Diabetes by the Numbers (continued)
Ok, so the whole subject of cholesterol is a lot more complicated than they make it look on TV (Look, honey! I lowered my cholesterol by eating Lipid-O's every morning for twenty years!). There are many different types of cholesterol, and the relationship between the various kinds affects how dangerous the levels are to you. On top of that, the target levels are different for men and for women. All of that said, there are only four numbers you really need to keep track of: your total cholesterol, your "good" cholesterol, your "bad" cholesterol, and your triglycerides (a.k.a. "trigs").
So just what the Sam Heck is cholesterol in the first place? It's a waxy fat that's used by the body to build cells and manufacture lots of hormones. Your body makes a lot of it in the liver, as well as gets some from the foods we eat. So you gotta have cholesterol. But too much of a good thing is a bad thing in this case. Extra cholesterol builds up inside your blood vessels like nasty, sticky grease in the kitchen sink pipes downstream from all those dirty dishes.
To learn about the different types of cholesterol and the green light, yellow light, and red light scores for your cholesterol levels, click here.
One other important diabetes number is lurking in your house where you see it every day. Half of you out there fret about this number daily, and the other half of you put it out of your minds entirely. Yep. We're talking about the bathroom scale.
Sorry. Weight does matter. The more you weigh, the greater your insulin resistance, and the more effort and medication is required to control your blood sugar. Also, if you weigh a lot more than is healthy, your heart has to work harder. And it will be harder to move around or get the kind of daily exercise that keeps diabetic bodies happy. Lastly, if you are very heavy, you'll wear out your skeleton. Knee and ankle joints will give you trouble. Give out. Need to be replaced.
But how do we know what a healthy weight is? Your medical team will use the Body Mass Index, or BMI, to determine in broad strokes if you are underweight, just right or... umm... overweight.
To learn the green light, yellow light, and red light scores for your Body Mass Index, click here.
The ones have it
The last number you need to remember is simple: it's one. Or, more formally known as 1.
Yep. What could be easier than remembering one?
There are things you must do every year. Get an eye exam. Get a foot exam. Pee in a cup. And, darn it, go see the dentist. And we'd really rather you did that last one twice per year. Sorry.
To learn more about the "ones" and the green light, yellow light, and red light scores for your "ones," click here.
Wil Dubois is the author of four multi-award-winning books about diabetes. He is a PWD type 1, and is the diabetes coordinator for a rural non-profit clinic. Visit his blog, LifeAfterDX.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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I had a work dinner last night with some leadership from my office. I always find diabetes etiquette at these things to be kind of tricky. It was a four course meal, with salad, soup, entree' and dessert and coffee. There was also a selection of gluten free and non-gluten free dinner rolls. I felt way too full of questions for waitress... "Could I get my dressing on the side? How much sugar is in it?" A course later...