I wanted to write a post about diabulimia as it impacts many people within the diabetes community. I myself have never suffered with this condition but feel that as a diabetes blogger I have a huge responsibility to spread awareness of this condition.
So, what is diabulimia? It is a condition where type 1 diabetes sufferers restrict their insulin intake due to a fear of gaining weight. This restriction of insulin can have quiet adverse effects on the body.
Living with type 1 diabetes means, being extremely attentivewhen it comes to food, carbohydrates counting, as well as being focused onmaintaining a good weight, blood glucose levels and HbA1c. Not only that, butthe many disruptions that can occur within the body when a blood glucose level fallsand rises can be challenging to maintain. All these volatilities can makediabetes a high risk for developing an eating disorder.
Being able to persist with the daily demands ofadministering insulin can be difficult for any diabetic. For those withdiabulimia it is a constant challenge and these individuals restrict theirinsulin administration several times a day, a week or omit it completely.
Having a platform to share and speak to people you can trust gives you the strength to continue this difficult journey. I can say that I have been quite fortunate to have had this throughout my years with the condition and, I’ve learnt to develop my own inner strengths.
The leading type 1 diabetes charity JDRF estimates 60,000 15 to 30-year-olds are living with T1 in the UK.
Diabetes and mental health experts believe up to 40% of those will at some point restrict their insulin over a “fear of fatness”.
Social media and imagines in magazine and on television have a huge part to play in the way that women and men perceive themselves. These images can be detrimental to how a person my feel about themselves.
“Body image pressure is helping to drive ever increasing numbers of young people to the health service for treatment and support and while diabulimia is rare it can be just as deadly as other more common eating disorders’’. Claire Murdoch, national director for mental health at NHS England
So,what happens to the body when someone suffers with diabulimia?
The symptoms that can occur are like those that occur with anindividual before they are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. You can read mystory here to see what my experiencewas like. I had all the following symptoms listed below.
- Believe it or not, hunger is oneof the symptoms that can occur – The body’s cells can’t get theenergy they need from food. This makes the cells in the body believe that theyare starving which in turn sends signals to the brain which increases thefeeling of being hungry.
- Frequent urination also occurs– Due to high blood glucose levels, the body tries to get rid of the excess glucosein the blood by producing extra urine. An individual with high blood glucoselevels will go to the toilet a lot more frequently.
- Thirst –a result of frequent urination is that the body will become dehydrated andtherefore the individual will consume more liquids than normal.
- Tiredness –The body is unable to burn glucose for energy, this in turn will deplete thebody’s cells of energy therefore the body will get tired very easily.
- Fruitysmelling breath – When cells are unable to receive glucose, the body will burn fatfor energy. This creates an acid called ketones. ketones cause the breath to have a fruitysmell.
- Breathing problems. – breathing will become a problem asthe body tries to get rid of the excess build up of the ketones. The individualwill breath harder and faster (similar to someone who is out of breath afterrunning).
- Blurry Vision– Extra glucose can increase liquid within the eyes which can cause changes invision, making it harder to focus and even damaging the eyes.
- Weight Loss –When the body burns fat instead of glucose this can lead to weight loss.
- Infections -Due to the increase levels of glucose in the body, germs in the body have anexcess of the ideal environment they need to thrive in, making it easier forthe body to develop infections and harder for the body to get rid ofinfections.
“Diabulimia is a serious eating disorder which – without the right clinical and mental health support – can have devastating consequences, such as stroke, kidney failure and blindness. It can also be fatal’’. Libby Dowling, senior clinical advisor at Diabetes UK
NHS UK have plans to start a new therapy programme to help individuals suffering with the condition by joining up treatment of diabetes with mental health treatment. Patients will be offered clinical support to manage their insulin intake, as well as having specialist day care centres to give advice on structured meal planning and blood glucose levels. More training will also be rolled out for healthcare professionals to increase their knowledge and understanding of the condition as well as specialist eating disorder teams in diabetes and mental healthcare being accessible.
“As a diabetes clinician, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact that this condition can have on people and their families and so these services are an important step forward in the recognition of diabulimia’’. Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England
Whilst the programme is a great step in managing and increasing knowledge and awareness of both diabetes and diabulimia. The programme will only help people in the south of England. With the increasing numbers of individuals suffering from diabulimia in the UK, combining services of diabetes specialists and mental healthcare specialist will need to take effect soon to reduce the escalating numbers of diabulimia sufferers. I hope that once this new pilot has been tested in the south it will then continue to progress throughout the country, improving the lives of people affected with diabulimia and hopefully we will see a reduced number of diabulimia sufferers.
For most mums, I think the school run can be an extremely hectic and stressful process. Getting everybody up, cleaned, fed and safely off to school takes a lot of organisation, time management, patience and energy.
The Mail Online stated, “Three out of four mothers find school run more stressful than going to work”
If you’ve read my blogs in the past, being a diabetes sufferer and maintaining a level of control takes a lot of juggling. I guess it can become an additional challenge in the morning, especially if sugar levels decide to do the complete opposite to what you need them to do.
Diabetes aside, the morning school routine can be extremely overwhelming. From the squabbles over breakfast (I want toast not cereal), to what seems like a simple task of just getting dressed, the constant talking and questioning over school bags being packed or not forgetting an essential item for the day. Tantrums (“He’s got more cereal than I have”) etc. It can make the calmest of persons lose their calm quickly, particularly on mornings when you’ve nearly reached the schools and have to turn the entire car around because of a forgotten library book or PE kit (that needs to be in that day).
The morning routine is hectic and can be very stressful but there are a few things I’ve come up with to try and keep my calm and maintain a level of order in the mornings.
-Get up early and be organised – So, my day usually starts at 6am. My alarm goes off to the sounds of ‘TVXQ -catch me’ and I roll straight out of bed and check my sugar level.
On a good diabetes night( no lows, no high blood glucose levels) you can still wake up feeling pretty beat.
On a bad diabetes kind of night, the morning task of getting myself and the two munchkins ready can sometimes be extremely exhausting.
-Manage your sugar levels – If I have a good sugar level then I give myself 30 minutes to get showered, out of the bathroom and quickly put on the ensemble I set out the night before. If i’m having a bad diabetes kind of morning then I usually give myself a little more time to get my sugar level sorted.
Nevertheless, no matter the sugar level, I still have to be mum and keep things going. Twenty two years of living with this condition has allowed me to develop a better understanding of the high and low symptoms I can experience daily. Being able to recognise these symptoms quickly has also allowed me to address any changes in my levels quickly whilst still being able to continue on with the morning routine.
–Teach your kids to be responsible for some of their morning routine – brush their teeth, get themselves dressed, undressed, whatever is age appropriate.
Once I’ve sorted myself out, I quickly rush to the peanut boy’s (my son) room for 6:30 – 6.40am and get his morning regime underway. He takes himself to the bathroom, brushes his teeth etc
Boss baby(my daughter) can be a real misery in the mornings. No good morning, no cuddles, nothing. I don’t even dare suggest taking her to the bathroom to get her ready or heavens forbid put on her school uniform. She’s like day and night when it comes to the morning routine. Pffff you get the picture when it comes to this one. I usually have to give boss baby some time to get use to the idea that she needs to get up.
Meanwhile, every morning without fail, once peanut boy enters the bathroom everything falls silent. I can never hear any movement coming from the bathroom. I usually have to either call out to him or physically take myself to the bathroom to see what he’s up to. 90% of the time he’s either stood in the middle of the bathroom in a trance or he’s half asleep on the toilet.
Come on kid let’s get things moving!
Once we’re done in the bathroom, peanutboy heads straight to his room to get ready.
I have to then coax boss baby into getting ready whilst also reminding the peanutboy to get himself ready and also how much time we have left until we go downstairs .
-Keep your eyes on the time – time can just get away from you on school run mornings so be sure to watch that clock
Once everybody is dressed we head downstairs for breakfast. We tend to talk about breakfast options before we reach downstairs and then that makes my life a little easier as I can just prepare what everyone wants.
”Come on guys eat up quickly, we have to leave just before 8am”.
-Retest your BG level – With all the moving around I do in the morning, I know that sometimes my BG level can change drastically from the earlier check in the morning. So, once everyone is sorted I usually do another blood glucose test and finally have my breakfast.
-Make sure your pump is ok (if your a pump wearer like me) On some mornings I’ve had to face things like this – A low battery and no insulin being delivered.
I’ve also had to deal with
- Occlusions in the tubing (when insulin is stuck in the tubing)
- Changing my pump insert because there is no insulin left in the syringe
- Irritated pump sites
- Or just other crazy alarms, the list is endless.
Whatever the alarm, the crisis must be averted and quickly so I can get back on track, get coats and shoes on, collect bags and finally get everybody loaded into the car.
Regardless of all the crazy events the morning has to offer, I, unbelievably love taking my kids to school. It’s important to me and them and most of all I have to remember that they won’t be this age forever. They’ll get bigger and probably won’t even want me to tag along in the morning. So remember to enjoy the crazy times and try your best to have fun. These moments are so precious.
They say, that there is a vaccine that can not only halt type 1 diabetes in its tracks but also that it has the ability to reverse the condition.
When I first read about this vaccine, it really did sound too good to be true. Could it be the cure we’ve all been waiting for? Or, is this yet another diabetes research breakthrough which amounts to nothing? This vaccine has been depicted as a “promising vaccine”, an “ideal vaccine”, a truly effective treatment.
But what is this vaccine and does it, will it really work for someone like me?
This vaccine, would you believe, has actually been around since the 1920’s. It was first cultured by Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin at the Pasteur Institute in Lille, France.The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin otherwise known as (BCG) vaccine has been used to cure Tuberculosis and Bladder cancer and has been very successful.
It has been used in trials ( in both mice and humans) to show its impact on Type 1 diabetes, with positive results so far. The research is being carried out by Dr Denise Faustman, MD, PhD and her main focus is to carry out trials on individuals who have had diabetes for five years or more. She has targeted adults between the ages of 18 to 60 to determine how effective this vaccine will be in reversing type 1 diabetes.To understand why this vaccine was chosen, we must first consider how Type 1 diabetes occurs in an individual.
We live in a world full of germs, viruses, bacteria and toxins (invaders). The immune system plays a huge role in protecting us from these possible harmful microbes. When harmful invaders try to infect us, the immune system is able to first sense the presence of these invaders and then it is able to destroy any foreign cells.
With Type 1 diabetes, the immune system confuses its own cells as foreign cells. Attacking and destroying healthy beta cells. This is known as autoimmunity or self-attack! Type 1 diabetes is then, in fact, an autoimmune disease and NO it’s not caused by eating too much sugar. It’s so much more complex than that.
So what role does the BCG vaccine play?
The BCG vaccine would possibly be able to halt or reverse the beta cell deterioration in individuals who have the condition. It would conceivably reduce the amount of insulin needed or remove the need for insulin completely.
The way in which vaccines usually work are, a less potent version of the vaccine is injected into you and it allows the immune system to build up immunity against potentially threatening viruses. In a sense, your body becomes stronger and more capable of dealing with any bigger potential threats.
With Type 1 diabetes, the immune system produces antibodies which are capable of killing off beta cells. The vaccination would be used to encourage the immune system to see the beta cells as no longer being harmful which will then allow cells to grow and repair whilst avoiding a decline in beta cells. Hence a healthy production of beta cells like a non-diabetic individual.
Type 1 diabetics are deficient in the hormone TNF (Tumour Necrosis Factor) which is able to produce good T-cells and reduce the presence of bad T-cells. These bad T-cells are responsible for encouraging the immune system to terminate healthy beta cells. The BCG vaccine would be able to increase levels of the TNF hormone whilst potentially removing bad T-cells.
During the trials BCG doses were administered to patients which resulted in an increase in TNF levels, removing bad T-cells which will then allow the immune system to function as it would in a person without diabetes.
Dr Faustman has said, “BCG is definitely modulating the immune system.”
This is only the beginning and there is still a lot that has to be researched. I have so many questions:
– What dosage would be required to make the reversal process successful?
– Would it really be permanent?
– Would I have to have continuous vaccinations and how frequently would this need to happen?
– Would I still partially need to take any insulin?
– What would the long-term effects of taking the BCG vaccinations be?
As someone who keeps up to date with all the diabetes research and advances in diabetes. I must say that this one does sound very promising. However, I remain sceptical because you must understand that there are so frequently many different research projects surrounding diabetes which have been labelled the possible next cure for Type 1.
Even still, I remain hopeful, I remain positive that one day one of these research projects will succeed and finally bring to light the cure we’ve all dreamt of. We’ve come such a long way from the times when having diabetes was an automatic death sentence. Without the discovery of insulin, and the endless hours of research executed by Dr Frederick Banting, where would we be today?
I won’t give up on that cure! I continue to pray that, one day it will come. As they say, “Nothing worth having comes easily”
I will definitely keep following the progress of this vaccine and hopefully, I’ll have something great report when they next showcase their research findings.
From time to time, when I change my infusion site it itches like mad. We’ve all had that itch that just won’t stop. For me, its the site where my insert has been stuck to my body for 2 or 3 days or even a freshly inserted infusion set. It itches and itches and I really have to try my best to resist the urge not to scratch it to death. From the moment it makes contact with my skin or from the moment I remove it, the itch becomes unbearable.
When removing the insert, it can also prove to be very difficult as the insert is extremely sticky. It clings to my skin for dear life and I sometimes find it difficult to separate it from my body. What makes it even harder are those awkward new sites you decide to try out. You transform into a performing Cirque du Soleil acrobat whilst manoeuvring your body to get it in the right spot.
As for a new insert, ripping it off a brand new site would be an absolute waste (especially since diabetes accessories are so costly) and for those old tatty insert’s that just won’t let go, you just want to tear them off!!
After removing the insert, the skin underneath reveals a raised surface, slightly irritated and now, finally, it is able to get some air and it just seems to itch even more. A grey sticky adhesive coats the area where the insert once sat and resembles someone who hasn’t moisturised their skin for days.
I remember having itching issues from time to time when I was on multiple daily injections (MDI) but not as much since I’ve been an insulin pump user. I suppose when you introduce something foreign on to your body that isn’t supposed to be there, it can cause a number of potential of problems. Several aspects of insulin pumping can cause skin irritations or allergies for diabetics. Causes may include the Teflon cannula, the metal needle, the site adhesive or adhesive materials, and even the insulin itself. When I was MDI, my itching was mainly due to the overuse of certain sites and the metal needle.
When it comes to my itchy insert sites, the truth is it happens very rarely and I haven’t really been able to pinpoint the direct cause of the itch. So, for now, I think I’m just going to try my best to keep rotating my sites, moisturise those sensitive sites (after 22 years I’ve got quite a few) and just continue to keep my skin well moisturised and maybe even try a protective cream to create a barrier between my skin and the inserts to reduce any irritation. With everything that diabetes throws at me I try my best to work it out and make it work. Although I get an itch from time to time, I’ve accepted that it is a part of MY diabetes and that’s ok. I’m very lucky to have a pump and I can deal with a little itch now and again.
Everything related to diabetes is testing, from the continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels, the debilitating symptoms I’ve experienced due to low and high blood glucose levels, the lumps and bruises from injecting and placing inserts on my body. Diabetes has and always will be a constant presence in my life.
January 1st 1995, marks the day I was first diagnosed. Many choose to celebrate the day that they were diagnosed. You can read more about my diagnosis here.
In all these years, I’ve never celebrated my “Diaversary”. However, when days like today come around, something I’ve learnt to do, is to appreciate the things I have in that mtoment and believe it or not, diabetes is one of those things. Would I have achieved all the things I have today without it? The truth is no one knows but I know that because of diabetes I have developed an inner strength that was not there until that day I was diagnosed. It has continued to strengthen and develop with each passing year. When I encounter major impediments in life, I can look at it and work through it critically, positively and in most cases find a solution.
Whether we have diabetes or not, we all have extremely testing times in our lives. With diabetes, I’ve found that being able to develop a positive attitude has helped me immensely but I also have very loving and supportive family and friends and most of all I am continuously working toward improving my diabetes management. I’ve set high goals for myself and have been able to achieve them without allowing my condition to be a hindrance. That’s not to say, I haven’t failed at some of these goals, of course, I have but I try to learn something from my failure. I am not afraid to give it another try or try something new.
Twenty-two (22) years of living with diabetes is a significant milestone to reach. January 1st 2017, I’ve made it this far. Twenty-two years of relentless challenges. I’ve devoted my time and efforts to maintaining a good life with diabetes. I’ve battled with acceptance of its presence and the demands of such a rigorous disciplined routine. I’ve learnt many a lesson from diabetes, adapting and maturing with its endless burdens and most importantly I’ve learnt that, regardless of the number of years you’ve endured diabetes, knowledge and understanding can be limitless.
Although today is a celebration, I won’t be having a party or bringing out a cake. However, I will be reflecting deeply on all the things I’ve achieved so far, regardless of my condition. I will be contemplating where I started in this journey and where I am today. It is a celebration of all that I have accomplished, the obstacles I’ve faced and overcome, the challenges (both diabetes and non-diabetes related) yet to come. It is also a celebration of all the years that I’ve been able to advocate for diabetes. I’m always thinking about how I can improve in my management of diabetes and also in my life in general. What do I want to do for myself?
