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    Friday, March 20, 2009

    24 for 24 Campaign

    It unimaginable that there are now 24 million people in the United States living with Diabetes.

    "Who do you know that has it?", or should I say "How many people do you know that have it?"

    Please join me in the fight to support diabetics worldwide in the 24 for 24 campaign to raise 24 million dollars to support the NGO's worldwide that are providing life saving research, support, and programs to enable diabetics to live a healthier, happier life.

    Without Insulin, how many of you would not be alive today?

    It is estimated that there are at least 5.7 million diabetics in the United States that have not yet been diagnosed - how can this be with all of the publicity about this epidemic?

    By supporting the 24 for 24 campaign you can donate to the Diabetics Association in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom or the United States.

    Help Find A Cure In Our LifeTime

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Diabetes and Alcohol

    From the Canadian Diabetics Association:

    People using insulin or insulin secretagogues should be aware of delayed hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) that can occur up to 24 hours after drinking alcohol.
    People with type 1 diabetes should be aware of the risk of morning hypoglycemia if alcohol is consumed 2 to 3 hours after the previous evening’s meal.
    Alcohol should be limited to 1-2 drinks per day (less than 14 standard drinks/week for men and less than 9 standard drinks/week for women).
    People with diabetes should discuss alcohol use with their diabetes healthcare team.

    Risks for people with diabetes

    Alcohol can:

    • affect judgement
    • provide extra calories that can make weight loss or weight management a challenge
    • increase blood pressure
    • contribute to sexual difficulties
    • damage the brain and nerves
    • increase your triglycerides
    • contribute to inflammation of the pancreas
    • dehydrate the body which is very dangerous in someone with high blood glucose
    • increase the risk of various cancers over time
    • increase the risk of personality change such as depression or aggression
    • worsen eye disease
    • damage your liver over time

    BEFORE Drinking Alcohol

    • Eat regular meals, take your medication(s), and check your blood glucose levels frequently(keep your blood glucose meter with you).
    • Always have a treatment for low blood glucose with you (such as 3 glucose tablets or ¾ cup regular pop or 6 Life Savers®).
    • Wherever you are, make sure someone with
    • you knows your signs and symptoms of low blood glucose and how to treat it so they can help you.
    • Be aware that glucagon, a treatment for low blood glucose, will not work while alcohol is in the body. Because of this, make sure that someone knows to call an ambulance if you pass out.
    • Wear diabetes identification such as a MedicAlert® bracelet.
    WHILE Drinking Alcohol

    • Eat carbohydrate-rich foods when drinking alcohol. Some ideas are bread, cereal or crackers, or if you are out at a pub or restaurant, fries - or yam fries (a healthier alternative) or a sandwich or burger (bun = carbs). Make sure you dont eat too much though - you dont want to be too high.
    • Eat extra carbohydrate-rich foods if you are dancing, playing sports or doing other physical activity.
    • Always pour your own drinks. Use less alcohol and stretch your drinks with sugar-free mixes.
    • Drink slowly. Make your second drink without alcohol.
    AFTER Drinking Alcohol

    • Tell a responsible person that you have been drinking. They should look for low blood glucose symptoms. (eg. )
    • Check your blood glucose before going to bed. Eat a carbohydrate snack if your blood glucose is lower than usual.

    Set an alarm or have a responsible person wake you up through the night and early morning –
    a delayed low blood glucose can occur anytime up to 24 hours after drinking alcohol.
    You need to get up on time the next day for any food, medication or insulin you normally take. Missed medication or insulin can lead to high blood glucose, ketones and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

    For a list of drinks and their calorie and carbohydrate content click here

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Diabetes and Water Consumption

    I am the absolute worst for drinking enough water in a day.. in fact.. I live on Coffee and Diet Pepsi... I vow to change this after learning about why it is so important that I drink lots of water, even more important than for a non-diabetic.

    Whether you are a type 1 or a type 2 diabetic, water helps you to convert sugar in the blood into urine so you can get rid of it. If you are dehydrated, it is harder on your kidneys, and other organs and can eventually cause more problems.

