Because diabetes is such a HUGE part of who I am and what I talk about I thought it would be helpful if I gave you some guidelines. This is just the tip of the iceberg and I know many of you will still have questions – which I encourage you to ask!
PWD – Person (or People, depending on context) With Diabetes. Much more PC than diabetic
Blood Sugar (BS) or Blood Glucose (BG)- this is what PWD measure when they prick their finger (there are also alternative testing sites but fingertip is the most common). This should be checked before every meal and two hours after every meal. It should also be checked when you just don’t feel right. There is no such thing as too much testing – just ask Wilford Brimley! A normal reading is between 80-120 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter).
Low Blood Sugar – A reading below 70 mg/dL is considered low. Lows are dangerous must faster than highs. Different people experience different symptoms but I usually get shaky, ravenously hungry and very sweaty (oh yeah, it’s as pleasant as it sounds.) Some people have been known to lose consciousness. The remedies? Carbs! 15g of carbs and checking your sugar every 10 minutes will help you get back up. You should also pair your carb with protein to ensure keeping your BG at a normal level instead of spiking and dropping again. There are also a number of glucose products on the market (glucose tabs, glucose drinks etc.) to be used in an emergency. Honestly, my go to foods when I’m low are peanut butter sandwiches, juice boxes or raisins. Lows feel like crap and my lowest ever was a 28.
High Sugar – technically anything over the 120 mg/dL is considered high. These can be dealt with by taking more insulin. If your sugar remains elevated for an extended period of time, that’s when the diabetic complications you hear about (neuropathy, amputation, blindness etc.) can set in. Different things can make your sugar high – it’s not just food that does it. Medications can do it (especially steroids), stress can do it, illness can do it. This gets frustrating because when you feel you’re doing everything right and those numbers are still high, it gets stressful. Stress raises your BG. Your BG goes up, you get stressed. See the cycle? Not fun. When my BG is high, I tend to pee a lot, drink a ton and have a general sense of not feeling well…
Medications – there are many different types of medications for diabetes. I am by no means an expert but I can tell you about the ones that I take. You should also know, I take them in pen form, which is very convenient!
Lantus – this is a long acting insulin. It basically mimics what your pancreas should be doing by keeping your sugar regulated over a 24 hour period. It is sometimes also referred to as a basal rate. Because I’m just coming off the pump, I’m taking a substantial amount of this for the time being. Due to this high dose, I break it up into a morning shot and an evening shot (injections 12 hours apart). I take 13 units in the morning and 19 units at night. This will continue to be adjusted as my sugars trend down
Novolog – This is a short acting/meal time insulin. It takes about 15 minutes to get into your system and start working. It peaks (works the hardest) at about 1.5-2 hours and last for a total of about 4. Sometimes I also refer to this “as taking a bolus.” I take this shot with every meal and sometimes in between if I’m running high or eat something I didn’t plan on. This is also the insulin I use to correct. If my sugar is high, I need to figure out how high above my target (I usually shoot for 110 mg/dL) my sugar is and how much insulin I need to correct it. Much like my ICR (See below), this changes throughout the day. For instance, right now I need 1 unit for every 25 points about 110 mg/dL I am from first thing in the morning until about 3pm. After that, I only need 1 unit for every 40 points I am above 110 mg/dL. These are referred to as Correction Factors
Carb counting – carbs are a diabetic’s enemy – and they’re EVERYWHERE! Again, all diabetics are different and I can only speak to my own experiences but the insulin I take is based on how many carbs I injest. I eat the most carbs at breakfast and the least at dinner. I have an Insulin to Carb Ratio (ICR) that guides me as I need different amounts of insulin during different parts of the day. Also, certain foods cause spikes. The three biggest culprits? Pizza, bagels and Chinese food – all yummy! I’ve also found that for me cereal and scalloped potatoes will make me spike – although not Fruit Loops. Wierd right?! It’s a trial and error kinda thing – and it’s A LOT of math.
CDE – Certified Diabetes Educator. I meet with her every 6 months or so to discuss progress, problems & general diabetes questions. She is amazing and I am thankful that she is never more than a phone call or e-mail away.
Endocrinologist – This is my “Diabetes Doctor” She orders bloodwork, checks for neuropathy and walks me through the more technical side of things. She came highly recommended and it is clear why. I sure am lucky to have this amazing team of doctors!
DOC – The Diabetes Online Community. That shouldn’t need much more of an explanation 🙂
I think that’s all for right now but I will continue to add to this page. If you’d like more information on exactly what diabetes is, try the links below: