Fresh Air Medicine

Fresh Air Medicine

Want to feel better and possibly improve your diabetes control, without trying very hard? Several studies indicate that spending one or more hours a day outside can have those benefits…

Clock on dinner plate -- When to Eat

When to Eat

When you eat can be as important as what you eat, according to recent studies. Get some tips on when to eat based on the research…

Nuts and Health

Nuts and Health

Studies have found that nuts have a wide variety of benefits for people with diabetes, including reduced heart disease and death…

Diabetes and Marriage

Diabetes and Marriage

When one member of a couple has diabetes, the other lives with it, too. Approaching diabetes as a team makes things better for both partners, so invite your partner to read this article with you…

Better Sex for Women With Diabetes

Better Sex for Women With Diabetes

Studies highlighted by the National Institutes of Health have found that 27 percent of women with Type 1 diabetes and up to 42 percent of women with Type 2 report some kind of sexual dysfunction…

Diabetes in the Workplace

Diabetes In the Workplace

Having diabetes can interfere with certain occupations, but there are ways to find and keep a job that’s right for you. Get experts tips on finding the right position, balancing work and life, asking for help, and more, from an employee rights attorney and a physician with Type 1 diabetes…

Ten Ways to Lower Blood Sugar

10 Ways to Lower Blood Sugar

Diabetes is a disease of high blood sugar. Keeping blood sugar levels in target range can help reduce the risk of diabetes complications and improve your quality of life. Here are ten ways to lower blood sugar…

Radical Diet Reverses Type 2 Diabetes, But For How Long?

Radical Diet Reverses Type 2 Diabetes, But For How Long?

A new study confirms that a radical low-calorie diet can reverse Type 2 diabetes. Most subjects reduced their HbA1c level below the diabetic range, without medication. But we don’t know how long these remissions will last. For most people, the answer may be probably not that long…

What Are Ketones in Urine?

What Are Ketones in Urine?

What are ketones? How do they get into your urine, and why should you care? Learn what these substances are, how they relate to diabetes, symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis, and what to do if you have ketones in your urine…

Herbs for Diabetes

Herbs for Diabetes

Herbs, better called plant medicines, can often help manage blood sugar levels. Learn more about herbs for diabetes from nurse David Spero…

Is Diabetes a Disability?

Is Diabetes a Disability?

Working a job with diabetes can be tough, sometimes impossible. If you run out of work options, you may qualify for disability pay. Here are some things to consider…

Sex & Diabetes

Sex and Diabetes

When my neighbor Leon was diagnosed with diabetes, he had one fear. “Sex is very important to me. Will I still be able to have sex with diabetes?”

Blood Sugar Emotions

Blood Sugar, Emotions

We like to think we’re in charge of our feelings, that we react appropriately to what the world brings us. But do we? Blood sugar changes may have more control over our feelings than we think…

Managing Gastroparesis

Managing Gastroparesis

Poorly controlled diabetes can damage your stomach. It can interfere with eating and with digestion. This complication is called “gastroparesis…”

Love and Diabetes

Love and Diabetes

You know the diabetes program. Food and exercise, medications, glucose checks, stress reduction. But have you thought about where love fits?

Water and Diabetes: Water Is Life

Water Is Life

The Indians at Standing Rock in North Dakota say “Water is life,” and “We are water.” Is that true for you? How much do you know about water and diabetes?

The Cost of Insulin

The Cost of Insulin

The price of insulin has more than tripled in ten years. Not everybody pays full price, but many find the cost of insulin complicates their life…

Snoring and Diabetes

Snoring and Diabetes

Snoring is hard on a marriage, and it’s definitely hard on diabetes. How can you snore less, sleep better, and improve insulin function in the process?

Promising Love in 2016

Promising Love in 2016

Life is stressful for many of us, and diabetes doesn’t make it easier. Feeling loved makes us happier, but most people are unaware of how loved they are…

Diabetes and Pregnancy

Diabetes and Pregnancy

If you have diabetes or prediabetes and you want a child, can you do it? What will you be getting yourself into? If you’re considering children, here are some things you should know…

Too Many Diabetes Drugs?

Too Many Diabetes Drugs?

Good news: Science has come up with dozens of drugs for diabetes. Bad news: Many people take too many drugs and suffer serious negative effects. What drugs are you on and how are they working for you?

Diabetes Pain Management With Or Without Drugs

Diabetes Pain Management With Or Without Drugs

Studies say 20% to 60% of people with diabetes have chronic pain. Neuropathy in the feet, back pain, joint pain, and headaches can make life pretty miserable. There are drugs for pain management, but in recent years good non-drug approaches have also been studied…

Ketones and Diabetes

Ketones and Diabetes

What do you know about ketones? These molecules come up often in diabetes discussions and sometimes cause serious problems. What are they and how do they matter to you?

Okra for Diabetes

Okra for Diabetes

Okra is a vegetable used in cooking in warm climates. Recently, some websites have posted that it is a “diabetes cure.” What is the science on okra? How can it help you?

Bitter Melon Diabetes News

Bitter Melon Diabetes News

The case for bitter melon in diabetes keeps looking better and better. New information and new products have come out, though there are still no large studies on humans…

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes and Your Nerves (Part 1)

Diabetes can harm your nerves. That damage, called neuropathy, may be painful. It can cause numbness, poor digestion, fainting, sexual dysfunction, and other symptoms. What can we do about it?

Loving food

Loving Food Again

Diabetes has spiritual symptoms as well as physical ones. One is making an enemy of food. If you see food as a danger instead of a blessing, you have suffered a loss. How can we learn to love what gives us life?

