Your Diabetes Science Experiment

dLifeExcerptLogoby Ginger Vieira

Copyright © 2011 by Living in Progress Publishing.

Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Living in Progress Publishing.

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NOTE: Excerpts are provided on for informational purposes only. The information contained within will not be updated by dLife and may be outdated. Please consult your doctor before acting on anything described here.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

The reason I felt compelled to write this book is that I've come to a place in my own understanding of my body and my diabetes where I no longer believe in "mysterious high blood sugars" and "unexpected low blood sugars."

There is a reason behind every number!

By realizing that there is a reason behind every single number I see on my meter, any high or low blood sugars no longer leads me to feeling angry, frustrated or discouraged. When I can explain those numbers clearly using true facts of how my body functions, and then actually adjust my insulin and nutrition to prevent those unwanted numbers from happening again, I have much greater control over how diabetes impacts my day and my life.

This is a book for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who want to find more control over their disease, and perhaps even feel empowered by it. Yes, I mean empowered by diabetes, because while we can't control every single blood sugar fluctuation, we can learn more about why those blood sugar fluctuations happen, and why our insulin needs change over time.

Many of us are continually playing a guessing game throughout the day. Guessing how this meal will raise your blood sugar, guessing how this exercise will drop your blood sugar, and guessing why sometimes exercise even makes your blood sugar high. Guessing why breakfast needs more insulin than lunch. Why a walk in the morning before breakfast needs fewer carbohydrates than a walk at night. You've been guessing and guessing, over and over, only to find your blood sugar swinging this way and that way.

Doctors teach us how to take our insulin based on carbohydrates at mealtime, boluses for high blood sugars, and to eat an extra 15 grams of carbohydrates before we exercise. But there is so much more to it than that. Even a non-diabetic person produces more insulin on highly stressful days, on the days before their menstrual periods, while they're working out with weights, in the morning around breakfast, and even during a day of rollercoaster rides at Disney Land because of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that can blunt the efficacy of insulin.

Even a non-diabetic produces more insulin with meals that contain more than 25 grams of protein, or more than 20 grams of fat. They produce less insulin during the hours after they exercise, during a day when they are in surgery, not consuming any food and lying in bed all day, and during a low-carbohydrate diet. They also definitely produce less insulin if they lose five pounds, and they produce more insulin if they gain five pounds.

Everything and anything can impact your blood sugar levels and your insulin needs. It is about so much more than just carbohydrates and the number on your meter. Your goal as a person with diabetes is to help your body balance your blood sugars the same way a non-diabetic's body would, so you'll want to get all of the facts straight first.

Last Modified Date: April 22, 2014

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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