Tips & Advice

Crazy blood sugar fluctuations?

From our community blog:

Good morning,

I am in urgent need of assistance to help me get my diabetes / blood sugar levels in control and I’m actually almost on the brink of losing it… I’m struggling with sky high sugar levels and very low sugar levels, but it’s never between 4 and 6, it’s either lower, very low, or very-very high! I don’t know what to do anymore…

Please give me some advice. I am 28 years old, and have been diabetic since I was 9 years old.

Please help!

– Vasti

Comments:

Do not give up. If you are in a position to visit a Provincial Hospital do so. I want you to see a doctor please, for expert advice, as you need to undergo tests.
Krish

Dear Vasti
Sorry to hear that you are struggling with your diabetes. It is difficult to know how to help unless I have some information about types, doses and frequency of injections as well as some glucose values. You need to test and establish a pattern as to when the problems occur and in relation to what. Blood sugars that swing up and down cause more problems than those that are more stable. I suggest you establish a testing profile and then post again.
Regards
Lyn

Hi Vasti,

I have been a diabetic for 9 years as well and I am also 28 years old. You need to take a look at your diet and your lifestyle. From your email you sound like you are under a lot of stress and that is not helping your diabetes. With your sugar levels being so out of control your moods get affected badly. So strange how sugar levels have this effect on us but very true. You need to eliminate as much stress from your life as you can. You can get back to where you need to be as long as you take the day by day steps.

Your eating is very very very important and if you can try to exercise you must. When I was first diagnosed mine used to sit in the 30′s NOT GOOD! But now I am between 5-8 most days. I know that there are days when it is hard to keep your sugar levels under control but YOU CAN DO IT!

Please let me know if I can help with anything!
Thanks
Angela

Type 1 diabetic going through puberty

From our community blog:

Hi,

My son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes about a year and a half ago.  His HbA1c hasn’t been great for the last few months – sitting on about 8. We seem to do everything “right” but for reasons we cannot understand we go through days with sugar levels that just won’t come down.

I now think that he is often injecting into scar tissue… He uses pretty much the same area to inject. I think he is finding it hard to inject anywhere else as it is a bit painful (he had a slight phobia of needles before being diagnosed). He is now 12 years old and is going through puberty so his body is changing and will need more insulin.

Any advice?? I’m feeling a little helpless at the moment.

We see his doctor every 3 months, but does anyone know of a nurse in the Fourways Johannesburg area who deals with Type 1 diabetics who we can perhaps see monthly to check his readings and perhaps guide us on eating, etc.

Thank you so much.
Warm Regards
– Candice
Comments:

Jen Whittall is in Bryanston
Kimberley

Hi Candice
You are quite spot-on with your own findings concerning your son. If he is currently injecting into the stomach, challenge him in injecting into the upper outer thigh. He should try to do this fast (like throwing a dart – playful challenging). When I changed my technique from a slow approach to the dart action, I never looked back. Just take note that the legs are active and blood glucose levels might drop faster than expected, especially if you are correct with your diagnosis of him injecting into scarred tissue.
Kindest regards
Marelize

Diabetic pregnancy and the pump?

From our community blog:

I am a Type 1 diabetic since 1991. I have had two children and desperately want a third, but cannot face another pregnancy like the second due to severe hypoglycaemia that kept occurring.

I want to get a pump – my doctor did initially suggest it and I have asked for a referral to a centre that deals with pumps. I also would like to know what the chance of getting a pump on medical aid is if it is recommended by a doctor and if the medical aid is paying for CDE at the moment?

I am trying to control my sugars now but even tracking them 6-8 times a day, taking multiple extra shots when needed and tracking my diet closely is not helping.

– Bronwyn

Comments:

Hi Bronwyn,

The CDE has 5 pump centers in Johannesburg. 011 7126000. They also have an amazing 5 day course called DINE. Speak to Michelle Daniels.
Kimberley

Hi Bronwyn,
I hope this may be of some help in resolving your control problems. I used a pump for 10 years and found it to be helpful particularly as you can control the long acting (basal) insulin for your individual requirements. You programme the pump to dispense whatever you need for each hour of the 24 hour day which will be exclusive to your needs.
A phone call to your medical aid should be able to tell you if they will support the purchase fully or partially. I stopped using mine because my levy on the consumables was increasing beyond reason.

It needs time and expertise to learn how to use the pump. I know we are all different but I believe that with the proper advise and treatment you should be able to get control before getting a pump. It will help your new doctor (it seems you need one) if you keep a record of insulin taken, food consumed, and exercise taken.

I’m a chairman of a support group, find one of these as they can also be very helpful.

Mervyn

How to lower high blood sugar?

From our community blog:

Hi all,

Petunia has a question for us about lowering high blood sugar:

“I would like to know what can I do to bring down my sugar. I have Type 2 diabetes, I’m on Actraphane 30/70 and I don’t have a proper diabetes diet.”

What do you suggest?

The obvious ones that spring to mind are:

  1. Eat lots of fresh vegetables, wholegrains, lean protein and no refined carbohydrates.
  2. Steer clear of sweet treats.
  3. Drink lots of water.
  4. Exercise a little every day – even if it’s just a walk around the block.
  5. Lose weight if necessary.

What do you have to add? Let’s help Petunia out!

Comments:

Hi,

I am also Type 2 – I find the best thing is exercise. Sometimes you can’t avoid the carbs, but if you walk, run or cycle 30 min per day – you can reduce your sugar levels significantly.
Victor

Dear Petunia,
Diabetes is not an easy quick fix ever. It is important to manage this condition in the best way always and this means getting a lot of HELP! I suggest you find a dietician or a diabetes educator in your area and schedule an appointment a soon as possible. In order to understand this condition it’s important to understand how food and your medication impact on your glucose levels. It becomes so easy with this help!
Fiona

Living well with diabetes

From Facebook (Diabetic South Africans):

What does living well with diabetes look like for you?