Diabetes and exercise

Take the First Step

Good news! You don’t have to do much to get most of the benefits of exercise. You just have to do SOMETHING! As little as 20 minutes a day is OK…

Stretching and diabetes

Stretching for Diabetes

For most people, exercise means aerobics like walking or running, or strength training. But another form of exercise — stretching — can have equally important benefits…

Vinegar for diabetes

Vinegar for Diabetes? Yes!

Vinegar is a two-cents-per-dose medication. It reliably lowers after-meal and fasting blood sugar in many people. Yet few people with diabetes take it, maybe because we don’t know enough about it. So here’s a quick overview…

Improvising with diabetes

Improvising With Diabetes

They say that diabetes management means living a routine. Food, exercise, medicine — same times, measured quantities, day after day. But life rarely stays routine. Sometimes we need to improvise…

Basal insulin

How Do You Use Basal Insulin?

When the first long-lasting basal insulin analogs came out, they were supposed to last 24 hours. You injected once a day. That schedule clearly doesn’t work for everyone. Why is that, and what works for you?

Love Hormone Treats Diabetes

Is love a diabetes treatment? Studies are finding that oxytocin, the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone,” improves health in diabetes. More love equals lower glucose levels…

Preventing Diabetes Accidents

Nobody expects accidents. That’s what makes them accidents. But the element of surprise is misleading. The actual events seem like bad luck, but our environment, our health, and our behavior set them up. Most accidents can be prevented by safe behaviors and being aware of our environments…

Sleep for Diabetes

According to recent research, sleep is as important for health as diet and exercise. Lack of sleep raises blood sugars and insulin resistance. With enough sleep, our bodies can heal and repair. Without sleep, they get sicker…

What Is Depression?

Lately the things I used to enjoy, even loved, have come to seem boring or not worth the effort. Watching the animals and birds, listening to people, playing games, writing about diabetes — even sex seems like too much work. Am I depressed?

Self-Manage Your Blood Pressure

With diabetes, controlling blood pressure is as important as controlling blood sugar. You can self-manage blood pressure, but most doctors don’t tell you how. Here are some clues…

Money Is Strong Diabetes Medicine

The less money you have, the more likely you are to have diabetes and other conditions. Studies find that giving people money improves their health. Why is that, and what can we do with that information?

Why Bother About Sex?

Diabetes brings many demands. Maya, a recently diagnosed woman, told me “I don’t have time or energy to think about sex right now.” But there are many reasons to have a good sex life with diabetes, and many ways to do it…

Doing Your Own Research

Doctors used to be the only source of medical information. Not anymore. You can get much of the same information they have on the Internet. Problem is, not all of the information you’ll come across online is good. Here are some ways to empower yourself with good Internet research…

Bang for Your Self-Management Buck

You can’t learn all the steps required to manage diabetes at once. Whether you’re experienced or a newbie, what do you focus on now and what do you get to later? One way to decide is to ask, “What activity will give me the most bang for the buck?”

New SGLT Drugs Coming

SGLT1 and 2 are proteins that move glucose out of the intestines and kidneys. Blocking them might keep glucose in the intestines and cause more glucose to be urinated out via the kidneys, lowering blood sugar levels. That’s what “SGLT inhibitor” drugs try to do…

Insulin for Type 2

Doctors are starting people with Type 2 diabetes on insulin sooner, sometimes at diagnosis. But two recent studies give reason to question this treatment. If you have Type 2, is insulin right for you?

Good Control Now = Lifetime Benefit

Two famous studies showed that tight control of glucose did not cause a statistically significant reduction in heart attacks or early death. But roughly 20 years after the studies ended, tight control subjects are living longer and healthier than those who were in the comparison groups. What is going on?

Diabetes: They’re Working On It

At least people pay attention to diabetes now. Thousands of scientists are researching it. Many of them came to San Francisco last week to share their findings, and I was lucky to be there. I’ll write about it for the next several weeks…

Exercise or Have Fun?

Is exercise good for you? Kind of, but recent studies show that having active fun is better. If physical activity (exercise) is seen as work, or as something you have to do, it’s not as healthful…

Obamacare and Diabetes — Year Two

What does the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, also known as “Obamacare”) mean for people with diabetes? ACA makes some changes that should help people with diabetes, and some that maybe aren’t so good…

The Most You Will Ever Get

A wise woman once told me, “The most you’ll ever get is what you ask for.” I have used that as a guide for the last 30 years. I call asking for help “my superpower.” It has served me well…

Do You Feel Sexy?

Are you attractive, even with diabetes? I admit to not feeling that attractive in my wheelchair sometimes, but maybe that’s just a lack of self-esteem. Diabetes or no, do you think you look good? Do you feel sexy?

Hypertension and Diabetes: Evil Twins

How is your blood pressure? Studies show that high blood pressure (also known as hypertension or HTN) can cause and worsen many diabetes complications. So what makes blood pressure go up, and how can you get it down?

Worried About Diabetes?

I’m a worrying kind of guy. If the light is green, I worry about how long I have until it turns red. But does worrying help when you have a condition like diabetes? I’m starting to think it doesn’t…

Farewell to Rachel

My mother-in-law died last week. It wasn’t a tragedy. She was 93 years old and died peacefully in her sleep, without apparent pain. But it got me thinking about death and other scary things…

Diabetes Takes Courage

When you think about diabetes self-management, does the word “courage” ever come to mind? I think living with diabetes is a hero’s journey. It takes courage to face diabetes’ crew of monsters…

The Stress Formula

Stress is a major contributor to diabetes, but most people don’t understand what stress really is. Here’s how stress works, and some things you can do about it…

Why Are Animals Getting Fat?

We’ve all heard about the obesity epidemic. People are getting fatter, and this may relate to Type 2 diabetes rates. But did you know that animals are getting fatter too? What do fat animals tell us about human weight issues?

