Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Diabetes Rules

I may have mislead you all by the title of my post today. Opps! ;-) It's not meant to be "Diabetes Rules!" as in "Diabetes Rocks" but it's "Diabetes Rules" as in the rules to diabetes.

OK, so there aren't any "official" rules to diabetes, there are some very broad and general guidelines and there is a very good reason for this. It's because everybody is different and everybody's diabetes is different so too are the guidelines for each person.

So here are the rules I have come up with for myself, which are specific to when I'm having a bad day with Type 1 diabetes:

Always take your insulin.
No matter how you feel now, you will feel a thousand times worse if you don't take your insulin. Remember how ill you felt just before you were diagnosed. Yeah, that feeling will come back if you don't take your insulin.

Test your blood sugars regularly.
Now that you are taking your insulin like you should, it's time to look at how much you are taking. The best way to determine if you're taking sufficient amounts is to do some reconnaissance blood sugar testing. 

To check if you are taking the correct insulin dose for your meals and snacks, test your blood sugars before you eat and then again two hours after. If you want to check on how much basal insulin your body needs get some advise from your diabetes team. If they don't have enough advice for you, you can do some research on websites such as Diabetes Health or this website.

Use some form of carbohydrate counting.
There is quite a bit about diabetes management that you just cannot control or even measure, such as hormones, stress, illness. However, there are three elements of diabetes management that you can control and measure. They are insulin, food, and physical activity. If you know the quantities of insulin, food and physical activity then you can come up with some sort of system to work out how many grams of carbohydrate will be covered in a unit of insulin. My carb counting involves reading nutritional labels and weighting out the carbs.

And there you have it! Those three rules are my biggy's. Even if I'm feeling a little burnt out I make sure I don't waiver on these three rules for myself. I feel like if I just keep to my three "biggies" that I can keep from drowning in the diabetes doldrums and keep complications at bay.

After that, if I'm feeling a bit more positive, I troll through the many reliable diabetes websites and support forums for new information or a new way of saying something old that makes more sense. I also have my real life support group of people with type 1 diabetes who never fail to give me a kick-start. :-)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Updating to a new glucose meter:-)

Ahhh the glucose meter. What a wonderful invention! They've only been around since the 1970's but they have had such a huge impact on life with diabetes.

I remember my first one - I think it was a BD brand and it was about the size of an iPhone but twice as thick. I think I had that one for about 5 or 6 years. This is quiet a long time by today's standards.

Anyway, I have kept that trend up for almost 20 years - I very seldom change my meter. I know what I like and stick with what I know. Plus, it's really inconvenient to change.  In Ireland, people with diabetes receive all of their diabetes medications and supplies free from the Health Service Executive (HSE). The inconvenience comes from the paper work involved in changing your prescription for the test meter's strips and the lancet device's lancets (aka finger pricker).

However, I recently came across an ad for a glucose meter that had an interesting feature to me and decided I would change meter types after a gap of 6 years. I had the opportunity to have an upclose look at one at the Annual Diabetes Exhibition in Dublin last November and decided that it was worth the effort of changing.

I remember asking the sales rep how many strips came with the meter because I was probably not going to see my endocrinologist until March to get the prescription and I didn't to start using it until I had the supply established. She, helpfully, mentioned that my GP would be able to provide me with the script too. And yes, my GP is a little more convenient than my consultant but she seemed to assume that I would have a reason to visit him more often than my consultant. Truth is I haven't seen my GP since September when I had to bring one of the children in!

So, here we are at the end on January and my husband was heading into the GP, I gave him the note with the product information on it and he came home with a script for the strips.

Then within a couple of days, I sent the script with my Long Term Illness book to the Long Term Illness department of my local HSE offices. They update the book and a medical officer approves it and send it back to me. I got it back in the post within a week and a few more days later I had my new test strips and lancets.

It only took 3 months!

By the way, my new meter is the OneTouch VerioPro and I'll let you know how it does.