diabetes reminder

devorahMarch 5, 2007

I lost a friend last week to complications of diabetes. He began with oral meds but quickly progressed to being insulin dependent. He didn't take care of himself. He didn't exercise and instead of watching his diet, he decided to eat whatever he wanted and let the insulin take care of it. Last year he spent about 6 months in the hospital with horrible sores on his legs that wouldn't heal. He finally beat that, but he didn't change his ways. He developed congestive heart failure and that's what killed him despite the pacemaker that was put in. I don't want to be morbid, but we do have to remember always that diabetes cannot be taken lightly and tight control is the answer.

At Costco today they were giving away their muffins. Oh my that was tough to walk away from. I love "free" almost as much as I love sugar.

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That's a sad story, but one that has probably been repeated millions of times.

Anyone who has diabetes must take first class care of their feet. A blister or sore from a rough place on a shoe can turn into a wound that will never heal. It can be quite a miserable problem, and can even result losing a foot.

Thanks for the reminder, Devorah. I have a problem with sugar too, although muffins never tempt me. (Now Reese's Pieces...it would be hard for me to walk by them.)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 9:55PM
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Thanks for the warnings Devorah,
I'm really in a bad place. I have these incredible cravings that I can't seem to stop. I eat lots of veggies and try to eat right. But dang.....those cravings are really overpowering. And I have foot and knee problems and severe fatigue at times, so exercising isn't always easy or painless. I know I'm really lucky to not have diabetes yet...........but I wish I could get my head/body in a better place to prevent it from ever happening.
It probably sounds like I'm making excuses and whining.......but dang, my entire life has been nothing but cravings, cravings, cravings.
Hopefully summer weather will help with the eating. I do love vegetables, so that's a good thing.
I'm afraid this country is horrible at what it promotes, nutritionally......sugar, carbs, etc.
Anyhow......thanks for the pep talk! And congrats on making it out of Costco without those muffins!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 9:37AM
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Cravings are a constant for most of my days. I don't think it is different than a craving for drugs. I will even eat starches that aren't any good. Right now I am having a hard time because my son just made a "from scratch" pizza and I can smell the yeast. I have to approach starches the same way an alcoholic approaches drink. I just can't have any because I wouldn't be able to stop. I was still eating steel cut oatmeal in the morning - no milk or sugar - but even that was probably too much because I was gaining weight. Unfortunately I don't like most protein foods and I don't want to eat a lot of fat. I have started using protein powder to make a fairly satisfying drink for myself. If I am not going to be doing any strenuous exercise I add cocoa since I don't need to worry about stressing my heart too much.

I wish I loved vegetables. I am eating more, but I can't say that I particularly enjoy it. Summer is hard. Sometimes I would like to just enjoy an ice cream cone like any normal person.

Another diabetic friend suffered two strokes this last week. She is another one who wouldn't change her habits. She continued to eat candy and use insulin to make up for it. Obviously that doesn't work. She isn't quite 60, but I don't think we will have her with us much longer.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 7:47PM
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Hi, I just found this forum and have some questions.

I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and didn't even know I was being checked for it. The doctor prescribed Fortamet and Januvia....something like that. Plus TTSS BLOOD GLUCOSESTRIP and lancets>

Followup visit, asked how I felt. I told him the same as before since I hadn't been experiencing anything wrong. I've never used the blood strips to test my medicine since I haven't been told what is normal or how to work it. My diet hasn't changed either and I still feel fine. Whatever fine is supposed to feel like.

What are my numbers supposed to be and when do you take those two drugs?

He did try to send me to a nutrionist but we kept playing phone tag, so never went to see her. A year later and I still don't know if how I feel is partly because of diabetes or just being blue. Please help me.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 5:18AM
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You should be checking your blood sugar first thing in the morning, and 2 hours after every meal..yes 4 times a day. It should be between 80 and 120. You HAVE to se the nutrionist. Saying we just kept playing phone tag is a cop out.