Getting Real About Diabetes Food Advice

Most diabetes food plans sound healthy. Eat vegetables, fruits, unsaturated fats, whole grains, nuts, fish, things like that. But is that advice realistic? Many people can’t afford, can’t find, or don’t like most of these foods. Then what?

Generic Drug Costs Can Be Crazy

Has this happened to you? You go to refill a generic prescription, and the price has jumped by 100%, or even 1000%. Huge price swings in generics are happening more often, and nobody is sure why…

Can You Be Happy With Diabetes?

Most people want to be happy, but diabetes can make it hard. There are the things you don’t want to do, like monitoring blood glucose levels, taking medicines, seeing doctors. Then there are the things you shouldn’t do, like eat whatever you want. Do these challenges interfere with happiness?

Why All the Drama?

Have you noticed how people need drama in their lives? If they don’t have anything to worry about, they create something. People with diabetes don’t have to create. Diabetes brings plenty of drama. But is drama good or bad? If it’s bad, how can we get rid of it?

Looking Back to 2013

Barack Obama says, “Look forward, not back.” But I think we need to look back. If we don’t know where we’ve been, how do we know where to go?

Prayer Medicine

Stress can kill, and fear is behind most of our stress. Unfortunately, we have an awful lot to be afraid of these days. At Christmastime, I wonder if prayer can help us deal with our fears, and maybe even with the causes of those fears…

Do You Eat Organ Meats?

All you Paleo diet fans out there, this one’s for you! I recently started eating organ meats twice a week. Although it hasn’t been easy, I feel stronger already…


According to new guidelines, everyone with diabetes should take a statin drug to lower cholesterol. It doesn’t matter how low his cholesterol already is…

What Keeps You Going?

What inspires you? When things are hard with diabetes or any other part of your life, where do you get the strength to keep going? Or to try something new? I have found some ways, but they don’t always work…

Diabetes and the “Obesity Paradox”

We hear constant warnings about how fatness leads to diabetes. But a wide range of studies show heavy people live longer and do better with diabetes and heart disease. This is called the “obesity paradox.” What does it mean?

Who Would You Be Without Diabetes?

Chronic illness is part of me, and I wish it wasn’t so much. I wonder if the same is true for you. When you think about who you are, is “person with diabetes” near the top of the list? How has diabetes changed you? Who would you be without it?

Bodies Like Being Fat

Some people say they can’t lose weight, but almost anyone can lose. The problem is keeping the weight off. Very few people (5% in studies) maintain weight loss over the long term. Why do our bodies regain weight, and what can we learn from that?

Unwanted Advice

What do you do with advice from ignorant people who think they know more about diabetes than you do? When people tell you could be cured if you tried out some idea they read on a Web site, how do you respond?

Generics Versus Brand-Name Drugs

Are generic drugs as good as their brand-name rivals? Hopefully yes, as millions of people rely on generics to make medicines affordable. Is the claimed superiority of brand-name drugs just advertising, or is there a real difference?

Should You Rely on Your Doctor?

We gave our neighbor Sylvie a ride to her doctor. In the car, the talk turned to medicines. Sylvie said she was on seven or eight drugs. She didn’t remember what they were all for, but said, “I leave that up to my doctor…”

Good Stress

They say good stress can cause as many problems as bad stress. I don’t know, but I’m learning, because a couple of weeks filled with “good” stress are kind of knocking me out…

Afraid of Diabetes

Does diabetes scare you? I know multiple sclerosis (MS) scares me. Both diseases can progress and cripple our lives. How does fear of diabetes affect your life, and more important, what do you do about it?

Top Fifteen Things I’ve Learned About Diabetes

I’ve been writing this blog each week for over six years now, so I’ve had to come up with a lot of ideas. Fortunately, readers give me many of them. Here are the fifteen best things I’ve learned. (To read more about any of them, click on the provided links…)

UK Doc: Type 2 Often Curable

According to Dr. Roy Taylor of the United Kingdom’s University of Newcastle, we need to change our understanding of what causes Type 2 diabetes. Then we can treat it and reverse it. What is this new understanding?

How Do You Keep Diabetes Logs?

One of the most important self-management skills is keeping logs of health-related information. Do you do that? What do you keep records of? Are you consistent with logging, and does it help?

Start With Three Drugs?

A new study says that people newly diagnosed with Type 2 can do better if they are immediately started on a three-drug combo. Does this make sense to you? Is it good science or bad medicine?

The Right Germs: Gut Bacteria and Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes tends to run in families: If parents have it, children are likely to get it too. But is that because of having similar genes, or similar behaviors? Maybe it’s neither. Maybe it’s having the same kind of bacteria in their guts…

Do You Meditate?

Last Monday, I went to my first meditation class. For years, I have heard that meditation reduces stress, increases energy, and improves focus. It might also open the doors to spiritual growth. I’m finally giving it a try…

Two Lovely Days

Life can be hard, especially with a chronic illness. But there can still be times of beauty, fun, and love. I had two days like that over the weekend, and even though I paid a price for them, I think they were worth it…

Depression — Taking the First Step

We know what lightens depression. Exercise, sunshine, social contact, laughter, and avoiding sugars are some ways supported by studies. But how can you start do things like that when you’re feeling down, hopeless, depressed?

Accepting Everything — Even Diabetes

I’ve had a pretty easy life, but illness has thrown some curves. Giving up sports, then dancing, then walking, things like that. For me, the key has been acceptance. We have to accept a situation before we can deal with it or change it…

How Important Is CoQ10?

I’m not much of a dietary supplements guy. But months of wildly irregular heartbeats will get people to try new things. A friend told me coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) had fixed her heart rhythm…

Healing Leaky Livers

It may surprise you to know that, for many people, Type 2 diabetes is primarily a liver disease. The pancreas damage comes later. Is there anything we can do to heal a diabetic liver?

