Archive for the ‘Diabetes’ Category

Glucometers and Other Fun Gadgets

It is hard to believe I am in the same state this afternoon as I was yesterday afternoon. Just last night it was hot and sticky with the usual summer bugs lighting on you and interrupting our outdoor meal with our grandson. Today, the only thing that is outside is my spousal unit and that is only because he is willing to face the wind and rain that is making it suddenly feel like March again. I guarantee there will be no dining al fresco unless we pack up the poodles and make our way to another state. My guess is we shall stay put as the weather would just follow us anyway.

I have hemmed and hawed over this week’s blog and finally after reading a post by the Weston Price Foundation on glucometers and checking insulin levels I hit upon this week’s subject, the letting of blood. I am not fond of pricking my finger for any reason but this subject has been on my mind for sometime. I would really like to know which foods keep my blood sugar within an acceptable range and which foods don’t achieve that particularly desirable effect.

What type of glucometer should I buy?

If you are on Facebook you know that there are a number of health related pages you can “like” or “follow”. Most of my health “gurus” are on Facebook, so I read their latest news and glean what I can. One such health page is authored by Taylor Clouse. His company, Isagenix, makes products that support health aging and telomere support system. Honestly, I know little of his company and have never tried their products but he often has some good health advice and tips, so I read what he has to say and use whatever might apply to my situation.

One day he was talking about fasting glucose levels and that they should be around 80. The last time I had mine checked they were around 90 and I know it has been creeping up and I don’t want that to happen. So I posed the question, which glucometer do you think is best to use?

He quite happily told me the glucometer he likes and feels is the cheapest to buy and to maintain is the Bayer Contour Blood Glucose Monitoring System by Ascencia. He said it was quite reliable and the strips were not too expensive to buy (which is how they usually make their money). As it happened I had some points to use at, so I ordered the unit and the strips.

Why do I care what my my glucose levels are?

Diabetes is a huge issue in the USA and my father developed Type 2 Diabetes in his elder years. I have one brother on insulin and another brother who controls his Type 2 Diabetes with his diet and exercise. My mother never had a problem and one brother seems to stave it off with a manic obsession with his weight and a bit of hyperactivity. These are not good odds and coupled with the fact that I have an autoimmune disease being prudent seems warranted.

After all Type 2 Diabetes is harmful to your entire organism and is often brought on by the development of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is insidious, it happens without symptoms until it is too late. To put it in dental terms it is like an aching tooth. Teeth don’t hurt until the tooth is in real trouble and needs a root canal or to be extracted.

Type 2 Diabetes is the same. Usually you start with insulin resistance (typified by belly fat accumulation) and before you know it you have diabetes. Insulin resistance causes any number of maladies but the one that bothers me is that it can cause inflammation and we all know, or should know, that inflammation is deadly. Inflammation seems to be at the root of many cancers, heart attacks, stroke, and even pain and stiffness of joints.

A glucometer will help me and can help you determine if you have a problem with insulin resistance. Are you eating foods that cause a sharp rise in your insulin levels? Or an hour after you have eaten are your insulin levels close to 80 where they should be (they say between 80-100 but I think 100 is way too high).

Information and articles of the subject of Diabetes

I found a great foundational article at Life Extension Foundation’s site if you have little to no knowledge of Type 1 vs. Type 2 diabetes, so I will let you read that on your own. Suffice it to say, in my opinion Type 2 is preventable. Diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle will help you stave off the undesirable side effects of over stressing your pancreas with too many refined carbohydrates and sugars.

Chris Kresser had a great series of online articles titled “Diabesity” where he has about 14 articles dealing with the fact that Type 2 Diabetes is closely associated with so many unhealthy condition that are rife in our population today and how you can treat and/or prevent diabesity (a term he says was coined by Dr. Francine Kaufman). If that isn’t enough to convince you that knowing how your food intake is affecting your body is important to your longevity and health perhaps Joe Mercola’s take on the subject will.

Kris Insight

I have had my Bayer Glucometer for several weeks and I hadn’t really had the nerve to prick my finger yet, so in the name of research and being able to enlighten my readers I finally did it this afternoon. It was easier than I thought it would be, so easy, in fact, I did it wrong the first two times. The third try was the charm and only two lancets were wasted and two test strips (Argh! Those are the expensive items).

The instructions were clear and the preparation was easy. You do need to be sure to buy the test strips because the glucometer most likely doesn’t come with any. Mine did come with about 10 lancets which may be enough for me to figure out which foods might cause an issue for me. I set the enclosed lancet on the middle setting, for depth of puncture, and that worked perfectly. While I was braced for some big puncture wound the prick did not hurt at all yet was effective enough that my finger bled slightly for a few minutes which allowed me to finally do the test correctly.

The mistake I made was to try to drop the blood drop on the test strip. No, no, no, do not do as I did, do as I say. When you see the drop of blood on your fingertip just gently put the drop up to the end of the strip and it will soak it up, you can watch it happen. Perhaps first of all you should carefully read the directions because I confess I skimmed over it and probably did it before I had read everything carefully. Blood and the letting of blood is not a favorite of mine and just the prep was making me a bit light headed (never fear all is well now).