You are putting your health in danger. Read the post above yours, Devorah's friend had a stroke because of untreated diabetes. YES BECAUSE OF UNTREATED DIABETES. MAKE THE TIME TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. So take the classes and take care of yourself. My husband did and is AMAZED at how much he feels now that he has his (also unknown at first) diabetes under control. He just didn't feel "well" and didn't know why.

You can make an appointment to see a nurse to find out how to use the monitor and strips to get a start, and make the appointment to see the nutritionist. OR many hospitals now have diabetes classes, go to those, they are a plethoria of information!!! Well worth it.

Another book that is good is attached in the link. It is a great SUPPLIMENT to the classes. Not to be used inplace of the classes and nutritionist.

Here is a link that might be useful: The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 7:47AM
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You haven't been handled well at the doc's at all. Make another appointment and have all your list of questions ready. And you MUST see the dietitian.
First of all, its entirely possible that your adult-onset diabetes could be completely controlled with diet and exercise. This should have been done first, not the drugs. If you're unhappy with how your doc has handled this, find another one. You've wasted an entire year.
If you don't want to change docs, then do what I suggested above. And make that appointment with the dietitian. Getting your blood sugar down naturally is always better than using drugs........and that is VERY possible. You just have to get more information and get better educated.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 10:32AM
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Gosh, I would hate to think these cravings will last forever.......but I think you're right.
The thing with being a food addict is that we have to eat SOME.....and that can trigger all sorts of wanting more. Nicotine, and other drug addicts can just quit altogether......which I think is easier than just doing it a little bit, like we have to do with food.
I'm curious.......do you know what your blood type is?
I have a theory that those of us who are type O have the hardest time with carbs. We crave them, but still our bodies handle them poorly.
Its too bad you don't like protein or veggies. I think that could help alot.
The drinks you make sound reasonable. You could put good protein powder in them, and probably not be able to tell.
Do you like things like V8 juice?
Are you taking a good multivitamin every day?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 10:38AM
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Hi Catherine,

I do take a number of supplements recommended by my doctor and I wash them down with a small can of V-8. My doctors have me taking Alpha lipoic acid, Co-Q10, Fish oil capsules, and 2 baby asperin. I take a multiple also, and at my doctor's direction I take a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon a day which I like to put in unsweetened low fat yogurt (I do add a bit of Splenda to that)

Bonkers, I wasn't given any direction in my first year of diabetes either. I finally left my HMO over another matter and I am getting much better care now though it is quite expensive even with insurance.

Diabetes in the early stages is one of those silent diseases. The only symptom I had is that I was terribly sleepy after lunch and I just thought that was normal since I was approaching 60.

The numbers for what is acceptable blood sugar are inconsistent depending on what you read and who you talk to. I would just recommend against taking advice from the American Diabetes Association because they still follow the USDA Food Pyramid and that much starch would put me under the table. I use the standards set by the American Association of Practicing Endocrinologists which is considerably more strict.

The number of strips I use in a day varies. When I was starting out I tested about 5 times a day - because I had to learn how different kinds of food effected me. Right at the moment I am only testing 2 - 3 times a day because I eat a pretty regimented diet and I know how it works. I test in the morning to make sure that I am okay and I test again at 9 p.m. and if my BS is 120 or higher I get on my exercise bicycle until I get it down. This works very well by the way. When I was still figuring out food, my bike was crucial so that I could quickly recover from my mistakes.

When I am changing my diet - then I keep a record of what I have eaten, how many carbs and calories I have eaten and I test frequently to make sure that what I am doing is working.

Exercise is great. It is a little extra challenging for me because I also have fibromyalgia, but my doctor gave me muscle relaxants so I don't have to worry about muscle cramps lasting into the night. One surprising thing I did learn is that too strenuous exercise will actually make my blood sugar go higher. Once we are exercising over the target heart rate for our age, the body starts to produce adrenelin which will block the action of insulin. My GP didn't know about this, but my endocrinologist did.

Since you are in the early stages of diabetes you probably don't really need the precise numbers you get from pricking your fingers - doing it on the arm is so much less painful. I refused to accept any monitor except the Freestyle for that reason.

