April 27th, 2011

Watching my blood sugar.

My doctor called me in after my last Hba1c blood test (7.3%) - it gives an over all blood glucose for the last 8-12 weeks. He didn't want to up my tablets any and I said I'd look into what I could do to bring it down.

I started by looking for information on the internet and found a really good site: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/ which has information on all aspects of diabetes, a forum so that we can help one another and a lifestyle area where I can input my blood glucose, weight, blood pressure and food and get graphs off to show the doctor.

I discovered that although my glucose doesn't seem to be greatly out of control - where my result was 7.3 - down from 7.8 last August - and the standard required is under 6.6 - it is going really high 12 - 14 and then dropping to between 2.5 and 4.5. I found this out by doing lots of tests myself using a machine and blood from finger pricks. This was when I found out that I'm not entitled to more glucose testing strips or lancets as they are too expensive and the NHS cutbacks have meant that my doctor is no longer permitted to prescribe them.

I've been (sort of) following the recommended diet of plenty of starchy carbs - porridge, whole grain bread, potatoes, rice etc. In fact I've been living on porridge twice a day as my tablets upset my stomach to the extent that I couldn't eat 'real' food in an evening or I would be ill in the night with reflux. Or if I didn't have porridge, I would have a milk pudding of some sort. Perfectly acceptable for a diabetic. Once I started testing I found that these starches push my blood glucose right up and then - because I was usually being careful what I ate, it would come crashing back down again. I asked my doctor if it was okay if I ate low GI/GL and he agreed, but I'm not sure how he'll take the whole low carb business. I'm due to speak to him in a week or so - my doctor allows phone consultations - you ring in and he rings back when he's free - which is a really useful and time saving way of doing things.

From the Diabetes website - and a couple of books I got from the library - I learnt that a lot of diabetics all types and pre-diabetics are controlling their blood glucose much better than I am, by cutting carbs. So for the last couple of weeks I've been managing on 80 - 100 grams of carbs a day, usually GL ones and this week I am starting to cut down further. I have cut out potatoes, rice, cereals and low fat yogurts and added creme fraiche, full fat probiotic yogurt, barley and green bananas (which is a shame as I like the really black ones). I will be adding fat to my diet - but only 'good' fats - mainly olive oil for cooking and salad dressing. I'm eating fish - which Tony won't do - and all meat except beef - it makes me ill - cheese and poultry, but I don't want it to be a low carb, high fat diet. Hopefully a side effect of it will be that I should lose weight.

So far I've lost a couple of kilos and my blood glucose is settling to a much more even keel of between 4 & 7. I'm starting to feel less hungry between meals too - at first it was awful - and if I want an apple or something between meals I just make sure that I have an egg or a small piece of cheese with it, to slow down the carbohydrate burn.
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