Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My 1 Year Diaversary

So, one year ago today I was given my Diabetes Type II diagnosis. I don't know an exact date for when my Diabetes developed, but I know that it was sometime between April 2010 (had bloodwork done & my numbers were normal at that time) and January 2011 ( had bloodwork done & my numbers were not normal). And based on symptoms I can even narrow that down a little more. We took our grandkids to Disney World in late May 2010 and I had no symptoms but by Thanksgiving I was experiencing hypoglycemic lows. So I have it narrowed down to a five month span of time. I'm going to lean closer to the end of that 5 month span since my symptoms are probably a good indicator. So we could say Fall 2010. 

So much has changed in this past year with regards to my health and diet. I now know a lot of numbers regarding glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and the likes that I had no clue about before my diagnosis. I was already on blood pressure medicine, but I just took the pill every day - no real knowledge or concern what the numbers were or meant. I was also on meds for my triglycerides. And again, I was just taking the pill - let the pill take care of the number. But once I was told I had Diabetes I realized that any and all of the health issues I was taking meds for would all become more important simply because Diabetes tends to complicate most health issues.

I also now know how, when and why to test my glucose. Who would have thought that pricking my finger daily would become such a non-event? But after the first few weeks it pretty much became a non- event. I do it almost without thought now. In fact, my 7 year old grand-daughter does the finger prick for me when she is here. For some reason she loves helping me with my Diabetes - be it fthe finger prick or reminding me that I can't eat sugar (not that I do anymore, but she will ask for a snack and tell me she would like a Kit Kat Candy Bar end then say "But you can't have it cause it has sugar, right?").  

And, when first diagnosed, my BG and A1C were both so high that I was immediately put on Metformin and Insulin injections. And while the injections never became a non-event, it did get easier before it got better. Initially I had a herder time injecting myself so I had my husband do my injections, but God love him, I know he cared and I know he meant well, but I think he became too complacent after a few weeks and I started feeling the injections more than I thought I should. I knew that I needed to tough-up and do this myself. It wasn't all that bad and I actually got pretty good at it. But fortunately I was also making major changes to my diet and exercise and was able to get my blood glucose numbers into control well enough that I came off the insulin completely. 

With continued diet modification (I can't say continued exercise since that has more or less fallen to the way-side - but honestly, who wants to stand in their den and do exercises all alone day after day - it is just so uninspiring and un-motivating to me.), but anyway, with continued diet I have managed to keep my BG controlled well enough that I eventually came off the Metformin also. Coming off Metformin was primarily to address major hair loss I was experiencing. I was shedding worse than a sheep dog in the dead of summer in South Alabama. I could walk from my bedroom to my kitchen and drop no less than 10 hairs on the way - and that is a short stroll in my tiny house. And, having now been off Metformin for a few months my hair loss has subsided. If ever my BG becomes too hard to control without meds I will address the hair loss issue at that time. But until then, I will stay the course and hope my diet keeps my glucose in good control for a long long time.

So, that brings me to my One Year Diaversary - and I now consider my Diabetes to be a non-event. It is a fact of life and a pert of who I am, but all in all it is currently just the impetus behind my diet choices. I will never eat sugar as I once did and I will forever choose diet drinks over regular drinks (something I wanted no part of prior to my diagnosis) and I will  be selective and limiting in regard to carb foods. 

My next goal is to reach my 5 year Diaversary without having to get back on any Diabetes meds. Here's to the next five years being non-events! (clink clink)

I don't expect to have to update this blog for five more years, so, until then, Goodnight Moon. :D 

Monday, January 16, 2012

10 Tests That All Diabetics Should Know About (By Jralphs on Diabetic Connect)

10 Tests That All Diabetics Should Know About (By Jralphs  on Diabetic Connect)

1. Blood glucose self monitoring
Frequency: 4-6 times per day or as doctor instructs
Regularly checking blood glucose levels will help balance and maintain good diabetes control.  This test measures the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.  By testing you will know how much medication or insulin to take and how to balance your diet to help control those levels.
2. Hemoglobin A1c
Frequency: every 3 to 6 months
This test reflects the average amount of glucose in the bloodstream over time.  This test gives you more insight regarding overall diabetes control than daily blood sugar checks can.  It is advised to aim for an A1c of 7% or less for optimal diabetes care and overall health.

3. Blood Pressure
Frequency: at each doctor’s visit (the doctor may have you check it more often if it is high)
High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels just as too much sugar in the bloodstream can.  The blood vessels to worry most about are the vessels in the eyes which are already at risk due to diabetes.  It is important to keep your blood pressure below 130/80 so as to not cause additional complications and increase the risk of heart disease.