Can Beta Cells Be Healed?

Can Type 2 or Type 1 diabetes be not only reversed, but cured? Can beta cells start producing enough insulin? Can the liver store glucose better, and can body cells learn to handle glucose more efficiently?

No Starches, No Sugars — Then What?

People around the world are eating low-carbohydrate diets to treat their diabetes. But all plant foods, other than seeds, are carbs. So what can you eat? Is it all animal products, or are there other options?

Working With Doctors

Sometimes doctors can be your best diabetes friends. Others seem to be part of the problem. How do you find a good doctor and work well with him? What does a person new to diabetes need to know about working with doctors?

Drugs for Diabetes Pain

Pain researcher Rebecca Sudore, MD, says, “Adults living with Type 2 diabetes are suffering from incredibly high rates of pain, at levels similar to patients living with cancer.” Sounds awful. But what can we do about it? Actually, quite a bit…

“Reversing” Type 2 Diabetes

Health professionals usually call Type 2 diabetes a chronic, progressive illness. “Chronic” means you’ll always have it. “Progressive” means you will almost certainly get worse. The best you can hope for is to slow its progression through your diet, exercise, and oral medicine or insulin. The diagnosis of a chronic, progressive condition can feel like having a curse put on you…

Metformin Without the Misery

What if you could get all the benefits of metformin, but without the abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, and vomiting that this medicine often brings? Well, such a treatment exists, and it works. Why hasn’t it come to market?

Learning About Sick Days

How appropriate! I was going to blog about sick days, and then I got the flu myself. I’m writing this from bed, thanks to my laptop. It’s not actually much fun, but I guess I’ll call it research…

Drink More Water

Last month I was taken to the emergency room because my blood pressure dropped. It turned out I had gone low because of dehydration. I’m really embarrassed because I hadn’t realized how important hydration is…

How Healthy Do You Think You Are?

Does your health largely depend on how healthy you think you are? Studies show that people who rate their health positively are far less likely to die than those who think they are unwell, even when results were adjusted for actual medical condition…

When You Were Diagnosed

My publisher wants a book for people new to Type 2. Can you help? What do you remember about your diagnosis? What information and support could you have used at that stressful time, and did you receive it?

Meat and Diabetes

Singer Chaka Khan says she reversed her Type 2 diabetes with a vegan diet. We know from several studies that vegetarian and vegan (no meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or honey) diets help prevent, control, and even reverse diabetes. But how do they do that?

Are Small Amounts of Sweets OK?

Doctors used to think sugars were terrible for diabetes. Then the American Diabetes Association (ADA) changed their minds. They said it’s the carbs that matter, and sugars were just another carb. Now some scientists are saying sugar is poison. Who’s right?

Chocolate As Diabetes Medicine

I used to say chocolate tasted great, but if you thought it was a health food, you were kidding yourself. But research shows that chocolate helps manage diabetes, prevents heart disease, and improves mood. Is this too good to be true?

Toxic Chemicals and Type 1

Last week I wrote about research showing that environmental chemicals are major causes of Type 2. There is also surprising evidence for toxics promoting Type 1. Let’s look at that data this week, before next week looking at what we can do about it…

Toxic Chemicals and Diabetes

Diabetes epidemics have followed the standard American diet across the world. The starches, sugars, and saturated fats in mass-produced foods would seem to be the cause. But maybe not. There are other nasty things in those packages…

Coping With Lows

Do you struggle with low blood glucose levels? What do you do to prevent them and get them back up? Let’s look at what some experts suggest…

Diabetes Balancing Act

You probably know that diabetes requires balancing food intake, exercise, and medications. I think any chronic illness like diabetes involves other balancing acts as well. How do you manage some of these balances?

Do You Feel Deprived?

Chronic illness takes things away from you. But diabetes can take away more than most. Do you ever feel deprived by diabetes? How do you cope with those feelings?

Love and Health

How important is love for your health? Some people report that love has had a healing effect on their life and health. Has love or lack of it made a difference for you?

Why is Type 1 Surging?

With all the publicity about a Type 2 diabetes epidemic, an equally scary rise in rates of Type 1 has been ignored. What is causing the surge in Type 1 diabetes? Does it have anything to do with the Type 2 explosion?

Foods’ Strange Tricks

You sit down to eat. How will your meal affect your blood glucose? If you’re on insulin, how much should you take? Turns out that counting carbohydrate will not always give you the answer. Food can affect you in strange ways.

Are You a Fighter?

What do you need to live well with diabetes, or any chronic illness? Knowledge and support are crucial. But fighting spirit is just as important. Not to give up, not to let others take control of your life and health.

Vegetables to the Rescue

Many experts say that people with diabetes shouldn’t eat much flour or sugar. I agree. But other nutritional authorities don’t want you to eat saturated fats, either. So what CAN you eat? My answer: Try vegetables!

Diabetes Complications Dropping

Fewer people with diabetes are suffering leg amputation, blindness, and deaths from heart disease or stroke. This hopeful trend has been on for about 15 years. But what accounts for it, and how can you benefit?

Your Diabetes and Your Family

Diabetes is hard on the person who has it. But it also affects your children and the rest of your family. How can we make living with diabetes easier — even positive — for ourselves and our loved ones?

Mindful Glucose Monitoring

Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) has been around since 1975. Now, many people with diabetes check their glucose levels regularly. But some large studies question whether all those fingersticks really help. What do you think?

What Causes Type 2 — Genes or Food?

There’s a major split in the Type 2 diabetes world. Some believe Type 2 is all about diet (and maybe exercise.) Others say it’s mostly a genetic illness and that diet doesn’t make much difference. Who’s right?

