World Diabetes Day – Sign the Petition!

22.10.08 / Uncategorized / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

There is a campaign going to try and persuade Google to do a fancy doodle for Diabetes Day.

Go sign the petition – its free and it will help save lives….

Sign the Petition

The more people who know about diabetes, the less undiagnosed diabetics there will be – and right now they reckon there as many undiagnosed as there are diagnosed.

Go – sign the petition – it could be one of your relatives that benefits!

Diabetes and Its Connection With Being Overweight

07.10.08 / Uncategorized / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

OK – this is a subject that many people get emotional about.

There is evidence that people who are overweight are more likely to be diabetic – that much is true.

It is really important to understand what that sentence means though.

If you are overweight, then there is a greater chance that you will also be diabetic.

That is not the same as saying that being overweight can cause diabetes, in fact there is some evidence to suggest that it may be the other way round – at least in part.

As researchers start to recognise that the ‘early stages of diabetes’ happen a lot earlier than they previously suspected, they start to see more and more thin and normal weight people who show signs of diabetes – tracking these people allows them to see that the two conditions can go hand-in-hand – in other words, it may actually be the diabetes that is responsible for the weight gain, or at least some of it, and not the other way round.

Why is this important?

Well, it certainly isn’t a suggestion that we diabetics shouid stop trying to lose weight – far from it – there is plenty of evidence that losing weight helps improve our symptoms.

The reason it is important is because it helps to remove some of the stigma and guilt from being overweight and diabetic, and if that helps more diabetics to accept and treat their condition, or more overweight people go for testing, it is well worth discussing

Diabetic Ice Cream

19.08.07 / Diabetic Diet and Nutrition / Author: colin / Comments: (1)

God, this is annoying.

For years I have looking for a ‘diabetic ice cream’ – by that I mean an ice cream that was safe for Diabetics to eat.

Imagine my pleasure at finding an ice cream on sale in my local Morrisons store that proclaimed ‘Diabetic Ice Cream’, loud and proud on the packet top.

Excellent, I thought, finally a dessert that I can enjoy.

The diabetic ice cream was manufactured by a company called ‘Franks’ – new name on me, but what the hell, I thought, I’ll give it a try.

As I was putting the ice cream into my shopping cart, I thought ‘hmm, best check the kCals and carbs on the label.

What a shocker, this so-called diabetic ice cream had more calories and carbs per hundred grams than the non-diabetic ice cream next to it!!!

Obviously, I put it back on the shelf, but I am not leaving it there – I have sent an e-mail to the ice cream manufacturer asking for their explanation. If I get a reply, I will post it here. If the reply isn’t acceptable, I will notify the supermarkets accordingly.

My Dogs on the Beach

14.08.07 / Uncategorized / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

This is nothing to do with diabetes, other than the fact that I should do more walking with my dogs on the beach.

It actually just a testing whether I can post a YouTube embeded video with screwing up the whole blog!

Anyway, here it is :

Dogs on the Beach

If my ‘dogs on the beach’ video is working OK, then I have cracked the problem!

For those dog lovers out there, the big dog is a Groenendael (Belgian Shepherd), the little one is a staffie-x.

Diabetes and Vacations

21.06.07 / Uncategorized / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

OK, its vacation time again, and that presents a few problems for us diabetics.

I’m off to stay in a luxury villa in Vilamoura this year, but before getting on the plane there is some basic preparation to be done.

First, make sure you have all your meds with you – I need insulin, so I need to pack enough and some to spare, and also take a cooler bag for transport.

Second, make sure you can find a well stocked pharmacist near to where you are staying. Fortunately, the company I got my villa from specialise in villas in the Algarve and were able to call ahead to the villa itself and make sure I was covered.

Finally – if you are on insulin, take it in your hand luggage and take enough snacks with you to cover any dealys you may experience.

Have a nice one guys – I will! 

My First Diabetic Hypo

12.02.07 / Me and My Diabetes / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

This was not good.

Not good at all.

I collapsed in the supermarket, broke my cheekbone, smashed my head in and seriously damaged my back.

The result was 3 days in hospital and large amounts of pain and inconvenience.

At the moment  I am still in quite a bit of pain with my back – I am pretty much unable to lie down at all. To sleep I need to sit in an armchair and prop myself up with cushions and duvets etc.

The only real relief I get is when I lie in the bath, which is why I have bought myself a set of Bathroom Ceiling Speakers

Now I can lie in the bath for hours listening to my MP3 collection.

Which once again proves that there is nothing so bad that it can’t be turned into an opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy :)

Diabetes and Exercise

03.12.06 / Me and My Diabetes / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

If you are diabetic, one of the first things you are told about is that you should do more exercise. ‘Its good for you’ they say – ‘it will help your diabetes’, but they don’t say much more than that.

I totally understand that it IS good for me, but it seemed to me that just ‘doing’ more exercise without understanding the process fully is perhaps missing out on a few opportunities.