4. Lipid Profile
Frequency: yearly
This is a blood test to measure the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.  There are two types of cholesterol that are measured in this test.  HDL is the good cholesterol that can protect against heart disease.  LDL is bad cholesterol that damages the heart.  Triglycerides are another fat that are measured in the bloodstream with this test.  Make sure to discuss the results of this test with your healthcare team and make adjustments in your lifestyle if necessary to achieve healthy levels of each.

5. Eye exam
Frequency: yearly
As a diabetic you should be seen by your ophthalmologist at least once a year for a dilated eye exam.  This is to check for retinopathy which is a much higher risk for those with diabetes.  Retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the retina change.  This can cause the fluid in the eye to leak or for the vessels to close off completely.  Retinopathy can be treated if caught early so make sure you are diligent about getting this test done.

6. Foot exam
Frequency: yearly (unless you see changes in your feet, then ask your doctor)
Many diabetics have bad circulation and often develop neuropathy, causing reduced sensitivity in the feet.  In addition to having your doctor do a foot exam, make sure to check your own feet frequently for any wounds or irregularities.  By checking your feet you may be able to reduce complications with your feet by catching any problems early.

7.  Dental Checkup
Frequency: every 6 months
Along with poor blood sugar control comes the impairment of white blood cells that fight off bacterial infection.  If you do not take good care of your mouth you are at a much higher risk for gum disease.  Keep your recommended dental appointment in order to maintain optimum health for your teeth and gums.

8. Microalbuminuria check
Frequency: at least once a year (your doctor should request this test more often if there is reason for concern)
This is a urine test to verify if there is protein in the urine which would indicate whether or not you are at risk for a variety of kidney problems.  Diabetics are more at risk for kidney disease and if caught early the damage can be treated and slowed.

9. BMI
Frequency: Should be checked at each doctor’s visit to help you stay at a healthy weight.
The body mass index measures an individual’s body fat according to their height and weight.  A BMI that is above the normal range would indicate a person is at risk of obesity.  Obesity can be a huge risk factor for type 2  diabetes.  Also, diabetes can be much better managed if a person strives to keep their BMI within the recommended range.

10. Neurologic examination
Frequency: yearly (unless you are experiencing nerve pain, then consult your doctor)
Because diabetics often have bad circulation and are at a much higher risk for neuropathy, make sure you receive a complete neurologic examination in order to locate any areas that you are having nerve pain or complications.

source: Diabetic Connect

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#Diabetes - Dawn Phenomenon

Another interesting article I want to post - helps to share and helps me to find it again for future reference.

Dawn phenomenon
by Jim Hartmann
One of the most frustrating things that diabetics deal with is an unexpected rise in blood glucose overnight. You go to bed with a BG of 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L), and wake up with a BG of 130 (7.2)! You didn’t eat, so what happened?
This results from two distinctly different processes: Dawn Phenomenon and Somogyi Effect. Here are some basics.


Everyone, diabetic or not, exhibits some Dawn Phenomenon. It is a natural part of our bodies’ circadian rhythms. Some have said it is the way our ancestors had the strength to rise and slay a woolly behemoth for breakfast.
Since most of us fast while sleeping, with teenagers a possible exception, our bodies use stored energy during sleep. The body uses all three macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) to store energy.
The most easily used is the storage medium of carbohydrates, called glycogen. Glycogen is made from glucose, and is stored in the liver and muscles. Since it is basically nothing more than a complex matrix of glucose, it is easy for the body to store and use, something the body does all day long. The technical term for the act of creating and storing glycogen is glycogenesis. When the body calls for the conversion of glycogen back to glucose it is called glycogenolysis.
Another macro-nutrient that is available to be converted to glucose is protein. Most of us think of our protein as being stored in muscle, but the body has protective mechanisms to make muscle wasting its last choice. One of the most useful and readily available sources of protein storage is in blood components, i.e., albumin (plasma). The body uses a process performed in the liver to convert amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, into glucose. The name for this process is gluconeogenesis, literally “the creation of new glucose”.
So, what does all this have to do with a high fasting BG? Overnight, usually between 4am and 11am, your body releases some hormones. These are Growth Hormone (GH) from the anterior pituitary gland, cortisol from the adrenal cortex, glucagon from your pancreatic alpha-cells, and epinephrine (adrenalin). These hormones cause an increase in insulin resistance, raising your BG. In addition, these hormones trigger glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis, adding stored or new glucose to your bloodstream.
Dawn Phenomenon, and its associated increase in insulin resistance, is the reason most diabetics are far more sensitive to carbs in the morning.