It isn’t smooth sailing living with this condition but it is something that you can work around. Don’t allow it to completely take over your life and if you feel you aren’t in control right now, then its time to take charge of it right now! Start to figure out what is going on. Do the basics first, test your blood sugars regularly (this is always the best way to get a picture of what is happening), make sure you take your insulin or diabetes medication, I couldn’t stress enough how important this is. Work at it! Work at it! It will get better, believe me.
Today, November 14th marks one of the most important days in the diabetes calendar, World Diabetes Day. On this day, we remember one of the most prominent figures in diabetes, Sir Frederick Grant Banting, the man responsible for co-discovering insulin, as a source of treatment for diabetics in the early 1900s.You can read more about it here.
Although, you may know of his work surrounding discovery of insulin, there is however much more to him than just his involvement with diabetes.
Here are a few facts about him:
- First World War – Sir Frederick Grant Banting, served in both World War I and World War II. He was wounded during the First World War and received the Military Cross for “distinguished and meritorious services in time of war,” for attending to injured soldiers for up to 17 hours, even though he was badly injured himself.
- Second World War -During the Second World War, his aircraft crashed. The pilot died instantly. As a passenger on the plane, he was wounded and also died from his injuries and exposure on the following day, February 21st, 1941.
- Personal Life – Sir Frederick Grant Banting was married twice to Marion Robertson in 1924 – 1932 and married Henrietta Ball in 1937 – 1941. In his first marriage, he had a son called William Roberson Bill Banting 1928- 1998.
- Featured in a Comic – Banting was featured in a comic book by the
Corporation of America. He appeared alongside other famous historical figures.
- Aviation – Due to Banting’s interest in aviation he was in charge of research done on behalf of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He researched phycological issues faced by pilots flying aircraft’s as well as blackouts experienced by these pilots.
- Artist – Banting became an acclaimed artist, joined painter A.Y. Jackson and travelled around Canada painting iconic Northern landscapes and the Canadian Rockies.
HAPPY WORLD DIABETES DAY EVERYONE
Neonatal diabetes mellitus is a form of diabetes that occurs in the first 6 months of life. NDM is a very rare condition and affects one in 100,000 to 500,000 live births. A result of having this condition means elevated blood glucose levels occur. This condition can often be confused with Type 1 diabetes due to the early advancement of the condition. However, type 1 diabetes usually affects individuals after 6 months of age.
In some cases of NDM, the condition is permanent and is known as Permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus (PNDM). However, for others affected by the condition, the disease is temporary and disappears completely during infancy. The condition can reappear in later stages of life, this is known as Transient neonatal diabetes mellitus (TNDM).
What is the cause?
There are specific genes which are responsible for the development of neonatal diabetes mellitus. Here are a few of thos genes:
- KCNJ11 gene: is important for the regulation of insulin and an inherited gene. This gene is the most common in cases of PNDM and is known to affect the protein 2. It usually affects children between the ages of 3 – 6 months old.
- ABCC8 gene: is involved in multi-drug resistance. With NDM a mutation in this gene has been observed in children from the age of 1 – 3 months of age. It is a rare mutation but also affects individuals suffering from Type 2 diabetes. This affected gene causes PNDM.
- GCK: Glucokinase which is responsible for identifying how high the blood glucose level in the body is. It is able to detect the presence of glucose (glucose sensor) for the pancreas. If the blood glucose levels increase in turn the level of insulin increase. This affected gene glucokinase (enzyme), although rare, it causes PNDM and affects babies a young as 1 week old.
- IPF1; also known as PDX1: This gene is responsible for maintaining and developing the pancreas as well as beta cells maturation. The affected protein is insulin promoter factor 1, this mutation also brings on PNDM, although it is rare it affects babies after 1 week of birth.
There is also a gene called, PTF1A, FOXP3 (present at birth), IPEX syndrome (sometimes present at birth), EIF2AK3, Wolcott-Rallison syndrome (present at 3 months). All these gene mutations result in PNDM.
Here is a list of some of the affected genes which result in TNDM (transient neonatal diabetes mellitus):
- ZAC/HYMAI (present from birth to 3 months)
- ABCC8 (present from birth to 6 months)
- KCNJ11 (present from birth to 6 months)
- HNF1 β (beta); also known as HNF1B (present from birth to 6 months)
The availability of genetic tests allows for the easy detection of these mutated genes. This will also impact the treatment that should be given to the infant suffering with the condition. Research has proven that infants who are suffering from this monogenetic diabetes can be treated with oral diabetes medication instead of insulin injections. However, genetic testing isn’t offered to everyone and people interested in being tested must fall under certain criteria.
Happy Diabetes Awareness Month Friends! My aim this month is to try and spread as much awareness for diabetes as I can. As someone who advocates for diabetes, I want to continue to share the correct message about what it truly means to live with this condition.
JDRF have created an amazing tool which helps diabetics calculate some of their personal daily diabetes stats. I wanted to share my stats with you so you can have an insight into what my life with this condition has been like and what it has taken for me to still be here living a healthy life style.
If you want to calculate your own or your loved ones footprint then click here.
Since today marks the beginning of Diabetes Awareness Month, what better way to kick-start the month and advocate for diabetes, than by collaborating with some of diabetes extremely influencial bloggers and advocates, to give away accessories from one of my favourite diabetes companies – Myabetic
I absolutely love the accessories available!! If you don’t know anything about the Myabetic accessories then I suggest you check out their site here.
Their amazing accessories, for me, have become the Chanel of diabetes. It has transformed the dull and sometimes invisible blood glucose case I’ve carried around with me most of my life into something that I can be proud of. On first glance, you would perceive it to a beautiful handbag or wallet and it is on closer inspection that its true purpose comes to light.
When I first heard about Myabetic accessories, I was instantly drawn to them. They were bold, chic and beautifully put together. It offers a way for diabetics of all ages, men women and children to express themselves. The dismal blacks and greys that I was once restricted to were now being transformed into something that was very personal to me. It offered many varied, vibrant and colourful choices, which made misplacing my blood glucose meter a thing of the past. Like a brand new bag, it showed my individuality and allowed me to be proud of my diabetes.
Here’s what you need to do to be in with a chance to win the Myabetic accessory of your choice:
- Go to TheFitBlog
- Click on the giveaway form
- Follow Myabetic, TheFitBlog and all the other diabetes advocates on social media.
You can follow me here:
Follow in as many places as you can and share the post with friends online.
**Giveaway runs from today the 1st of November – 14th November 2016. The winner will be drawn randomly at noon on the14th of November and contacted directly by email.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE. I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST!
Having a cold can be awful, but a cold combined with diabetes is even worse. It messes with your sugar levels making them difficult to manage. Blood glucose levels can become extremely high. These high BG levels are due to a release of stress hormone which occurs when the body is fighting an illness. Glucose is produced in abundance making BG levels sky-rocket.
This weekend I’ve been fighting a cold. I always try to be prepared for cold viruses but the truth is you can never really be prepared. I’ve realised that sometimes the plan can completely fall apart. Usually, I struggle with very high BG levels when I have a cold. However, this time, Instead of high BG levels, I experienced a combination of extremely low blood glucose levels and a few high BG levels. So I’ve literally been “yo-yo’in” all over the place. PFFFFFF!!
Last night, after hours of trying to correct my BG level, I made the decision to completely suspend my pump because my BG level would not go any higher than 4.2 mmol/l, even whilst my pump was suspended. It remained on 4.2 mmol/l and then started to drop again. It was not until I administered a Glucagon injection that I was able to finally reach a BG of 6.0 mmols/l, at which point I was so exhausted that I passed at 3am until this morning.
Even though my BG levels have been fluctuating, I’ve still tried my best to follow a few steps to maintain some level of control with my sugars.
Here are a few things I do:
- Regularly monitor my glucose levels
- Check for ketones if my sugar is high
- Drink a lot of water to dilute the glucose in my blood and also to keep myself hydrated.
- If I continue to experience high sugars then I make a slight adjustment in my basal rates by first using the temp basal function on my pump. I usually increase my temp basal initially by 20%,over two hours, whilst continuously monitoring my BG levels. It’s probably wise to seek advice from a doctor with this if you haven’t discussed a sick day plan for your insulin. Also, when I was on multiple daily injections, if my BG rose above 13mmol/l then I’d increase my dose by units for each injection. If it went over 22mmol/lk then I would increase my dose by 4 units per injection. ((Please seek advice from your doctor before you do this))
- Even though I can’t really taste much and I don’t feel like eating, I still force myself to eat something.
- Although high BG levels are prone, make sure you still have an up to date Glucagon injection in cases of Hypoglycaemia.
I deal with hypos on weekly basis. Hypoglycaemia and diabetes go hand in hand. These attacks occur when blood glucose levels are too low. For me, this usually happens when I’ve taken too much insulin, not eaten enough food, eaten too late or depending on the type of exercise I choose to do that day. For example, cardio or HIIT (high-intensity interval training) all cause my blood glucose level to drop.
However, non -diabetic hypoglycaemia is a very rare condition which affects individuals who aren’t suffering from diabetes. These individual’s experience hypoglycaemic episodes resulting in the same symptoms that a person with diabetes would experience.
So what are some of the symptoms one can experience?
Some of these symptoms include:
- Feeling weak
- Breaking out into cold sweats
- Feeling anxious
- Difficulty being able to articulate
- Feeling shaky
My first encounter with this condition was during my final year of University. I met a veterinarian surgeon in the USA and at first, I thought that she was diabetic just like me. She always carried glucotabs with her and was always ready with a snack. She used words that I always found myself saying when my sugar drops such as,
“my sugar is dropping”, or “my sugar is low”.
So I just presumed that she was diabetic too. I proceeded to ask her if she was diabetic too? But to my surprise, she told me that she wasn’t diabetic and in fact, she was a non-reactive hypoglycaemic.
A non-diabetic individual can experience two types of hypoglycaemia:
- Reactive hypoglycaemia which happens a few hours after consuming food
- Fasting hypoglycaemia ( which occurs before the consumption of any food)
Potential causes of Reactive Hypoglycaemia:
- The presence of Prediabetes or a family history of diabetes.
- A deficiency in enzymes which make it difficult for the body to break down foods you consume.
- Other possible reasons are some types of stomach surgeries, which makes food pass into the small intestines rapidly.
Potential causes of Fasting Hypoglycaemia:
- Over indulgence in Alcohol (especially binge drinking)
- Illnesses which affect the heart, liver or kidneys
- Low levels of hormones such as growth hormone, glucagon, cortisol and epinephrine.
- The presence of pancreatic tumours that are capable of producing insulin or similar hormones which have the effect of lowering blood glucose levels.
- Medication such as antibiotics, quinine (used to treat Malaria), pentamidine (used to treat Pneumonia) and also pain suppressants can all effect the body’s ability to regulate insulin release into the blood.
How do people manage their non-diabetic hypoglycaemia?
Take a look at these video by youtube vlogger : blogsoidontforget as she goes through the ins and outs of living and managing the condition.
Treatment for non-diabetic hypoglycaemia really depends on what the cause may be. Seek advice from your doctor, take note when you experience these episodes and also how you feel during those times.
Hypo’s that strike in the twilight hour. Oh! How I wish they didn’t exist. It’s completely unnatural, physically exhausting and absolutely out of my control.
I battle the early morning hours, the plunging sugars, overwhelming outer body experience, numb lips, numb tongue but for how long will this go on? Like a robot, malfunctioning, I’m shutting down, down, down.
Sweat pouring profusely from my head, back, and chest. Completely soaked, chills run down my spine. Reduced to tears, feeling alone, wiped out and confused.
Hands, fingers, muscles won’t coordinate, shaking as I reach for that something sweet. Without my energy source, evidently, I’m running on fumes. Overcome by a ravenous hunger, I devour everything in sight.
As I plough through the symptoms I hope, I pray that I can get myself back to some feeling of normality. Anything to feel better, to sleep peacefully for what remains of this night.
Before I embarked on my journey, with an insulin pump, I had been on multiple daily injections (MDI) for almost 15 years. It wasn’t until I began to learn about insulin pump therapy that I truly grasped how different the two were.
With MDI, I feel less training was given in order for me to manage my diabetes. I didn’t learn how to carb count or even have an understanding of what insulin sensitivity was. The main focus of my diabetes management was to administer my insulin (my doses were worked out by the doctor and diabetes nurse, based on my blood glucose readings) when I needed to take it and checking my blood glucose levels.
It was only with insulin pump therapy that I began to have a better understanding of my diabetes management. I had to undergo a process of training before I was given free reign with my pump. I had to learn how the pump worked and in doing so, I had to develop my understanding of carb counting, insulin to carb ratios, insulin sensitivity, and basal rates. All of which, I have, to be honest, I had no idea what it even meant. I think this is because the nutrition and diabetes management were explained primarily to my mother but this information was very basic and she very much had to figure a lot of it out for herself. This then carried on into my transition from the children’s hospital to the adults clinic.
The insulin pump, I think isn’t for everyone, it takes a lot of work to make it work. Diabetes management can be improved but it also takes the individuals being able to understand the ins and outs of their condition, how foods interact’s with their body as well as their sensitivity towards insulin.
There are many benefits, as well as problems which can arise due to wearing an insulin pump.
Some of these benefits include:
- No more MDI: A sense of freedom from having to inject daily. At one point in my diabetes life I was taking 5 injections a day and I think that was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever experienced. It worked well with my sugars and control but it tied me down in so many ways. Let’s just say the insulin pump came at the right time.
- Data Collection: The insulin pump is able to store a lot of data and when downloaded a clearer picture appears as to what blood glucose levels may be doing at certain times. With my pump (Animas vibe) it allows you to see how much insulin may still be on board in your system which on some occasions has helped me avoid a lot of hypos. There is also stored information on how much insulin is being administered daily over several days. If you can’t remember if you’ve bolused or not, then the pump also has a stored history bank which tells you when you last bolused.
- Doses: Meal time boluses can be planned out in accordance with the amount of carbohydrates you may consume for that particular meal.
- Sensor: The pump combined with a sensor, you can see blood glucose levels recorded every 5 minutes over a 24 hour period in graph format.
- Ease of mind: receiving insulin doesn’t involve dialing up a pen and then finding the perfect spot to inject. It’s as simple as pushing a few buttons and insulin is delivered to you.
- Cost: This only applies to my UK readers, but insulin pump therapy here is free! However, if you want to use a sensor then this is something that you will have to pay for yourself (which can get pretty costly).
Problems can also arise when it comes to being attached to an insulin pump.
Some of these problems include:
- To Tube or not to Tube – I’ve been hooked to many a door handle and had my insert ripped from my body (Not nice at all). I’ve had to learn how to conceal my tubing in a way in which it won’t be affected by my surroundings. So the question is, do you choose a pump with tubing or not? The decision is entirely yours. I suggest if you do choose a pump with tubing then take precaution, keep the tube concealed well under your clothes. There are so many cool diabetes undergarments that can be used to keep our pumps and tubing safe. One of my favourite undergarments for men, women and children is a Swedish company called AnnaPS
- Wear and Tear – Protect your pump! I think the picture below explains my reasoning for this.
- Changes: The insulin pump does require that you change your insert every 2 – 3 days when the insulin cartridge is running low. This is something that you get used to, it has to be done so you get it done!
- Ketosis: With pump therapy, long-acting insulin isn’t needed. Quick acting insulin is the only form of insulin used. I’ve had occasions where there have been occlusions in the pump tubing during the night and because there is no long-acting insulin available, it has caused my sugar levels to rise at a rapid rate. Acting and reacting quickly when the problem is spotted is essential to getting the blood glucose back in range and avoiding ketones in the urine.
- Breakdown: Pumps are just machines and they can malfunction. I’ve had many a time when my pump has malfunctioned. One of the worst case scenarios was when I was on holiday, I noticed a crack in my pump and salt water had entered the pump, destroying the battery. My pump wouldn’t come on and was making all sorts of noises but thank god I took a spare (please remember to do that if you go on holiday).
- Rotate: Remember to rotate you infusion sites as it can irritate the skin where the adhesive sticks to your body.
- Control: Of course we want to have better control when we first start pumping. However, this doesn’t happen straight away. It took some time for me to understand more about the pump in relation to my body. Your control will start to improve but it won’t be immediate. You have to work on it to achieve better control.
If you are thinking of starting up on an insulin pump look at both the pros and cons involved in managing your diabetes with this technology. Be prepared to work hard at it and most of all be patient with it, you may not get the results you’re after straight away. Nevertheless, don’t give up on it, you’ll get there eventually.
Hacking is something that has been in existence since the introduction of the first computer. In fact, it has been around for many centuries. As we’ve had more advances in technology, many hackers have also developed and broadened their hacking skills and techniques enabling them to target larger companies. They have even been able to access people’s private information, stealing it and sharing it with the world. Recently, Talk Talk Business were affected by hackers. Over 157 000 of their customers, information was accessed.
There are now mounting concerns over the threat of medical devices being hacked. Kaspersky Lab a security firm announced in February 2016 of their success in hacking into a hospital’s I.T infrastructure, which gave them full access to the hospital’s MRI device (magnetic resonance imaging).
The pharmaceutical company, Johnson and Johnson, who produce many types of insulin pumps, from the Animas Vibe, The One Touch Ping and the 20/20, have recently warned that one of its pumps, The One Touch Ping is at risk of being hacked, which can result in an overdose in patients using the device. They have reported that although these pumps were vulnerable, the risk of hackers entering the pump data was very low.