I wanted to know ‘how’ exercise helps – ie what is the process. I wanted to know whether different types of exercise gave different benefits. I wanted to ‘fine tune’ my exercise to get the best results.

Impressed, huh?

I guess it would be more impressive if I had actually done something about it.

Well, now I have.

I have two dogs and they have been not getting anything like the number of walks that they should have, so 3 weeks ago I decided to put a few things to rights by taking them on a LONG walk every single day – and I have Smile

3.5 miles every single day, and boy what an effect it has had.

Firstly, a word of warning – if you are thinking of doing the same, make sure you take a source of glucose with you – I have had a couple of scares.

So here’s what happened.

I would inject my insulin, then eat my typical midday and walk the dogs.

If I didn’t do the walking, my blood sugar would return to normal between 2.5 to 3 hours after eating, so taking a walk straight after eating was the best and safest time to do it. 

My walk is not a casual stroll, but a fast ‘forced march’ walk over fields and up a reasonable sized hill. Strenuous enough to really have me breathing heavily and arriving home covered in sweat whatever the weather. It takes about 45 minutes.

I was alarmed to find that my blood sugar had dropped to dangerous levels before I arrived home! 

Wow – thats pretty bloody impressive. 

After doing a few days and finding it was a consistent reaction, I decided to try a little test. I deliberately missed my insulin injection, ate my meal, did the walk and then tested my blood sugar on return. It was lower than normal – ie lower than if I had injected insulin and not done the walk!

Now that was something to really make me sit up and take notice.

Having now done a little research it seems that the whole ‘diabetes and exercise’ subject is not fully understood yet. Some experts claim that exercise helps to make your body more receptive to the insulin that you may still be producing naturally, some claim that it makes your body produce more insulin, but there is one theory that intrigues me and seems a more likely explanation of the phenomenom.

The theory proposes that exercise allows your muscles to take up glucose WITHOUT insulin – ie there is another mechanism at work here. 

There is also a theory the ‘weight resistance’ exercise is better than aerobic exercise for achieving this.

I am going to start some more research on diabetes and exercise to see what I can discover – I’ll also do some more detailed tests using ‘yours truly’ as a guinea pig.

Watch this space. 

Insulin and Me, an update…

31.08.06 / Me and My Diabetes / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

I have been on insulin for a few months now, and boy, do I fell better.

  • I have more energy than I have had for years.
  • I can pretty much eat what I want (OK, I know I shouldn’t, but if I want a dessert, I can have one as long as I inject enough insulin to cover)
  • I no longer fall asleep after meals

On the downside, it really is a pain having to inject myself 4 times a day, but necessary if I want to keep my diabetes under really tight control.

The regime I have have chosen is 3 doses of ‘quick acting’ Novorapid (before each meal) and one dose of "slow acting" Levemir in the evening.

I could have gone for 2 injections a day of a mixture of slow and fast acting, but frankly my lifestyle is so irregular that this would have been problematic and left me with poor control.

Weight gain is a problem. Now all the sugar IS getting into my system, I am tending to put on weight – not good, obviously.

I am trying to comabt this by increased dog walks etc – but it is not making enough difference at the moment.

I am going to have to diet :( :(  

The Common Cold and Diabetes (part 2)

06.03.06 / Me and My Diabetes / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

Well, I was supposed to be starting on insulin tomorrow – ain’t gonna happen as planned.

Got a cold, and a right stinker at that.

The problem is, when you have a cold, or any other illness, your body goes into emergency mode and this means releasing loads of glucose into the blood stream. This would no doubt be useful if my body could produce enough bloody insulin to make use of it, but it can’t, so it sucks.

So, why not start the insulin now and deal with it that way?

Its a control thing.

The very first part of the insulin ‘process’ is finding the right dosage by careful control and measurement.  This would be difficult of my cold is causing massive irregular fluctuations. Too many variables that can’t be controlled.

So, I am waiting till the cold has gone, 

Diabetes and Blood Pressure

27.02.06 / News / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

If you are diabetic, you are are greater risk from cardiovascular disease even if your blood pressure is not classed as ‘high’ by normal standards, (according to the The American Journal of Medicine).
People with what is known as ‘prehypertension’ (daft word – surely ‘mild hypertension’ would be better) are still at risk of cardiovascular disease. ‘Prehypertension’ is defined as having blood pressure that is within the range of 120.80 to 139.89 mm hg.

There was no mention of who funded the research, which was done at the University of North Carolina.

If you know who funded the research, or know which pharmeceutical companies fund the University, please let is know, then we can make an informed decision on whether this should be taken seriously or not.

Nevertheless, high blood pressure is a real problem for Diabetics – so get yours checked now!

Good Diabetes Control May Improve Your Memory

27.02.06 / News / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

According to reports from Reuters, keeping your blood sugar under tight control improves the type of memory you need to perform your normal daily routines.

