Letter To A Diabetic

Or I Understand What You're Going Through

Tag: blood glucose

A Tattoo for BGL Testing? A New Twist on the Idea.

I found this article and thought it was worth sharing. You can see the original here.

A Rub-On Tattoo for Diabetics Could Mean the End of Finger Pricking 

by Sarah Zhang

Pricking your finger for a blood glucose test will never, ever be fun. Thankfully, scientists have been hard at work on a bloodless and needleless alternative: a rub-on temporary tattoo that, as weird as it sounds, gently sucks glucose through the surface of the skin.

The thin, flexible device created by nanoengineers at UCSD is based on the much bulkierGlucoWatch, a now-discontinued wristband that worked through the same glucose-sucking principal. But the electric current GlucoWatch used to attract glucose to the surface of the skin was too high, and wearers were not keen on the discomfort. This temporary tattoo gets around the problem by using a gentler but still effective current.

It then detects glucose through an enzyme that breaks glucose down into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. The amount of hydrogen peroxide is a proxy for blood glocal levels.

Now, if you follow the glucose tattoo space closely, you might know that a permanent glucose-sensing tattoo has been floated as an idea before. But this is a different type of device entirely. For one, it’s not an actual tattoo that involves needles driving glucose-sensing ink into the skin. And for two, it’s already been tested in humans. A proof-of-concept study published inAnalytical Chemistry found it accurate at measuring blood sugar levels in seven healthy volunteers.

Of course, there’s still plenty of work to be done to make it into a device people can use at home over the long term. But a bloodless blood sugar test will certainly be welcome.

A Normal Life…

I recently read an article in which a Diabetic recalled being told at the time he was diagnosed that he would be able to “live a normal life.”

A normal life…

I do normal things. I go to work five days each week. I take showers and crochet. I walk my dogs. I chat with my sister on Facebook. But other than diabetes management being something that I have to do every day, it is not normal. Normal isn’t always normal just because it becomes regular or comfortable or predictable. There is nothing “normal” about a diabetic life. It will never feel normal to go to bed each night knowing that your blood glucose could dump in your sleep, send you into a diabetic coma, and never let you wake again. There is nothing normal about having to bleed, inject, log, and measure every day. But we all do it. There is nothing normal about having to run home on a break to inject a new sensor for the week or having to set aside 10-15% of my income to cover the cost of diabetes copays.

So, let’s stop trying to lead normal lives. Let’s embrace the difference. Let’s allow everyone to see how incredibly amazing we all are just for being able to not die from this disease every day. We are Diabetics. We are not normal. We are unbelievably strong. We can complete complicated mathematical formulas in seconds just to eat a meal. We are all endocrinologists, dietitians, counselors, and diabetes experts. We know how to adjust dosages, how to recognize and treat hypo- and hyperglycemia, and how to pick ourselves up off our rear-ends and run back out into the world without anyone even noticing that we nearly just died because our blood sugar dropped 100 points in 20 minutes and we were dizzy and swaying and so close to passing out that we considered in those moments the frailty of our existence.

We are not normal. We are the epitome of amazing.

Love and light.

CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor)

After having too many low readings (30s – 50s) with no symptoms until feeling like I was going to pass out, I caved and got the Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitor. I wish I would have gotten this thing earlier. It’s an awesome device. It spits out a bgl reading every five minutes. It’s user friendly, easy to insert, very small, and gives information on trending. Alarms can be set for highs and lows and I have been told there is an android app that allows users to get info off the monitor from great distances (think kids at school and such) though I haven’t verified this. It is tubeless, and comes in pink, blue, and black. Seriously folks, any T1 who has trouble keeping their bg where they want it should have one of these. Check out the Dexcom page about the CGM.

I have been in bed sick this week and normally in this situation keeping my bg in range is a futile endeavor but I have mostly been able to keep it in the 100s because I have known exactly what it is and where it is going. The information you get on trending with this monitor is invaluable. So take a look, and if you already have a CGM, share your thoughts on which devices and features you prefer.

 

Endo-Anxiety (or A Rare Condition Involving Irrational Fear of Not Having Control of Your Diabetes).

Another endo visit awaits me on Thursday, during which I will no doubt be weighed and measured, quite literally. Sometimes the trips drive me crazy, sometimes they’re welcome, but they are always useful. And that’s the part we need to remember. You can learn a lot about controlling your diabetes during your endo visit. Remember, though, that you are your only real health advocate and it is up to you to go fishing for information. So next time that (perhaps dreaded) visit roles around, do yourself a favor or two.

~Get a copy of your most recent lab results. After all, that’s why you’re there, to go over results and check in. So get a hard copy and start a file so that you can keep your own records and follow along.

~Let your endo, (and medical assistants) know what you need help with. You’re literally standing in a great resource for information and help. Ask for it.

~Don’t blame yourself if your results aren’t where you want them to be. If you’re alive, and have a good to terrific quality of life, diabetes isn’t winning. Take comfort in that and keep on truckin’.

~But mostly, remember that at the end of the day, you’re head will be on your pillow. Nothing lasts forever, and most of what we worry about is in our imaginations. We worry about things that might happen or will happen or won’t ever happen at all. You’re here, on the right side of the earth for living, and we can’t forget that while we carry a disease around inside our bodies, days come and go, life moves along, and we are just as entitled to living it as anyone else is.

Love and light,

Melissa

Rocky, the Diabetic Pup

Thank you to those who visited and clicked in the American Dog contest a few weeks back. I thought some of you may be interested in seeing who Rocky is. He’s my diabetic-turned-hypoglycemic pup. And he’s the one of the best things I have ever had in my life. Of all the teachers I have had, I never expected that it would be a diabetic chihuahua mix that would help me come to terms with my own diabetes.

Gene Therapy for Diabetes in Dogs

I’ve had a nice break but I think it’s time I get back to sharing some info.

I heard about gene therapy for diabetic dogs and I went article searching. I found this. Diabetes in humans and canines is similar so there is hope that a similar therapy could be used in people with T1D as well. Of course, the dogs tested do not have naturally occurring diabetes. I’m personally not a fan of animal testing but in this particular case, I think that findings may be worth the research, especially given that at a four year check-in, the dogs were still free of diabetes.

 

Why Is My Blood Sugar High In The Morning When It Was Perfect When I Went To Bed?

The rebounding blood sugar following undetecte...

The rebounding blood sugar following undetected diabetic hypoglycemia can easily become chronic when the high morning blood sugar data is misjudged to be due to insufficient nighttime insulin delivery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw this question today and I’d like to give it  moment because it is an excellent and common question. The reason this happens is related to our bodies having a natural rhythm in which they release glucose into the system and at the same time, our bodies metabolize these sugars at different rates throughout the day.

Typically, someone on insulin therapy will need higher basal doses in the mornings. This happen for two reasons. One, in the early morning hours, our body starts to kick out glucose that we will need for things like waking up, moving around, conscious thought. Yes, thinking on purpose requires more fuel than daydreaming. The second reason is that our bodies generally metabolize those sugars at a slower rate in the morning.  Put the two together and your 107 mg/dL at bedtime can easily turn into 253 mg/dL at 8:00 am. Sucks, huh?

And, sometimes, you drop low in the night without knowing it and your body naturally “rebounds” to save itself. See photo at right. —>

So, what do you do about it?

Well, you can adjust your pump settings to a higher temp basal rate during those early morning hours.

You can change the time of day that you inject your basal insulin if you use multiple daily injection therapy (MDI).

I find that exercising in the evening hours helps to keep my numbers stable over night but this is not for everyone. It could very easily lead to a dangerous night-time low. Go back to photo at right.

Before you do any of these things, you MUST talk to your endo or diabetes educator. True, once you have goals, settings, and techniques set up, you can (and will have to) make adjustments on your own. If you are having trouble with unstable BGL readings, you aren’t there yet. Diabetes management is very serious and trying to go it alone can be deadly. No shame in admitting you need help. After all, we weren’t born with this disease and we certainly weren’t born knowing what to do with it. So, no worries, no shame. Work with your diabetes management team and stay alive. Survive and thrive!

Where Has The Summer Gone?

It’s been waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too long since I have posted and so here we go again. And to start again, I wanted to share a tea recipe that I just created that is perfect for the impending holiday season and, as tea, is not a carb issue (though it does have caffeine so be wary if that makes your BGL spike).

 

Recipe:

8 parts black tea of choice – I used English Breakfast
1 part dried orange peel
1 part dried whole cloves
2 parts crushed cinnamon
2 parts whole allspice

Put it in a container that will keep it dry and out of the sun (I used an empty tea tin) and shake to mix everything up. Tah-dah…you have a tasty tea blend with the most prominent flavor being cinnamon but everything blends together and comes through nicely.

 

 

ENJOY!

 

JENN McCOLLUM

Victorianist. Scholar. Professor.

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