Dealing with Dawn Phenomenon

There are many ways of defeating Dawn Phenomenon. You will have to experiment with the following suggestions to see what works for you.
  1. Try eating no food after dinner. This works for people whose Dawn Phenomenon isn’t very strong. Basically, it lowers their baseline BG, so that when DP does hit them, the increase keeps them below a certain level, usually 120 (6.7).
  2. Try eating a small snack of fat and protein before bed. Most find that a tablespoon of peanut butter, or some cheese and deli meat are effective. The theory here is that the slow-digesting fat and protein holds their BG high enough overnight to avoid Somogyi Effect (see below).
  3. Eventually, you will learn how the two disparate approaches above work for you. Hopefully, you will set personal targets to guide you, eg., if my BG is below XXX (insert your target here), I need a snack. If my BG is over XXX, I don’t need a snack.
  4. The prescription medication Metformin HCl (Glucophage) is often very effective in limiting Dawn Phenomenon for Type-2s and insulin resistant Type-1s. Of course, Type-1s can adjust their basal (slow) insulin regimen to account for Dawn Phenomenon.
  5. Lastly, EAT BREAKFAST. The resulting increase in blood glucose from food will often turn off the continued rise. If you don’t, some diabetics will continue to rise until 10-11 am.


Somogyi Effect, named for Dr. Robert Somogyi, its discoverer, is a high morning BG due to a low overnight. It is most commonly seen with insulin using diabetics, but is also seen with overnight reactive hypoglycemics.
The mechanism is a low overnight, which causes the body to react by releasing many of the same hormones seen in DP. The strongest blood glucose increasing hormone, glucagon, plays an important role. It tells your liver to start glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis to provide enough glucose for your body to survive. This is sometimes referred to as a Liver Dump. Often, this mechanism over-produces, and you wake to a significantly higher BG.
Setting your bedtime BG target a bit higher, will usually prevent you from having a hypoglycemic event overnight.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New to #Diabetes? Ask Your Doctor These Questions!

Posting to save and share:

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a scary time for most patients. There is typically much uncertainty and an overload of information. If you have gotten the call to come in and talk with your doctor about your recent blood glucose testing, have this list of questions ready so that you can better understand your new diagnosis.
1. What is my fasting blood sugar? The fasting blood sugar is used to determine if a patient has hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, or if the patient has diabetes. Any fasting value above 100 mg/dl is considered abnormal. A fasting blood sugar higher than 126 is diagnostic for diabetes. Anything in between these numbers is borderline high and at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

2. What is my HbA1c? A hemoglobin A1c is a test that measures your blood sugar over 2-3 months. It gives an idea of what your average sugars have been. To manage diabetes with diet and exercise, the HbA1c should be below 7.0%. Anything higher than this may require the use of medications.

3. Do I need to see any specialists? Ask your doctor for a referral for an eye exam and ask if you need to see a foot doctor.

4. Can I test my sugars at home? Ask your doctor for a blood glucose machine, testing strips and lancets. Keep a daily log of readings and your food intake.

5. Can I see a certified diabetic educator? This may be the most valuable referral! These professionals will explain your condition and work with you to develop a personalized management plan.

6. Is it safe for me to exercise? You may need testing on your heart before you begin but weight loss and exercise are important parts of managing diabetes. Be sure that your doctor thinks that you are healthy enough to exercise before your begin.

7. Do I need any medications? As above, the need for medications depend on your blood sugar readings.

8. How often do I need to see my doctor or have blood work? You will likely need blood work checked every 3-6 months.

9. Is my blood pressure acceptable? Blood pressure readings should be less than 130/80 in diabetic patients.

10. Is my cholesterol acceptable? Your cholesterol should be in good control. Ask your doctors if your numbers are in line with the current recommendations for diabetic patients.
Bring this list with you to your appointment if you are overwhelmed and not sure which questions to ask. Understanding your diagnosis is the first step in learning how to live with diabetes and improve your blood sugars.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Leptin May Prevent Type 2 #Diabetes

(Found an article I want to "Save and Share")

Pre-Existing Drugs May Restore Sensitivity to Leptin, an Appetite Suppressing Hormone

Jan 22, 2009
Hearts in the medical community beat with considerable excitement at the discovery of leptin in 1994. A hormone produced by fat, leptin has a very useful talent: it tells the brain when to stop eating. So hopes were high that leptin would become the basis of an anti-obesity treatment. What could be simpler than to dose an obese person with a hormone that says, "You're not hungry any more, and you want to stop eating."
Unfortunately, a snag soon emerged. Obese people do not respond to leptin. Scientists faced two mysteries: First, how do people become resistant to leptin in the first place? And second, are there any drugs that increase sensitivity to leptin?
Those questions have remained unanswered for a long time. But a Children's Hospital Boston study, published in the January 7 issue ofCell Metabolism, may have found the answers to both.
First, it appears that a stress-induced condition causes the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that responds to leptin, to resist the hormone.
Second, two drugs (4-PBA and TUDCA), which are already approved by the FDA for use in other medical applications, appear to greatly increase leptin sensitivity. The receptivity of lab mice resistant to the hormone increased as much as 10-fold when the two drugs were used as "chemical chaperones" to prime the mice for leptin injections.
The Boston study found that a condition called "endoplasmic reticulum" stress in the body's peripheral organs leads to leptin resistance. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a cellular component that produces proteins. Other cellular components, called "molecular chaperones," then fold the protein into its ultimate three-dimensional shape and transport it. When the chaperones can't keep up, a stress response is triggered, called "unfolded protein response" (UPR).
The researchers suspected that ER stress and UPR blocked leptin's action in the brain and were at fault for the hypothalamus's leptin resistance. Previous studies had already shown that mice bred to have ER stress were leptin-resistant and tended to obesity. Once the researchers ascertained that such was the case, they turned to an experimental drug therapy that involved using 4-PBA and TUDCA as chemical chaperones.
Currently, 4-PBA (buphenyl) is used to treat cystic fibrosis and urea cycle disorders, while TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) is used to treat liver diseases. Both are also being studied for possible treatment of Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases. Because both drugs are already FDA-approved, the researchers believe that it will be easy to move them quickly to human trials.
A side benefit of the drugs' role as chemical chaperones is that they have also been shown to reduce ER stress in mice with type 2, restoringinsulin sensitivity and normalizing blood sugar levels.
Besides being a safe treatment for increasing leptin sensitivity in obese people, the drugs could also enter the rapidly expanding pharmacopeia of diabetes treatment medicines.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

#Diabetes - Blue Circle - The Universal Symbol for Diabetes

Here is another post that is to share a webpage that I also want to save for future reference and easy access - kinda like to "bookmark it", as it were (source link is at the very bottom). 


The blue circle is the universal symbol for diabetes. Until 2006, there was no global symbol for diabetes. The purpose of the symbol is to give diabetes a common identity. It aims to:
  • Support all existing efforts to raise awareness about diabetes
  • Inspire new activities, bring diabetes to the attention of the general public
  • Brand diabetes
  • Provide a means to show support for the fight against diabetes
What is the history of the blue circle?
A global symbol for diabetes
The icon was orginially developed for the campaign that resulted in the passage of United Nations Resolution 61/225 "World Diabetes Day."
The campaign for a United Nations Resolution on diabetes was a response to the diabetes pandemic that is set to overwhelm healthcare resources everywhere. The campaign mobilised diabetes stakeholders behind the common cause of securing a United Nations Resolution on diabetes. The United Nations passed Resolution 61/225 ‘World Diabetes Day’ on December 20 2006.
Why a circle?
The circle occurs frequently in nature and has thus been widely employed since the dawn of humankind. The significance is overwhelmingly positive. Across cultures, the circle can symbolize life and health. Most significantly for the campaign, the circle symbolizes unity. Our combined strength is the key element that made this campaign so special. The global diabetes community came together to support a United Nations Resolution on diabetes and needs to remain united to make a difference. As we all know: to do nothing is no longer an option.
Why blue?
The blue border of the circle reflects the colour of the sky and the flag of the United Nations. The United Nations is in itself a symbol of unity amongst nations and is the only organization that can signal to governments everywhere that it is time to fight diabetes and reverse the global trends that will impede economic development and cause so much suffering and premature death.
Who owns the symbol?

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) holds all rights to the blue circle for diabetes.
Promote the symbol

We encourage everyone to use the blue circle as a reference to diabetes and the millions of people affected by the disease. We welcome the use of the logo in publications: magazines, video, online information, etc.