Tried changing my way of eating, lost weight and still had to go on tablets. My levels are stable though – between 5.3 and 6.1 – enjoying my new way of life.
Sharon

Well… Sharon, that’s living well with diabetes, the rest is history! Well done.
Clint

I am Type 2 and lost 40kg from 110kg, gained muscle, full of energy and feeling 10 years younger! What I eat is part of living well with diabetes.
Phillip

It sucks big time. But taking it day by day. Some days are cool, but some are just hell.
Phumzile

Totally sucks. Got neuropathy from my ankles to my toes! Sugar down from mid 16s to between 8 and 12. Doc wants to put me on insulin but I don’t want to. Staying positive and fighting hard!
Anton

After taking control of my diabetes myself, i.e. testing throughout the day and increasing my insulin to where I needed it, I’m happy to report I tend to stay between 4 and 8 with a couple of hiccups here and there when I hit 12 or 9 – but nowhere close to 16 as before… Anton, I fought insulin injections too. But it works and I feel so much better. The fight against insulin is not worth it if you are damaging your body…
Elrica

Favourite sweet treats for diabetics?

From Facebook (Diabetic South Africans):

How do you treat yourself when you feel like something sweet?

 

Sugar-free sweets!
Keith

I only have a tiny taste, seems to work for me, but then I don’t really have a sweet tooth.
Sharon

Very difficult question 🙁
Magrietha

Jungle Oats Light snack bar or Canderel sweets… Sweet enough and good.
Keith

Any sweet fruit that is in season! For now grapes and mangoes work for me.
Lehuma

Lehuma, fruits do contain a lot of sugar – especially grapes and mango. Remember to have small portions.
Sharon

Yes I know, Sharon, hence I only eat them as a treat when I feel like something sweet!
Lehuma

Two blocks of Lindt 70% dark chocolate.
Shirley

Wow! I thought I was the only one who had this craving for sweet things. I eat ice-cream once in a while. I was really feeling bad about it.
Zandile

The best diabetic advice?

From Facebook (Diabetic South Africans):

What’s the best diabetic advice you’ve ever been given?

Lower your carbs.
Paula

Use insulin.
Bonnie

Exercise and drink lots of water.
Masego

No diabetic is the same… Individuals react differently!
Isabella

Go Paleo.
Anton

Daily cardio and eggs for breakfast!
Jenna

Eat the same time everyday.
Elmarie

Take your insulin even if you are ill, and always eat regular small meals
Thabiet

Kid first, diabetes second.
Ellen

Easy diabetes management tools

Making choices and decisions every day about life with diabetes can be tough… But luckily there are solutions to make it much easier. Nicole McCreedy has rounded up some favourite tools for you to choose from.

Each of us is different, so the methods and tools we choose to manage our diabetes need to be different too. The trick is to find solutions for self-management that work for you every day. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Become an expert on diabetes

Gather as much information as you can on diabetes and how it affects your body. Make sure that your information is from a respected source, based on accurate scientific evidence. Ask your doctor to direct you to relevant books or websites. Understand the role that insulin plays in transporting glucose in the bloodstream to your muscles. This will help you to better know what impact foods such as carbohydrates or sugar will have on your blood glucose levels and how much insulin your body may need. With this knowledge, it does become easier to plan ahead and predict – to a degree – how your body will react.

  1. Learn to live with diabetes

It is common to feel overwhelmed, angry or sad when you’re living with diabetes. You may know the steps you need to take to stay healthy, but have trouble sticking with your plan over time. Try to make peace with your diagnosis and take control of your situation: eat well, exercise often and go for regular check-ups.

Ask the expert: Dr Joel Dave, endocrinologist

“Adapt your lifestyle and diabetes care to achieve good diabetes control and a good quality of life. This can definitely be done – try to include a multi-disciplinary team in your care to ensure balance in all areas.”

  1. Find ways to cope with stress and other factors

Heat, sickness, exercise, your menstrual cycle and stress are all factors that need to be considered when managing your treatment. Recognise and address these factors as they arise. Stress, for example, can raise your blood glucose levels, so in times of stress you may have to monitor your blood sugar more often.

  1. Be prepared and have a system

If you inject insulin, ensure that you have a supply readily available on hand for when you need to take it. Plan ahead by storing pens at work and at home, remembering to keep them cool. Create a system that works for you and helps you to remember when to inject yourself. A missed injection can cause knock-on unwellness when you try to make up for it later.

  1. Count your carbohydrates

Carbohydrate counting is helpful as it allows you to figure out more accurately how much insulin to give yourself before a meal to keep your blood sugar under control. Get into the habit of reading labels on the foods that you eat, as it will teach you to better estimate quantities, which can help you to be more accurate.

There are a number of mobile apps available for you to use on your phone:

  • Glucose Buddy stores the data you need to manage diabetes without a lot of hassle. You can input your blood glucose numbers, insulin dosages and how many carbs you eat at each meal.
  • Diabetes Buddy helps you manage your diabetes by tracking the factors that influence your blood sugar levels, monitoring the fluctuations, planning ahead and making it easy for you to share your data with your doctor.
  • ACCU-CHEK® 360° diabetes management app provides easy tracking of your diabetes data. A choice of graphic reports helps you identify trends and patterns in your blood sugar levels to support better management of your diabetes.

What are your favourite diabetes apps? Let us know in the comments and we’ll include them!