“Many of the patients with type 2 diabetes may have evidence of mild cognitive dysfunction,” Dr. Christopher M. Ryan, from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, told Reuters Health. “Improving metabolic control and reducing fasting plasma glucose (sugar) levels can lead to an improvement in learning and memory ability.”
The study group was 145 people and the results were statistically significant.

Frankly, although interesting, this comes under the ‘no shit, Sherlock’ category of research.

Having a load of Tate and Lyle’s finest floating round your blood stream is not good – its a toxin. One of the most annoying symptoms of diabetes is the ‘falling asleep’ when a meal causes your blood sugar to go too high. So, having established that high blood sugar can cause you to go into ’shut down’ mode, it doesn’t take an expert to guess that ‘mildly’ high levels cause a few memory issues.

I guess I must be lucky, I can’t remember when I last forgot something.

Baby Wipes Cause Diabetes

26.02.06 / News / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

OK – this ‘news’, from the Irish Newspaper, The Sunday Independant, actually reads ‘might cause Diabetes’ – but what sort of wussy headline is that.

It seems that there was a significant rise in the number of babies and small children with type 1 diabetes. There has also been an increase in the use of baby wipes, and researchers believe that these wipes may reduce the amount of minor bugs that help the immune system develop.

It sounds so stupid that it might be true, I suppose. Type 1 diabetes is believed to be caused by an immune system malfunction, so there is something to hang the theory on.
Ironic, isn’t it, all those irritating ‘guilt provoking’ ads for baby wipes, dettol, anti-septic etc might actually be shaming you into a level of cleanliness that damages you babies health.

Going on Insulin

26.02.06 / Me and My Diabetes / Author: colin / Comments: (1)

Whoohoo – got the result I wanted.

I am going on insulin.

There are a few different insulin delivery regimes that I could have chosen.

Like the good control freak I am, I chose the one that lets me ‘be in charge’ as much as possible.

One slow acting jab accompanied by a fast jab before each meal.

Of course, one side benefit of this is that the dosage can be modified to suit whatevr meal you are eating.

Obviously, I am not going to go daft with this, but the ability to have a curry and NOT fall asleep for 2 hours afterwards is a definite bonus!

The Effects of the Common Cold on Diabetes

22.02.06 / Me and My Diabetes / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

See, I have a cold – a real stinker.

Before I was diabetic, I would notice a cold only when the first symptoms appeared. Now, thanks to the wonder of diabetes, I know at least 2 days prior to the normal symptoms.

Why? ‘Cos my blood sugar readings go through the bloody roof and stay there until the cold has buggered off.

Right now this is a mixed blessing. I have my ‘insulin’ appointment on friday, and having my blood sugar at silly high levels will aid my argument to put me on insulin, which is a ‘good thing. The down side is that I feel like crap and will probably throw a paddy in the medical centre if they don’t do everything I tell them to.

I am a difficult patient under normal circumstances, but with a cold, ten times worse. I know it is not their fault, but they have a habit of talking down to patients. In most cases this is, no doubt, essential – most patients just want their diabetes to be treated by a pat on the head and a bottle of magic pills. I am not like that. I want them to prove to me that they really understand what they are saying and are not just repeating a mantra handed down from above. The problem occurs when they can’t – if I am in a good mood, I cut them a little slack and send them away with a whole bunch of questions. If I am I bad mood, …well, lets just say that I am somewhat less polite and have been known to mention the phrase ‘medical negligence’ … never said I was nice.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Starting with Insulin

21.02.06 / Me and My Diabetes / Author: colin / Comments: (0)

… or at least I hope I am.

This friday is the day I go in for the insulin consultation. I have been on Gliclazide and Metformin for the last few years and it has stopped working – that is , my blood glucose levels are too high even on the highest medication dosage allowable.

FWIW, this slide towards insulin was not gradual – everything was tickety-boo until about 2 months ago when, in the space of a week, it all went to pot. Fasting blood sugar levels of 6.5 turned into 9.5 overnight – increasing the meds made no difference. I persevered for a few weeks and then decided enough was enough – I’m down the insulin route.

Many doctors use the threat of insulin as a stick to beat you into taking your meds and doing plenty of exercise, “if you aren’t a good little boy, the insulin bogey man will get you” kind-of-thing. This makes many people scared of insulin as if it is some kind of ‘final’ treatment that confirms that there is no return, you have failed, and the grave now beckons.

This is an outrageous state of affairs. Every type of medication has more risks associated with it than correctly administered insulin. With insulin you can keep your blood sugar levels under tight control far easier than you can with meds. Tight control improves your long term health prospects.

So why aren’t we all put on insulin immediately?

The answer is in the words “correctly administered insulin”.

If you are not ready to face up to regular monitoring and keeping track of your carbs, then stay on the meds for as long as you can. Better still, slap yourself upside the head a few times and start taking it seriously.

Personally, the more I learn about insulin, the more I wish I had gone onto it right at the start.