Taking Charge of My Diabetes

October 11, 2012

I thought I would try something a little different today and share with you my personal journey with having Type-2 Diabetes and hopefully be somewhat helpful to those who are borderline diabetic or just starting out. I am not an expert or a doctor. Everybody's body will react differently and show different signs, but this is just my story. Sorry if I ramble, but I'm going make it quick and to the point.

So, the other day I went to go refill my prescription and chatted with the pharmacist for a bit and I really wanted to know what my very first blood sugar test was so I can see my progress. HOLY FREAKIN MOLY what a huge improvement! Since the day I found out, I have changed my diet drastically by cutting down sugar and salt majorly. Don't be fooled though... I have cheated and still cheat once in awhile, but I can definitely say, I do not eat the way I use to eat.

Back in March, the only reason WHY I went to the doctors was because I had this itch under my breasts, my groin area, my genitals and for a couple months I self-medicated. I've had this itch since November '11 and I've had it under my breast in the past, but it went away quickly and I've never had it for that long. My itch got extremely bad, I had raised bumps and from scratching, it had open wounds. It was just terrible. Obviously, I'm not going to post them and scare the living crap out of you. So, I did a lot of research and found out not only did I have an yeast overgrowth, but the doctor and nurse I saw was literally mortified when I showed them my skin and they knew right off the bat I had Diabetes. Sad thing is, I had it for awhile and my old doctor at Drum, literally forgot to mention that to me.

This is just how my body reacted. Some other signs and symptoms are: Urinating often, being thirsty more than usual, being hungry more than usual, unusual weight loss, tired more often than usual, irritability, blurry vision, problems with sex, wounds that won't heal, numb or tingling hands or feet.

What Is A1C? The A1C test measures your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months. It is determined by measuring the percentage of glycated hemoglobin, or HbA1c, in the blood. Hemoglobin, a protein that links up with sugars such as glucose, is found inside red blood cells. Its job is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all the cells of the body. When diabetes is uncontrolled, you end up with too much glucose in the bloodstream. This extra glucose enters your red blood cells and links up (or glycates) with molecules of hemoglobin. The more excess glucose in your blood, the more hemoglobin gets glycated. By measuring the percentage of A1C in the blood, you get an overview of your average blood glucose control for the past few months.

Refined Sugars: Sugars that undergo a process known as sugar refining. During this process, the raw sugars are refined, or enhanced. The sucrose is extracted while other unwanted materials are discarded. Although refined sugars are believed by many to be the basic table sugar that we may add to coffee or tea, there are actually a number of different types. Refined sugars are classified by some as poisons to the body. They provide only empty calories lacking in nutrients and minerals. In addition, they can drain the body of nutrients because of their demanding digestion requirements. That being said, refined sugars should be limited. Moderation is key when it comes to anything potentially dangerous to the body.

How to Cut Down and/or Cut Out: Stop drinking soda and sweetened drinks. One can of soda alone is already 10 tsp of sugar. When I want some soda, I lean towards diet soda since they don't have sugar (or use sweeteners like Splenda) and their sodium is about 40grams. Fruit juices are also just as dangerous! There's a lot of juices out there who add in extra sugar. Also Vitamin Water, Gatorade, Powerade are also high in sugar. Thankfully, they have created sugar-free ones and they don't taste that bad. Definitely up your water drinking! I personally, use to hate drinking plain water, but I do buy Mio or those Crystal Light packs to add flavor or for a more natural way, add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber. Always read the nutrition facts on the food you buy! The lower the sugar the better. For more information, try reading this article.

Carbohydrates: Carbs are the main kind of food that raises blood sugar levels. I recommend switching to whole wheat pasta and bread. Try to eat more non-starchy veggies like broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, green peppers, onions... etc.

Plate Method: I think one of the hardest things with us Americans, is portion control. You grow up with your plate majority filled with carbs and protein and a very small portion of vegetables. Fill the largest section of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, one of the smaller sections with starchy food and another with protein. Protein should be about 3oz or a deck of cards, not a huge slab of steak or a large piece of chicken breast. You can read more about the plate method here. I don't follow the plate method as much as I do now, since my husband deployed, I rarely cook meat and have upped my vegetables even more.

Exercising: Let's be real, I don't exercise that much, but this week I have improved and I've walked on the treadmill twice. It's a start! Exercising is great in general, but it does raise your HDL (good cholesterol) which should be about a 40, mine is only at 33. You don't have to go out and buy a gym membership right this minute, but just walking more is a good start.

Honestly you guys, there's so much stuff that just writing it makes my brain kinda want to explode! I listed some helpful links if you want to read more into it or for better understanding. I highly recommend you to go tested!! Especially if you have a family history or if you're just curious. It never hurts and it's better to catch it now then later.

Helpful Links:
American Diabetes Association
15 Foods to Avoid
Diabetic Living
Diagram of How Much Sugar you may be consuming

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