However low it might be, this is an extremely frightening prospect. We have enough worries when it comes to managing our condition. This is just another extra burden to carry. I have a great deal of trust in my pump but to my diabetic friends who are users of the One Touch Ping, I can imagine that this will affect their relationship they have with their pump. Being able to rely on it as you once did before will be difficult. Yes, the risk is low, but the fact that a risk even exists is extremely unnerving.
Johnson and Johnson said, “It would require technical expertise, sophisticated equipment, and proximity to the pump” before the pump could be accessed.
As this pump is only produced in the United States and Canada, all patients using this pump were contacted on the 27th September 2016 and warned of these possible risks.
The One Touch Ping works via a Wi-Fi remote and enables diabetic users to administer insulin without having to take out the pump from underneath their clothing.
Johnson and Johnson have also said, “That the pump was not connected to the internet or any external network.”
A diabetic and researcher with a cyber security firm Rapid 7 said, “He had discovered it could be hacked from a distance of 25 feet. Communication between the insulin pump and its radio frequency remote could be hijacked- in theory allowing a hacker to administer unauthorised injections.”
Although Johnson and Johnson had confirmed these findings, they still insisted that the pump was safe to use. They also stated that concerned patients “could take precautions, such as not using the pump’s remote and programming the device to limit its maximum dose.”
This report was a few weeks ago now so, what are your thoughts on this finding? Existing users, what precautions have you taken since this information has come to light? Please feel free to share?
Prediabetes, as it is known, is a condition which occurs before the onset of Type 2 diabetes. This condition causes a slight elevation in blood glucose levels. The normal blood glucose range for a person without diabetes tend to be between (4mmol/l – 7mmol/l). With prediabetes the blood glucose levels are slightly higher than the “norm” but not high enough for the individual to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Even having a slightly higher blood glucose level can put you at risk of developing and being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
So how do you know if you’re at risk?
If you think you are suffering from prediabetes be sure to take note of the way you might be feeling. However, some people have no symptoms whatsoever.
These symptoms could include:
According to the International Diabetes Federations (IDF), the prevalence of diabetes in adults between the ages of 20 and 79 worldwide for 2015 was 415 million and by 2040 is expected to increase to 642 million. The World Health Organisation (WHO), have also projected that “the prevalence of prediabetes is increasing worldwide and it is projected that >470 million people will have prediabetes in 2030”.
Click here to find out if you may be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
If you suspect that you may be having some of these symptom’s listed above, then please go to your doctor. To determine whether or not you may be suffering from borderline diabetes, the doctor will perform either:
- Fasting Glucose Tolerance Test – can be carried out for 1 hours, 2 hours or 3 hours. It is done to measure how well the cells in the body are able to absorb glucose (sugar) after an individual has consumed something sugary. A fasting blood glucose level (no food before examination) is taken and HbA1c is measured to determine what type of diabetes the individual may have.
- HbA1c test – gives you an average blood glucose reading determined over a few months. HbA1c result between, 5.7% – 6.4 % indicates prediabetes. To learn more about the HbA1c test click here.
- Oral glucose tolerance test can also be performed but individual must drink a sugary drink. Their blood glucose level is tested before and after the drink. Also, the individuals are asked not to eat or drink for at least 8 -12 hours before the test. The individual’s blood glucose is tested and then they must drink the glucose drink. Their blood glucose is then measured every 30 minutes for up to 2 hours.
Someone who doesn’t have diabetes could start with a blood glucose reading of 6mmol/l and after the test could have a blood glucose of under 7.8 mmol/l
Someone who may have Prediabetes could start with a blood glucose level of 6mmol – 7mmol/l and by the end of the test could have a blood glucose level of 7.9mmol to 11mmol/l.
Some who has diabetes could start blood glucose levels start at over 7mmol/l and could finish at over 11mmol/l.
All these tests will give a clear indication as to whether or not the individual may or may not be suffering from prediabetes. In the worst case scenario, even if you receive a diagnosis of prediabetes, then there are many steps that can be taken to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The video below outlines a few of those steps that one must take in order to avoid the progression of Type 2 diabetes.
Just remember, it isn’t the end of the world, just because you have been diagnosed with prediabetes. It is an opportunity to make changes to your life. By taking small steps you will improve your life and delay or avoid Type 2 diabetes. Don’t let it bog you down, put in the best effort you can and strive to make a healthier better you. You can do it! As someone who suffers from diabetes, if I had the opportunity to prevent my diabetes occurring I would take every step possible to stay away from it. This is your chance, make it count!!
Hey! Friends! I’m so excited to share my new T-shirt collection with you.
The “Fighting Diabetes One Sugar At A Time” T-shirt, was created to spread and raise awareness for Diabetes. It aims to include those who want to learn more about the condition, give thanks to those who tirelessly support and stand by us night and day and most importantly this T-shirt is for my fellow diabetic sufferers, who battle with this condition daily. I want to support and encourage you and let you know that I’m right here with you going through those same struggles.
With my artwork, I want to make a bold statement about diabetes. I want people to truly understand, what it means to live with this condition. I feel that I will be able to reach further afield and advocate for diabetes, even more, allowing others to develop a better understanding of the condition.
As a diabetes blogger, I feel the responsibility to spread the correct message to my followers. Blogging allows me to, share the battles I’ve faced, as well as the many steps I take to deal with the condition. It is extremely important that people are more aware of diabetes, its symptoms, and complications.
The T-shirts will only be available for two weeks and I will be giving a percentage of the proceedings to a diabetes charity of my choice. So, if you like what you see and want to show your support or show how proud you are of the things you’ve achieved regardless of this condition. Then click here and reserve your Tee.
Thank you for stopping by
My T-shirt was featured on Printsome. Click here to check it out.
Feel free to add to the list.
Just remember friend’s, stay determined, be positive and don’t let diabetes stop you from being able to do the things you want to do. Yes, it’s a challenge, but you are more than capable of overcoming it. Struggle through it and you’ll soon discover how much stronger you have become.
Sending love and support to all the carers giving their all to help their loved ones fighting this ever so demanding condition and from one person with diabetes to another, keep on going xx
Throughout the years, we’ve seen many advances in Diabetes technology. From the Insulin pumps, to the Freestyle Libre and so many other amazing technologies.
The most recent and major development is that of the Bionic Pancreas. This long-anticipated technology is able to completely manage an individual’s diabetes by tracking blood glucose levels, controlling insulin doses, as well as administering glucagon to individual’s when they need it.
The Bionic Pancreas represents so many great things and has the potential to ease the immense amount of pressure faced by diabetics and carers. It could give users, a sense of, physical, emotional and physiological freedom from the day to day struggles and anxiety diabetes self-management presents.
The Bionic Pancreas is able to mimic a healthy pancreas, allowing for the normal release of liver enzymes as well as cellular metabolism.
The initial model included a few different components; a smart phone, a sensor, and two pumps. The sensor is able to take a snapshot of an individual’s blood glucose readings, sends information to a smartphone device, which then communicates via Bluetooth signals to two pumps (one containing insulin and the other containing glucagon). Insulin and glucagon are administered when the individual is in need of it just like a normal functioning pancreas would.
More recently, a single handheld device called the iLet was developed. This device contains both insulin and glucagon and is able to acts in opposition to each other, when food is consumed and in turn when blood glucose levels increase or decrease. This giving the diabetic suffers a more stable blood glucose reading.
Within the iLet there still exists 3 components all combined into one device:
- Continuous glucose sensor (sends glucose levels wirelessly to the device)
- Mathematical algorithms which determine and make therapeutic decisions based on a person’s age and weight.
- The algorithm is able to make suggestions every five minutes, 24 hours a day, giving a total of 288 daily decisions for each person’s insulin and glucagon requirements.
- Built in pumps to deliver insulin and glucagon (a weeks’ worth of insulin and glucagon)
As exciting as this new technological innovation is, I feel a level of uncertainty when it comes to handing over complete control to this device. Having to trust in this device is going to be a huge hurdle for me.
After all, the iLet is still only a machine! A very sophisticated machine made up of carefully calculated algorithms but a machine nonetheless. Machines break, machines malfunction, as I have experienced with my insulin pump. Also, for the past 21 years, I’ve been in charge of all the day to day decision making, when it comes to this condition.
However, as a pump wearer, I must remember I had to face the similar and very daunting task of deciding whether or not I should remain on multiple daily injections (MDI) or take that leap of faith and trust in this new technology. The thought of using a pump at the time was both thrilling and frightening. Putting part of my diabetes management into the hands of a machine, being attached to a wire and insert, whilst carrying around the insulin pump, completely terrified me. I realised then, how accustomed I was to my MDI, although I had lived with the arduous task of managing MDI, it was as simple as injecting and then putting it away. With the pump, it meant I had to be attached to it constantly.
Nevertheless, for me, the main focus and one that allowed me to accept the idea of wearing a pump full time, was the possible improvement I might have in my diabetes management. Also, at the time I was expecting my first child and I wanted to have the best control possible. I was given the opportunity to have a trial run. With it on I could see the vast improvement it made in my blood glucose control as a whole. It was then, that I decided to plunge into the deep end and take a chance with wearing the pump full time. Since then, I have never looked back
My control is much tighter than it was on MDl. The thing’s I feared, like having a wire and inserts attached to me, have all now become intertwined in my life. It has become my new “norm” and although I am connected to it 24/7, it has without a doubt liberated me.
And now, in the absence of a cure, the iLet has given me another glimmer of hope. I am now more open to the idea of being able to free myself even more from the struggles I face with this condition. It isn’t much different to the wearing a pump. Yes, it’s much bigger and more complex but I personally would be willing to trade in my pump for an iLet, if that meant that I would have better BG control, even better HbA1c results, less stress and the pressure to maintain good control and the possible reduction of developing diabetic complications.Then I embrace it fully!
Although I’m very much sold, there are a few things I must take into consideration.
- Being connected to the iLet, doesn’t mean that my job of managing my diabetes is over.
- I will still have to monitor the device and calibrate it twice a day, as it will be a necessity for me to enter my blood glucose levels before meals.
- Inputting information such as meals I plan to consume before I consume them is going to be part of the day to day running of the device.
- I anticipate error messages occurring
- Changing batteries and inserts.
- Insulin and glucagon cartridges will need to be refilled weekly.
We must remember that this device will still very much need our input and it will only be there as an aid. It will give us a much clearer depiction of how our blood glucose levels work in conjunction with different types of foods, exercise and stress at different times. Most importantly, it will give us a reprieve from the constant monitoring we do night and day. The pump has given me a degree of freedom and I feel that this will be greatly amplified when, god willing, I get the chance to experience using the iLet.
My experience with the pump has allowed me to be more open to this new technology. This sophisticated innovation will undoubtedly be welcomed and I guarantee it will change the lives of so many type 1 diabetics worldwide.
- Artificial pancreas hope for children with diabetes
- Introducing Beta Bionic: Bringing the iLet Bionic Pancreas to market
- Building a Bionic Pancreas
After a night of lows, the day started with a high BG of 14.8……. I wasn’t going to let it stop me from enjoying myself.
BTW the sun kept making an appearance then disappearing hmmm!
It got sunny for a while, so I took advantage and took some great shots.
BG’s came down nicely 🙂 Thank god I got to enjoy my day with good sugars.
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You can also click on the link below to see my VIDA shop, which I talked about in my previous post here
I was completely excited, what an opportunity! I was going to be able to showcase my artwork, design fashionable apparel, in collaboration with VIDA all on my very own online shop. Amazing!
So who are VIDA?
VIDA’s story is that of the rich, interconnected world we live in — the story of contemporary life and mindful, global citizenship.
VIDA is a Google Venture-backed fashion e-commerce platform that brings designers and makers together from around the globe, to create original, inspirational apparel in a socially conscious way.
VIDA gives designers the opportunity to turn their artwork, photography, or sculptures into products like scarves, tops, pocket squares, shawls etc. For someone like myself, who loves to transfer my sketches into graphic drawings, this was a great platform to develop and share my artwork. My artwork is an interpretation of my life with diabetes. It gives me the opportunity to advocate for the condition. I hope that people will become inspired by my designs and develop a better understanding of my perspective on diabetes.
We believe beautiful products should create beauty every step of the way.
The designers creative flare is then matched with makers to create these products.
Besides being able to share my designs with the world and advocate for diabetes, what I love about VIDA, is the opportunity they give to others. For every product made, VIDA offers literacy programmes to the makers of the products in Karachi, Pakistan. The literacy programme allows individual makers to learn how to read, write and develop their maths skills. This is a fantastic prospect, which gives makers a chance to have a stable income and also expand their knowledge. Therefore, I decided to create my own shop with some of my artwork here
As a designer for VIDA, I was able to really design the pieces I wanted to appear in my shop. I selected everything from the design I wanted to use, to the colours I would use and finally the fabrics. VIDA were so supportive and were always ready to help me when I needed help.
Below you can see a few of my designs 🙂
My collection went live yesterday and you can now pre-order Sugar High Sugar Low designs. My collection is still very small but as more items are added it will continue to grow.
I will leave you with this fantastic video from VIDA.
Thanks for stopping by
Source: Je suis fatigué of the monthly P
Sorry guys this one is for the girls. This is one aspect of life that doesn’t affect your diabetes, but for us girls we are faced with the not so pleasant monthly, painful and uncomfortable period. Diabetes, as you know can be absolutely crazy at times, when you are stressed, fatigued, ill, let’s just say a lot of things can affect your BG levels. So let’s now throw in the monthly period we girls go through.
At different points in the menstrual cycle, BG levels can be affected. It can differ from person to person and for me, it has always been a challenging time. However, since I had my children, I’ve noticed that my need for insulin fluctuates a great deal at different times within a single month. Sometimes, I need more insulin and sometimes I need a lot less. My insulin requirement severely decrease. Why? I have no idea! Could it just be down to my body changing after experiencing pregnancy? Hormones? Who knows?
As a side note – This also reminds me of when I was going through my teenage years and all the changes I had to make in my insulin regime. Back then I was MDI taking two injections a day which then increased to five injections a day. Anyway, that’s a whole other post entirely.
As frustrating as it has been, I’ve had to deal with this extra struggle that comes with diabetes. At first, the patterns in my sugars were very hard to detect and I suffered from a lot with low BGs. It seems as if, my body just needed a lot less insulin at that particular time. Initially, I must admit I did suspend my pump at certain times just to try and avoid those lows. However, with a lot of hard work, I’ve managed to , when I needed to make changes to my background basal rates. The only real way to do this is to watch what your sugars are doing. I had to write them down and try to find patterns over several months and then compare patterns from month to month. It was crazy!!
So what did I find out?
Week 1 of any month – This is usually the normal week and most stable week. BG’s are close to perfect.
|May 2016 Week 1||Sunday 1/5/2016||Monday 2/5/2016||Tuesday 3/5/2016||Wednesday 4/5/2016||Thursday 5/5/1016||Friday 6/5/2016||Saturday 7/5/2016|
Week 2 (before the P) – This is when things start to get a little tricky and I notice a slight change in my sugar levels. My BG levels start to drop and at this point I have to decrease my basal rates. My pump (Animas Vibe) has a great setting which allows me to reduce or increase the basal rates by a percentage. So Initially, I reduce my basal rates by – 20%, which did nothing, so I then took it down by a further -40% which really helped to stabilise my BG levels.
|May 2016 Week 2||Sunday 8/5/2016||Monday 9/5/2016||Tuesday 10/2016||Wednesday 11/5/2016||Thursday 12/5/1016||Friday 13/5/2016||Saturday 14/5/2016|
Week 3 – (week of the P) – This week all chaos breaks loose on a BG level. Regardless of the changes, I’d made in week 2, I continue to experience severe lows which means I have to decrease my basal rates even further. I do this by using the percentage setting again. First, I reduce it in increments of 10% until I’ve reduced it by -60%. This eventually seems to stop the frequency of low BG levels.
|May 2016 Week 3||Sunday 8/5/2016||Monday 9/5/2016||Tuesday 10/2016||Wednesday 11/5/2016||Thursday 12/5/1016||Friday 13/5/2016||Saturday 14/5/2016|
|Changes in BR||Changes in BR||Changes in BR||Changes in BR|
To completely stabilise my BG’s I must then reduce my insulin sensitivity factor( ISF) and insulin to carb ratio(I:C). My ISF is usually 1U will reduce my BG by 6mmol/1. During this week, I drop it to 1U of insulin reduces my BG by 1mmol/1. My, I: C ratio of week one is 1U: 6g (of carbohydrates), during week 3 this is doubled to 1U: 12g.
In general, during this week I feel hungrier and more exhausted than ever.
Week 4 – This week usually means that I have to increase everything, basal rates, ISF and I: C ratios. My BG levels spike beyond belief. I have to increase my basal rate setting by +60%, drop ISF back to 1U : 6mmol/l and I:C ratio back to 1U : 6g.
|May 2016 Week 4||Sunday 8/5/2016||Monday 9/5/2016||Tuesday 10/2016||Wednesday 11/5/2016||Thursday 12/5/1016||Friday 13/5/2016||Saturday 14/5/2016|
|Changes in BR||Changes in BR|
I suppose for those who have no clue about the work both I and my pump have to do to manage this condition, then you can really see how beneficial it is to me. I well and truly appreciate my pump and I am so lucky to have it.