I didn't see a dietician, but I did take "living with diabetes" classes. I learned a lot from that, but the diet they suggested was too high in carbs for me. My doctor suggested the South Beach diet. I found that the key was fashioning my own diet with foods that I like, so that it isn't onerous to me. At first I ate a lot of nuts and that worked very well. It was unsaturated fat and protein in a form that I really enjoyed. I lost 30 pounds in very short order BUT unfortunately I stopped losing weight and even gained a little and the almonds had to go. Now I just have walnuts around which I don't like well enough to over-indulge on. I had to get rid of the peanutbutter too.

I don't go on the weekend women's retreat at church and I clean the sanctuary while people are eating doughnuts and drinking coffee after the service. I am staying home from the annual dinner because the main course is a baked potato bar - but you get used to these things. My grown children have been wonderfully supportive and go to great lengths to make holiday meals that I can eat. I rarely eat out but found a Thia restaurant that does a tofu and vegetable dish in a wonderful sauce and I just skip the rice. I meet friends at a mall that has a food court but doesn't allow fast food. I get an Italian chop chop salad and throw the bread away before I sit down. It has taken months to figure out what I can and can't eat and I had to take my monitor to lunch with me because we would talk for at least 2 hours after eating. I found I couldn't have teriaki even if I threw away the rice and I couldn't have a taco salad because I would inevitably start picking away at the shell. Bonkers, There's lots for you to learn and do and most of it is in your own hands. You may find that you will have to do some grieving. This is a big unlooked for and unwelcome change in your life, but you can succeed. Best wishes, and post questions if you have them.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 11:45AM
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Devorah, why were you gaining weight from eating the steel cut oats? Were you eating a too-large serving? Perhaps you can eat half that much and add milk (a protein) to balance the carbohydrates.

Do you follow a diabetic exchange plan? As I recall, it does allow ice cream as an exchange.... probably a milk + one or more sugars. I believe a personal exchange plan can be created for each individual patient for weight loss, maintenance, or gain according to the patient's dietary needs and weight requirements. Following that plan, a patient could eat just about any type of food but in specific portions -- which is the way ALL of us should eat anyway, but that's another story.

I don't understand why the oats themselves would cause weight gain unless they are eaten in addition to a meal or in a very large serving.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 1:11PM
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I only eat a 1/4 cup of steel cut oats (dry measure) but I seem to be so sensitive to carbs, that even that is a lot. I am trying out having them on days when I do a heavy work-out and I have started taking my Metformin in the morning just before eating the oats and with all of that I can be down close to 120 in 2 hours. I eat eggs on the weekends because my exercise level is usually lower.

The weight gain thing is more complicated than just calories in / calories out. I am having a problem with my thyroid. Taking enough thyroid replacement to keep my metabolism working pushes my pulse so high that I can't exercise - so it is a real balancing act and so far none of my doctors has the answer. When I took less thyroid, I couldn't handle the carbs from the oats even on a 1200 calorie diet. I gained two pounds a week which was very disconcerting because I had maintained my weight loss for 2 1/2 years.

I tried the exchange program. I think it is a great idea for most people, but I have found that not all carbs are created equal. On work-out days I allow 30 (2) for breakfast, 15 (1) for an after work-out snack, 15 (1) for lunch, 15 (1) for afternoon snack and 5 (0) for dinner. I could eat something like ice cream I suppose, but with so little wiggle room I don't like to have any empty calories and if the carbs are really dense, as they are in ice cream, I just get too hungry later. There is also that craving thing. I really don't dare put sugar in my mouth because once started, I just can't quit.

So, I suppose I have over-stated my case. I could have ice cream, I just don't choose to use my few carbs that way. The people in my diabetic support group think I should be asking my Dr. for more meds so that I can eat more, but I don't think I want to go that route and the Dr. won't give them to me anyway. My last A1c was 5.4, so it is working for me.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 5:07PM
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Bless your heart Devorah! You're working so hard on this. I'm proud of you!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 8:33PM
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Thank you Catherine. Oh, and I forgot to say that my blood type is A

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 9:52PM
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