The symbol may not be used without prior permission by IDF. It may not be used:
  • To promote or refer to anything other than diabetes
  • As a quality label
  • For merchandising or any other form of commercial aim
While IDF holds all rights to the diabetes symbol, we can provide permission for merchandising carrying the diabetes symbol on a case-by-case basis. You can submit your proposal to communications@idf.org. Grounds for permission are (amongst others):
  • Type of organisation
  • Form of distribution of the material
Examples of how the blue circle can be been used:
  • On posters
  • On t-shirts
  • Flags
  • Pins
Please direct any questions related to the usage of the blue circle to communications@idf.org.

SOURCE: http://www.idf.org/node/2064

Thursday, September 1, 2011

#Diabetes Art Day 2011

September 1st is Diabetes Art Day, a web-based initiative for the Diabetes Online Community to “tell a story” about life with diabetes though creative visual expression. It’s a way for us to tell our stories so we can connect and share with each other and with our loved ones. It’s a way to generate diabetes awareness outside of the DOC by sharing artwork on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and community websites. Diabetes Art Day is for people young and old with any type of diabetes and their families, so children, spouses, parents, siblings, or anyone who is affected by diabetes can participate. For this one day, you’re encouraged to break out of your linguistic comfort zone, bust out some art materials, and make a piece of artwork – painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, an installation piece, a mixed media something or other, or whatever you can imagine. Whether you have lots of experience making art or none at all, Diabetes Art Day is for you to show the world what it’s like to live with diabetes in that “a picture is worth 1000 words” kind of way.
Let your creative spirit soar!
[Above text taken directly from the Diabetes Art Day Website]
For Diabetes Art Day I submitted a picture I had taken of my supply kit that I keep in my den. I changed it to all black and white with a color-pop of pink - my pink meter. I also have a blue meter, which is not in the picture, but if it had been I would have tried doing a double color-pop. Here is my submitted image:

Monday, August 29, 2011

#Diabetes - Food Conversion to Blood Glucose

Saw a similar chart on a facebook page and went  looking for this since I find it interesting  (and good to know).

Food conversion to blood glucose

Chart showing different food groups, the percentage converted to blood glucose
 and the time taken.

Carbohydrate sources: starches, (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, crackers, cereal), fruits and juices, milk, sugar
Protein sources: meats (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish), cheese, eggs
Fat sources: butter, margarine, oil, salad dressing, mayonnaise, nuts, sour cream, cream cheese

Saturday, August 27, 2011

#Diabetes - Day 223

Well, still struggling with the glucose control sans Metformin. What kills me is the fasting - start the day so high and add to it with breakfast and just hope it comes back down enough by lunch that I'm not so hesitant to eat. But don't worry, i do eat, even though I may be hesitant. Funny thing with Diabetes - the food raises the glucose but you have to eat it anyway to keep the glucose on an even keel overall. 

But I also hate to think what this is doing to my A1c so if things don't get better in a couple of weeks I will make an appointment to go in and talk to my doctor about trying something different. And then just hope whatever we try doesn't have such adverse side effects.

Until then my logbook is just acting so friendly - greeting me with "high" "high" high" all the time!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#Diabetes - Day 220

Well, it's kinda depressing to see the BG numbers starting to reflect my having come off of Metformin. My good sense knew there was a very high probability this would happen, but my questionable sense held onto the hope that we actually caught my Diabetes and got it in control quickly enough that maybe my body would have forgotten that it was suppose to have Diabetes. I mean, I've seen people post things in discussion boards to the effect of "use to have Diabetes" or "once had" and such as that. And, every time I would see this I thought to myself that this/these person/people are delusional. All of the medical information I have read says that there is NO cure for Diabetes. That's the part my good sense was always referring back to. But I guess my questionable sense kept pushing it's naive wonderings (yeah, that may be one of my made up word) in there by saying that maybe, just maybe that really only applies to Type 1 Diabetes since that seems to actually relate more to a non-functioning pancreas whereas Type 2 Diabetes seems to relate more to an insulin resistance (and I will disclaimer here: I AM NOT A DOCTOR, REGISTERED DIETITIAN OR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER. THAT STATEMENT IS SIMPLY MY THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSIONS, MISALIGHNED OR NOT, REGARDING THE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN T1 & T2 DIABETES). But anyway, my questionable sense kept saying that maybe, just maybe, if caught early enough, and quickly gotten in control, T2 could actually reverse and the body's cell would actually accept and use insulin correctly again. 

Well, I reduced my Metformin last Monday to 500mg per day. I took the last 500mg dose Sunday morning. I am not taking any Metformin at this time . . . and my BG numbers are starting to show it.

Good Sense knew this was a possibility, so why does it make me feel depressed when I see it in my meter? I sure wish Questionable Sense would not be so naughty!!