Comfort Eating With Diabetes

Do you ever eat for comfort? Does emotional eating affect your diabetes management? If your answer is yes, you are one of millions. How can we get some of that comfort without spiking blood sugar levels?

Beans Will Rock Your World

I’ve started eating a lot more beans. Why? They are healthy and cheap. They make me feel good, and it turns out they taste great if you prepare them right. Research shows that beans are even better if you have diabetes…

Are You a Role Model?

Do you think of yourself as a role model? By coping with diabetes and your other problems, do you inspire others? Might be worth thinking about…

Crying as Medicine

At one time or another, nearly all of us have felt better after a good cry. But does crying help our physical and mental health as well? Research says that tears and sobs can be beneficial, even healing…

Your Year in Review

This is the time of year for remembering. But some years there has been too much pain and sorrow, so now I focus on remembering only good things. It seems to be working…

How Important is Diabetes to You?

It’s a time of year for reflection, so here are some possible questions. How big a part does diabetes play in your life? Is managing it your top priority? Is “person with diabetes” an important part of your identity?

Diabetes in Hard Times

For three years now, people have been losing their homes and their jobs because of the 2008 economic “collapse” and ongoing hard times. How is that affecting diabetes?

Limits, Faith, and Diabetes

There’s a saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Her your plans.” A chronic illness is like a message from the universe or God saying “Stop planning and start living.” This message has the power to change lives in wonderful ways…

Who Do You Talk To?

I love my multiple sclerosis (MS) support group. I look forward to seeing my friends and sharing experiences. Nobody else understands as well what I’m going through. People with diabetes report similar benefits from groups. But most people with diabetes or MS never come to such groups…

Paying for Diabetes

What’s your biggest diabetes fear? Complications are scary, but for many, the biggest fear is that diabetes will reduce them to poverty. Others fear that they don’t have enough money for good care or needed supplies…

Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring Worth It?

Continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS) may not make life with diabetes any easier. But they can definitely improve health, if you can deal with the hassle and expense. So how do you know if such a system is right for you?

Exploring Your Family History

As author Carol Daus says in her book Past Imperfect, “Tracing your family medical history can save your life.” Learn how to start your search from nurse David Spero…

Becoming a Grandfather

Can’t write about diabetes today. Or self-care, or the medical system, or science, or politics, or any of that stuff. Our granddaughter Anaya Grace was born on Saturday, and she has taken most of my mental space…

Fear, Anger, Action

Many of us spent last week surrounded by fear, the media telling us nonstop to be afraid. Since I don’t believe much in the media, I ignored it as best I could. But it reminded me of my feelings about chronic illness — how powerlessness, fear, and anger can make us miserable and interfere with our lives…

Craving Carbs

Last week, feeling depressed, I found myself in front of a Chinese grocery. I bought a pint of curried rice noodles and sat at the bus stop eating them right out of the box. They were delicious. Just plain little noodles with bits of cabbage, but yum!

Change Your Environment

There’s a whole new trend in self-management programs — don’t change yourself or what you do. Instead, change your environment to make healthy behavior easier. Stop beating your head against a brick wall. Take down the wall, or at least pad it!

Should You Be Tested for MODY?

Diabetes is frequently misdiagnosed. For one example, people are often told they have Type 1 or Type 2, when they actually have MODY, sometimes called maturity-onset diabetes of the young or monogenic diabetes. Might you be one of them? And should you care?

Bored With Diabetes?

“What I hate most about diabetes,” Marilyn told a support group I was speaking at, “is that it’s so much work. It takes too much of my time and concentration. It’s boring! I’m tired of it. I want some time off…”

Sex in Vegas

Hey, team: I’m speaking in Las Vegas next week at the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. The talk is called “Sex Secrets of People with Diabetes.” The title refers to the sex problems we don’t talk about, and the solutions that are also rarely mentioned…

Faith Healing

When I had almost finished writing my first book, The Art of Getting Well, I was overcome with doubts. Was it any good? Would anyone want to read it? Could I do the promotion and marketing that would be necessary? I didn’t know…

Is Weight Loss a Good Goal?

Most diabetes docs and educators recommend weight loss. I think that’s a losing strategy for most (not all) people. The weight nearly always comes back, bringing glucose and blood pressure back up with it. But why is sustained weight loss so difficult?

Dance Out Diabetes

I went to a program called Dance Out Diabetes last Saturday. Twenty people were dancing, learning new steps, socializing, and having fun. There were also certified diabetes educators on hand to measure our blood glucose, A1C, weight, and blood pressure. I got a great feeling from it that lasted all day…

Tibetan Medicine Worth a Look

I’m seeing a Tibetan herbal doctor for my multiple sclerosis (MS), and his treatment seems to be helping. I feel great. Tibetan medicine has been shown to significantly reduce fasting and post-meal glucose levels, and A1C levels, too. So you might want to check this out…

Diabetes and Your House

How often do you think about the influence your house or apartment has on your health? Well, think about it. Where you live can have a bigger health impact than diet or exercise…

Gastric Bands Too Dangerous

Gastric banding is all the rage. Seems like everybody’s banding. But how safe and how effective is this surgery? Does it “resolve diabetes,” as surgeons claim? I used to think so. But I was wrong. As years go by, complications and failure become more and more common…

Cats or Dogs — Which is Healthier?

They say pet ownership protects health and improves quality of life. If that’s true, what kind of pet should you have? A dog, a cat, a fish, or what? I’m sure you’ve been wondering. Recent studies give us some leads…

Why Stop Smoking?

I started to write a stop smoking column. But after researching nicotine, I’m thinking of taking the habit up myself. Yes, it kills more people than all the other bad habits I can think of put together. It makes diabetes far worse. But what a drug!