    Nevermind that it is great for your skin, breath, hair, nails and other inner workings. Every single organ system in our bodies requires water to function properly. Water flushes out toxins and carries nutrients to our cells and tissues. Water keeps our mucous membranes moist. And, of course, water keeps us hydrated.

    Have a glass... right now!

    FYI - it is recommended that women have at least 11 8oz glasses of water a day, and men 15. I know I know.. more than the 8 glasses that used to be the norm!

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Diabetes Educator Section (DES) Contest for New Logo

    We are having a contest to redesign the current DES logo! Help us create a new “look” for Canadian Diabetes Educators.

    Get your creative juices flowing!

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    Difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

    Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the pancreas is not producing insulin correctly or the body has ceased to react to the insulin properly. It can have damaging affects on the heart, kidneys, nerves, and vision. It is a condition that has risen from one million sufferers in 1958 to over eleven million in the year 2000.

    Type 1 Diabetes
    In type 1 diabetes, also called IDDM or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, the pancreas has stopped functioning right and is either not producing enough insulin for the body’s needs or isn’t producing insulin at all. This results in a high blood sugar reading as the body isn’t able to process the sugar.

    This is usually seen in people who are 30 years old or younger and is considered juvenile diabetes. The course of treatment for type 1 diabetes is insulin injections to put enough insulin into the body to regulate the sugars in the body.

    Type 2 Diabetes
    In type 2 diabetes, also called NIDDM or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, the pancreas is still producing insulin but the body isn’t able to respond to it correctly, and this results in a blood sugar reading that is too high.

    This is usually seen in people who are 40 years old or older and considered adult onset diabetes. The course of treatment for type 2 diabetes can be diet, exercise, some oral medications, or if need be, insulin injections. All of these can help regulate the blood sugar levels.

    How a cold affects blood sugar levels

    Since Friday afternoon I have had a head cold that has left me exhausted with a stuffed up head, a sore throat and absolutely no appetite. I have been testing very frequently as my sugar levels have been quite high even though I am not eating much. I have not been taking any over the counter medication for the cold symptoms as they tend to increase my blood sugar levels even more than the cold itself.

    Does anyone have any suggestions to ease the symptoms of the cold without the medication that caused a spike in sugar levels?

    I have been testing, drinking lots of water, and have had to adjust my insulin injections a bit to keep my levels in an ok range.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009

    Support a World Diabetes Day on November 14th

    There are more than a 1/4 billion people with diabetes in the world. Tens of millions are undiagnosed. Over a hundred million more will be diagnosed in their lifetimes.

    We kindly request that Google light their home page doodle in blue to raise awareness for World Diabetes Day this coming November 14.

    Please add your name to this petition and tell as many people as you can about it.

    Diabetic Weight Loss Tips

    I have always struggled with weight loss as a Juvenile Diabetic. I was extremely athletic as a child and teen, I monitored my blood sugar levels, I didn`t eat sweets, yet I always carried extra weight around. As a young adult I had gained a fair bit of weight over time - and I woke up one day sitting at about 220 lbs. I am only about 5`6 so this was a bit much to say the least. During the past year two years I have had my ups and downs, trying to diet and eat healthy while maintain good control over my sugar levels. I tried the Atkins diet which left me exausted and battling low blood sugar all the time, I tried eating lots of vegetables and whole grains, and then I finally tried the South Beach Diet. I switched my insulin from Humulin and Regular, to Lantus and Novorapid (made a huge difference with regard to control) and started the first two weeks of strict South Beach recipes and advice. Was it hard - yes. Did it get easier - absolutely.

    The first two weeks was very strict. No carbs other than what you can get from some of the vegetables that they have listed as ok food choices, no breads, no pasta, lots of lean protein, eggs, veggies, low fat cheese, fat free milk - etc.

    I dropped about 7 lbs in the first two weeks - a lot of which was water weight but still very encouraging.

    After the first two weeks of phase one, you move into the second phase which is when you start introducing more food options back into your diet. Healthy options that still allow you to lose weight but teach you what to eat, what portions to eat, and how this affects your weight loss.