I really think that the drastic fluctuations were due to possible pregnancy hormones which still existed in my system. I really don’t know, it’s just a guess. I decided to do a detox to try and flush out my system and I thought that maybe it would help to get me back into a more normal BG crazy diabetes management routine. After the detox, I noticed a change in the way my BG’s behaved. They weren’t as crazy as they had been and there was definitely a great improvement. I also took it a little further and started to:
- Work out more and maintaining a more regular routine
- Tried to get more sleep – which is hard as a mama of two but my body definitely needs and benefits from it.
- Eat more clean/watch my portions etc
- I do detoxes from time to time to flush out my system.
With all these changes I’ve been able to cut down my basal rates to just having two programme setting for the month. One for the week before and during my period and the two weeks after my period.
It’s a tough one girls but it has to be done. Close monitoring of those BG is really the only way to figure the unpredictability of those sugars on a normal week without a period. So it becomes even more crucial during the menstrual cycle.
This is yet another aspect of the crazy life of a diabetic!
It was in 2013 when she was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes but after medication failed to work, she then took further tests which showed she actually had Type 1 diabetes
“My very first reaction was that it’s impossible because at my age you don’t get it,” she says, reflecting the popular misconception that only younger people get diagnosed with Type 1. In fact, one in five people diagnosed with Type 1 are over 40 when they develop it. “But, then my reaction was: ‘Oh no, I’m going to have to inject’ and thinking about what that would mean in practical terms.”
After her second diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, she then went from taking two tablets a day to two injections a day and finally injecting four times daily.
Her extremely demanding role since 2010, as home secretary, combined with her diabetes management has never immobilised her ability to carry out her role. She always seems to have a very positive and yet a very blunt approach, when it comes to speaking about life with this condition.
I really like this quote from her interview with the Mail on Sunday, which clearly indicates how she feels about her diabetes and having such a demanding schedule as home secretary:
Her diagnosis with diabetes was not her first encounter with the condition. She had seen it with a younger cousin of hers. She had to quickly adjust to her new life with diabetes and develop an understanding of what it meant to live with the condition on a day to day basis.
“I hadn’t appreciated the degree of management it requires and I hadn’t appreciated, for example, the paradox that while everyone assumes diabetes is about not eating sugar, if you have a hypo, then you have to take something that’s got that high glucose content.”
Keeping on top of her diabetes has also led to her breaking the very strict rule of not eating in the House of Commons.
“There was one occasion when I had been expecting to go into the Chamber later, but the way the debates were drawn up meant I had to go in at 11am and I knew I wasn’t coming out till about five. “I had a bag of nuts in my handbag and one of my colleagues would lean forward every now and then so that I could eat some nuts without being seen by the Speaker.”
Although, before her diagnosis she kept her private life quite separate from the public eye. Since, her diagnosis, her attitude towards diabetes is extremely encouraging and she doesn’t hold back when it comes to speaking about the condition.
“I don’t inject insulin at the table, but I’m quite open about it. For example, I was at a dinner last night and needed to inject and so I just said to people: ‘You do start eating, I’ve got to go and do my insulin’. It’s better to be open like that.”
She has given many interviews where she has spoken openly about her condition, she is involved in many diabetes charities and recently even wrote to schools in her Maidenhead district about Diabetes UK’s campaign to make sure schools understand the support they are legally required to give children with Type 1 diabetes.
Primarily, I think she strives to paint a picture of strength for those like myself with diabetes and to show that diabetes doesn’t hold us back and that we are still able to obtain our goals with hard work determination and regardless of this condition. You can read my post on Diabetes and not allowing it to hold me back here.
“I would like the message to get across that it doesn’t change what you can do,” she explains. “The more people can see that people with diabetes can lead a normal life doing the sort of things that other people do, the easier it is for those who are diagnosed with it to deal with it.
“The fact is that you can still do whatever you want to do, for example, on holiday my husband and I do a lot of quite strenuous walking up mountains in Switzerland, and it doesn’t stop me doing it. I can still do things like that and can still do the job.
“And, of course, it does change your life in that you have to make sure you’ve got the right diet and that you’re managing your blood sugar levels, but, beyond making sure you’ve got that routine, you just get on with other things exactly the same.”
So does it make a difference, whether our new Prime Minister is a Type 1 diabetic or not?
Personally, I don’t think that it will make much of a difference, whether she is diabetic or not. Is she the right person for the job? I honestly don’t know! I like that, she refuses to let her diabetes be a problem and I don’t think it will get in the way of her being able to perform as Prime Minster. She seems to manage her condition well alongside her role as home secretary, although the role of Prime Minister is going to be that much tougher. Theresa May will have a very hard job on her hands. Nevertheless, her frequent presence in the media will allow people to become more aware of diabetes and develop a better understanding of the condition. We have a very long road ahead of us and we can only remain hopeful that everything will work out in the future.
As many of you may know, Muslims all around the world have spent the last month fasting abstaining from food from sun rise to sunset. This is known as Ramadan. Ramadan is a very spiritual time and Muslims try to engage as much as they can with the teachings of their religion, Islam.
At the end of this month is the celebration of Eid al-Fitr known as the festival of breaking the fast. This day of celebration concludes the end of the 29th or 30th day of Ramadan and starts the first day of the new Islamic month Shawwal.
This Eid, I thought it would be nice to wear some tradition Qatari clothing.
I also thought it would be nice to show one of the many Algerian styles women wear on this big occasion.
WHAT I WORE:
The main piece of clothing in this outfit is called a thawb which…
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Appleton is an Artist and Photographer, who has been creating art images and sculptures for over 40 years. He attended Boston University, where he studied both art and photography. After completing his studies, he moved to New York City, where he found that the diverse cultural landscape offered him great inspiration for much of his early documentary work.
Area’s such as, West Side Highline, before its massive makeover specifically offered a great platform for inspiration.
“The old rusted tracks and overgrown grass, the bright open and vastness would become negatives that would eventually fill a few three-ring binders. A love of industrial objects, the lost and found would become the work and the sculptures.”
Appleton’s work, takes the ordinary, often overlooked images, the ones you walk past everyday to another place and time, he is able to bring these images to their rightful place.
Appleton’s relationship with Diabetes,
One of the main focuses of Appleton’s current pieces, is to promote diabetes awareness by incorporating into his work different essentials diabetics need on a daily basis to survive.
After surviving a diabetic coma at the age of six, Appleton began to collect almost every insulin bottle that had gone through his system. This amounted to hundreds of insulin vials, faded syringes and old blood strips. They were all reminders of his survival through the years.
With no cure in sight, Appleton’s mission is to spread and raise awareness of diabetes through his art. Appleton hopes to inspire the millions who have this nightmare of a disease, to carry on but also to educate those who know nothing of the condition. By doing this, he also hopes to eliminate misconceptions and false hoods about the condition.
Thank you Appleton for sharing your truly inspirational pieces. Your creativity has motivated me to continue to share my experiences with diabetes and I know that it will also inspire many others living with this awful disease. I’m also convinced that, it will reach many others who have yet to learn about this condition.
Monday 6th of June, marked the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan, which is observed during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslim’s fast from sunrise until sunset, when they are without food and without water.
So what does Ramadan mean for Muslim diabetics? What does that mean to me?
As a Muslim and a diabetic, I am exempt from fasting. Islam makes exceptions for those who are ill or on medication, for pregnant or breast feeding women etc.
Something you may not know about me, when I was first diagnosed it was also the very first time I tried to fast. I was excited to attempt the fasting and had set my mind to really giving it my all.
Day one was a struggle. I felt awful of course because I did not know that my diabetes had begun to manifest. I felt exhausted. I had an urge to drink constantly and why did I need to urinate so frequently? I hadn’t taken one drop of liquid all day. I slept and slept, but still could not find the motivation to do the things I needed to do. I thought to myself, maybe this is how the fasting was supposed to feel. It was was a struggle but I made it to the end.
Day two came and I felt like it was even more of a struggle than day one. I continued to tell myself that, this was how the fast was supposed to feel. The symptoms from the day before seemed to be amplified. I walked around with my eyes half closed from sheer exhaustion and a thirst like no other. It completely drained me but I made it to the end of another day. I remember breaking my fast and consuming ridiculous amounts of water, juice anything to quench my thirst.
I had started to lose weight, my clothes were hanging off me. If you knew me then, you’d know how skinny and tall I was. Therefore any amount of weight loss was extremely evident. My Mother noticed the severe amount of weight I had lost and some of the symptoms I presented. She insisted that I stop the fasting. Even though I felt awful, I also felt sad to stop fasting. It pained me to think that I was not going to be continuing, but deep down I knew that I could not continue as I was. And as they say the rest is history, you can read my diabetes story in more detail here.
After my diagnosis and every year Ramadan came around, I found it hard to truly find my place. Everyone in my family was fasting and I could not partake in the fasting so what else could I do?
I had to find other ways to be a part of this special month. As I investigated and connected more with my religion, I began to understand that there were other aspects to Ramadan and that Ramadan wasn’t solely just about the fast itself. It was only one portion of the whole month.
So what did I learn?
- Connecting with the Creator – One of the first and most important aspects that I learnt was, that for the entire month I had to try my best to live in an environment where I was more conscious of my creator, every second of the day. It was also a time for spiritual reflection and deep devotion of oneself to worship and pray to God and to try my best to solidify my relationship with him. Reading as much of the Quran (the holy book for Muslims) and really taking my time to understand it properly.
- Check yourself before you wreck yourself – It was also a month where I could evaluate my own behaviour and attitude towards myself and others. It taught me how to control my anger, ego, arrogance and to show humility and politeness, kindness and forgiveness to others (something I try to do every day, regardless of month).
- Offerings – It was also a time to be generous and give charity (Zakat) to those in need. Because I wasn’t able to fast, with this aspect I give money to support someone (with food) in need for the entire month. It also became a time for me to strive to do as many good deeds as possible.
- Leave off that bad language/ attitude/ everything – For those who know me, I don’t use bad language. I leave off the F and P’s and Qs and try to avoid it all together daily. However, during this time it is important that we aim to do these things and to be more aware of the language we chose to use. Staying away from desires and sins becomes very important for observing this entire month.
- Brain training – One of the benefits of fasting is that it helps to repair and build new connections in the brain by generating new synapses and ultimately keeping the mind young. I have had to find other ways to challenge my brain to allow it to grow and strengthen itself and in turn keep it young. I do this by constantly learning new things, new languages (currently tackling Korean), reading on subjects I knew nothing about or reading around subjects in more detail.
So what are the benefits of fasting?
By fasting, it demonstrates our ability not only to conquer hunger but also our capacity to control psychological aspects of our behaviour, such as our reaction to things that we dislike. There are also many scientific benefits such as;
- Improving Insulin Sensitivity – A study done (Effect of intermittent fasting and refeeding on insulin action in healthy men) showed that after periods of fasting insulin becomes more effective in instructing cells to take up glucose from blood.
- Speeds up metabolism – Fasting Intermittently, gives your digestive system a break whilst promoting your metabolism to burn through calories more efficiently. Intermittent fasts can regulate your digestion and encourage healthy bowel function, and therefore improving your metabolic function.
- Fasting can improve your immune system – It does this by reducing free radical damage, reduces inflammatory conditions and also eliminates the production of cancer cells.
- Improves Brain function – This fantastic lecture by Mark Mattson who is the Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University, and one of the foremost researchers in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying multiple neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, outlines some of the benefits fasting can have on the brain.
- Fasting for Clarity of mind and soul – Fasting is not just a practice for Muslims, many other religions also chose to fast, just ike many members of my own family, who fast during Lent. It is a way to help many people feel connected to life by practicing things such as reading(holy text), meditating , performing yoga and martial arts. Because the body is deprived of food for a period of time this allows the body to make more energy. It gives the body a respite and a chance to heal and to reorder its systems. It allows us to feel better both physically and mentally (the mind is able to repair, develop new connections and reset itself). With a lighter body and clearer mind we become more aware of our surroundings, our beliefs and of course our actions.
I want to introduce Ashley, an Australian based blogger at www.bittersweetdiagnosis.com. She is an accredited dietitian and is currently studying her PhD in the field of diabetes education in young adults.
Ashley also has an active role at the International Diabetes Federation as the President-Elect of the Young Leader in Diabetes Programme.
I’ve known Ashley since I first began Sugar High Sugar Low and we have been good diabetes buddies ever since.
Who is Ashley?
When I’m not working away, you’ll find me trying out new place to eat with my boyfriend. , I hit the gym fairly regularly as it helps me to de-stress too. I also play clarinet in two concert bands, which gives my brain a bit of a break. If I’m not doing any of those, I’d be having a snuggle with my gorgeous fur baby – Rosie the cat.
I was diagnosed with diabetes by chance. I had a stubborn sinus infection that wouldn’t go away. I had blood tests done and an oral glucose tolerance test.
Oral glucose tolerance test – measures the bodies ability to use glucose
Within one hour, my blood glucose was 22mmol/l and I felt quite ill! I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Being quite young (19 years old at the time) and relatively active, my family doctor/GP wasn’t satisfied with the diagnosis and sent me to an endocrinologist for a second opinion. I had an antibody and genetic testing which both came back negative for type 1. However, my pancreas was failing to produce the normal level of insulin so now I’ve been classified as having type 1b diabetes.
However, I recently had genetic testing done for MODY and am yet to find out the results. Although, I’ve been told I don’t fit any of the common MODY strands they have already identified.
How do you stay motivated whilst living with diabetes?
I don’t know to be honest! I think it’s definitely wanting to live a long and healthy life and reducing the risk of complications. But It would be hard to do the things I love if I didn’t feel like my diabetes management is adequate.
A way I get back into my diabetes management if I feel like I’m going off track is to get a new diabetes ‘toy’. Recently, it’s been about trying a new CGM sensor. Sadly, this is something I won’t be able to afford on a long term basis. So I’ll go back to buying new PumpPeelz for my pump and meter or a new diabetes carry bag etc. Anything to keep it fun.
Bittersweet Diagnosis blog
I love to write. I first started Bittersweet Diagnosis as a personal blog about life, thoughts and feelings. But once I started writing about diabetes, I remember thinking that I should focus my blog on my experiences on living with diabetes. Initially, I mainly wrote to share with my family and friends what living with diabetes is like. Now, I’m honoured that it gets shared around the world.
There are times where I feel pressured to write a good blog post. During these instances I need to remind myself why I started writing in the first place. My friends are also very encouraging and I often hear about how my blogs have helped others develop an insight into how complicated and complex life with diabetes is.
Ashley the dietician
As a dietitian, I work with clients to develop strategies towards their goals and develop a healthy relationship with food. People like to think dietitians are the food police,
but we are much more. I help people develop a better understanding of how foods affect them, how to achieve balance in their food habits and to remind them that food is more than just calories and nutrients.
For the moment, I’ve given up on seeing patients as my current workload with my PhD and the IDF YLD is enough to keep me on my toes. But one day, I would like to set up an online practice where I will consult with people over Skype to minimise travel and the inconvenience for clients.
Advice to new patients…
It’s okay to feel like crap. It’s okay to have a cry or to be angry. My biggest advice for people who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes is not to panic. You can still live a normal, full and exciting life. Be prepared for the biggest learning curve you’ll ever experience. Remember that there is no one size fits all. It will take time to find what works for you. Diet wise, I would say to keep calm and remember you can still eat anything, but with slight adjustments here and there.
Remember that no one is perfect. While we strive to always be in the ‘green zone’ the odd day or time outside of this zone is okay. It’s frustrating and annoying to deal with but just deal with it the best you can.
Remember too, that you are never alone. There are so many people in the diabetes online community willing to give you a helping hand. All you have to do is ask.
What sorts of food do you encourage your clients to have in their diet?
Eat the foods they enjoy eating! Even if that is desserts, we will work through strategies around mindful eating to ensure we don’t over eat and we are listening to our bodies. Absolutely healthiest foods are a little bit of everything really. But if I had to choose a food group, I’d go with vegetables.
What does Ashley eat?
Ooh!!!! I just had my lunch and should’ve taken a photo because it was delicious! I had leftover home-made butter chicken with rice and veggies. My mum is a fantastic cook and she cooks extra so I get to bring leftovers to work/uni. Over the years I have lowered my carb portion by at least half and included more vegetables and dairy foods.
A typical day this week may look like this:
Breakfast – A slice of wholegrain bread with peanut butter and honey (~25g CHO)
Snack time – A tub of yoghurt (180-200g) (~20-30g CHO)
Lunch – Leftover dinner – often some sort of carb (about half a cup to a cup cooked) with vegetables and meat/fish (~50g CHO)
After Lunch – a small packet of crackers or popcorn (~15g CHO)
Dinner – Some sort of carb with lots of veggies and meat/fish (I’d eat out maybe twice a week and have a chicken Parma or a burger or something) (~60g CHO)
I drink at least 1-1.5L of water a day with many cups of tea in between! I also don’t really like fruit. But once in a while I might have an apple or some berries or something.
How do you deal with unfamiliar foods?
SWAG it! I’d like to think that as long as you have a good basic understanding of what a carb food is, you can generally estimate portions to some degree. I find Asian food to be the most challenging, particularly with the sauces that they use. When I’m feeling nerdy (not very often) I might google the dish and a recipe to get a better understanding of the ingredients used.
Young Leader in Diabetes
The YLD is a programme of the International Diabetes Federation. We serve to be a voice for all young people living with diabetes around the world. We advocate to improve the lives of people living with diabetes against issues like lack of access to medication and care, discrimination and lack of awareness around diabetes.
