Friday, January 04, 2013

My diabetes story and tips for those with adult-onset diabetes

Yup, I have diabetes. And I'm working to control it now.

I have some tips and discoveries here on this blog to share about what it's been like since I have been living with diabetes.

I hope they can help some people who know they need to get a checkup, but are maybe afraid of what they might find out if they do.

I'm glad I went and got more information about diabetes. I have learned a lot since starting this journey.

Some of these tips may also apply to "regular" diabetics too. I am relatively recently diagnosed with diabetes, though my doctor saw it coming on, and diabetes does run in my family. My father and Aunt both had it. My grandmother may have also had it. She died young.

Since my diabetes didn't involve fainting, and I mostly still felt OK, I was able to ignore it longer than some people can. But high levels of glucose in the body can be quite unhealthy!

But then I thought about my dad, who had to have his legs amputated because of side effects from diabetes. He had some other bad side effects too that caused an early death from it.

I decided to try to avoid that. Fear made me go back to the doctor again.

About testing
Once, I tried doing my own testing and hated it. It hurt - a lot, because my fingertips are pretty tender.

I have the feeling most people's fingers are also pretty tender. Anyway (big mistake) I stopped doing it at all. That was not a good reason to stop, as I know now.

But now I do testing three times a day. Does it hurt any less? Well, a little. I have found a good tester that isn't so hard on my fingers.

I use a One Touch Delica lancet ("a finger stabber") to prick my fingers for testing. I also use a ReliOn machine to calculate my blood sugar with a testing strip. The One Touch is a good glucose tester machine (meter)  too, but the strips cost more, so I thought I'd save money on that.

I tried the ReliOn Glucose Tester and it was a lot harder on my fingers than the One Touch, so I switched back.

I keep a record of times and blood glucose level now, so I can keep on track.

You know the commercial about testing on your arm? Well, if you do that (and I haven't tried it yet), you have to use a much deeper setting plus sometimes another attachment to your lancet. It's easier for me to use my fingers. My thumbs are best so far! And I started with depth level 3, and now it's on 4 for easier testing.

About my diet (correction: healthy living plan...)
I have found out many things about my diet since I started going to a doctor and to a nutritionist. One important thing I learned is that I actually NEED carbohydrates. And I needed a LOT more fiber in my diet too.

I now take pills for my diabetes, and also vitamins. I keep a food diary too.

More tips
Staying on more or less a stable schedule helps me, because I can pretty much know when to test, and my body stays more or less on a schedule, which helps my blood sugar.

I stay away from crackers (usually these don't have much fiber anyhow) and I peek at the labels of everything I eat.

I have said goodbye for now to some of my favorite snacks, which weren't very healthy for me, especially because I did not usually eat just one serving of them. I find if they aren't here in the house, I am not tempted to eat them.

More things I didn't know about food and eating
I never really noticed what a serving size was before. You can easily eat too much of a certain food and go off of your low-carb or healthy food diet by having too much of something. Reading labels helps you know how much sugar or fat is in a food, too.

Fruit is actually GOOD for you, as good as it is for people who are NOT diabetic. They have fiber, which is good for your digestion, and also keeps you full.

I have already lost weight, and hope to lose more. But it's a slow process. In the meantime, I do feel healthier and I'm learning to make better choices.

Did you know if you have high glucose in your body, it sets the stage for clogged arteries? I didn't know about this much. It's because your blood becomes thickened, and can no longer flow easily into your peripheral arteries in your hands and feet. The reason? The arteries there are thinner than a hair - and the blood can't fit if it is too thick.

Controlling your blood thickness is part of diabetes care too.

There is lots more I have learned, which I will write about another time. I hope this helps some people! You can't always tell if you are hurting yourself. You can write it off as "just getting old" or something, when actually you can help a great deal if you take control earlier rather than later.

And having something like diabetes can make you feel - well - old! Nobody wants to feel old. But to help with this, you can feel younger inside by learning more about your health, no matter what you need to work on.

I'm glad I know what I do now.

And thanks for reading!

List YOUR health discoveries as a comment if you want to. I'd like that!

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PS Here is what I use and what these products look like.


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