    I have lost a total of 50 lbs so far - in fact, I weigh less now than I did in high school! I have managed to cut back my insulin by a significant number of units per day, I feel better, I have more energy, I suffer less high or low blood sugar episodes, and I am finally fitting into the clothes that I want to wear - It is amazing.

    Whether you are a type one or type two diabetic, or not even diabetic but interested in losing a few pounds - I have had a lot of success and only a little bit of pain. Go and buy the book - it will cost you less than 10 bucks and I guarantee that it will be the best 10 bucks you will spend.

    I had a lot of questions about converting from phase one to phase two in a way that will still allow me to lose weight - my suggestion to you is to simply add one food at a time in one week intervals at around the same time of day. That way you can see if you are still losing, increased losing, or decreased losing and make changes that are suitable for you. Eveyone is different so it is a bit of trial and error.

    Let me know if you have any questions - I`d be happy to help.

    Monday, March 2, 2009


    dLifeTV is the first of its kind—a weekly television series dedicated to empowering the millions of Americans living with diabetes. The entertaining half-hour show features real people, real stories, celebrities, timely advice, and diabetes-friendly cooking. You'll come away more informed, more inspired, and more connected to your diabetes.

    Diabetic Coma Symptoms

    A diabetic coma is when the blood sugar levels drop too low and a diabetic person becomes unconscious.

    The lowest blood sugar reading I had before becoming unconscious was 1.8. I was shocked that I was still with it. In the 22 years that I have been diabetic I have been found unconcious on three separate occasions.

    The first was when I was in about grade 8 or 9. I remember waking up to get ready for school and then I dont remember anything except for my mother and father being there when I woke up.

    The second and third time both occured in my adult years when my partner found me comatose in the morning.

    For me, my sugar levels need to be a little higher before I can go to bed safely or drops in the night can leave me in a terrible condition.

    My most recent occurance was about a year and a half ago. I remember I had met some friends at the beach, I had three alchoholic drinks, and I went home with a bit of a buzz and barbequed some dinner. I went to bed and I didn't wake up. As I am told, my partner asked me if I could get a glass of water at some point and I mumbled that I would. I never did. After I didn't get up it became apparent that I was not very responsive. My partner tried repeatedly to wake me and it became VERY apparent that I needed medical attention when my eyes roled back in my head and the layer of cold clammy sweat that covered my lifeless body was noticed. After a call to 911 my partner tried a number of different things to wake me up with no success.

    It was the most bizzare feeling I have ever experienced, and not a very pleasant one at that.

    I remember hearing a beep for a long time - I was very groggy but I could hear a constant beep. Eventually I could hear talking, but it was a voice that I did not recognize. I realized that I could not move my body even a fraction of an inch and that made me scared. I remember that very clearly. My entire body was unresponsive to anything I tried to do. Wiggle a finger, a toe, turn my head. Nothing. I couldn't even open my eyes.

    I dont know how long I lay there in a semi conscious state but it felt like an eternity.

    Slowly I realized what the beeping was, and I began to feel a tingle in my arms and lets and eventually, I could feel my body and was able to role over onto my back. The paramedics continued to test my blood, and give me glucose intravenously.

    My option was to go to the hospital or stay at home with care, once I came back to life. Literally, that is what if feels like. You are back to life. Mind you, there is a headache like you have never experienced, a feeling of weakness that requires rest, sleep and quiet, and of course the uncomfortable feeling of your blood sugar levels returning to their proper levels.

    As I was waking up, I thought I was in a bedroom of an apartment that I had lived at the year before. I was afraid of the paramedics, and I was very emotional.

    I also had a tremendous feeling of guilt surrounding what I had put my partner through. The image of me unconcious and unresponsive to verbal stimulation, physical stimulation, and having to hear about it after the fact with no recognition.

