Blessed Assurance: Success Despite the Odds

by Jacquie Lewis-Kemp, Author & Health Coach for Living life with diabetes and organ transplants, rather than limiting life because of them.

Browsing Posts tagged glucose monitoring

Actor Anthony Anderson, Spokesperson for the Eli Lilly’s F.A.C.E. program.

African Americans are diagnosed with diabetes more than 2.5 times the rate of whites. I had the opportunity to interview Anthony Anderson about his ambassador role as national spokesperson for Eli Lilly’s F.A.C.E. program. The Fearless African Americans Connected and Empowered (F.A.C.E.) program is designed specifically to reach African Americans and inform us about how to prevent or manage the epidemic diabetes diagnoses in our community.
Listen to our hilarious interview:

This is part one, stay tuned for part 2.

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Although the hottest of weather, heat warnings and advisories seems to have moved past the metro Detroit area, people with diabetes
and organ transplants should continue to exercise extreme caution.

The effect that the heat can have on diabetes is complex

  • Sweating, which burns calories and therefore lowers blood sugar, can lead to hypoglycemic  episodes (low blood sugar). Heat can also make hyperglycemic episodes more difficult to identify.

  • Dehydration due to excess heat can cause hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).  Since dehydration occurs when there is low fluid level in the blood stream, there is a high concentration of glucose, causing hyperglycemia.

  • Medication, such as insulin, and supplies can be damaged by excess heat and manufacturer’s recommendations regarding storing medication and supplies must be followed.

Recommendations for people with diabetes:

 

  • Drink plenty of fluids

  • Keep water convenient and close by to make hydration a thoughtless effort.

  • Test blood glucose more often than prescribed, particularly if you don’t feel normal. Since the heat’s impact on blood sugar

    control can be varied (heat can make it go both up or down) it is best to know exactly what the blood sugar level is, rather than guess.

  • Keep diabetes medication and supplies cool without subjecting them to freezing temperatures.

Kidney Transplant Patients must also exercise caution in the heat

 

  • Excessive sweating—not even dehydration–can cause creatinine levels (a measure of kidney function) to increase. High creatine levels can potentially lead to kidney transplant rejection, or worsening of chronic kidney disease.

 

Kidney Transplant Patients should:

 

  • Drink more than the 2 liters of doctor prescribed fluid each day.

  • Again, this should be done by always having water, decaffeinated and non alcoholic, beverages handy to sip on all day.

  • Remember, both caffeine and alcohol dehydrate.

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Come out May 18, 2013 to join a fabulous gathering of people with diabetes, medical professionals and researchers for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s DIABETES TODAY AND TOMORROW. This year’s theme is

Diabetes in the Age of Technology

This is an educational and networking conference for persons living with type 1 diabetes and insulin dependent type 2 diabetes, their families, and the medical care community.

Registration is free and can be done online at www.jdrfmichiganeast.com.

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While diabetes can be a chronic illness that brings about devastating consequences and long term complications (like kidney failure, blindness and amputations), managed well, diabetes can become a cheerleader for success.

There’s no debating the issue, diabetes requires work to manage glucose levels. It requires a consistent routine so that we can function well during other demands placed on our lives.

No one manages diabetes for a living without other responsibilities.

 

 

 

Take a look at this list of famous people with diabetes:

 

  • Mary Tyler Moore

  • Halle Berry

  • Thomas Edison

  • Ernest Hemmingway

  • Elvis Presley

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • BB King

  • Howard Hughes

  • Ray Croc (McDonalds founder)

  • Anwar Sadat

  • Mike Huckabee

  • Jackie Robinson

  • Billie Jean King 

 

What can you imagine about each of them? That they were all work hard at their craft? That in order to focus, they had to maintain near perfect blood sugars? Not only did Halle Berry have to control her blood sugar in order to jump into her Bond Girl role, but especially while pregnant and preparing for her most important role as Mommy.

 

The lessons learned from this list of people are 1) diabetes has to be a self managed routine that occurs without long periods of thought or a lot of concentrated effort.  For instance, if my blood sugar is ____,  then I will react like this. Reviewing records at the end of the day may suggest tweaks to the system over the long run. And 2) DIABETES DOES NOT PREVENT SUCCESS!

 

It is my belief that the regimen that diabetes requires encourages the same discipline in other areas of your life. For instance, at age 7, when my diabetes was diagnosed, like other people with diabetes, I had to learn to give myself an insulin shot, pay attention to how I felt, test my glucose levels, plan to marry exercise and meals, etc. But my dream as a young girl was not to become a well managed diabetic. Yes of course, I wanted grow into a healthy adult, however my dreams were to get good grades, make friends, become a cheerleader, attend a good college, enjoy my job, marry and have children.

 

 

 

With goals like most of us have, diabetes has to be something that we are aware of, however something that we manage in the background of our lives. This is why the regimen is so important. If we know what to do in most if not all circumstances, then all we have to do is test to find out what circumstance we’re in.