I’m currently the President-Elect of the IDF Young Leader in Diabetes (YLD) Programme. As part of my role, I work with the executive council of the YLD to ensure that all our Young Leaders are receiving adequate support for running and managing their diabetes project. The YLD will also work on global project such as on World Health Day or World Diabetes Day to raise awareness for diabetes and keep advocating for causes we support. In the background, the executive council works really hard to ensure that the YLD continues its survival as a sustainable program and planning for the next leadership training program.
Thank you Ashley for sharing all the important roles you play within the diabetes community, you’re a true inspiration to us all. Keep up the fantastic work.
Article Ashley is featured in : New device for diabetes eliminates the need for painful finger pricking
This week marks the beginning of Diabetes Week. This year the main focus is on, the misconceptions people have in terms of what diabetes is and how it affects individuals. The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
There are many myths which surround diabetes, that make it hard for others to believe how deadly diabetes can be. Stereotypes and stigmas have created an inaccurate image of what the condition really is. As a diabetic blogger, I feel the responsibility to spread the correct message to my readers. Let’s start by setting the message straight about the different types of diabetes that can occur.
There are many types of diabetes, the main types include; type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes and MODY (Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young). Diabetes is a long- standing condition that affects the body’s ability to process glucose (sugars). All these types cause blood glucose levels to increase. Glucose levels are high due to the body’s inability to use the glucose properly.
This occurs because the pancreas either:
- No longer produces insulin
- The amount of insulin being produced is not enough, or
- The insulin that is being produced does not work properly (Insulin resistance)
Therefore glucose is not able to enter into the cells and remains in the blood stream.
Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder, which occurs due to the body’s immune system attacking and killing beta cells (insulin cells) in the pancreas, where they are made. The reason why this occurs still hasn’t been discovered, however there are researchers constantly working to find out this very reason. This autoimmune disorder is usually diagnosed in children but can also affect people up to the age of 30, resulting in no insulin being produced. People with this condition learn to use insulin therapy to manage their diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It occurs due to insulin resistance, where the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or the insulin that is being produced does not work properly. Type 2 diabetes for some people can be managed through diet and exercise. Some people also need medication to manage their blood glucose levels/ diabetes.
Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. This usually occurs during the second or third trimester. Women who develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy usually don’t have diabetes beforehand and for some women gestational diabetes disappears after the birth of the baby. Women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the first trimester, there is a possibility that the condition existed beforehand.
During the second trimester blood tests are done to determine whether or not gestational diabetes is present. If gestational diabetes was present in previous pregnancies, then tests are performed earlier.
Pregnancy hormones can affect the body’s ability to allow insulin to function as it should. This can then cause insulin resistance to occur. Pregnancy already puts a huge strain on the body, so this additional strain on the body can sometimes cause some women to develop gestational diabetes. Woman who are likely at risk include, women who have suffered from gestational diabetes before, overweight or obese women, women who have had very large babies and have had a family history of diabetes. Ethnicity also plays a huge part in the development of gestational diabetes. If you are of, Caribbean, South Asia, African or Middle Eastern decent, then you are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes.
MODY diabetes or Type 3 diabetes
What is this type? MODY stands for Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young. This type of diabetes is quite different from both Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. It is strongly present in families and is triggered by a mutation in a single gene. If a person carrying this gene has a child with a person who doesn’t carry the gene, then any children they have will have a 50 % chance of inheriting the gene. If a child inherits this gene they will then go onto develop MODY before they reach 25 years old, whatever their weight, lifestyle or ethnicity. These diabetic also don’t necessarily need to take insulin either.
Types of MODY:
- HNF1-alpha– this is the most common type of MODY and can be found in populations with European ancestry. It accounts for about 70% of all cases in Europe. People with this type of MODY don’t need to take insulin, instead they take a mixture of sulphonylureas tablets.
- HNF4-alpha– this type of MODY is very rare and usually affects people whose birth weight was more than 9lbs or suffered a low blood sugar level after birth. People who have this type of MODY are also treated with sulphonylureas tablets.
- HNF1-beta – People with this type of MODY develop several problems which can include; renal cysts, abnormalities in uterine, gout as well as diabetes. With this type of MODY, if diabetes develops insulin treatment becomes essential. A healthy diet and exercise must also be followed to manage diabetes better.
- Glucokinase – This gene once present and functioning allows the body to recognise increase in blood glucose levels. If this gene isn’t working then the body isn’t able to detect high blood glucose levels, allowing the BG level to go higher than it should. The BG level is only slightly higher between ( 5 – 8 mmols/l). There are no noticeable symptoms and it can only be detected through routine tests. No treatment is needed for this type of MODY.
It’s extremely important to know if you have any of these MODY types. If treatment is needed then you can then get it. Also if you have the gene, there is a 50 % chance that you could then pass this gene onto your children. Therefore genetic testing usually is extended to other family members.
I hope that this has helped you to understand the different types of diabetes that can occur. For more information on the prevalence of diabetes and also if you want to help to spread the correct message, then click the links below.
Diabetes Awareness Poster (print and share)
Thanks for stopping by friends
Cook book: Carbs & Cals Salads by Chris Cheyette & Yello Balolia
Overview: Carb counting is so important for us (diabetics) as we must constantly be vigilant of what we are putting into our bodies. I’ve been a huge fan of Carbs and Cals and have been using their app for many years now. I found that the app really helped me to understand how many carbs I was consuming daily whilst understanding how it affected my blood glucose levels. On the app you can search for different foods types which have been measured out into different portions. It breaks down the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, calories and fats within certain foods. It also contains a calendar which allows you to input your exercise routine and all foods you consume.
A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to review the Carbs & Cals new Salad book and of course I was delighted to review it and try out some of their new recipes. If you’re new to carb counting, you can really begin to develop a stronger understanding of how many carbohydrates you are having from meal to meal. Life is definitely made a lot easier because like the app you’re getting a much better understanding of what you are putting into your body and for those of us who still like to flick through the pages of a book the Carbs & Cals Counter , Salad and Smoothie books are all great additions to have alongside other cookery books.
If you are thinking of incorporating more salads into your diet, then the healthy new salad book gives you so many fantastic ideas to create new recipes, whilst exploring delicious ingredients filled with so many health benefits. The Salad book provides the option of both hot and cold salads. If you’re looking for salads which are higher in fibre, protein or if you’re pursuing a low carb diet then there are many options to try out.
At the start of each year, people make promises to work out and lose a few pounds here and there. Well, I decided that this year I was going to try and get rid of some of the extra mama pounds I’d gained during and after my pregnancies. I wanted to maintain a regular fitness routine and improve my diet as a whole. Previously, I’d only eaten salads alongside my main meals but with this book I’ve been able to incorporate gains (which are more filling) into my salads, allowing me to have salads as a main dish.
Recipe I tried:
– King Prawn & Avocardo – which can be found in the Low carb section of the book (P.34)
Cooking from Carb & Cals Salad book
The King Prawn & Avocado recipe has ingredients that I was familiar with, although I have never used pineapple in my salad before. It was surprisingly really nice. The recipe suggests that, “the sweet pineapple and salty olives make for a great combination”. The salty olives mixed with the sweet pineapple flavour really worked well.
The recipe is very easy to make and follow plus the ingredients weren’t costly. I also added the olive oil and lemon dressing which made it taste delicious. It gives you the option to leave off the dressing (saving you 35 Cals and 4g of fat) but I think the flavours it adds makes the salad even better. The recipe was very filling so I shared the remaing with my family, who also enjoyed it very much.
So here’s the full recipe for you to try out
My favourite parts of ‘Carbs & Cals Salad’ are the colour coded sections at the top of each page, which divides the book up into different salad recipes, categorised by salad dietary types. The very back section of this book outlines the different portions of vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, nuts, seeds and even grains like pasta that can be included into whatever salad/s you choose to make or create.
Just like the app and the Cabs & Cals counter book, carbohydrates, calories and fat contents are all clearly shown in colour coded circles. I love it! Your eyes are automatically drawn to these circles and you begin to recognise the carbs, cals etc, instantly when you turn to each page.
I’m so excited to give some of the other recipes in this book a try and even create my own salad recipes using the portion section at the back of the book. I will be able to develop an even better understanding of the carbs, cals etc content in different foods. My son has already requested a few of the salads, so I’ll be making many more salads from my new favourite recipe book. Thanks Carbs and Cals.
Comfort between you and the needle
Administering insulin, whether that be by injecting or by bolus through an insulin pump, is just another one of the thing we (diabetics) need to do on a day to day to keep on surviving. Taking that first injection is such a huge step. It is the moment that you are able to find that inner courage to get the job done. It’s a new prospect that is extremely daunting and scary. You know you must do it but you also don’t want to stick a needle into your leg.
This is your new beginning. Your new life. You’ve found the bravery to inject and it’s over.
Those moments (which feel like forever) between injecting the needle into your skin, are awful but you’ve now progressed to a new level of courageousness. You’ve reached a new level of comfort. You’ve moved past the initial fear you had of taking that first injection.
I’m not saying that the second time becomes any easier. However, what it does mean is that you’ve developed a better understanding. You now know what to expect on your next needle encounter.
You find the strength to get through it. You’re that much stronger, that much braver, you’re in control of this awful condition. You’re amazing!
Even if you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry you’ll get there (you must), just keep trying and you’ll get the hang of it. Keep on it and don’t give up. Formulate a routine and try your best to maintain it.
The second level of comfort
Once you are able to inject yourself and you become content with your routine, you then have another barrier to face. This barrier is that of being able to do your injection or bolus in the presence of others and where ever you desire. This may take some getting used to, for both you and the people around you. However, it shouldn’t be something that you hide from them.
This condition is a part of you and just like you must get used to it, so must they. Don’t be embarrassed and don’t you dare be ashamed. I’m sorry but if you’re loved ones have a problem with it, that’s on them. You shouldn’t be forced into a corner or another room, out of sight just so they don’t see you injecting. You need all the support you can get in the initial stages and throughout, but everybody has to get on board.
The way I looked at it when I was diagnosed was, although I was the one directly affected by the condition it also affected my family. They had to make adjustments in their lives too and that also meant being accepting of me performing my daily duties as a diabetic, which included, blood testing, hypoing, injecting, everything. It was also now a part of them too.
I was very lucky to have a very supportive family, who never made me inject away from them. In fact as I’ve grown and developed with my diabetes comfort, in order to be a bit more lady like, I’ve had to remember not to inject at the dining table when I’m sat with a table full of family members lol. After all I’m not a little kid anymore. Who am I kidding, I was doing it throughout my teens into my twenties and actually just the other day. I really am not fussed when it comes to being bothered by the people who don’t want to see me injecting. It goes as far as, going out to a restaurant and reaching into my bosom to get my pump out to bolus. If people want to stare then so be it. If they want to ask questions then I’m poised and ready.
Car park experience
A few months ago, I was sitting in my car in the supermarket, when my pump started to beep. The cartridge was empty. I decided to change my insert since I had a spare insert and insulin in my bag. I proceeded to change my insert (in what I thought was the privacy of my car). Then I was confronted by a lady in the car park, staring through my window, shouting because I was changing my pump in the car park. I was completely shocked but finished putting my insert on and came out of the car to talk to her.
She expressed her disgust for what I was doing. So I asked her what she thought I was doing. She presumed that I was taking drugs or something along those lines. Even though I was furious, I paused for a moment whilst I listened to her shouting and carrying on and then I took a deep breath and explained what I was actually doing. She, of course, was completely gob smacked and apologised profusely. However, she did thank me for teaching her more about diabetes. Despite feeling annoyed by the initial accusation, I felt she benefited from the situation and it became an opportunity for me to educate someone who wasn’t aware of what diabetes is.
Although, this was my experience I know there are many others who may have or may be struggling to find their comfort to inject or bolus freely in front of others. I’ll say one thing, it is very important that you do find that comfort when it comes to this condition and doing the frequent daily task of bolusing or injecting. This life style may be new to you or you may have been living with it now for some time and still haven’t discovered your comfort (I’d hope you’ve found it at least with yourself). You need to search within yourself and find out what you’re comfortable with. Become comfortable with your routine, testing blood sugar levels and injecting at meal times. Once you have the confidence in yourself, within your own space, then you can help the people around you adjust and understand diabetes better. You’re new to this life style but so are your family or friends.
I know how overwhelming the initial encounter with this condition can be. However, I’m sure for the people around you too, seeing you experience the things you must now experience is also very daunting for them. The injecting, blood testing and hypo’s are but a few to mention. They are all frightening things to deal with.
As the diabetic, we don’t really get to see other diabetics in the same situations we go through. When my siblings and I were younger, we saw my cousin hypo’in even before I was diabetic and it was an upsetting thing to witness. Nevertheless, even though it was terrifying to watch, I realised how hard it must be for her to live with diabetes experiencing changes in her body which were out of her control.
If your family or friends are shocked by seeing you inject or bolus, then I think that’s something that they have to work through. They should experience being in your presence whilst you inject/bolus and with time they can then find the strength within themselves to accept the things you must do, the things you have no choice but to do. Shunning you is probably the worst thing that they could do for you and your mental wellbeing. You shouldn’t be embarrassed and neither should they.
Most of all they shouldn’t treat you any differently. They should just support you knowing you’re doing the right thing for your health. With time, I hope they will develop a deeper understanding of this condition and not be afraid or in denial that you in fact have diabetes.
When I was a child, I remember having several check-ups every time I’d attend my diabetes appointments. After my diagnosis my check-ups were every 3 months and then it became every 6 months. These checks covered everything from, cholesterol testing, blood tests, feet check-up. Both of these tests would also be checked at my GP surgery once a year. My eyes were tested at my opticians, annually.
Nevertheless all the results from these check-ups would then be sent over to my consultant at my diabetes clinic. Every appointment the doctor would have the most recent results from these check-ups. Appointments moved swiftly and results were explained in as much or as little detail needed. Any concerns or advice were given and time for listening was also given. Everything was in order and none of my check-up were ever missed.
However, a recent study of children ages 12 to 24 with diabetes, attending paediatric diabetes units in England and Wales proposed that, nearly 75 % of these children are not getting the necessary health checks.
70 % of these children are in fact type 1 diabetics, who are insulin dependent and require these check-ups to be carried out at least annually, routinely and efficiently.
From the study, data was collected from 27, 682 children and young people, which outlined that only 25.4 % of these children (ages 12 to 24) were having the seven recommended annual checks.
“Guideline from NICE (The National Institute For Health and Care Excellence) state all children with diabetes should have their blood sugar levels checked every year and those over the age of 12 should also have six other health checks.”
These checks for this age group should include:
- Measurement of growth
- Blood pressure
- Thorough eye tests, examining the backs of the eyes in detail
- Cholesterol testing
- Feet check-ups
- Kidney function
The study also found that, from this age group (children age 12 to 24 years old), those who were considered to have “excellent diabetes control” of 7.5mmol/l, had in fact risen to 15.8mmol/l in 2012 and then by 2014 -15 this had risen even further to 23.5%.
These results are extremely disturbing and it clearly shows that there is a failure within the basic support and care of children and young people living with diabetes. These check-ups should be routine and frequent enough so that both the patient and the doctor are aware of the patients diabetes management.
As alarming as these results are, the report carried out also showed that at least 98.7% of these children in this age group had their HbA1c tested. However, only 23 % had started to increase their chances of not developing complications due to poorly managed diabetes.
On the other hand, the most frequently missed checks amongst children age 12-24, involved foot examination, eye screening and cholesterol testing. All these tests are crucial when it comes to managing diabetes treatment and the regularity of these tests being done will only aid in the detection of any signs of diabetes complications or any damage being done to organs. Detecting signs for complications such as (blindness and kidney damage) early could potentially help to avoid or lessen the effects of the complication and if treatment is necessary then it can be administered at an early stage.
The study also showed that children from poorer areas were found to have worst HbA1c test results whilst children in more prosperous areas were found to have better HbA1c results.
Bridget Turner, director of policy and care improvement at Diabetes UK, said, “There remains considerable variation in the level of care provided. This is very worrying because if children and young people are not supported to manage their diabetes well in early life, they are more likely to be at risk of debilitating and life threatening complications in adult life such as amputations, blindness and stroke.”
Since the report, The NHS (National Health Service) are working to improve the delivery of effective integrated diabetes services with the help of clinical commissioning groups across Wales and England.
I hope that future reports will show that children within this age group suffering with diabetes are being taken care of and not going without these fundamental check-ups, regardless of their economical status.
Since today Is the final day of the #DBlogWeek, I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks I use to not only keep my diabetes in check but to keep going.
Positivity Tips and Tricks
Try, try, try and try again to do the best that you can do for yourself. You are worth it and you deserve to be ok. You can do things regardless of your condition. You are so much more.
This beautiful quote by Maya Angelou really rings true for me. It is the way in which I have tried to do things in my life. Whether that be, my diabetes or even attempting new and challenging tasks. Whatever it may be, I always push to do that thing to the best of my capability. Especially, when it comes to diabetes, we have no choice but to try our best no matter how hard it may be. I’ve found that, it is within that struggle, that I am able to become much stronger, wiser, capable and ultimately more in control. From my diagnosis to now, this is how I’ve managed myself and my diabetes. After all it is mine and no one else’s.