    I have made some changes that have allowed me to avoid this from happening again - here they are:

    1. Test blood glucose levels before bed
    2. If necessary, have a snack before bed which includes some sort of protein. Protein carries your food longer and allows you to maintain a more constant release instead of a peak or drop.
    3. Advise your partner what to do in case of an emergency
    4. Advise your partner what the symptoms of an emergency are
    5. Always have glucose packets on hand which can be squeezed under the tongue. This can aid in your own recovery.
    6. Ensure that you are doing the proper amount of insulin in the evenings, at about the same time. Your body needs consistency.
    7. Test blood glucose levels in the morning as well. If you are taking Lantus Insulin, they should be about the same as they were when you went to bed.
    8. Teach those around you how to test your blood sugar and educate them as to what it should be at, and what to do if is not.
    9. Always carry something "just in case", or know that there is something that is at a close proximity. Eg) Don't go out on a boat without being prepared.
    10. Talk about it. If people do not know, they cannot help.

    I consider myself very lucky to have escaped those episodes with no lasting health issues, and I can only thank my partner for being quick on the ball, and aware of what the problem was.

    Diabetic Cellulitis Treatment

    About two weeks ago I was at working and I felt a dull pain in the heel of my right foot. I thought I had simply irritated my foot however as the day progressed, it became more and more painful. I went to a walk in medical clinic and the doctor noticed that there was a little bit of swelling in the inside of my right heel, and it was noticeably red in color. He wrote me out some instructions to get an X Ray as well as a blood test to see if there was an infection which I was going to do the next day. He also gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammitory called Naproxen.

    The naproxen was a little hard on the stomach and required foot or a glass of milk be taken with it, and I found that it caused some drowsiness.

    I woke up in the middle of the night with a throb and pain like I had never felt before. Fearing the worst because the pain had come on so rapidly and gotten very bad very quickly, I decided to get up and see what was going on.

    I could not put pressure on my heel, and it had swelled up to almost twice the size it normally was.

    I went to the Vancouver General Hospital at about 5:00am and saw a doctor right away. He put me on an antibiotic called cephalexin and diagnosed the problem right away.

    Cellulitus, which is an infection of connective tissue with severe inflammation of dermal and subcutaneous layers of the skin.

    As a diabetic, I am aware of any sores on my feet, or cuts that are not healing. There was nothing out of the norm on either foot that I was concerned about. My family has been blessed with dry cracking heels throughout the year and I had a few very small cracks on my heel which is more than likely what caused it he had said. A bacteria could have gotten in there and made its way to the connective tissue in my foot.

    Treatment Included:

    Soaking my foot in Epson Salts
    Rest (stay off the foot)
    Elevation over the heart
    Antibiotic Drugs
    Anti Inflammatory Drugs

    Within a day and a half the swelling had mostly subsided, the pain was going away, and the redness had turned into itchiness which is a sign that it was healing.

    After a week I had finished the Antibiotics and everything seems to have gone back to normal.

    As a diabetic, it is important to be aware of any pain, sores, or cuts on your feet. Lack of circulation can cause infection quite easily but with a little care, can be avoided.

    Sunday, March 1, 2009

    Insulin Types

    Insulin was discovered in 1921 by Dr. Fredrick Grant Banting. It has been saving diabetic lives ever since. Here is a link to more information about the Discovery Of Insulin.

    When I was first diagnosed the insulin that I was offered was NPH and Regular (Humulin R). The NPH I used in the morning and at night. the Regular was used before breakfast and before dinner. I dont remember how many units I was using however I know that it increased as I got older and started going through puberty.

    The NPH is a long acting insulin that begins working about 2 hours after it is taken and lasts between 18 and 24 hours. It peaks between 4-12 hours after it has been injected.

    The Regular was a short acting insulin that started working within 20-60 minutes, and lasted for about 5-8 hours. It peaks between 2-4 hours after the injection.

    The chart below demonstrates the different peak times and how long each will last in comparison with eachother so you can see a little better how it is important to take the Humulin R - Regular Insulin to break down the sugar after eating:

    I have tried Humalog however not for long enough to offer much feedback on it. I think it was sort of between a Regular Insulin and something like NovoRapid, which I am currently on.

    Novorapid mimics the bodies reaction to sugar and works really quickly. Unlike Humulin Regular insulin, you take it as you eat Carbohydrates or Sugar. I have been following the SouthBeach Diet limiting my carbohydrates and have found that this insulin works very well for me. If I eat a salad with a chicken breast, refraining from sugar or carbohydrates - I dont need to do a shot. If I eat carbs or sugar - I do a shot. I do a certain number of units based on the number of carbohydrates I injest, minus the fiber in the food.