 

 

 

And so it is no surprise that people with diabetes work hard in other aspects of their lives to strive or perfection.  Can you imagine balancing Billie Jean King’s glucose levels while she’s in the middle of a tennis match; or during a day of practice for that matter? Similarly can you imagine the emotional ups and downs as well as the blood sugar ups and downs Howard Hughes endured.

 

 

 

What I urge is to listen to your body and note how it reacts to various stimuli such as exercise, food, emotions like fear, nervousness and anger to see how it impacts blood sugar. Not just generally—but find out how to what extent your body reacts. For instance, when you have an insulin reaction, do you need 1,2 or 3 glucose tablets to cure it? Is an apple before exercise snack enough to prevent hypoglycemia? When you lead a meeting or do public speaking, does your blood sugar drop from the jitters? When you become angry, what happens to your blood sugar?

 

 

 

Successful people with diabetes understand this and know what happens to their bodies in these, and other circumstances. Once you’ve mastered this approach, you can create regimens around music, sports, business, relationships and other aspects of your life.

 

 

 

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THE NEW INTRODUCTION TO EXERCISE VIDEO FEATURING JAMIE BROOKS IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!

 

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When you decide not to listen to your doctor’s advice and eat whenever you want to or miss doses of critical medication, what’s the big deal? You’re only hurting yourself, right? Wrong! YOUR NONCOMPLIANCE AFFECTS EVERYONE AROUND YOU!

 

A woman living in the sandwich generation (sandwiched by needing to take care of college students and aging parents) was perplexed because her mother complained that she never visited her father. The woman’s parents were both in their eighties and somehow Stephanie found it difficult between work and immediate family commitments to visit her parents.

 

Stephanie’s father suffered from insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes and found it difficult to walk and to see due to the onset of neuropathy and retinopathy, complications of uncontrolled diabetes. He especially felt bad when Stephanie would abruptly end a phone call needing to return to work, and forgetting to return the call.

 

One day after receiving a tongue lashing from her mother about not visiting them and her father in particular, Stephanie decided to confide in a close friend about the situation. Stephanie’s friend listened intently and explained,

 

“Stephanie, I know you well and I know how much you love your parents. I also know that you find conflict challenging. Diabetes, left uncontrolled can lead to very debilitating illnesses. I believe that the reason that you haven’t made time for your father is because you have watched him ignore advice from his doctor, refuse to monitor his glucose and eat regularly. As a result, he walks with a cane and is losing his sight. He has passed out requiring EMS to treat ailments that wouldn’t occur if he better managed his diabetes.

 

What happens when people see an accident about to happen? When two trains are barreling down the track toward one another? They look away don’t they? No one wants to watch something bad happen. And so I think you subconsciously don’t visit your parents to avoid seeing the train wreck about to happen–what will likely happen to your father if he doesn’t get serious about controlling his diabetes.”

 

This holiday season, if you don’t take care of yourself for you, do it for someone who loves you.

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Diabetes and Christmas

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Try these tips for festive gatherings this holiday season, brought to you from across the pond.

 Christmas brings seasonal joy and the comfort of the family. With a wealth of food available though, it can also be a trying time.

 

Keeping discipline to control sugar levels and portions can be particularly difficult.

 So for those of us for who willpower doesn’t come too easily, here are our tips for enjoying sensible eating at Christmas.

Commit yourself to a food plan

It’s very easy to get carried away by what’s on the table. To reduce the chance of this happening plan how much you intend to eat and make a point of sticking to it. If you’re not cooking, find out what will be served in advance.

 For sensible drinking see Diabetes and alcohol

 It’s best to make this plan at a time when you’re not hungry as hunger can distort your judgement. Don’t forget to factor in that alcohol contains high calorie content and also causes sugar levels to fluctuate.

Plan how much or whether you will drink and stick to this too.

 

It’s a good idea to let you your family know in advance of the Christmas meal too so they won’t offer you anything you’ve planned not to have.

Avoid feeling hungry for too long

It’s a well drilled family that gets the Christmas meal to the table on time. If the meal is taking longer to prepare, it can lead to an unusually long period of hunger and anticipation. 

Say you actually wanted to overeat, the best way would be to make yourself very hungry before eating.

One way to avoid being so ravenous is to break the delay.

 Protein and/or non-starchy vegetable based pre-meal snacks are a good choice as they are filling and slowly broken down.

Have a glass of water before eating

Having a glass of water before you start your meal is an easy and effective way of reducing your food intake; it makes you feel full earlier on, thus reducing your appetite.

Base your meal on non-starchy vegetables

Vegetables are the staple of sensible eating. Make sure that vegetables account for a good percentage of your plate.

Eat gradually

Eating with the family is a nice occasion but if you’re a fast eater, it can make things more difficult. If others are still eating, you may be tempted to have another helping. 

Eating slowly will help with this and will also allow you to savor and better enjoy the food you’re eating.

Don’t feel guilty about turning offers down

Any food you eat is going to end up in your blood stream and on your body so don’t feel shy about turning food down

Feeling stuffed can be quite unpleasant by itself and it’s also worth bearing in mind that the body’s natural reaction to having to digest a particularly large meal is to release extra sugar into the bloodstream.

