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Diabetic Journey 7
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I have not been as active as I used to in blogging but here I am again and this time, my whole life program is a-changing. There is good news and bad news for me. The good news is I lost 15 pounds through running and dieting. The bad news is, that was not enough because my lab readings were bad. A1C is 8, LDL 130, BP hyper. I told the MD that for the last three months I did my best to work on my diabetes through diet and exercise. Unfortunately my best isn't enough. That is the beauty of medical check ups. No matter how healthy you look, you can still be deceived. Here I am 5 pounds below my BMI and yet, I feel like a walking stroke candidate.
Now I have to take low doses of metformin, lisinopril and lipitor. These are standards for diabetic management. And the reason I say my whole life program is changing is because now I have to factor-in the effects of these medications to my current dieting and exercising. And believe me, there are adjustments to make.
The truth is, diabetes progression and its impact on the body is inevitable. Diet and exercise are controllers meant only to delay its worsening and prevent its complications but like it or not, especially in cases when it is hereditary and pathological, time dictates diabetes course and there maybe a few who can eradicate it from their systems (most likely they are diabetic due to bad habits but not due to heredity)but eventually it will attack via its complications.
But unlike other diseases, it can be managed. A diabetic is different from other patients: he becomes his own doctor, his own nurse, his own nutritionist, his own personal trainer because each individual has his own unique way of dealing with it. And that is the beauty and ugliness of this disease. It is manageable but it requires significant attention throughout the day. You check your blood, you watch your food, you keep active and sadly, you need to take your medications regularly. And if you are like me who loves running and active lifestyle, you need to manage also the side effects of medications in relation to your activities. Most of all, you avoid stress.
And some old rules do not apply anymore. Whereas before I could be careless with my running, I've ran in the past without sleep or food or even water, now that is a big no no. Nowadays I check my sugar before and after exercise. I check my BP before and after exercise and lately, I am very particular about eating something and hydrating a lot when I run.
This is a new challenge I am happy to face. It will encourage me to learn more about the disease, how to deal with it, experiment with it and most of all, share my experience with all I encounter. Diabetes is not the end of all that is fun and joyful and good quality in life. It is not something that should frozen you in living a full life. It just requires the person to become extra vigilant, more experimental, more disciplined and more in control of his body. I am now in my second week of medications and my body seems to adjust better with them compared to last week when I felt something 'different' when I ran after medications. My system has gotten adjusted, it seems. It's all about finding that fine line between what is safe and good and great to be diabetic and alive versus what is not.
My runs are usually in the ranges of 4-5 miles 4 x per week. I was careful initially but as of last time, I felt much more comfortable and within my target pace. I will talk more about this as I blog along.
Diabetic Journey 6
- Written by Alex Z, PT
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Update of My Goals
Ok. Just so I won’t lose track of everything, I need to update you my readers about my health. First on diet - I pretty much followed the standard rule when it comes to diabetes eating, which is the most evidence-based diet, (eat heavy breakfast and mildly heavy lunch, eat light for dinner before 7). Occasionally I fall into non-compliance but I immediately correct that and so far, I have reached my goal of losing 10 pounds to meet my BMI. Unfortunately I lost some additional 5 pounds and these weren’t intentional as I think they occurred through a disruptive event in my life.It has been a month since a family member got sick and I will perhaps talk more about this in my coming blogs. What is coming up will be my labs and since I have recently resumed (since December) a strict ‘healthy sport’ lifestyle, I am expecting good numbers. Not the best numbers but more realistic numbers. But I certainly need an MD check up since my last (about 2 years ago?). Yes, the schooling and changes in my work status (full time to per diem) were also disruptive to my health.
Then the exercise. There was a time I exercised regularly (alternate low and high intensity days but mostly low). But unfortunately, the disruption which I blogged about earlier, took over my life and for a month, my exercise routine became erratic. Last month, I only ran when time permitted and these runs were mainly for weight maintenance and sugar control. Running races were once again delegated to the back burner but I am still fighting for a way to resume them.
Now I have this absolute need to return back to routine. I guess my body is screaming to return to healthy lifestyle. For me to accomplish that, I need my regular sleep (by avoiding useless internet surfing or watching DVD movies or worrying. AND close my eyes in a darkened room earlier in the night). The most immediate goal right now is to complete my sleep every night. Then get back to regular running. Since the days are longer in pm this time of year in Florida, I am changing my exercise schedule from mornings to evenings. When de-stressing, these two things go hand in hand for me: To run I must have a good sleep, To sleep good, I need to run (exercise). This works regardless of time of day.
Then supplementation is necessary. I am getting my multivitamins, of course. So here is the rule for me:
Eat properly (heavy morning then taper at end of day- carbs less than 100 g) + Supplementation
Monitor, monitor glucose, BP, HR
See MD for labs follow ups regularly
These are pretty basic rules I follow. So far, my fasting Blood Glucose has dropped to 130s without meds. Obviously there are pitfalls. Nobody’s perfect but as I always say to my patients - so long as the boat floats and doesn’t sink, keep sailing.
I have greater motivation to control my health than many people because my work exposes me daily to the side effects of unhealthy living. Stroke is number 1. And 90 percent of my stroke patients have diabetes. Yesterday I talked with a patient who fainted while driving because of super high blood glucose. He was a young man told by his MD that he was pre-diabetic. So he didn’t think much about it and wham! He ended with 580 sugar reading and went into hyper glycemia crisis WHILE DRIVING. Sugar monitoring regardless of what your Medical or health caregiver tells you is important if you are diabetic. And don’t get complacent with the term pre diabetic. You are either diabetic or not and once you are diagnosed with it, you must change your lifestyle instantly. In fact, even if you are not diabetic, changing your lifestyle towards good health won’t hurt. I had a patient with no sugar problems but ballooned into more than 600 pounds and ended with congestive heart failure followed by respiratory failure and it took him months before he became strong enough to go to Rehab. The culprit? He had an office job that virtually rendered him immobile and he made sure he ate the biggest portion of meal he could take. Now he is full of remorse and surprisingly is very serious about his lifestyle. He is currently less than 500 pounds.
Yes, I do sound like an ‘health alarmist’ in this blog. Some readers might call me paranoid and hypochondriac and anti-obesity etcetera. But hear me out folks: This is my world everyday. Everyday I see nothing but health abnormalities in all the spectra of humanity. I guess you can click off my website if you don’t want to read the gloomy world I write about. I try to be positive as much as I can but there are times I will talk about the sadness of being sick. Because it is the truth. It is the painful reality we must all face one way or another.
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