Wednesday, November 08, 2006

To Answer Some of Your Questions . . .

Some of you had questions about my medication, so I thought I'd answer them in a post. I've done ok yesterday and today. I felt like I was going low yesterday, but when I checked my sugar it was 91, well above the official level that could be considered low. What happens is that my body gets used to my blood sugar being so high that when it falls to normal levels, I get the same symptoms that I would at a much lower level. I ate a snack, then another one (!) before I felt better, but then I needed a nap after dinner. Today was better, and when I checked my blood sugar it was down to 84 - my body is already adjusting. I went ahead and had a snack to head off a low, and it worked fine. I had some potatoes at dinner, which raised it higher than it should have been, but it will come down more quickly with medication than it would without. I'm continuing my exercise and beginning to feel very energetic. I'm noticing that I have more endurance - I can do more for longer amounts of time than before I started exercising. I really didn't realize how easily I tired till I started gaining more energy!

Now, to answer your questions:

Just out of curiousity, have you tried looking for natural ways (no meds) for diabetes / low blood sugar?

The most natural thing I've tried is diet and exercise, but I wasn't great at being consistent with that. I have tried using chromium supplements, but I didn't notice a great difference when I used it. I've also looked into other mineral supplements, but I haven't tried them. Maybe after I get off the medication again I will try those. The most important thing, I feel, is to get control of my diet and activity level.

How long will you be on it or is this permanant?

Hopefully it's not permanent! The doctor gave me a two-month prescription, at which time he'll re-evaluate how well my blood sugar is being controlled. If it's low enough, or I'm experiencing frequent hypoglycemia, he may let me come off the medicine to see how I do with just diet and exercise again. Hopefully in two months I'll lose some weight, which automatically helps with control. But one of the side effects of this particular medication is weight gain. I may be working hard to lose weight while it's working hard to make me gain! LOL

Several of you mentioned having symptoms of hypoglycemia. I'm not an expert, but I do know that one of the keys to keeping that from happening is to eat smaller meals more frequently. Before I was diagnosed with diabetes (before I was experiencing symptoms), I had frequent lows. I later found out through reading various books that the reason for the lows was that I was eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as cakes, cookies, potato chips, pasta, eating large meals and waiting several hours between meals. We ate like that all the time! What happens in that situation is that you eat a meal high in carbs and your pancreas responds by pumping out an excess of insulin. A sample of one of our meals would be fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, and biscuits with sweetened iced tea and apple pie for dessert; every one of those items is high in carbs. Because a meal like that makes your blood sugar levels spike up, your pancreas produces large amounts of insulin to get the level back down quickly. Your blood sugar falls too low a couple of hours later, which causes you to need to eat again. If you're like me, you pick up whatever you can find . . . which is those same refined carbs, usually some cookies or a candy bar . . . which makes your pancreas think you need more insulin again, so it pours out another huge dose. And the cycle just continues. Eventually, either your pancreas wears out and quits or your cells become resistant to insulin (which is what I believe happened to me), and type 2 diabetes begins to develop. Because your cells aren't responding to the insulin, letting it into the cells to use the sugar, the sugar begins to build in your bloodstream, raising your blood sugar levels. Diabetes.

Again, I'm not an expert, but I would suggest you begin to eat more complex carbs, such as raw fruits and veggies and whole grains, and eat them in moderation. Eat some protein with your carbs - it could be as simple as peanut butter on whole wheat or cheese and whole wheat crackers. Drink some milk or eat some sugar-free yogurt. The protein helps to slow down the sugar spike, giving you a slow rise rather than spiking quickly. All carbs make the sugar level rise, which is not a bad thing, but the slower it rises, the better your pancreas can handle it, and it won't over compensate like it does when you eat a bowl of ice cream! ;) Another thing is to watch your portion sizes. Too much of anything, even good stuff, isn't good. Learn what a serving size is! It's smaller than you think!

Well, I'll step down off my soapbox now and quit preaching at you. Looking back, I can see where I went wrong with my eating habits, and because my mother was diabetic (although insulin-dependent), I was predisposed to diabetes. But I didn't know about the carbs and how the insulin and carbs were related and how the cells became resistant. It's really interesting to research, and it makes perfect sense when you've experienced it yourself!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing about this. I have been wondering about this subject lately.

  2. Thank you Susan this was very helpful. I know that I feelt better when I eat more protein, especially for breakfast.

  3. Awww... Susan, you aren't preaching at us, you are just passing on helpful info! : ) My hypoglycemia is worse in the morning. It's best if I eat first thing in the morning, but I recently started taking thyroid medication and can't eat for an hour after taking my pill. So far I haven't had any problems, but I eat as soon as the hour is up. I always have to have protien too, with my breakfast...and I carry a protien bar with me at all times.

    My mother-in-law was a diabetic, and after watching her checking her levels, keeping track of her eating, ect...I can sure appreciate all you have to do to monitor everything. I am praying for you Susan...and thanks for your informative post. : )

  4. I am truly thankful that I haven't progressed to diabetes! I dont' think you were preaching.
    My hypoglycemia is under control when I eat absolutly no processed sugar, limit my intake of processed grain, eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, eat a reasonable amount of protien throughout the day, and WATCH THE STRESS. Stress makes me far more sensitive to a reaction, and then I just have to listen to my body for what I need to do. A large meal when I am hungry is a mistake. Small meals are perfect--four or five a day.

  5. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Hi Susan-

    I am new to your blog and just saw that you are diabetic. I am assuming you must be T2 (?) I am a T1 myself, for 25 years.

    As one who knows how difficult it is to keep blood sugars near normal levels I just wanted to say great job on that 91 and 84!! I hope you continute to see such normal bg levels. :)


  6. This has been informative...and convicting. I've had low blood sugar, and with being overweight and having a mom with diabetes, I have been afraid of getting that myself. So far so good -- but I do tend to way overdo the carbs (they just taste so good. :( ) I've felt that cycle you describe and need to do something about it before I wear out my pancreas.

    What do you do for breakfast? If I just have a bowl of cereal and some fruit and OJ, I'm shaky and need to eat something else in an hour or two. Even cream of wheat leaves me that way though it does last a little longer. Eggs do great, but I don't want to have them every day.

  7. Hi, Jan! Yes, I'm type 2. I was diagnosed 7 years ago, but only recently began to take it seriously. My mother was type 1.

    I wish you the best with your care. It's a hard disease to control, and it takes a lot of self-discipline (which I'm not good at!).

    My numbers haven't gone that low again, when I've checked, but they are coming lower into more normal ranges. Even after a very small piece of dessert last night, it was still only 139 - not great, but way better than it has been. My fasting levels are coming down farther each morning, which encourages me. My morning levels have always been hard to control.

  8. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Those morning numbers are quite the bear for T2s. My husband has T2 as well and he has his main trouble with his fasting sugar. I frequent a forum for diabetes and all the T2s there complain about the difficulty they have in the morning. If someone comes up with a way to knock that number down reliably I will be sure to share it with you.

    It is only relatively recently (the lasts 2-3 years) that I have taken my diabetes care seriously too. But I am doing well now so I am very grateful.

    Thank you for blogging about your diabetes, Susan. It is an encouragement to know there are other believers who have this in their lives too. May God give you wisdom in your diabetes management!



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