Make a list of all the thing you want to achieve when it comes to being in control with diabetes. What do you want to achieve? It could be testing your BG more frequently, or working out more. Whatever it maybe, just write it down and keep striving to reach those goals. #Youcandothis
A little positivity goes a long way. You can read my post on ways to remain positive here
Finger Pricking good
So this is the state of my fingertips, after 21 years of BG testing. They are so hard and calloused that I’ve now taken to doing my finger prick in the palm of my hand. You know the meatier part of your hand. It’s great for getting enough blood each time I do it but it can be quite sensitive. The tip here is, you need to set your finger prick to a lower setting to avoid the constant flow of blood and try to alternate the sites you choose to prick.
For a good blood supply, wash your hands (wash your hands anyway to make sure you’re not testing that sticking jam you just touched) under warm water.
Working it out
When working out, you need to figure out when is the best time for you to actually workout. How is your BG affected at different times of the day? What does different types of exercise do to your BG levels? A recent thing I learnt about myself and working out with diabetes is that morning times are one of the best times for me to do my workouts. This is usually in the form of some sort of cardio or HIT workout, before I consume any breakfast.
After a workout I usually follow with a breakfast which has some protein and carbs in it. There are many benefits to consuming carbs. One of which is, it helps to replenish the muscle glycogen that is burned during a workout. Carbs aren’t the enemy, everything in moderation is good!!
I cook a lot, using fresh ingredients daily. It’s a good way of knowing exactly what you’re consuming.
When it comes to take outs, you don’t completely know what goes into the food and usually it causes huge spikes in my sugars.
If you’re not a great cook or you don’t have enough time, you could prepare your meals in advance for the week and freeze it.
The world is vast my friend, go out there and enjoy it!
Don’t panic!! You’re going on holiday for god sake. Relax and think about the holiday not just on your diabetes. Organise yourself and everything will be ok.
When you travel make sure you have a copy of your prescription with you, just in the unfortunate event that you lose your medication or you require more.
Before you fly, contact the airline and let them know that you are diabetic and will be carrying medication with you.
DO NOT PUT ANY OF YOUR MEDICATION IN YOUR SUITE CASE, which will then goes into the hold. This could freeze your insulin and essentially spoil it. Always keep it with you.
Double up on the amount of supplies you may need and if you’re travelling with someone, then give them some of the supplies to hold for you.
If you’re a pump user, don’t forget to take a spare pump. Contact your provider at least a month in advance and they will provide you with a loaner pump, as well as a letter that states you’re a type 1 diabetic.
Remember to detach from your pump on take-off and landing, as the pressure in the cabin can cause insulin to be primed through the tubing and into you.
I would definitely recommend purchasing a FRIO bag to store your insulin in, it’s great. It keep the insulin at the right temperature.
Network and be happy
I’ve said it before, I’m going to say it again. Network with others, at your diabetes clinic, at different events, and of course online. It is a great way to connect with others people experiencing the same things you might be. It’s a fantastic form of support.
Keep on fighting, keep on smiling, and don’t give up. I know how difficult diabetes can be, but it isn’t impossible. Keep trying, keep track of it and with time you will make progress. Work hard and find the inner strength I know you have, to be able to take control of it and everything it comes with.
I’ve been very fortunate to have had very good healthcare, throughout my time with diabetes. I first attended Saint Mary’s Children’s Hospital for my diabetes care, after my diagnosis, until I was 18 years old (and considered an adult). I then began to attend The Manchester Diabetes Clinic, which was a very difficult transition for me, it was all new and up until that point I only really saw younger children and kids in their early teens just like me (at the time). I was now with patients who ranged from 18 upwards and of course every time I’d go for my appointments it just seemed like I was the only one in my age group there. (At the time it would have been nice to get to know more of the newly transitioned diabetic patients). Initially, it was a very daunting transition and I was accustomed to the children’s hospital and the people and it felt like a place where I could be at ease. I had to quickly get use to this new setting in the adult’s clinic, this meant dealing with receptionist who weren’t particularly friendly and then dealing with several different (and new) people. Towards the end of my time at the children’s hospital, I was attending appointments alone (without my mother). However, my first appointment at the adults clinic, I had to really pluck up the courage to attend the appointment alone. (It was all new and scary for me)
The adults clinic used a team approach to treat its patients. There were;
The doctors, some good and would listen and take you through your results and some bad who lectured you and joked about diabetes. I’ve experienced both of these types of doctors. However, they are there to give specialist care and advice the patients. Recently I found a very good doctor.
Then there are the nurses who are solely there to take blood samples, weight and measure patients, check your blood pressure levels and test urine samples. They are friendly and do their jobs well.
The diabetes specialist nurses (DSN) for me have always played a huge role in supporting me, educating me and no matter what, they have always made time for me. I’ve always been fortunate enough to have direct contact with my DSN, which in some case meant I had their numbers. On many occasions they’ve even made time for me during their lunch breaks and during packed schedules. They are the most caring and understanding of people and I’ve come to realise that they have really dedicated their time to diabetes and the people it affects. They know all about the latest technologies and in some case are even better versed than the doctors. They truly know how to connect with the patient. For me, I can always guarantee a very good appointment when I’m down to see a DSN.
The National Health Service
So here in the UK, for those who don’t know our health care system is known as, THE NHS (National Health Service). You can read more about it here.
The NHS, helps to pay and take care of people like me with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. All treatment is free, all medication is free and all diabetes related technology is free (except things like sensors but the majority of things are still free).
However, recently the NHS has been squeezed beyond its means and in the long run may not cater to all the needs of diabetic patients like myself. There may come a time when I may have to pay for my insulin again (like I used to when I was first diagnosed) or even turn to private care.
Turning to private care
There are many benefits to going into private care such as: being able to arrange better times for appointments, better access to consultants and more time spent on you. Nevertheless, there are also disadvantages to private healthcare, first and foremost, the costs involved in being able to have specialist diabetes care will be staggering. Unless your employer will cover you for this care, it would become very costly indeed. Medical insurance, may not cover everything you currently receive on the NHS, you would have to make sure you know exactly what it covers you for. I’ve heard from some of my American diabetic friends, about times when they’ve finished test strips and even insulin and contacted their health providers and been told that they should have enough to last them till the end of the month. That’s a frightening prospect and so we’d have a lot to consider.
Being able to make appointments isn’t as easy as it used to be. I think the increase in people who suffer from diabetes is possibly starting to put a strain on diabetes care in the UK. This was discussed in an article about the cost of diabetes in Norfolk.
Recently, I was given an appointment to see the diabetes consultant, however it was during a timewhen I was going to be travelling (JULY 2015). As soon as a received this appointment I let them know I wouldn’t be able to make the appointment. So the lady I spoke to said, she’d look to see when the next available appointment would be. So I thought, well it won’t be too far away and thought she’d give me a slot the following month. She then said, the next appointment isn’t until March 25th 2016, which completely blew my mind. Waiting times are increasing, which means not being able to get the care you need.
I’m fearful of the direction diabetes care may go in. However, whatever the outcome I will have to adjust and find the best options for myself and my diabetes, as I always have.
When it comes to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, many will actively campaign for the use of words that don’t give individuals labels such as ‘diabetic’ or ‘person with diabetes’. They strive to use more inclusive language when referring to people with diabetes. For them, words like ‘diabetic’ or ‘person with diabetes’ becomes quite a derogatory word to use. Words are words, and I suppose it really depends on how those words are conveyed by individuals.
How do I feel about these words? Well, the lovely lines delivered at the end of this video (one of my favourite movies 🙂 ), by Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) sum up my feelings pretty well.
Personally, I’ve used the term ‘diabetic’ quite openly throughout my diabetic life. It’s a word which has never offended me, I’ve never felt upset by being referred to as ‘diabetic’. If someone asks me if I’m diabetic. I respond, “Yes, I’m diabetic”.
Many a time, this then leads to meaningful conversations and many questions which for me becomes a chance to make others more mindful of what living with diabetes is all about. Since becoming a blogger, I’ve become even more self-assured and don’t feel apprehensive to advocate for diabetes, when the opportunity presents itself.
Living with diabetes, I’ve had to develop a thicker skin and not let something as small as a word affect my emotional state of mind. I have way too much to cope with to waste time pondering over the words people chose to label me with. In all honesty, I really don’t care.
A person who becomes too hung up on the labels and what they prefer people to call them, will only focus on that and not take the occasion as something to share with or educate and network with other people. It becomes a missed opportunity to share your knowledge.
For those of you, who are new to this journey and may feel a little sensitive to those words people may reference you with, don’t let it bog you down.
Your diabetes knowledge maybe very little (but you know even after 21 years I’m still learning) but you too can take this as a chance to let that person or persons know how you feel when they refer to you with the words ‘diabetic’ or ‘person with diabetes’. Let them know! They too may know nothing of the condition or have only picked up on things here and there from the media etc. Be brave, be strong and be proud of yourself. You shouldn’t be ashamed of your condition or fearful to let others know your true feelings.
So words like ‘diabetic’ or ‘person with diabetes’ don’t bother me. Just like I won’t let diabetes hold me back, I won’t allow a words to impede me in anyway. I’ve accepted that I have diabetes and have become comfortable with who I am with diabetes.
Whether the word or words are conveyed in a malicious way or if they genuinely don’t mean any malice in the usage of the word, then why get all upset or hot and bothered about it. Correct them, defend yourself and teach them more about diabetes or the words you have a preference for.
There are many occasions when diabetes is misrepresented in dramas, movies and even in the news. There are also times when diabetes is turned into a joke and isn’t in the slightest bit funny. These are the times when, I find myself becoming annoyed or frustrated. Firstly, the misrepresentation causes others to think that diabetes is a certain way and that it is all the same. Secondly, they aren’t delivering the correct message and therefore it causes misunderstanding of the condition.
There was a recent situation just like this with a well-known drama here in the UK ‘EastEnders’, where diabetes was misrepresented. A lot of people complained and a mother with a child with Type 1 diabetes decided to write an open letter to the BBC. You can read it here.
This then was followed by many others including medical professional like, Dr Partha Kar, who also wrote a letter to the BBC offering them his professional services.
There were many letters of complaints but finally, JDRF also got involved and finally the BBC responded to their concerns regarding the portrayal of diabetes in the East Enders show. The BBC agreed that in the future, their scriptwriters and researchers would contact JDRF for any referencing of diabetes. Click here to read their response.
Going back to the use of words…….
Although, I’m not bothered by either the use of the word ‘diabetic’ or ‘person with diabetes’, some people really are, so think before you speak or just ask. Truthfully, I wouldn’t want people tip toe around me just because they don’t know which words I like better.
To the ‘diabetics’ or ‘Person with diabetes’, don’t get mad and don’t dwell on the choice of words people decide to use. Instead, let them know your preferences, because how will they ever know you’ve been hurt by that word if you say nothing. And please remember you are no different because of your diabetes. You are so much more. Don’t let a word stop you from being that great person.
To the non-diabetic person using these words, ask us what we desire to be known as. Don’t presume that the use of one word or the other is better.
I could never have dreamt that living with diabetes would be such a challenging prospect to contend with. Mentally and emotionally, it is one of the most demanding and turbulent things I’ve ever had to deal with. It has stretched me beyond belief and it doesn’t give me the option to just check out. It’s a constant presence in my life and for as long as I can remember it’s been with me. It’s actually hard to remember what life without it was like.
With all that said, I’ve had to find ways to make living with diabetes one that isn’t so gruelling and tedious. Instead of letting diabetes consume me, I’ve pushed myself to try new things to achieve new goals and to make my life into something more than just diabetes.
Of course I know all too well that it isn’t going anywhere and sometimes it can affect me. However, I’m also aware (as you should be too), that it shouldn’t hinder me from being able to do things I want to do. Even, during negative times, I know that those times eventually will pass. I’ve had to learn different mechanisims to help me deal with these darker times and come back to the light. Mentally i’m stronger because of diabetes and I definitely have my emotions in order. I give everything it’s just time and try not to be too hard on myself, because I know deep down that I do the best that I can.
Mechanisims I take to make living with diabetes a little more doable:
Do what I’m supposed to do? – Do the routine blood testing (write down my levels and keep an eye out for any patterns), take my insulin and just try my very best to keep on top of it all. If I can do this, #You can do this too! As perplexing as it can be, just try your best. Take it one step at a time and I know you can do it.
Reach for the sky – I find myself new goals, something I want to achieve or get better at. It helps to have something to progressively work towards and keep your mind engaged on something other than the daily diabetes grind.
Tiny steps – Take everything diabetes wise, one step at a time. Don’t let it drown you. Slowly work to the best of your ability to make a healthier more in control you.
Release – Find an outlet and let go of all you’re tension. My current outlet is working out. It’s a great stress reliever. I’m keeping fit and health and hopefully it will keep me looking good lol 🙂
Family – I’ve always been fortunate to have the support of my family and this has been one of the major reasons for me being able to deal with some of those negative times. I know that some of us may not have that support which leads me to my next point.
Buddy – Your online, that’s great! Now start to make connections with other just like me and you. Whenever I meet another diabetic, I automatically have a strong connection with them. They can relate to the whole diabetes aspect of my life, which speaks volumes.
Although this post was meant to be about how diabetes affects me mentally and emotionally. I wanted to get the perspective of my loved ones and how they think diabetes has affect me and them throughout the years.
What can I say about your mental and emotional disposition?
Exceptional. From the time I started to know you, that was when I gave birth to you, I felt that you were special. All mothers feel that about their children but as the months and years passed I realised that you had an extra-ordinary level of calmness and internal contentment.
Over the years, those attributes have grown more and more. You do not seem to complain like the rest of us but you may sigh and say something to the effect.” Oh! Man,” and the matter seems to be then closed.You have a level of tolerance which is outstanding, yet you are direct and can tell someone exactly what they need to do or to try in order to alleviate a particular problem.
I always feel that you have your life in balance. You constantly analyse your situation, research and make others aware; improving our life styles and understanding of not only diabetes but many social issues. I feel that you are well grounded; you have your aims and objectives planned out-even if you may not be successful you always move on. A great strength mentally and emotionally.
So, you are undoubtedly exceptional and an excellent role model to young and old, diabetics and non-diabetics. Your self-control and serenity has allowed me (selfishly) to worry less and live more.Thank you.
The Eldest sister
The strength to endure diabetes is a daily battle that I (a non-diabetic cannot begin to imagine or appreciate. It is not only a physical battle to maintain a healthy body but also an emotional struggle to want to continuously push yourself to do what you have to do in order to survive without complications.
My sister has had diabetes for 21 years and as I write down that number, the image of her laying on the living room chair so ill she can barely move but having to move because she needs the toilet, is so fresh in my mind that I cannot believe time has passed so quickly. In saying that the years are filled with lessons not only for my sister but for me also. It has given me the chance to learn not to feel so helpless and to be able to learn about this lifelong condition in a way that brings value to my sister.
Our mother set a strong foundation for life with diabetes because a challenge that my sister faced on one day was never an obstacle for the next. I think this positive attitude helped me to see that life with diabetes was filled with as much opportunity as a life without. My sister and I would train for tennis together and she would go harder than I most of the time.
I don’t think my sister ever wanted to be defined by diabetes and because we always lived an adventurous life that continued after her diabetes diagnosis.
Thinking about it now though, that push to maintain good BG’s must have been arduous, must have challenged her daily, must have taken every ounce of strength but she continued and still does because of her determination to have a positive diabetes life. Regardless of life’s challenges, diabetes has given her the experience to handle the difficult situations that she may encounter.
Before I met Amina, I only knew about diabetes as a condition other ‘people’ get when they are older or overweight. I never associated it with someone in my own age group or of good health.
Experiencing life married to someone with diabetes has not only taught me about the condition, but having an emotional connection to someone with the condition has opened my eyes to what’s really important in life.
I reflected on, my own relatives and my personal health and saw that diabetes was already a part of my life. People I had known my whole life, aunties, uncles, my own mother all have this condition and the implications it has on their health affects the lives of all of my family. Also, had I not met someone with diabetes, my lifestyle choices would have inevitably led me to develop type 2 diabetes. I personally take more care of myself in order to take care of my wife. Although we can’t know what will happen in the future, I have at least taken steps to live a healthier life.
Living with a diabetic has also taught me a great many things. Amina’s mind-set is tremendously positive and her outlook on life has shown me the heights the human psyche can reach, and inspired me to become more positive and mature about life’s ‘thousand natural shocks’. Her ability to share her experiences has influenced those around her including myself, our children, her relatives and mine, as well as her blog followers. It has also taught me patience in dealing with people, when her hypos inhibit her abilities I have had to search deep inside myself to be supportive in ways that best serve her needs.
The adversity faced by diabetics should not only be encouraging but the strength of the human spirit that is embodied by their struggle to overcome is truly inspirational to those around them.
The little sister
Unlike my older siblings and parents, I have no memories of Amina’s diagnosis with diabetes. I can’t remember – like my mother often says – how skinny she was or any of the other symptoms she presented. I was only about one at the time. So growing up there was no adjustment to a new lifestyle or shock at seeing her take injections or measure her blood sugars. She was never made to administer her insulin in a different room like it was some sort of secret, so it wasn’t something out the ordinary to me. I now appreciate how important that was; it was and is (literally) part of her survival and isolation could have affected her attitude towards her diabetic state (by the way she’s always had it under excellent control.)
Having had the opportunity to learn more about diabetes through my education, and considering the complications associated with a lack of control, I have developed a real sense of respect for how she has managed her diabetes through the years. From my point of view it never seemed like an overwhelming problem for her. Yes, it remains something she deals with daily. But she’s always on top of it. I’m always impressed by the fact that diabetes doesn’t rule her life, rather it is an aspect of her life that has shaped her in ways but never defined her.
The baby Brother
Being the youngest member of our family, I have always aspired to be like my elder siblings as they have all lived successful lives and I have never once thought that there is any difference between them.
I have only ever known my big sister to have diabetes and from a young age I could never really understand what it was, but with age I have a greater understanding; but even still I am always asking questions. Over the years, I have seen the slow effects it can have but with strong will and dedication, not allowing it take control, it can be managed. Personally I can see how many people could lose the will to constantly check what state their body is in at certain times of the day, however to those in the diabetic community, I believe you shouldn’t see yourself as any different from other people.
The reason I have this view, that diabetics shouldn’t see themselves as any different from other individuals is based on my sister. My sister, when possible, never acted as if she had an illness. She was and still is very proactive but what I believe to be key is she knows her limitations. And by knowing ones limitations you can build your life and wellbeing around them slowly overcoming them.
I know you’re probably thinking it’s easier said than done, especially since I have never been in that position. However, it can be done and Amina is an example of this.
To my loved ones, thank you for all the love and support you’ve given me throughout the years. I love you all dearly. Amina xxx
Today marks the beginning of the 7th annual ‘Diabetes Blog week’. This week was first created by a blogger Karen Graffeo, otherwise known a Bitter sweet in the blogging world. It has become a way for the online diabetes community to unite and express their views on many topics.
Topics are handpicked by Bitter Sweet and bloggers can sign up to post on the topic matter. It runs for an entire week and this week it begins today (May16th) through to the 20th May. Anyone who blogs about diabetes in any capacity can take part in this fantastic week.
The first topic of the week addresses why bloggers like myself are here on an online platform.
I first started blogging in 2013, it was a way for me to connect with others, to express and share my experiences of diabetes, not only with the online community but with others who wanted to know more about diabetes. It’s from my perspective, (the perspective of someone living with the condition) which with time I found that this was a very valuable and important angle to share with others.
I came up with the name Sugar High Sugar Low, which represents the battles I have on a day to day basis with blood glucose levels. It is an ongoing struggle to achieve that ‘beautiful’ so called normal range. I can guarantee that all diabetics have struggled / struggle with their BG levels in some way or another. Relentlessly, diabetes requires a lot of patients and vigilance.
Being present online has also offered me the opportunity to understand my diabetes better. It has made me more confident in my diabetes management. My experiences, both good and bad with this condition has become something I can openly exchange with my readers.
Initially, I didn’t even make the connection that by articulating my practices and knowledge of diabetes, I was in fact advocating and increasing awareness of diabetes. This has now become a huge driving force for me to be a good example to others as someone living with the condition.
Diabetes has never held me back, yes the day to day aspects of it are challenging but it never stops me from being able to do the things I chose to do with my life. As a matter of a fact, it only propels me into new directions.
Awareness of Diabetes
There are so many important messages when it comes to diabetes.The most important diabetes awareness message for me is, being able to understand and recognise symptoms before initial diagnosis. The fine line between knowing and recognising symptoms is one that inevitably could mean saving someone’s life by giving them that diabetes diagnosis.
Many people have no understanding of what diabetes even is and so when these symptoms present themselves they aren’t aware and in many cases this has proven fatal. Being able to listen to your body is such an important asset, which we all are able to do but sometimes chose to ignore. I recently wrote a post about ‘listening to your body’ and all the signs your body is able to give you to make you mindful of changes that could be happening.
What are the signs one can get before diagnosis?
I was diagnosed at a very young age and experiencing all these symptoms as well as DKA (Diabetes ketoacidosis) has definitely made this message in particular an extremely important aspect of raising awareness for diabetes. I’m so thankful that, my mum had some diabetes knowledge at the time and was able to recognise some of the symptoms, which made her take action and take me to the hospital to receive my diagnosis. It’s hard to even imagine what the outcome would have been, if she hadn’t acted as quickly as she did.
Although, we all have our time, hearing stories of people (usually children) passing due to misdiagnosis or lack of diabetes knowledge, troubles and saddens me a great deal. To think, if only they had known more about the condition or if the doctor hadn’t missed the symptoms, there may have been a chance for them to still be here. This is why spreading the awareness of these symptoms couldn’t be more crucial.
By sharing this message on my blog, I pray that this will reach many people and help them to develop a better understanding of these symptoms and in turn diabetes. I want others to truly understand what diabetes is and everything it comes with.
Sometimes it becomes necessary for you to be able to tweak your basal rates. During times where you maybe more active, during periods of stress and for the girls during that time of the month, you may be more prone to either lower or higher BG levels and this of course requires some adjustments in basal rates.
Being able to adjust my rates isn’t something I’ve learnt overnight. It has taken me many years and a lot of time to understand my diabetes.Believe it or not I am still learning, when it comes to my own body and how it functions and reacts to different changes. Also I utilise my diabetes team when I can and get their input which sometimes can be a completely different perspective to my own, or most of the time they are in agreement with the changes I want to make. They are there to support you, so use them when you need them.
There are a few simple rules which I follow before I make changes to my BG. I ensure that,
- I have not had a hypo in the last 24 hours ( of course if your having frequent hypos you probably have too much insulin in your system. You should definitely seek medical advice.)
- I’m not feeling unwell
- I am not due to have a set change
- I’m not going to be more active than I normal would be.
- I’m not more stressed than I would normally be.
Testing your daytime basal rate
I usually end the test with my evening meal. Look carefully at your BG readings for the day and make adjustments. If you’ve noticed an increase or decrease in BG levels, then adjust the basal rate about an hour or two before the change in BG levels were first noticed. Adjust the basal rate by 0.05 or 0.10 units/hr either up or down depending on whether your BG levels were too high or too low.
Although, these are the steps I take to make adjustments to my basal rates, please make sure you consult with your GP (diabetes team) before you make any changes to your rates.
I’d like to introduce Dr Joan St John. She is a GP / Diabetes Specialist. She is the lead for diabetes in a practice in Brent, UK. Dr Joan also has a crucial role working with Diabetes UK as a Clinical Champion.
As a GP, I have been interested in Diabetes for many years and this has been for a number of reasons: I work in an area where there are thousands of people living with the effects of Diabetes on a daily basis, I have seen how it can affect individuals, families and communities and I am passionate about educating people to live healthier lives. I try to do this whenever I can, so this might be in the GP Practice, within my role in a local diabetes service and especially in my role as a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion.
It’s about ‘Education, Education, Education’ and this could involve the person in front of me in the consulting room and their family member, or giving talks to community groups and also being involved in the education of healthcare Professionals.
I work in a Practice that has over 1,000 patients living with Diabetes. In our area, because of the communities that live there, more than 90% of the people affected by Diabetes have Type 2 Diabetes and less than 10% have Type 1 Diabetes.
The voluntary Clinical Champions role that I do for Diabetes UK seemed like a great opportunity to work with others to try to further improve the quality of care provided to people with Diabetes. The work has involved developing resources for people with Diabetes, giving talks to local groups and education events for healthcare professionals.
As someone who has lived with diabetes for 21 years, I’ve had the opportunity to have been in the care of many diabetes specialist. I’ve had mostly good experiences but also some very bad ones.You can read about my experiences with good and bad doctors here.
What do you think are the qualities one should possess, when dealing with a diabetic patient? And how do you ensure continuity, when you have new GP’s in your clinic?
I think the qualities one should possess when dealing with a diabetic patient, are those that are required when dealing with any patient
- A good pair of ears to listen with! Because I believe first and foremost it is about a conversation and dialogue between the patient and the healthcare professional.
- Specialist knowledge is important, but although every healthcare Professional should have basic knowledge, realistically, not every healthcare professional could, or would have specialist knowledge. However, the important things are that they know where to seek the specialist knowledge, or direct the patient to a specialist for specialist care
Most GP Practices try to ensure continuity by asking Patients to wherever possible, see the same Doctor for the same, or an on-going problem. In terms of standardising care, we try to ensure that the care provided is standardised, by providing training in Diabetes to new GPs or healthcare professionals in our Surgery or Clinic.
What sort of care do new patients recieve?
It would depend on what type of Diabetes you have. Care will inevitably continue throughout your life-long journey with Diabetes, but the first steps of care will be different for the two different types of Diabetes. In brief,
If you have Type 1 Diabetes then you will need to be referred urgently for specialist care to start on Insulin. With Type 1 Diabetes your body is no longer producing Insulin and you need Insulin to survive. Following this you will need to have advice about the how to manage and live healthily with your Type 1 Diabetes and insulin treatment.
Type 2 Diabetes on the other hand usually develops slowly over a number of years. It can creep up on someone so that they don’t realise that the tiredness, infections, rashes, frequent urination or change in vision, might be due to the development of Diabetes. With Type 2 Diabetes the first steps would be to explain what it is and how it has developed. We would aim to ensure that you had some structured advice and education about how to manage the condition and advice about treatment.
With both types people will need on-going advice about the condition and treatment required, monitoring of the condition and support.
What advice do you have for people or parents of children, who have recently been diagnosed?
Do not be downhearted!
There are lots of people who live healthily with this condition and there is a lot of help available. Healthcare professionals provide some of this, but given that most of the time the person with Diabetes is the one managing their condition, in a year they may spend about 3hrs with a healthcare professional out of the 8,757hours that they have to manage the condition themselves! So Amina, blogs like yours that provide peer advice, or other social media platforms can be really helpful. There are a number of local and national Charities providing help and advice for people with both forms of Diabetes and Diabetes UK run ‘living with Diabetes days’ and many other forms of support either with online, telephone carelines, or leaflets that People of all ages can find helpful.
Some of the important aspects, that I’ve learnt about managing my diabetes are, the routine blood testing, eating healthily and exercising. These are all very essential, when managing the condition. However, another important aspect of managing this condition, is being able to psychologically deal with all the challenge’s one may encounter.
What’s support is there for the psychological and emotional impact of a new diagnosis/ongoing condition?
I am pleased to say that the psychological impact of how receiving the diagnosis, and also living with this condition affects People is becoming more recognised and acknowledged by healthcare Professionals. As a result more healthcare Professionals are receiving training in how to help someone living with Diabetes make changes that the individual themselves identifies as important to them, to enable them to live more healthily with this condition.
In addition, it is the case that more diabetes services are enlisting the help of psychologists within their teams to support and enable people living with Diabetes to deal with the challenges they face on a day to day basis.
What suggestions or advice do you have for someone who has a family history of diabetes but hasn’t yet been diagnosed?
‘Prevention, Prevention, Prevention’
This is my other passion within the field of Diabetes. I know how important it is to spread the knowledge about how to prevent and avoid developing Type 2 Diabetes because there is a lot of evidence to show that this can be avoided or the onset delayed. Currently in the UK there are about 3million People living with Diabetes, but it is predicted that there could be more than 5million people at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Having a family history of Diabetes means that your risk of developing Diabetes is increased, this is more the case with Type 2 Diabetes but there is also some increased risk of developing it with a family history of Type 1 Diabetes.
There are some exciting developments in the NHS, in that a national Diabetes prevention programme is being developed. This will be the first National diabetes prevention programme anywhere in the World. I back this initiative, as my experience has shown me that people would welcome not only knowing that they are at risk, but also receiving advice about how to avoid, or delay the development of this condition.
I hope this has given you a flavour of what I’m doing and what I’m about. Hopefully, you will invite me back another time so we can talk more about the Prevention, new developments and the management of Diabetes.
Thank you so much for asking me to be a guest on your blog Amina. Wishing you and your readers, All the best.
Dr Joan St John
GP with special interest in Diabetes and Diabetes UK Clinical Champion.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us your knowledge and experiences with treating diabetes and working within the diabetes community. I look forward to the second installment, where we can learn more about prevention, new developments and diabetes management.
Having diabetes doesn’t have to hold you back from doing the things you want to do.
Diabetes is a part of my life but it isn’t my whole life. I have never let it stop me from achieving the things I’ve wanted to do. It’s all about being able to adapt whilst getting it to fit around the things you want to do. Travelling is one of those things I’ve never hesitated to do. I recently travelled to Marrakesh, Morocco and had the opportunity to hike up the Atlas Mountains.
Don’t you dare let diabetes stop you! You can do whatever you want to do! Don’t make it your excuse and don’t give up on any goals you may want to achieve. Work with it, continue on your path, being mindful of diabetes but without putting any limitations on yourself.
Diabetes living is undeniably a struggle. It’s relentless and arduous in every sense. This life-long illness’ is far from enjoyable. Many may say that diabetes does not define them, which is true. …
Source: Positivity Jar
Diabetes living is undeniably a struggle. It’s relentless and arduous in every sense. This life-long illness’ is far from enjoyable.
Many may say that diabetes does not define them, which is true. However, what is also true, is that it will always be present and looming in the shadows. It’s almost like a force that you can’t escape. Repelling it would be detrimental to you in every way and embracing it would allow you to nurture and manage it better.
Yes, we have insulin, but insulin is not the cure that we all wait for with bated breath. The day that they announce that there is a cure, I dare say I probably won’t believe it. Taking our insulin on a daily basis definitely helps us sustain. It is most certainly an asset to us, prolonging our existence. However, continuing with a frequent, restricted routine can be gruelling on the mind and body.
I must admit, many a time I’ve quietly felt fed up with diabetes, I’ve wished it away but also I’ve patiently endured the tests placed in front of me. It can be hard to remain positive about having diabetes but what I try to do is find things to keep me motivated and steer clear of any negative feeling which may creep in. Ultimately I want to be happy, healthy and live hassle free. I want to be the one in control of my health.
Also, I’ve realised that sometimes in order to gain that positivity it also means I have to occasionally have my down day. I mean everyone has a down day, diabetic or not. So if you’re feeling down, then I say, just feel down.
The question is, what do you do to bring yourself out of this negative state you find yourself in? In that moment, at your lowest point try to find something that will help you or remind you about being in a happier mind-set. Don’t let the negative feelings consume you.
D POSITIVITY JAR
Something which I started recently is my diabetes positivity jar. I basically write down all the things that keep me motivated. Things that have happened and have had a positive impact on me and things that keep me patient.
Keep track of all the positive
It could be a memory or memories, a picture/s or just a word. It’s totally up to you. Collect them in a jar or a box and when you feel down just sit and look through them.Look at them and remember that moment and how you felt about it. Be proud of the things you’ve achieved and the challenges you’ve overcome.
Here are a few other things that I do to keep my mind positive.
- Fitness – A big one for me is working out. This is a great way to release some tension and de-stress. Plus you’re getting fit in the process. You’re active, moving and taking charge of your diabetes. At the moment I’m following a workout programme called PIIT 28 by Cassey Ho. I will be doing a post on this once I’ve completed my first 28 days.
- The Munchkins – My kids are another huge motivator for me. They keep me on my toes, make me smile and make me want to retain my health.
- Loved ones – My support system – My family and friends are a great support system, when I’m feeling a little down. Don’t be afraid to share it with them, laugh, cry, talk it through with them but don’t hold it in.
- Set realistic goals – Don’t let this condition take over your life and be a hindrance. Just because you’re diabetic it doesn’t mean you can’t do the thing syou want to do. Check out my two inspirational guest post, by Chirstel and Tobias from TheFitBlog and Angelica Chavez. They don’t let their diabetes get in the way. Don’t limit yourself. You are more than capable of doing so many great things. Let diabetes be that driving force which makes you see new things and do new things. Set realistic and achievable goals and push for them.
- Be thankful – I’m thankful for the insulin that I’m so lucky to have access too. You can read my post on access to insulin. Many people around the world aren’t as fortunate to have access to insulin. Also I remember having to inject 5 times a day and it reconfirms my appreciation for both my insulin and my pump.
- Control the D – Try to stay on top of the blood glucose taking, the insulin doses, everything. Take it one step at a time, find a routine that you’re comfortable with. Write down you sugars, make a note of patterns and adjust when needed (seek advice if you’re uncertain).
- Change your environment – If you’re at home, take a long walk or drive. Whatever you choose, take that time to really de-stress and hash it out.
So my friends, please don’t give up. You can do this, have faith in yourself and remember things don’t change overnight. However, it has to start from somewhere. Try to surround yourself with positive people and begin to think positively about taking charge of your diabetes. If you work on your strength in mind and body, your strength can only grow. You are much stronger than you know.
I’d like to introduce Angelica, an entrepreneur, designer and blogger at Lyfebulb, who has type 1 diabetes.
I’ve been drawing since I was 5 years old, intrigued with studying the human form. Art from paintings and architecture has also always captivated me, along with science and film. I’ve always had a curious mind for obtaining loads of knowledge on new topics, so I research like crazy when I design or work on a new project.
I was diagnosed with Diabetes on November 6th, 1998, a couple days after dealing with painful symptoms and a final night of trauma. The few days before being diagnosed, I lost weight to the bone, threw up everything I ate, needed to pee constantly, and had horrible throat and stomach pains. After two trips to the doctor, I had a glucose of 1000mg/dL (55.6mmol/l). The next twelve months were the hardest my family and I would ever endure, especially because of a hypoglycaemic attack I got one night after not eating.
“I’ve honestly never felt like diabetes affected me, but it did affect my family.”
My mother was really traumatized after the attack and became almost obsessed with watching over me to make sure I was always ok. Sadly, everything flew past her except for me, which in turn affected my sisters. My middle sister grew up fast having to take care of our youngest sister, and my youngest sister felt alone for a couple years of not having our parents’ attention. As time passed, though, we overcame this stress and separation.