    Lantus is now my long acting insulin which has replaced NPH. Lantus offers me a lot of freedom, and only requires one shot every 24 hours. This is great for me as it allows me to be more flexible with breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as sleeping in and staying out late.

    For more information on these insulin types as well as others - here is an interesting article.

    Signs of Diabetes

    There are some common signs of high or low blood sugar levels - here are some of the most common ones, some of which I have experienced, others I have not. There are more I am sure however these are the most common. Please do include any other symptoms that you have experienced, or have witnessed - some of them can be hard to see if you are not looking however if we can create more awareness, maybe more people will know what they are dealing with.

    Signs of Diabetes:

    High Blood Sugar Levels:

    Weight Loss
    Frequent Urination
    Extreme Thirst
    Dry Mouth
    Metallic Taste in Mouth

    Low Blood Sugar:

    Blurred Vision
    Feelings of Anger or Aggression
    Slurred Speech
    Appear Intoxicated
    Feel cold or a deep chill

    It is extremely dangerous to consistently to have too high or too low blood sugar. It is important to maintain sugar levels as consistently as possible. Not only insulin and testing is important, but diet can make or break you. If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms a simple blood test or urine test at your doctors office or local clinic can save your life, or your child's life.

    September 1986 - Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis

    I am seven years old and I am on the way to go to EXPO in Vancouver. It is 1986 and I am in the car with my mom, dad and little brother. My mom tells me that we are taking a quick stop at the doctors office because she wants me to get a check up. I argue. I am excited to be going to EXPO. I dont remember much about the doctors office but I do remember that all of a sudden we were not going to EXPO anymore. I remember sitting in a bed at the Royal Columbian Hospital wearing one of those hospital gowns and my mom is crying. I dont understand why but I do know that we are not going to EXPO anymore.

    It turns out that over the past couple of weeks my mom has noticed a few things that were a little unusual. I was lethargic, I was drinking glass after glass of water, I didnt play, I looked pale and I was losing weight.

    After a quick blood test and urine test it was confirmed. I was a type 1 diabetic child.

    This didnt mean much to me, I was told that I had to spend two weeks in the hospital and I didn't mind that too much. There was a young girl in the bed next to mine who had a broken leg, and we became friends quickly. I was not happy about the pokes in my finger for blood testing. In 1986 the blood testing took two minutes and required a lot more blood than the five second tiny drip blood tests require now. I was not happy about the needles and I'm sure I argued sometimes, but for the most part - I felt better and I had fun. The nurses loved me - they nicknamed me Muffin Crumbs because my bed time snack (a muffin every night) always resulted in a trail of crumbs throughout my bed that they would sweep out with the same hands that poked and prodded me before they let me go to sleep.

    My parents were amazing. During the time I was in the hospital my mother must have read every book published on Diabetes, and attended every possible group or meeting to learn everything she could. I was taken care of extremely well. She taught me everything I know and I learned by example. She tested my blood for me, gave me my needles, measured my food, and slowly I learned how to do this by myself. I started gaining a bit of independence however I was still afraid (or stubborn) and refused to do my own needles, or even learn how. Eventually I decided that I was going to do it when my parents had to come to a sleepover I was attending and do my bedtime insulin. Ever since I have been doing my own needles, monitoring my own blood sugar levels, and following my own diet.

    The most important part of my childhood with diabetes was the constant support from my family, the good example I was able to follow, and the understanding that was offered when I was having a bad day. I can honestly say that without that, I never would have been able to learn as much as I was able to, and know the consequences of my decisions. The advice I can offer any parent who has a child with diabetes is lead by example. Show your child how to take care of themselves, and be consistent with the food choices that you provide, the consistency of monitoring sugar levels and insulin injections, and create a regular routine for the entire family to make it just that little bit easier for a child with diabetes to learn what they need to in order to survive as a teen and an adult.

    Diabetics Dialogue