Diabetes Self-Management Blog

So how’s the weather where YOU are? Where I am, it’s cold and snowy and icy. I had to reschedule my pulmonologist appointment because, while going down a ramp that acts more like a bobsled run is a bit scary but kind of fun, getting back up it is impossible.

That was to be this afternoon, but I get to stay home instead. It may be a good afternoon to make bread dough to freeze. (I make the loaves, then freeze them as soon as the loaves are formed. When it’s time to make bread, I let the loaves thaw and rise and then bake them for nice, fresh bread.)

Last week, I did make it to the ophthalmologist. It was pretty much good news all around. My vision had gotten worse, but a change in my prescription has taken care of that. The tiny little speck of background retinopathy in each eye hasn’t grown, which made the doctor happy. If he’s happy, I’m happy, especially since retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in Americans.

Oh, I do not like to go to the ophthalmologist. It takes too long. And I never can tell the difference between “is this one better…or this one?” It is, however, necessary in order to make sure my eyes remain healthy. Vision aside — everybody’s vision changes as we age — diabetes can lead to vision-related complications.

Wait. Let’s make that “poorly managed” diabetes can lead to…complications.

I’ve been yelling at the television lately because of a commercial that begins, “it is known that diabetes damages nerves.” Nope. It is known that poorly managed diabetes damages nerves. It is also known that well-managed diabetes reduces your likelihood of getting damaged nerves — or any other diabetes complications.

In the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), which took place in the 1990’s, it was shown that the group that was assigned to intensive care, as opposed to standard care, had a 76% reduction in the risk of developing retinopathy, a 44% reduction in the risk of developing nephropathy (kidney disease), and 60% reduction in the risk of developing nerve damage, otherwise known as neuropathy.

Not only can managing your diabetes well reduce your chances of getting complications, getting under control after complications have set in can help to reverse some of them. A friend of mine had very painful neuropathy in his feet, which improved after he got his glucose under better control.

In the blood glucose arena — I’m running low again. I was responding to a text yesterday morning right after I woke up, and kept hitting the wrong keys. When I finished the text (finally!) and checked my glucose, it was 39 mg/dl. No wonder I was shaking! By the way, I didn’t test this, but I’ve read that you can check to see if hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) has set in by holding a pencil between your thumb and index finger. If the pencil jiggles back and forth, you just might be low.

I will be so glad to get my continuous glucose monitor going again. You may recall that the battery in my transmitter died and I’ve been working on getting another transmitter. My endocrinologist’s nurse called me one day last week to let me know the doctor had finished the paperwork the evening before and sent it in. Any day now…

It will also be handy to add the cost of the transmitter to my medical bills for the year. With a weeklong hospital stay last summer, including two days in the intensive care unit, they’re quite hefty. We’re just going to pile on as much as we can. Which reminds me: I need to order up a 90-day supply of insulin.

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Diabetic Complications
You Can Fight Chronic Pain With Food (11/10/14)
Mediterranean Diet May Benefit Kidneys (11/06/14)
Statins May Reduce Risk of Nerve Damage, Other Diabetes Complications (09/18/14)
New Approach for Neuropathy Pain? (08/18/14)

 

 

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