Pump or needles?
I have a Medtronic pump and LOVE the freedom, but like all diabetics, I want to be needle-free! Or at least pain free haha! The pump needle still scares me every time. Thank goodness it’s not every day.
Diabetes, Beyond and the positive impacts on my life
Diabetes has kept me mindful of my health, and taught me strength and independence. All the Diabetics I’ve met through Instagram have also inspired me to feel proud and not to give up!
My current entrepreneurial projects are: Veltimera- an ecofashionable nonprofit for animal rights, in which I’m currently designing a Fall 2016 collection to fund animal rescues.
That is a hard lesson that not many people understand, because all they see is the success of a company or person and not its dedicated work. Another quote that I absolutely love is
I know I definitely have already failed tons of times, but I’ve learned what not to do and have researched new ways of doing things the right way.
One tip I recommend when starting your own business is having an intense passion for what you’re working towards keeps you focused and strong. Without passion, people give up after the first failure or don’t have the drive to educate themselves in what needs to be done.
My drive and passion are animals. Ever since I became vegan, I have not stopped thinking about them. They are the reason I became an entrepreneur in 2012 and haven’t given up.
Veganism in my life
Veganism has actually made it easier for me to manage my diabetes, because most of my foods are plant based. For example- Breakfast is tofu stir-fry,
Brunch is a peanut butter banana smoothie, Lunch is a Veggie burger with fries, and Dinner is bean and vegan cheese tacos with chocolate almond milk.
I always switch my meals around, because I LOVE flavours, but I’ve managed to keep my meals constant in carb count and reduced my basals (which are hourly insulin pump administrations). I do recommend, though, if you consider trying veganism, write everything down for the first 2-4 weeks to understand your body. Everyone reacts differently to new lifestyles.
P.S. To answer any questions, I’m 100% healthy with all my vitamins and minerals, and vegetables and nuts fulfil my bodies need for protein. No, I never feel deprived; in fact, I’ve become more open to new foods, because taste has improved like a thousand times. I also transitioned to veganism over the course of 3 years, and I don’t buy organic like people might assume.
Advice to the younger, newly diagnosed, me!
You will make it through and be a great artist with lots of good friends and successful creative projects. It might be hard right now, and I know you don’t want to take your shots because you hate the needles, but think of your family. You are a warrior, and they need you.
If you want to follow Angelica’s work or have any questions for her, then you can find her on instagram @ Inspired Vegan and Diabetic with Style. You can also connect with Angelica via Facebook and Twitter.
Something I realised after my diagnosis was, I had to really start to listen to my body and try my best to understand what was happening to me.
The body is a complex system which does everything from help you move your arms, fight infections and even process the food we eat on a daily basis. It is able to constantly give you signs and signals which lets you know for instance that you’re coming down with something or if in fact the problem is more deep rooted. Without a second thought, your body breathes for you, pumps blood through your veins, just to keep you alive. It’s pretty miraculous!
In the case of diabetes the body also gives us signs. Signs which allow us to begin to recognise symptoms of lows, highs, falling or raising BGs. Even before my diagnosis, my body was giving me warning signs, showing me that something wasn’t right. Whilst experiencing the symptoms of thirst, constant urination, tiredness and the weight loss, these were all indications that something was happening. This is why diabetes awareness is so important. For me, with the knowledge my mother had of diabetes, I was able to survive and begin my diabetes journey. Many people, who have no diabetes awareness and aren’t able to recognise any of the symptoms may not be as lucky as I was.
When we’re affected by things like stress, exercise or hormonal changes, we are able to begin to understand so many things.
In the case of low BG’s, I’ve had to make firm decisions in my mind that I am actually having a hypo and then act on it in that moment. I’ve had to train my mind to distinguish and realise that a high BG is a high BG and a low BG is a low BG. It’s not easy but with time we begin to get a grasp on some of the warning sign we experience.
Learning and listening to these signs are crucial to recognising future symptoms which will occur.
The human body is even more amazing in that we have been given five senses which guide us, as we traverse through the world around us. Our senses are able to send messages through the brain, with the help of the nervous system to deliver messages to us. These senses include: Taste, Touch, Smell, Sight, and hearing.
I strongly believe that we also have a sixth sense. (No I don’t mean seeing dead people lol). This sixth sense i’m reffering to is our intellect. It is the sense which helps us understand so many thing including our physiology. For we diabetics, being able to differentiate between a low or high BG level sensation/s becomes quite critical, because let’s not forget these are medical emergency after all. In some cases we experiences low or high BG on a daily basis, whilst trying to obtain that number in the ideal range. It is an endless cycle of sustaining and monitoring. We check our BG, we bolus and we eat.
Strengthening your consciousness and being aware of your physiology is an advantage in that it will allow you to have a better comprehension, when changes arise due to BG levels.
You can begin to listen to your body by training your mind to make you more mindful of the signs you personally feel, before, during and after BG level changes. Identifying these symptoms will help make you even more responsive in the following hypo/hyper events to come. I know that symptoms can vary and even change with time but what is important is being aware of what is happening to you in these moments.
Action, repetition and finally recognition
When we experience any symptoms related to BG levels changing, our brain is able to create a memory of these symptoms we’ve experienced. This process is known as Recognition Memory.
When we re-experience a certain BG related symptom, the brain is able to match a previous occurrence of the event happening beforehand. This then becomes an indication for us to know that we’ve experience this feeling before. It’s becomes familiar and we know that we’ve gone through it in the past. We’re then able to recall this memory by accessing details related to that memory.
Since we all know symptoms can vary from person to person, sometimes we miss a symptom because in fact maybe it’s a new memory which the body has never experienced before. Therefore, when this happens, it will be the first time the brain makes a memory of the event happening. If the event occurs again, it will then go through the recognition memory process to let you know that you are in fact familiar with this event taking place.
In the past I’ve experienced low BG’s were I don’t have any symptoms and remain in the low for a long time. However, this was mostly during my pregnancies, when there were so many changes occurring in my body. Nevertheless, even when I wasn’t aware of the symptoms and found myself in the middle of very severe lows, I still made a mental note of how I felt in those moments. This helped me to learn how to treat them and achieve a more normal BG level.
Hypoglycaemia unawareness can occur after living with this condition for many years. Constant lows can interfere with the release of stress hormones, which occurs when BG levels drop too low. Stress hormones encourage the release of glucose. The liver secretes a hormone called Glycogen, which is decreased in people with type 1 diabetes after several years of living with the condition. If glycogen isn’t being released then BG levels will remain low because the stress response isn’t producing any glucose to elevate the BG level. Therefore you remain in a low state for longer.
Tips to avoid hypoglycaemia unawareness
- Test frequently to be more aware of dropping BG’s.
- With the help of your diabetes team make adjustments to your Basal rates to try and avoid low BG’s occurring.
- Develop an understanding of how to get those low BG’s back up and in range.
The next time you have a low or high BG try your best to be aware of what is happening to you in that instant. Think about what you feel beforehand, during and after the hypo. Make a mental note and acknowledge the feeling you go through. Even if you have no initial symptoms and find yourself in the middle of a low, during the hypo you still experience certain feelings so try your best to be aware.
What methods do you use to recognise that your BG is low or high?
Hypo’s can be very unpredictable and can affect everyone in different ways. Here are a few of the hypos i’ve experienced.
- Stuck: My train of thought just remains paused on the last thing I was doing, the last thing I was thinking about or the last thing I was talking about. I find multiple ways to talk about the exact same thing over and over again.
- Mrs Jekyll Mrs Hyde: I have a complete change in mood. I become completely enraged. I definitely become more vocal and extremely irritated. The strange thing is, I can hear myself but can’t stop myself. I have no control over what I’m saying.
- Zombified: This is the type of hypo, where I can’t do anything at all for myself. Thank god this type of hypo has only hit me a few times. I usually have an outer body experience, whereby I can hear everything that is being said to me but I can’t respond in sentences. My brain, my mouth and my body just won’t coordinate, so instead I produce a sounds which resembles that of the living dead lol.
- Is it me Or is it hot in here?: With this hypo, I feel as if the temperature in the room is above 30 degrees Celsius and raising. What follows next is me asking other people in the room, “Why it’s so hot?” Again I can become quite vocal.
- Pins and needles: My BS level has come back up very slowly and what I’m left with is my tongue feeling as if it’s tingling and numb.
- Where did that hypo come from? I decide to check my BS level and it’s extremely low but I feel absolutely fine.
- Clean teeth no more: I’m ready for bed, I spend my time brushing my teeth and then check my BS level only to find out its low. This then means I have to eat or drink something to bring it back up pfff!
- Puke fest: With this hypo, I want to eat everything in sight. Resulting in everything been served up together. In that moment anything goes. Jam + a sprinkle of cheese + some gummy bears, a sip of juice, a bite of that pear, oh crackers with Nutella. JUST ANYTHING TO BRING THAT SUGAR BACK UP!!This is something I’ve been working hard to try not to do, because it just means serious rebound BG’s later on.
- Ride, Ride, Ride, Ride, Ride it out! This the new me, where I sensibly correct my BG with 15g of fast acting carbs. These days I usually go with raisins or fruit strip. Honestly, I just try not to over correct the low too much. Although the feeling of waiting for that low BG to come up is awful. I’ve really been trying to hang in there and let it come up without over eating and sending my BG through the roof.
- I’m convinced that I’ve mastered Korean: With this type of hypo, I’m usually watching a Korean drama (Kdrama) and can completely understand it word for word. FYI, I’m still only a beginner when it comes to learning Korean. I watch a lot of K dramas but I guess my brain has stored a lot more than I think it has. Hmmmmm! This has also happened with other languages I’ve learnt or heard.
- Beating drums: I start with a mild headache and then it develops into a severe migraine. My heart is also beating. Is it the usual beat? I have no idea but I can definitely hear it and it’s louder than ever.
- Le vache qui rie (The laughing cow): Let’s just say, I find everything funny. Whatever might be happening, it just becomes funny. SHSL you’re a total loon!
- Pass me that towel please: This is the type of hypo, where I’m sweating profusely, as if I’d been dunked in a swimming pool a few times and come out dripping wet.
These are just a few of the hypos I’ve experienced over the years. What type of hypo’s have you experienced?
How important is nutrition to you? What types of food do you consume on a typical day before and after a workout and also when maintaining your BG’s?
The saying that you can’t outrun a bad diet is very much true. So nutrition is very important for me. If you are looking to make changes to your body, mood, and diabetes management, getting your nutrition right is the place to start. What you eat is actually more important than how you work out. I eat 6 small meals throughout the day consisting of low glycaemic carbs (oats, sweet potato, and rice), lean protein (chicken, fish, and eggs) and fats (coconut oil, nuts, avocado).
“TheFitBlog offers some amazing, cost effective meal plans for example the Female Fitness Program. It’s a general workout and meal plan for women but can be used by everyone, so it doesn’t mention diabetes at all, but it definitely works for people with diabetes (as it’s the program Christel used when she first started her fitness journey).
There is also an opportunity to have Online Personal Training. Christel works directly with clients and creates a custom- made workout meal plan weekly follow-ups and all the things that you would expect from a personal trainer. For Christel’s clients with diabetes, she is able to help them with diabetes management, especially when it comes to working out. “
Are there any specific foods you would advise a diabetic to have when working out?
Yes, but it depends on what kind of exercise and the individual’s goals. If you want to build strength, you need a good low glycaemic carb (oats, sweet potato, brown rice) and protein (chicken, fish, egg) before your workout and a higher glycaemic carb (white rice, banana, rice cake) and protein (whey shake or eggs) after your workout, accompanied by insulin. You actually need that insulin spike after your workout in order to feed your muscles and build strength and volume. Don’t be afraid to eat, and insulin is not the enemy!!!
“As diabetics, we are constantly counting how many carbs we’ve consumed in any given meal. A lot of us are inclined to follow a lower carb diet to keep BG levels under control.”
How many carbs do you have in a day?
Let me start by saying that I’m not a fan of no carb diets. They don’t fit my goals and I don’t think you need them in order to have good blood sugar control. My standpoint is that carbs aren’t the enemy as long as you eat healthy carbs. Eating too many of the high glycemic carbs are what’s going to mess with your blood sugar and your waistline. Right now, I’m doing carb cycling which means I have about 100 g of carbs for 2 days, then 125 g on day 3 and then 225 g on day 4. Bear in mind that that’s my bikini prep plan. If it was off-season for me, I would most likely be eating more and when I get closer to competition day, I’ll be eating less.
Do you keep a record of this?
Absolutely! I use an app called MyFitnessPal. It’s brilliant and it’s free, hurrah.
What evaluations do you conduct on a new diabetic client who wants to begin a fitness regimen?
I always have new clients fill out a questionnaire about their health, workout experience, previous injuries, diabetes control, etc. I also ask them to track their food and beverages for a few days before our initial phone/FaceTime/Skype session. This allows me to understand what their starting point is so we can discuss goals and set expectations. I want to create a plan that will get the individual the results they want but it also needs to be safe and sustainable. I’ll never promise a 50 lbs weight loss in a month and I don’t expect clients to do what I do.
How do you ensure that a fitness program is effective?
After the first meeting with a new client, I create a customized workout and meal plan. We then have regular check-ins and status updates (how do you feel, your weight, diabetes management, perhaps progress pictures, etc.). Based on the clients’ status, I will make any adjustments necessary to his/hers workout and diet. I’m also available for questions on Facebook messenger or text when needed. Everybody is different so a cookie cutter approach won’t work
“When it come to my diabetes management, I’m so fortunate to have the support of my husband. He’s there through most hypos, he’s even become quite good at counting carbs and always encourages me, when it comes to working out.”How does Tobias help you with your diabetes management, motivation and fitness?
Tobias and I have been partners in crime for 16 years now so he knows the ins and outs of living with me and my diabetes. I’m very independent when it comes to my diabetes management. For me the most important thing is that he understands that sometimes it just sucks, and I’ll complain, but I’ll get over it. He actually wrote a very sweet piece on how to support a diabetic spouse on TheFitBlog, check it out.
I want to say a big thank you to Christel and Tobias for sharing TheFitBlog with us. Christel is a true inspiration and has given me hope that I too can be successful when it comes to maintaining my fitness goals. Better understanding of my insulin sensitivity, carb ratios, learning how much insulin and food to consume around workouts and not over correcting my low BG’s will definitely not limit my ability to reach my true fitness potential.
When it comes to my diabetes devices, I’ve never really thought about accessorizing them. I knew about the Pump Peelz from the moment they launched but I was a bit unsure of how well it would perform, in terms of its durability and quality. Lately I’ve seen more and more pump wearers showcasing their very cute and colourful Pump Peelz. It’s becoming the new trendy thing to have in the “diabetes world”.
For those who don’t know what a Pump Peelz is, here’s a little breakdown
The Pump Peelz is a reusable, waterproof, extremely durable sticker which can be stuck onto a wide selection of diabetes devices e.g. pumps and BG meters. What I really love about it is, it’s a great way for ‘us’ to be able to express ourselves and add our own personal touch to our devices. The design is simple, easy to work with and it can be used on a variety of devices such as the, Animas vibe, Animas ping, Omnipod and One touch IQ are but a few.
The Pump Peelz were created by high school sweethearts, Scott Imblum and Emily Hixon. After Emily was diagnosed with type 1 and began to use an Omnipod, Scott began to think of ways in which she could personalise her diabetes devices. Accessorising is what everybody does. You can pretty much accessorise anything you want, from your laptop keys, tablets and phones so why not accessorise diabetes devices?
The design was originally meant to be a snap on case, that could be customised and reused, but due to high costs this product could not become a reality. However, they did not let it stop them. They had to think of another way to create funding, which is how they came up with the idea of the resilient sticker.
Pump Peelz have many designs to offer, when it comes to designing your devices. However, as someone who likes to draw and create things, I always thought it would be even more interesting if I could put my own stamp on it. To my surprise, when I looked on the Pump Peelz site they had added a design tool which allowed users to add their own image/s. Fantastic!
I quickly tested out one of my Sugar High Sugar Low images and tried my best to resize it to fit the Animas pump design that was available. The tool is great but I quickly realised that the image could only be made bigger or smaller and not stretched from different sides to fit the design better. (Maybe this could be a new idea when upgrading the design tool). I decided to make the image as large as possible so that it covered the majority of the pump surface. Another thing to take into consideration is, whatever image you use, part of it will be cut out to allow your pump screen and buttons to be visible.
The Pump Peelz cost around $14 which is roughly £9.99. This does not include postage and packaging, so depending on where you’re located the cost is different. At the checkout you have the option to calculate your shipping based on your location. For someone in the UK the postage and packaging cost £5, which in total is quite a lot to spend on a sticker, but I think it was worth it.
Once the order went through, Pump Peelz sent me a notification email to let me know that they had received my order and then I received an email when the Pump Peelz was sent out. Thumbs up for customer service.
So, I’ve been waiting in anticipation for this package to arrive. I ordered it about 2 weeks ago and yesterday I was so happy to receive it! I wanted to see how my image had turned out. What was this thing going to look like?
So this is how it came. It was stuck to a glossy piece of paper, (Which by the way smelt nice. “Was that just me?” hahahhaa)
So here’s my pump now!!
What a difference it’s made. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about buying one. Only time will tell, how well