Diabetes and Your Work

Diabetes and work don’t always mix. How do you manage food, medicines, rest, monitoring, exercise, and work, especially if you’ve got demands, deadlines, and a boss who’s sweating you? How do you deal with the stress?

Touch as Medicine

“The worst thing about living alone is missing the hugs,” 70-year-old Angie told me. Angie’s husband recently died, but she is not isolated. She sees people in the community all the time. But she misses the physical contact…

Mobility Scooter Meltdown

Taking a page from Jan and Eric’s blogs to tell a personal story. Like many disabled people, I rely on my mobility scooter to get around. Twice now, I’ve been sold defective scooters. But this time I fought back, and after ten months, I won!

Where The Sugar Comes From

Why are diabetes rates rising around the world? One possible culprit is the increased amount of sugar people are eating. Most sugar isn’t white powder spooned into tea or frosting on a cake. It’s hidden. Where is it, and where did it come from?

The Mystery of Coffee and Diabetes

Is coffee good or bad for diabetes? Some studies show that coffee is protective, while others say it’s harmful. Some say decaf is better; others say it’s worse. Let’s try to sort this out…

Learning From Diabetes

If diabetes were a college professor, nobody would sign up for his class. But those forced to take it might learn things that would help them succeed in other areas. What does diabetes teach, and how are you doing in your class?

Diabetes and Your Hands

Diabetes and Your Hands

Did you know that diabetes can hurt, stiffen, and even disable your shoulders, wrists, fingers, and other joints? None of these conditions is well understood. So how can you prevent them and deal with them?

Stopping Diabetes Medicines

“I want to get off some of these drugs,” Ellen told me. “But my doctor says I need them. I’m on three for glucose, two for blood pressure, and one for depression. They’re costing me hundreds every month. What can I do?”

Accept or Change?

You probably know the Serenity Prayer — “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Talk about easier said than done!

Getting Back to Sleep

“I don’t think I have insomnia,” said Mabel, a 63-year-old elementary school teacher with Type 2 diabetes. “I go right to sleep at 10 PM. But I wake up to pee, and I can’t sleep again. I start thinking about things, and my brain just keeps running…”

Successful Medical Appointments

A coaching client named Sally told me, “My medical appointments sometimes seem like wastes of time. [My doctor] doesn’t answer my questions. I always leave there feeling like, what do I do now? I don’t know if he’s even heard me…”

Refusing Medical Treatments

It takes courage to speak up to doctors and experts and say “No!” to their tests and treatments. But sometimes that’s the best thing you can do, because otherwise they may do things that you really don’t want…

Alone With Diabetes

“It’s strange,” said Margaret, diagnosed with Type 1.5 (LADA) ten years ago. “Managing diabetes as a single Mom with two teenage daughters was tough. But now that they have gone to college, I’m doing worse. Lately, I hardly plan meals or check my glucose at all…”

Your Body: Love It or Leave It

My e-mail auto-signature reads “Love your body. Love your life.” I think loving your body is a key for health. But in practice, bodies can be hard to love, especially when they’re sick, or disabled, or don’t fit media images of “beautiful…”

Dealing With Diabetes Fatigue

“My days have been getting shorter,” Ron (who has Type 2 diabetes) told me. “I sleep ten hours a night and still need naps in the day. Even when I’m awake, I’m dragging. What can I do?” Ron’s doctor wasn’t much help…

Two Nights, Two Celebrations

I’m feeling good about people these days. I spent the last two evenings in the streets, enjoying other people having fun. Maybe a key to happiness is not spending too much time alone. But maybe it was an “only in San Francisco” thing…

Learning Our Limits

I’m not happy to have multiple sclerosis, and I’m pretty sure you would prefer not to have diabetes. No one wants a chronic illness — they take up too much space. But illness has taught me valuable lessons that have opened my life…

Dealing With Hunger

My friend James usually manages his Type 2 diabetes quite well. He eats right, exercises, and all that good stuff. But last week, something went wrong. He had a tough Thursday at his job, worked through lunch, and got yelled at by his supervisor…

Prejudiced Against Ourselves?

Do people ever treat you as if diabetes makes you a second-class citizen, or makes you damaged goods? Do people blame you for diabetes? Such prejudice is sometimes called “healthism,” referring to the belief that healthier people are superior to people who are less well…

Do You Need More People?

When Child Protective Services (CPS) placed 6-year-old Antonio with his grandfather Miguel (“Mike”), I couldn’t believe it. I don’t want to say my neighbor Mike was antisocial, but the only time anyone saw him was on his four-times-a-day walks to the corner store for beer…

Why “Healthy” Foods Aren’t Always

On WebMD’s Diabetes Community, a reader named damondj wrote, “I have been eating a lot of sugar free cakes… I’ve been feeling real tired lately… [and today my blood sugar] read 262.” Damondj is learning that “fat-free,” “sugar-free,” and “natural” labels don’t necessarily mean that a food is good for you…

Activity Yes, Exercise Maybe

I’m often preaching about the value of physical activity, but physical activity doesn’t always mean exercise. Even when you do exercise, there’s no need to spend money and travel to a fancy gym. There are some better ways to move…

Diabetes on the Web

After sex, health is probably the most popular topic on the World Wide Web. News sites, support groups, newsletters and magazines, blogs, and product promotions compete for our attention. Which sites work for you, and how do you best use the Web for your health?

New Research on the Pleasure Cure

What do coffee, wine, sex, massage, pets, naps, fun, and laughter have in common? In proper amounts, they all seem to reduce blood glucose and inflammation, protecting against diabetes. Perhaps we’ll be healthier if we focus less on the hard stuff and make more time for pleasure…

How Studies Can Mislead

Don’t you hate it when a new food or drug study comes out, telling you that all previous studies were wrong? How are you supposed to trust studies, or even make sense of them, when they disagree with each other?

