Tag Archives: glucagon

What I Just Learned About Glucose

Definitely replacing this!   photo courtesy of Bill Longshaw

Definitely replacing this! Photo courtesy of Bill Longshaw

 

I’ve learned a number of useful tidbits from reading Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.  Here are a couple excerpts from his book which I found rather eye opening: (pages 199-200)

“The key is the influence of glucose or fructose not on blood sugar but on the liver.  Glucose goes directly into the bloodstream and is taken up by the tissues and organs to use as energy; only 30-40 percent passes through the liver.  Fructose passes directly to the liver, where it is metabolized almost exclusively.  As a result, fructose “constitutes a metabolic load targeted at the liver,” the Israeli diabetologist Eleazar Shafir says, and the liver responds by converting it into triglycerides-fat-and then shipping it out on lipoproteins for storage.  The more fructose in the diet, the higher the subsequent triglyceride levels in the blood.”*

“*For this reason, fructose is referred to as the most lipogenic carbohydrate.” 

Seriously?  Isn’t “lipo” Latin for “fat”?

Apparently, our bodies will also adapt to exposure to high-fructose diets and “the more fructose in the diet and the longer the period of consumption, the greater the secretion of triglycerides by the liver.”

“Moreover, fructose apparently blocks both the metabolism of glucose in the liver and the synthesis of glucose into glycogen, the form in which the liver stores glucose locally for later use.  As a result, the pancreas secretes more insulin to overcome this glucose traffic jam at the liver, and this in turn induces the muscles to compensate by becoming more insulin resistant.”

*****

And just as a reminder, high triglycerides are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.  Also, table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are both half glucose and half fructose. 

So if I am understanding this correctly, my intake of candy and juice and occasionally a dessert to treat low blood sugars is effectively increasing my likelihood for high triglycerides, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance? 

I bought glucose tablets today.  (Again, I could be misinterpreting the info as I’m not really into science-if anyone is and disagrees with my conclusion, do help a girl out!)

For more convincing and more info on why glucose tabs are the best low blood sugar treatment, read what certified diabetes educator, Will Dubois has to say.  His is not as serious as this post for he has a great knack for humor. 

Enjoy:  Know Your Glucose

Also, see here for a list of foods highest in fructose

Stay tuned for a post coming up discussing how I lowered my basal insulin requirements by 25% in just a week.  Part of the magic happened when I switched to glucose tablets for lows but that wasn’t all!  Also I’ll be reviewing Gary Sheiner’s Type 1 University online class on weight loss :)

Possible Diabetes Breakthrough Info

 

I’ve never wanted to kiss a mouse before.  That is, until now.  Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have discovered that insulin may not function the way we’ve always thought. 

First off, remember the hormone, glucagon?  It raises blood sugars and is the reason a non-diabetic never passes out from hypoglycemia.  It stimulates the liver to release glucose into the blood stream when blood sugars are getting low and it also stimulates the release of insulin to keep blood sugars from going high.  Or so we think.

Researchers suppressed glucagon production in mice and then killed off 90% of their ability to make insulin and then fed them sugar.  And guess what happened?  They’re blood sugar remained stable.  They didn’t develop diabetes-in fact they stayed perfectly healthy.

Now because something works in mice does NOT mean it works in humans.  But, the hope is that by blocking excess glucagon, blood sugar regulation in humans will occur and insulin won’t even be required.

Again, it’s too soon to know if this will be the case for us humans.  (Fingers crossed everyone!)

But, it is exciting isn’t it?

Here is an article about it.  And the medical journal about it.

How Many Scares Does it Take? And Why Aren’t I More Worried?

 

Since I’ve never had to use a Glucagon, I’ve never been good about remembering to get a new one once the old one expires.  Thank God they always expire instead of get used but still…

Last night, I caught a stomach virus that’s been going around.  I started feeling really awful around 8:30pm and just laid down on the bed.  I don’t know if I ever fell asleep but I do know that at some point I felt low but, couldn’t move or hardly talk.  Luckily, my husband was in the room and noticed I was trying to say something.  I was able to mutter the word, “low” and he took off for some juice.  He sat me up in bed and put the bottle of orange juice up to my mouth.  I downed two bottles.  A little later he tested my sugar which was 47.   Then an hour later my sugar was 52 and I started feeling nauseated and thought I might throw up.  Well, I did-plenty of times.  30 minutes later I was 44.  I downed lots of sugar even though I thought it was just going to come right back up.  I was beginning to have a major headache from the lack of glucose in my brain.  30 minutes later I was 42! 

I started getting scared.  I had downed all the juice in the house and had begun drinking several cups of sugar water (not appealing to a nauseated stomach).

I called my parents and my dad showed up around midnight with jello, crackers, juice, and most importantly, a glucagon.

Why didn’t I ever have one ready? 

Luckily I never threw up again and my blood sugar stabilized at 80, but I did get welcomed with blood sugars over 250 and 300 in the early AM hours.  Yay, isn’t it wonderful to bounce from one extreme to the other?

This made me realize (and so did my insistent mother) that I don’t have an emergency kit.  I’ve written about it and I myself don’t have one?  So anyway, here is what I will assemble as soon as I’m able:

Juice

Glucose tabs

Glucagon

Glucose gel

Crackers

Ketone strips

And as my mom thoughtfully pointed out, this kit should never be used except for emergencies.  That way, when there is an emergency you don’t say, “Uh oh, I’ve already drank my kit’s juice supply”.

Anyway, Is there anything I’m missing?  Let me know, I want to be prepared next time!

You know, this being Diabetes Awareness Month… I know a lot of non-diabetic people who have had a least one near death experience.  They tell the story at dinner tables, parties, and reunions.  They write about it in their journals and memoirs.  It’s a big deal.

We diabetics probably can’t keep up with our near death experiences.  There may be too many!  I mean, I can tell you at least 10 different times I came close to the worst case scenario but, it’s not even a big deal to me anymore.  Ok, it is, but, I’m kind of jaded.  Like, when I get scared after an incident like this and I think, Man! I could have died…I turn around and realize I’m not the least bit frightened or anxious about it the very next day. 

It’s like my way of life, my “normal”.  You know how some people who grow up in violent places are numb to violence?  Sometimes I feel numb to fear about my diabetes.  Maybe that’s just me.  Maybe I’ve just accepted everything I know which could go wrong.  Maybe I’ve got bucket loads of faith that I’ll be alright.  Maybe I’ve simply gone too long without a super frightening experience.  It’s true that I haven’t ever gone unconscious or had a glucagon shot or been in the hospital with ketoacidosis.

Here’s something I found just plain sad last night.  My husband looked at me when I was 42 and not able to drink more juice and said, “Do you want to make a trip to the hospital?”

Without thinking twice I looked up at him like a child that could never tell a lie and said, “No, they’ll kill me!”

So we’ve got some fear and trust issues eh?

All in a day’s life with diabetes. 

Just another one of the million reasons we need a cure.  No one should accept the faintest possibility of death with so much calm.

What a type 1 diabetic’s handbag should always contain

 

     A woman’s handbag is precious to her. Inside she may have headache relief medicine, a cell phone, tampons, make-up, a mirror, her money and checkbook, and possibly a note pad and paper. A diabetic woman’s bag should contain a few additional items:

1. If you don’t wear some sort of diabetic alert bracelet or necklace, you should have a medic alert card or some kind of ID in your purse containing information about your diabetes including the fact you are insulin-dependent.

2. A tube of glucose gel. This can be purchased at your local pharmacy. I get one called “Insta-Glucose”  Someone uses this in the case you go unconscious from low blood sugar because it slides down the throat.

3. A Glucagon injection kit. This is also used in the case you are unconscious from low glucose but, it is an injection. Loved ones with whom you spend a lot of time should review the instructions of how to use this. Make sure yours has not expired. This is only provided by prescription from a doctor.

4. Plenty of glucose tablets. I recommend these over juice or candy because it is easy to drink too much juice or eat too much unmeasured sugar in candy. Either way you choose to do it, keep enough sugar for back up. This is to avoid the case where you use one sugar stash in an emergency and are then left with none. What if your sugar drops again? I always keep a back up sugar supply just in case. Occasionally, my blood sugar drops so low I need double the amount of sugar, as well.

5. Glucose meter with enough strips in case you were to get stranded somewhere. Don’t leave the house with less than 10 strips!

6. Insulin and more than one syringe if you do injections.

7. If on a long trip or far from home, make sure you have a lot of extra supplies handy. You never know what could happen. The hassle today could save you from a big one tomorrow!