knew I had diabetes, and somehow figured out that garbled message on the phone was me. Off to the hospital we went, again armed with new knowledge for future reference, of what a low blood sugar felt like. Scary!!!
Sure, I have had many since then, many, many, many, as it turns out I have good sensitivity to insulin. My symptoms evolved and sometimes they even scared and confused me, however, being told I should keep my glucose as controlled as someone without diabetes, was probably the worse thing my endocrinologist at that time, could have told me. It was only just recently, my new endo informed me now that I’m older, I will not tolerate such severe or frequent lows. As glucose is a major source of food for our brain, it turns out I have killed off the “federal deficits” worth over the years. I make light of it with others, however, knowing in the back of my mind, I need to be more vigilant, and compliant when my husband tells me, “you need juice.” He is usually right, even if I don’t realize it yet.
I realize one of the biggest deals of the Holidays are the family traditions, especially when it comes to the meals. In this day and age, however, with obesity running rampant, Type 2 Diabetes next in line, not to mention high cholesterol, high blood pressure and numerous food allergies, wouldn’t it be a “special Holiday gift” to your family, if you could introduce them to foods that will not clog an artery, or raise blood pressure, or especially spike someones blood sugar out the roof after the meal is done.
Sure, we all “cheat” during the Holidays, but learning the alternatives is setting a good example for the younger generations, and showing your favorite diabetic that you were thinking of them during meal planning too. Introduce a few items at a time, we wouldn’t want to shock tradition, however, how can any of them be mad that you are looking out for their health. As I mentioned in “Let the Holidays Begin”, I usually bring a “safe” dish that I know will not affect my sugar negatively, and for whoever cares to partake, of course with the appropriate “bad sauces and dips” on the side. We Americans really do put to much emphasis on food.
This article was on Yahoo homepage, by Sarah B Weir, “Everything Guide to Entertainment”, Nov 26, 2013, with great substitutes for some incredibly sinister side dishes served on the Holidays, and I say sinister not only because of calories and fat count, but because of the additives, preservatives and chemical parts in the ingredient labels which few people read.
“With a few tweaks, you can still enjoy an indulgent, satisfying, and delicious meal without going, shall we say, hog wild. Here are the biggest calorie bombs per serving and lighter alternatives—if you made all these swaps, you would save more than 4,000 calories!!! Skip: Mixed Nuts 442 calories per half cup, Splurge: Shrimp Cocktail 183 calories per cup. Skip Mashed Potatoes With Cream and Butter 305 calories per 3/4 cup, Splurge: Roast Potatoes With Olive Oil and Herbs 141 calories per 2/3 cup. Skip: Green Bean Casserole 375 calories per cup. Splurge: Green Beans With Caramelized Onions and Walnuts 131 calories per 3/4 cup. Skip: Creamed Onions 328 calories per 3/4 cup. Splurge: Sauteed Brussels Sprouts 100 calories per 3/4 cup. Skip: Candied Sweet Potatoes 587 calories per 2/3 cup, Splurge: Roasted Sweet Potatoes 96 calories per 1/2 cup. Skip: Turkey with Gravy 71 calories per 1/2 cup and Sausage Stuffing 610 calories per cup, Splurge: Turkey With Fresh Cranberry Sauce 40 calories per 1/4 cup, Skip: Chocolate Pecan Pie With Whipped Cream 850 calories per 1/8 whole pie, Splurge: Pumpkin Pie 316 calories per 1/8 whole pie.
Now I can see my family’s faces right now, IF they read this, but if you reread the above measurements, how many people stop at the 1/2, 3/4, or 2/3s cup of anything, so these numbers are actually fewer than what is consumed. They laugh at me for my eating habits, and say that I have to eat this way, well guess what, “No, I don’t”, but I love my family and wish they could all eat healthier. My mom was successful several years ago when she wanted to lose weight, we bought her books on carbs counting, kind of a modified South Beach Diet. She lost and looked great in her “bejeweled pocket jeans”, she was early 70s at the time, and thankfully my niece watches what she allows her baby girl to eat, hopefully, instilling “healthy” eating habits that she will grow into. If you love your family, you should give it a try, a little at a time.
Many people are confused by terms their doctors use referring to blood sugar levels. Rightly so, as the “normal” ranges have continually been lowered and lowered. I too, thought it was a scam from the big pharmaceutical companies who relish the idea of everyone being on medications for Type 2 Diabetes. ChaChing, ChaChing go the cash registers. Anyway, after much reading and re-educating myself on the effects of higher than normal ranges for extended amounts of time, has conceded that it is detrimental for people to maintain lower blood sugar levels, and here’s why.
There has been an epidemic, yes, it is now an epidemic, of Type 2 Diabetes among adults, and yes, young adults as well. Beginning in 2007 figures had already been astronomical, 25.8 million people diagnosed, that was 8.3% of the population at a cost of 174 billion dollars a year. What stands out in my mind is that at THAT time, 79 million people (25% of the population) had blood sugar levels in the “high normal” range, which to me is an oxymoron. Mainly because these are the people who today, 2013, have Type 2. I believe it is mainly due to lack of educating these folks on what was important for them to know. Preventing Type 2 is doable. The following information comes from a book by a Dr. Brownstein, who wrote “Balancing Your Blood Sugar” and is a must for Type 2′s who care about helping themselves, and yes, of course, he is trying to sell products, but that is your choice. I find his info helpful for anyone wanting to understand their infliction, or prevent it from happening.
Our American diet is such that we overload on simple carbs, fats, sugars, and starches which causes our blood sugar to hit those dreaded “high normals” after our meals, this in turn causes our pancreas to produce and release more insulin to return our blood sugar levels back to normal. Many things come into play here, but simply, the more we allow these ups and downs of our blood sugar, the more we over work our systems of checks and balances. Our bodies like a happy medium, homeostasis , where everything is neutral. Prolonged excess sugar in our system devastates small vessels leading to eyes, kidneys, heart, and even circulation to lower extremities, and this is so gradual, most adults do not realize the damage until it is serious and only THEN do they discover they are Type 2.
Too much insulin is another issue all of it’s own. Once an overload of insulin is released to combat all the glucose in your system, it can do it’s job all too well, causing you to feel weak, tired, sweaty, unable to focus, and cause you to crave more food, so of course we grab whatever sweets are around to fix the fix, which in turn, you guessed it, causes more insulin to be released to correct your correction. If this were a perfect world, our problem would be solved, however, every food we eat gets processed at different speeds,( please refer to glycemic index) some taking much too long to correct your low, so we eat more, causing a higher blood sugar level. This, my friends, is known as the ” Blood Sugar roller coaster”, and unless you understand it, you are in for a ride. Been there, done that!
In my mind, ”pre-diabetic”, ”high normal range”, and “metabolic syndrome” all mean you should restrict yourself from eating as carelessly as you once did, monitor what you put in your meal plan, what you keep around the house to snack on, and increase your activity levels to assist your body’s use of glucose. MOST Type 2 can be prevented, do not allow yourself to accumulate all the visceral fat which leads to poor health.