Tag Archives: insulin dependent diabetes

Things to Remember If You Take Insulin

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I have been on shot therapy since 2007.  Before that I used a pump but we didn’t get along because I was out of control with my diabetes at the time.  I do well with shots so I stick with them for now.  These tips apply with taking insulin by shots or a pump.

There are a few things I have to constantly remind myself of when taking insulin.  Things that make everything go more smoothly.

So I’m going to share 5 Things to Remember if You Take Insulin:

1.  Read the pamphlet of information about your fast acting insulin or ask your doctor to find out how many minutes it takes your fast acting to start working.

Mine takes about 15 minutes.  So test well before eating a meal and then give your insulin some time to start working.  If my sugar is 100 before a meal, I give it about 10 minutes to start working, less if my meal has a lot of fat or slow moving carbs like legumes.  If my sugar is 150, I wait about 25 minutes before eating.  This isn’t a hard rule, and I don’t recommend you do exactly what I do.  I recommend that you figure out how long it takes your insulin to start working and then give it some time before digging into your meal.  Ideally, when the carbs in our meal start raising our blood sugar, our insulin will be there to cancel it out.  If you don’t do this, chances are you will start causing your sugar to climb and then the insulin will have a late start and have a harder time pushing down your higher blood sugar.  End result?  Post meal blood sugar levels that leave you assuming your insulin dosage for your meal wasn’t accurate.  But, maybe it was accurate.  Maybe you just didn’t time things right.

2.  Every time you give insulin a certain amount isn’t going to be properly absorbed by the body.  And that certain amount is random and unpredictable.  This means that if you want more consistency with blood sugars, being careful with carbohydrates, particularly those in starchy processed foods is your best bet.  I’m not saying eat low carb, just saying that it’s impossible to always give the perfect amount of insulin.  Knowing this helps me plan meals and check any extra guilt and frustration at the door.

3.  If you take a long acting insulin, find out how many hours it lasts.  You may be surprised to find that a 24 hour insulin isn’t exactly 24 hours but a little less than that.  Knowing this, you can predict when your blood sugars may begin to rise and counter that with a little exercise or fast acting insulin.

4.  Find out how long your insulin lasts once opened and then get rid of it when that time comes.  Otherwise you shouldn’t be surprised when blood sugars seem inexplicably off.  I sometimes use my insulin a little longer than I should to save money.  And I pay the price.  But I do so knowingly and I share this so that no one pays the price out of just not being aware.  So arm yourself with knowledge and then try to make a wiser choice than me. Winking smile

5.  Last but not least, when it seems your insulin just isn’t working, don’t go more than a week without trying to figure out what’s going on.  Try changing the bottle.  Check and see if you have any infections or chronic pain happening.  Make sure you’re not allergic to your insulin and report any strange aftermath on your body where you gave insulin.  If you’ve ruled that out, check your body for any dark brown markings that often indicate insulin resistance.  Ask your doctor about them if you have them.

Me?  I shun all processed foods and make sure I’m eating well and getting exercise.  Usually reducing my carbs a little and doing exercise at least 3 times a week helps greatly to get my insulin working well again.  Maybe I’m susceptible to this because I have a lot of type 2 diabetes in the family but either way, I try not to go long with insulin that doesn’t seem to be working well.  For me it’s usually insulin resistance and it’s a sign I need to tweak my lifestyle a bit.  I’ve even gone “raw” for a week or two to get back on track.  The longer you deal with high blood sugars, the worse you’ll feel and risk down spiraling somewhere hard to climb out of so get to the bottom of consistent and inexplicable highs ASAP so you can feel better sooner rather than later.  Too busy in your life to do this?  Just remember, diabetes comes first because it damages every cell in the body.  And before you let that get you down, just think, you and I have some measure of control over our diabetes right?  Let’s take advantage of that!

 

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.

Grey’s Anatomy, Say What?!

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On the popular TV show, Grey’s Anatomy this past week, there was a mention of diabetes.  One that left me a bit flabbergasted. 

Here is how the storyline went: There was a patient getting a surgery to have his tumor removed and during surgery they found a cyst in danger of rupturing on his pancreas.  The surgeon called forth the person who the patient had listed as his emergency contact person, who just happens to be a surgeon (interestingly enough this surgeon married the patient just so he could have life-saving insurance).  The doctor performing the surgery tells her, “We found a cyst on Henry’s pancreas that’s in danger of rupturing, removing it means removing a large portion of his pancreas, which would make Henry a diabetic.  We didn’t discuss that possibility with him.  Do you think that’s something he could live with?”

I slapped my hand to my forehead.  Shish kabobs! Is this for real?

Since the lady surgeon/wife/emergency contact/decision maker for Henry didn’t really know him, she replied with, “I don’t know”.  She gave the doctor performing the surgery to proceed as he saw fit and he removed the large portion of pancreas as needed to save the man’s life.  Phew.

Does this happen in real life?  Does anyone say, “No, you know what? I don’t think my dear [insert loved one’s name] could deal with being a diabetic.”  When the alternative as I understand it is possible or sure death…why is this question asked by a surgeon to someone who may not even know about diabetes?  I understand that they ask because in some cases people don’t have “a support system in place” to help them adjust to a new life as an insulin dependent diabetic, but, in most cases, people can take care of their insulin dependent diabetes all on their own no? 

I’m still shaking my head no…no…this can’t be. 

Ask me right now: “Do you think insulin dependent diabetes is something you can continue to live with?”

With my hand over my heart: “Oh my goodness, yes! Please!”

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