Small Steps

Last week I wrote about Ingrid, who went from a complete couch potato (with an A1C above 12%) to an active, positive woman who makes other people feel good (and has an A1C of less than 8%.) This week I want to go into some nuts and bolts of making such big changes…

One Step at a Time

Change is hard. We know that. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the demands of trying to stay healthy with diabetes. But if we take small steps and don’t give up, we can improve our own lives and the lives of people around us…

Cinnamon and Other Herbal Remedies

Can herbs and spices replace some or all diabetes medicines? For some people they can, but you have to be really careful with these and any other alternative treatments. Here are some herbal approaches to managing diabetes and some things to consider if you want to try them…

Beyond Diet and Exercise

One thing writing this blog and reading comments for over three years has taught me: Living well with diabetes means much more than just diet, exercise, and medicines…

Controlling Blood Pressure

Diabetes care usually focuses on blood glucose. But blood pressure (BP) is just as important. High blood glucose and high blood pressure (also called “hypertension”) can both damage blood vessels, in similar ways. So you want to control your pressure. But how?

More Meaningful Than We Know

Lately, I’ve been struggling with “what am I doing here” thoughts. I’ve been kind of down, and someone noticed and reminded me of this story. It helped me, and I thought it might help you too…

Eggs and Dairy Now “Heart Healthy”

Do changes in official dietary advice make you crazy? Well, prepare to go nuts, because the advice is changing again: New studies find that eating eggs and dairy products does NOT contribute to diabetes or heart disease. They may, in fact, be protective…

Sleep is the Best Medicine

Want to live longer? Get more sleep. A new study from the New England Research Institutes shows that waking more than twice a night to urinate increased mortality risk 50% among men and more than 30% among women. Nocturnal awakenings to use the bathroom also doubled the mortality risk in people younger than 65…

The Rhythm of Health

Imagine you’re a car. Would you do better cruising down the freeway with your wheels maintaining a steady pace, or would you rather be stuck in stop-and-go city traffic, speeding up, slowing down, never getting a chance to run smoothly? Which way would you get better mileage? Which way would your engine last longer?

The Alcohol—Vinegar Cure

Here are two prescriptions I can go for: Drink some wine; eat some salad dressing. Recent studies show that 1–2 alcoholic drinks a day appear to cut the risk of diabetes by 45% and that 2 tablespoons of vinegar before a meal lowers blood glucose levels after the meal…

The Healing Value of Fun

“I don’t exercise,” says my friend Alfred Gee, “I bargain hunt. I like to take the bus downtown and go to different stores. I compare prices and quality and have a great time, especially when I save some money. It takes hours, but I’m retired, so why not have some fun? By the time I get home, I’ve walked four or five miles. I’ve tricked myself into exercising…”

For the Veterans

A Vietnam veteran friend of mine finally qualified for disability benefits last week, only 40 years after he was first disabled in the war, and 20 years after being diagnosed with diabetes. He finally had a major stroke, after a series of small ones…

Can Diabetes Save Your Life?

This is rather amazing. A very large study finds that people with diabetes mellitus (DM) may be less likely to die when admitted to intensive care for other conditions. People without diabetes actually may have a greater risk of intensive care death…

Why We Need Reasons to Live

If you don’t have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, it won’t matter how healthy you are, will it? If you don’t have pleasures, positive goals, love, or meaning in your life, why bother with self-management? We all need reasons to live, but sometimes we don’t have them or we forget what they are…

Shivering in Alaska

Fairbanks in February is not a tourist destination. Yes, I had a nice time at the diabetes expo. Led a workshop on “diabetes for couples” and gave a talk on succeeding at self-care. Sold some books, made some friends. All in all, I feel lucky to have survived…

Loving Louisiana

The first leg of my two-stop, cross-country trip went great. I led an all-day seminar for nurses called “New Solutions to Diabetes” in Lafayette, Louisiana. What an interesting place!

Mixed Feelings on Tech

For a long time, I was skeptical, even critical, of technological progress. I saw cars taking over the landscape and polluting the air. I saw people turning into Kewpie dolls in front of their TV sets. I saw countries’ wealth and brain power devoted to inventing ever more awful weapons…

Neither 1 Nor 2

In response to my recent blog entry asking what people wish health professionals knew about diabetes, Michael Barker commented about “ketosis-prone diabetics,” of which he is one. Thank you, Michael. Ketosis-prone diabetes, or “KPD,” as it’s called, is an important and growing problem…

What Do You Wish They Knew?

I got some good news last week. I’ve been invited to speak to health professionals in Louisiana and to people with diabetes in Alaska. And they’re paying me! Now I have to figure out what to tell them, so I’m asking for your advice…

Watch Your Mouth!

What health condition has killed the most adult humans since the beginning of recorded time? Most likely it was gum disease (also called “periodontitis”). Before modern food processing made food soft and mushy, people who lost their teeth couldn’t eat natural food. So they became weak and died. Unfortunately, gum disease may still be a killer for people with diabetes…

Sunshine in a Bottle

This time of year, sunshine is hard to find in the Northern Hemisphere. Days are shorter, and the sun shines at a lower angle. Lack of sun is thought to be a cause of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is rough on people with diabetes, because it increases carbohydrate cravings and fosters weight gain. But how does lack of sun make us SAD?

Happy New Year’s Resolution!

January is the busiest month at the YMCA. That’s when the rush of people with New Year’s resolutions come in saying, “This is the year I finally get in shape.” By February, the crowd is thinning, and by March it’s back to normal. Most New Year’s resolutions don’t stick. But sometimes they do!