Go easy on the puddings

One can be forgiven for indulging every once in a while. If you’re a pudding person Christmas can be something of a trial of restraint though. If you cannot resist pudding make sure you stick to at most one and keep the serving sensible, remembering that sweet dishes are very fast absorbed. Once again apply the rule about eating gradually.

After and between meals put foods away or under cover

Remember the classic Christmas cracker joke about a ‘sea food’ diet – “I see food and I eat it”? Food left out and exposed grabs the eye, therefore grabbing the attention of the mind and this can all too easily lead to ‘small’ indulgences. 

A couple of mince pies will typically have over 500 calories, a quarter of a woman’s daily energy, and a fifth of a man’s; not forgetting the 70 plus grams of fast acting carbohydrates. Apply the rule ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and this can help to avoid between meal snacking.

Walk away from the craving

If temptation is proving a taxing task and hard to avoid, it can help to literally walk away from the craving. A 20 minute walk in the crisp air should be enough to increase endorphins and serotonin which can help to overcome cravings.

Test your blood where possible

If you self test, commit yourself to testing your blood sugar more regularly, over the Christmas period, to catch those blood sugar fluctuations early.

 

Reprinted from http://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/diabetes-and-christmas.html

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When first diagnosed with diabetes it is likely that you have to develop a new routine and change some bad habits. While many young people with Type 1 diabetes haven’t established a routine and so the prescribed routine from their doctor easily becomes their routine, often people newly diagnosed with Type 2, Gestational or Pre diabetes have a more difficult time making change to their established routines and habits.

Much like fad dieting, biting the bullet and deciding to try to eat the right food and  test like a robot three times a day, doesn’t create a routine and you are likely to slip back into old habits. On the other hand, understanding the reasons for eating certain foods and testing glucose levels with a purpose in mind will bring about permanent change.

According to author of Changing for Good, James Prochaska, PhD, there are six stages of change that a person has to go through in order to make permanent change and they are

  1. PRE CONTEMPLATION- recognizing that a change or routine is necessary.

  2. CONTEMPLATION – thinking about what that new routine might look like.

  3. PREPARATION – organizing thoughts and supplies necessary to begin the new routine.

  4. ACTION – Beginning to eat, test and exercise according to the new routine.

  5. MAINTENANCE – the action steps are now a daily routine with seamless modifications for schedule changes,

  6. TERMINATION – for some types of change like smoking cessation, the maintenance phase may no longer be necessary, however for Diabetes Control, the maintenance routine never ends and provides a very healthy lifestyle whether a person has diabetes or not.

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Chronic diseases or conditions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypoglycemia, asthma, kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease and transplant living all require a regimen that requires strict adherence. Not following these regimens or staying within the guidelines can cause serious problems, long term complications or even sudden death. Almost all of these conditions require a special diet or dietary restrictions.  Some of them can be controlled with diet alone. Others also require medicines and test procedures.

This can seem overwhelming for someone first diagnosed with a chronic illness, and it can continue if the patient doesn’t develop a regimen to accommodate the medicine schedule, the dietary restrictions and timing, and exercise requirements. The restrictions that a chronic condition requires can feel overwhelmingly restrictive, but consider the alternative. If a diabetic doesn’t develop a regimen to consistently take medication, follow a low glycemic diet with the prescribed carbohydrate restrictions and exercise as suggested, then blood sugars can dip too low and cause a severe hypoglycemic reaction resulting in loss of consciousness or even death. Other chronic conditions can result in similar serious conditions as well as sudden death.  This is why a regimen to prevent these severe reactions is important.

How do you manage diabetes? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

In other words, you break down what needs to happen and put it up against your usual daily schedule.

  1. 1. List the things that must be done for proper management of your condition. In the case of diabetes, you would list your dietary requirements and restrictions, your medicine doses and times, your test and exercise requirements/suggestions.

  2. 2. List your normal daily activities and job travel and/or timing requirements. For instance if you work 8am until 5pm, and you travel 10%  of the time, typically Tuesday through Friday.

  3. 3. Now blend the lists by figuring out what the breakfast requirements translate into as far as a meal; what you will eat for lunch (whether purchased at a restaurant or packed in a  brown bag lunch) and how you will complete dinner requirements. When you will test and if you will gets some midday exercise walking outside or to lunch.

  4. 4. You should also write down when you will test during these hours and at home.

  5. 5. Finally look over the list of requirements and make sure that you determine what supplies you need to make this regimen work. For instance, if carrying blood testing supplies and the machine is not convenient, then you might want to consider keeping an  extra set at work in a locker or in your desk. If that means keeping medicine at work as well, make sure to consider the storage requirements of the medication. For instance, insulin doesn’t need to be refrigerated; however it shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight either.

  6. 6. Schedule time for exercise so that it is not an afterthought that is not done regularly.

The key is to make sure that what your condition requires, you make available and convenient so that it is easy to be compliant to your doctor’s orders.

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