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Posted: Feb 25, 2012
Last week, we discussed how allowing baby steps into our diabetes management plan can help us overcome some of the fogginess, and the fear, that a diabetes diagnosis can bring. We even went ahead and took our first baby step by discussing "What is Diabetes?" This week, I'd like to visit a few of the steps that we can take with all the knowledge and information that we gained by simply knowing what diabetes is, and learning about the basic problems and challenges that it can present.
If my readers might recall, we went into a little bit of detail about the basic concept of glucose. Glucose, is a type of sugar in which the body turns ALL the food that we eat (and not just sugary foods); it is the body's main source of energy. Nearly all (about 98%) of all the carbohydrates we consume will get turned into glucose, compared to 58% of proteins, and around a 10% of fats.
This basic piece of information is the most powerful weapon we have against controlling high blood glucose levels.
Because carbohydrates are the biggest contributors, by far, to our blood glucose levels and needs, it is paramount that we manage, and control their consumption with some care. By controlling our carbohydrate consumption levels, we are essentially, controlling our blood glucose levels.
Now, carbohydrates and starches may bring some confusion to persons trying to manage diabetes, and often... for the wrong reasons. Dietitians, nutritionists, and TV personalities love to focus on the roles of "good" and "bad" carbohydrates in our diets, and will always outline that we, as diabetics, need to focus on consuming good carbohydrates, instead of "bad ones..." and that's not a bad thing, in and of itself. (If we consume too many "fast burning", so called "bad" carbohydrates, we'll be left unfulfilled, and hungry, and often, with roller-coasting blood glucose levels.) But something folks always fail to mention is that, at the end of the day, it is not so much the quality of the carbohydrates we are consuming, but the AMOUNT of them.
Most Americans consume a seriously disproportionate amount of carbohydrates in their diets, and while some might argue that the average person needs to consume a diet that consists of 60% carbohydrates, the average American consumes much, much more than this. If, for example, we are consuming double the amount of recommended carbohydrates, and replaced all of those with supposed "good carbohydrates" (which we will discuss later), it won't negate that we were still consuming double the amount of recommended carbohydrates! We will still have high blood sugar... even if those carbohydrates were slower burning.
So, how do we know how to make proper carbohydrate meal choices? What are our best alternatives?
The truth of the mater is that there is NO diabetes diet out there. There is no real truth set in stone that says you have to follow any one person's plan to the letter; even a dietitian's plan. Your best guides in making meal planning decisions will ALWAYS be your glucose meter, moderation, and your own body.
Which brings us to our second baby step: Using Our Glucose Meters.
Yes, that's right. We learn all of the information we need, and much more, one meal at a time, and one event at a time, with our glucose meters.
I will note now that this is a lot more testing than the 1-2 strips a doctor, or insurance company, may allow for you, if you have Type 2 Diabetes. This is an expensive disease, and one in which you might have to invest in some extra, out of pocket, testing strips in order to help you make future confident decisions about your management, particularly, if you are not under any medications. Don't despair, though, bargain department stores often have some affordable, and generic, meters and strips. (By FDA standards, ALL meters must be within the same percentages of accuracy, regardless of brand, so they are no less reliable than more expensive ones... though this might be a topic of argument for many.)
Set a Blood Glucose Goal
Most American and worldwide diabetic guideline organizations, including the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, recommend that diabetic patients keep their blood glucose levels at below 140 mg/dL (7.69 mmol/L) or less, 2 hours after meals, and below 110 mg/dL (6.04 mmol/L), fasting. These guidelines might be different for you, if you are pregnant, or if you have other health issues or complications that might make it risky to reach for these levels. When in doubt, always consult with your Endocrinologist, or your medical team.
Make meal decisions that help you reach these goals
Data is Power.
We have just examined a few of the baby steps that we can take to help us attain proper DATA, to make powerful decisions in our daily diabetes management routines. (Of course, this information is very basic, and it does not account for the impact that your medications, or insulin regimen, might have. If you are learning to manage insulin, it might be advisable to make an appointment with a Certified Diabetes Educator, or CDE, as well as investing in the book "Think like a Pancreas," by Gary Scheiner.)
Try applying some of this knowledge, perhaps with just ONE MEAL a day. Visualize it!
What baby step will we discuss next week? Stay tuned to find out!
Related posts:It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year ... NOT! | King Tut and his diabetic owner Marilyn Pharo | Any relation between juice and diabetes? | Friends Being Friends | Viva Las Vegas and the waiting game in a walk-in clinic (Part Deux) | Type 1 vs. Type 2 | Initial thoughts | FreeStyle InsuLinx Blood Glucose | Run, Fatboy, Run | Running Around Like A Chicken Without It's Head On
Blog: Anna's Blog
Posted: Jul 28, 2009
Well, I don't really have to be told this - though I sometimes wonder about my earlier years of not really caring - and just living for the moment. In a nutshell the article points out that with Type 1 diabetics, " very intense glucose therapy reduces the risk of complications." Diabetics that test their blood sugar levels 5 or 6 times per day are less likely to experience vision loss, kidney failure, heart disease, or to need an amputation when compared with those who check their glucose levels once or twice per day. I know for myself, I average about 8 times a day - and there are others who test even more then that (if they can afford the test strips that is).
So far the only problems I have had associated with my diabetes has been trigger finger many years ago, frozen shoulder, and diabetic mastopathy (wierd noncancerous growths in the breast). My eyesight is checked twice a year - as well as following up with an endo twice a year along with other specialists that take care of my aging body.
It's strange though that in this article it states that frequent blood sugar testing is fairly new - but I've been doing this type of blood testings for at least 10 years - and to me - it's not new - just having the use of a blood meter rather then having to test urine is still relatively new to an old timer like myself .
To read more of the article - which is very informative and has some other good links to help you in your goal for attaining good health with you diabetes go to :
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Tags: testing (1) diabetic mastopathy (1) trigger finger (1) frozen shoulder (1) complications (1) blood sugar (1)
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