Finding Joy

I was going to write about drugs or food or medical care or one of those hot topics. Then I figured, “it’s Christmas. Write about more important things.” So let’s talk about finding the joy in life. That’s pretty important, and sometimes it’s not so easy…

Do Foods Have You in Their Power?

Most of us try to eat healthfully. Worrying about food is kind of an American craze, but having diabetes can mean taking food obsession even farther. We have to eat the right things, or else! But some foods seem to have other plans for us. Some food is so attractive that many of us can’t resist. Is that true for you?

The Joys of Marketing

Things have been kind of tough lately. My mobility scooter broke down again, so I’m trapped inside. But that’s not the worst of it. Life is just getting on my nerves. My son told me, “You have a blog. Rant about it.” So here goes. I will even throw in some useful information along the way…

How Fishy Are You?

I have long heard about the health benefits of fish. I’ve also been aware that not all fish are equally good for you, and that overfishing is harming the oceans. Now, more fish news is on the radar: A new study highlights fish consumption as a way to get protection from diabetes, and another report compiles the fish that are the most healthful and that can be caught with the least effect on the environment…

The Double Whammy

Did you know that over 52% of people with diabetes also have arthritis? We reported on this finding in June 2008, but it still brings up questions such as: Why should this be? And what does it mean for people with one or both conditions? Does it tell us anything about treatment or self-management? Maybe it does…

Managing Chronic Pain

Managing Chronic Pain

In surveys, anywhere from 20 percent to over 60 percent of people with diabetes report dealing with chronic pain — much higher than rates in the general population. Why is there so much pain, and what can be done about it?

What About Urine Tests?

Since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) over 20 years ago, I’ve been a self-care maniac. I think about it, write about it, and talk about it all the time. So when I started having to urinate every 90 minutes or so, I decided to investigate for myself…

Thin Type 2s?

We’ve all read about people with Type 1 climbing mountains, dancing ballet, or playing professional football. But all people with Type 2 are thought by many to be overweight and sedentary. Last week I learned different. It’s an interesting story…

Where Does Type 2 Come From?

Last Friday, I went to a seminar on a new kind of surgery for weight loss. The talk was held at the Center for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment (COAST) at the University of California, San Francisco. At the end of the seminar, Robert Lustig, MD, said, “This surgery [vagotomy, or cutting the vagus nerve] won’t work for the kind of overweight that contributes to Type 2 diabetes. This is for the other kind of obesity.”

Vegetables Rock!

More good news for vegetable fans! (Count me in.) Researchers at the Imperial College of London have found that a chemical called sulforaphane protects arteries against plaque buildup. Sulforaphane is available in vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage…

Where Do You Find Hope?

I think we can all agree — times are tough all over. And when you add living with a chronic progressive condition to the mix, things may start to seem hopeless…

Health and Happiness

Last week we had a game party at our apartment. My son the park ranger was in town. He likes poker, so we had friends over and played cards and Taboo until 11:30. As a writer and a disabled person, I spend a lot of time alone, so it was great to have people over and to have fun…

Illness and Fear

The emotions that come with chronic conditions can be as bad as or worse than the physical symptoms. Right now, I need some help dealing with fear…

Are People with Diabetes Sweeter?

Have you ever thought that people with diabetes are often gentler, more giving, maybe more passive — in a word, “sweeter” — than average? I haven’t found any scientific evidence for this idea, but in my personal experience with hundreds of people with diabetes, it sometimes seems true…

Changing Killer Thoughts

Two weeks ago, I went to a social event with people I hardly knew. For personal and business reasons, I wanted to make a good impression. But near the end of the evening, I tripped and fell. With my multiple sclerosis (MS), this happens fairly often, but I “knew,” “Everyone will think I’m a loser because I fell. I’ve blown the whole evening…”

Bariatric Surgery News

The weight-loss (bariatric) surgeons are on the prowl, looking for new candidates for surgery. Now it seems they have some more evidence to back them up. New studies report that “mildly obese” people (BMI 30–34.9) gain as much benefit from surgery — in terms of weight, blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol control — as heavier people do…

Is Weight Good for You?

For those interested in weight issues, new Canadian research shows, again, that being “overweight” — having a body mass index (BMI) of 25–29.9 — is associated with a longer lifespan than that of “normal” weight people (BMI 18.5–24.9). According to the study, people who are mildly “obese,” (obesity class I, BMI 30–34.9) have the same risk of death as normal weight people. Not until weight reaches obesity class II (BMI 35–39.9) does heaviness seem to increase mortality…

News Roundup

I’ve been dealing with a bad cold of late, but I’m still keeping an eye on the latest diabetes news. Here are some headlines that have caught my attention recently…

Make it the “Feel Good” Diet

Two weeks ago, I discussed the “Tastes Good” diet. My entry proposed that eating for pleasure, taking your time, and enjoying your food could lead to better health. But now I want to amend the diet — the “Tastes Good” diet is good, but the “Feel Good” diet is even better…

Does Your Body Know (What to Eat)?

I’ve been reading The Diet Survivor’s Handbook, by Judith Matz, LCSW, and Ellen Frankel, LCSW. They tell heavy people not to diet, but to learn to trust their bodies to pick the right foods. “Eat when you’re hungry; eat what your body wants; stop when you’re full” is the mantra. But would this work for you? Should people with diabetes trust their bodies? Let’s think about this…

Try the “Tastes Good” Diet

This is kind of amazing. Did you know that how your body uses food depends partly on how much you like the food? Eating food that tastes good and that has a pleasing appearance can help your body react to the food in healthier ways. So cooking and eating attractive, tasty food will reward you with both pleasure and health.