My test was about an hour post meal and the result was 75 which is a great result considering the meal was a slice of watermelon. A snack may not really constitute a meal and may not accurately reflect my true reaction to food, so there will now be future tests, one of which will be a fasting test to see how I am doing in the morning before I eat and then one hour later to see how my breakfast went down. I think another test will be a high carb meal and test an hour later to see my result and then a high protein meal and its effect.

Now that I have finally taken the step to start testing there will be no holding me back, so stay tuned for more escapades and Kris’ insight.



The Box and Other Tales of Spring

Spring finally made it to Minnesota this week. May I just say “Hallelujah!”? Okay, Hallelujah! I am grateful for this promise of better things to come but, of course, on the heels of daffodils peeking through the cold earth and leaf buds bursting forth comes the threat of violent weather as our temperatures soar. Oh well, I am, after all is said and done, a Minnesotan at heart and as one of my high school friends told me recently we Minnesotans are proud of our ability to handle any kind of weather. Apparently we proudly extol our ability to weather all extremes from bone numbing cold to blistering heat but believe me it is all subterfuge, we live here despite the weather.

Along with the arrival of springtime bad weather, tulips and daffodils a large box of books from my favorite online bookstore arrived. It is rather like Christmas arriving at your front door when The Box arrives, so like a child I love the moment the man in brown arrives and leaves behind The Box. Aside from the child-like appeal to ordering books online I also happen to have an ever widening spectrum of interests that actually goes beyond thyroid disease and I like to keep my books to constantly refer to, so using my local library doesn’t work very well for my purposes.

This order was filled with topics of interest. First out of the box was a book on the subject of bio-identical hormones. I have developed a real curiosity about all hormones in the body and would like to know how to best balance them to create a body that is working at its peak or as close to peak as it can function. In order to achieve a healthy, functional body you must balance adrenal hormones, thyroid hormones, insulin and sex hormones. It seems that if I thought reaching thyroid nirvana, and I haven’t yet, was difficult, getting insulin and sex hormones right makes thyroid balancing look like child’s play.

I was looking for a book that would provide varied information on the subject of bio-identical hormones from the books I have by Suzanne Somers, Uzzi Reiss and Thierry Hertoghe. In my quest I ran across Shira Miller on Facebook. Dr. Miller is an integrative medicine doctor in California who specializes in bio-identical hormones and specifically The Wiley Protocol. Dr. Miller even takes some of her time to answer questions on Facebook and I have enjoyed learning more about bio-identical hormones (“Why do women with high testosterone lose interest in sex, when it increases desire in men?” or “Why do I have hot flashes even though I am using bio-identical hormones?”).

I knew nothing of Wiley or the “protocol”, so I chose “Sex, Lies and Menopause” by T.S. Wiley, with Julie Taguchi, M.D. and Bent Formby, Ph.D. I have read a few pages and I find it laid out in an interesting and readable format and I look forward to reading more and perhaps delving more deeply in to cyclical bio-identical hormone (BHRT) replacement. I already found out that the effect of the full moon on a woman’s body is real. It has to do with melatonin and estrogen. The next time I feel the power of the full moon and the SU laughs I will whip out “Sex, Lies and Menopause” and show him the very real reasons why the full moon affects me.

Back to The Box and the second and third books were more books by my current favorite fiction writer, Elizabeth George. Gosh I love her books and every morning for the past few months, I wake early, hop out of bed, make a pot of my favorite Keemun Congou tea and settle back in my warm bed to enjoy my morning reading time with a warming cup of tea and milk. It is the only way I can have three of four books going at once.

I digress, let’s get back to unpacking The Box. I gingerly picked my way through the contents, reading bits and bobs as I unpacked which extends the fun of The Box. The disgorged contents are now piled high on the kitchen counter but finally at the bottom of what was starting to seem like the bottomless box of books is the last, but not least, book about my other interest of late, a book on diabetes.

I participate in several online forums on the subject of thyroid disease. Many folks on these various thyroid forums have trouble with insulin resistance and full blown diabetes which I find very interesting. Why should a thyroid hormone deficiency lead to insulin resistance, hypoglycemia and diabetes? There are very good reasons for this to occur but I decided it was time to learn more about diabetes. A book that was recommended by a participant on the RT3 forum was a book by Jenny Ruhl, “What They Don’t Tell You About Diabetes“. Jenny was diagnosed with diabetes in 1998 and like all of us that spurred her on to learn more about her disease, now its my turn.

This week I will be spending time in a hospital room with my daughter and new grandson as she recovers from a C-section necessitated by placenta praevia and my new books will come with me. My books and the blanket I am still knitting will fill the gaps between helping her and hopefully holding my grandson. In the coming weeks I hope to share the information I glean as well as a few photos of the new baby, Odin. In the meantime, let me know what you are reading. Any recommendations you make may fill my next “Christmas” box Brown leaves at my front door.

Here’s to a healthy and knowledge filled week,