live with physical challenges.
I am NOT a DOCTOR!!! I don't even play one on TV!!! It is my goal to live a more healthy lifestyle. Living well and being happy is what this blog is all about.

"Nothing,' wrote Tolstoy, 'can make our life, or the lives of other people, more
beautiful than perpetual kindness."

- Gretchen Rubin

I write about my own experiences and what works (or does not) for me. Nothing I write is to be taken as medical advice.

Only your health care provider, personal physician,Disclaimer:
I am not a doctor - I don't even play one on TV! This
or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Learn Your A B C's

A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.  - Unknown
From the time I was diagnosed, I've had "chronic disease" checkups every six months.  It consists of a lot of blood drawing and other tests to determine if everything inside is working as it should. 

There are three test results your doctor takes very seriously:

A = A1c

To watch your overall glucose control, your doctor should measure your A1C level at least twice a year. There are times when you need to have your A1C level tested about every 3 months. If you change diabetes treatment, such as start a new medicine, or if you are not meeting your blood glucose goals, you and your doctor will want to keep a closer eye on your control.  The A1C test measures your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months.  It's very important to have this test consistently done to assure proper monitoring of your glucose.  By measuring the percentage of A1C in the blood, you get an overview of your average blood glucose control for the past few months.

B = Blood Pressure

An important part of taking care of yourself is keeping your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, raises your risk for heart attack, stroke, eye problems, and kidney disease.  If you can possibly monitor your blood pressure with a machine at home, it would be beneficial to do that and keep a record of readings with you to take to your doctor's office.  When they take my blood pressure in the office it's always quite high because I get nervous and develop "white coat syndrome".  For some reason my blood pressure goes up when I'm at my doctor's office.  I show my doctor the record I keep at home to get a more true idea of the pattern my blood pressure takes.

C = Cholesterol

Managing your cholesterol and other blood lipids (also called blood fats) can help you prevent other problems. If your blood lipids are off target, your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke goes up.

  • LDL cholesterol is sometimes called bad cholesterol. It can narrow or block your blood vessels. Blocked vessels can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Reaching your LDL target is the best way to protect your heart and blood vessels.

  • HDL cholesterol is sometimes called good cholesterol. It helps remove deposits from the insides of your blood vessels and keeps your blood vessels from getting blocked.

  • Triglycerides are another kind of lipid. High triglycerides raise your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

  • Many people with diabetes also have low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides. But if you take steps to keep these numbers within the target range, you’ll lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

    Here's the part where I get to preach - at you and me.  By adopting a lifestyle change and lowering these numbers, there's hope for a healthy, happy future!  What does it take?  I'm glad you asked!

    Proper Nutrition 

    Real food from the earth.  Anything that comes out of a box, can, or sometimes even a frozen package is suspect.  Always read the label on any packaged food item.  Fresh is always best and frozen is second best.  No, I don't mean the ice cream section!  Frozen vegetables are a close second to fresh, but fresh is always best.  Organic costs a little more but depending on the vegetable, sometimes it's worth it.  Buy organic if the vegetable has a thin skin (carrots, for example).  Avocados have a nice thick skin so you don't have to buy organic avocados.  The same rule applies when buying fruit.  Thin skin fruits should be organic (apples and grapes, for example).  

    Lean protein is best.  Avoid red meat and pork.  If you have to eat bacon, eat turkey bacon.  Another good source of protein is nuts and legumes.  Beans, especially baby Lima beans are an excellent source of protein.  Read the label on canned beans before you buy them.  Remember, sugar isn't always listed as sugar.  Sometimes sugar travels incognito and uses an alias such as "high fructose corn syrup".  Watch out!  Sugar is sneaky!

    Watch labels for fat as well.  Fat also has some sneaky names such as "partially hydrogenated", which means that more than likely there are some trans fats there (even if the label says otherwise).  Some peanut butter has this kind of fat in it.  Most manufacturers have gotten wise to this and have changed their recipes to be more fat-friendly, but there are still some that have not.  Be careful.  

    Part of keeping blood pressure in check is to limit sodium intake.  Most diabetics take a medication for blood pressure, but it's still a good idea to read labels and keep track of sodium intake.  People with diabetes should have no more than 1,500 mg. of sodium per day.   

    Bottom line - read the labels.  It's your health - take charge of it by looking at labels.

    Exercise Every Day

    Whoops!!!!!!  Now I've gone and done it!!!!!!!  I said the "E" word!!!!!!!  Somebody smack me!  The fact of the matter is - if you're going to put energy in your body, you have to work energy off in order to maintain a healthy body.  Simple physics.  Easier said than done?  Oh, you bet!  Ask me on a day when my sciatica is in full force how easy it is for me to walk or ride the bike!  Yeah, I know - exercise is a bear!  Some days I ride that bike with an ice pack on my back.  Those are days I have to make sure I have some great comedy show DVD popped in the player to watch while I ride!

    I know for a lot of people it's the time factor - not enough time in the day.  The truth is, we prioritize for the things that matter to us most.  You know it's true - I know it's true.  It's important for me to talk with my friends on facebook every single day.  Funny, but a lot of my friends on facebook have never met me face to face - but it's important that I keep communicating with them.  As much as I enjoy that time, I also look forward to the day when my health is fully restored.  It's important that I do everything I possibly can to make that happen.  This is a priority and so I make the time for exercise.

    Hydrate Often

    Whatever it takes to make you drink water - do it!  Healthy, happy kidneys depend on water consumption.  How do you know how much water to drink?

    1.  Weigh yourself (yeah, off to a bad start, eh?)

    2.  Multiply your weight x 2/3  (For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, 2/3 of that is 100).

    3.  This is the number of ounces of water you should drink every day.

    Some things to note:

    Add 12 ounces of water for every 30 minutes you work out.  The easiest way to ensure you drink the right amount of water daily is to buy a reusable container that you can refill throughout the day.  Water has some amazing qualities.  It fills your stomach so you don't feel as hungry.  If you drink a couple of glasses of water before each meal (yes, even breakfast) it helps you with portion control.  Water also plumps your skin, which in turn keeps those fine lines and wrinkles at bay.  Yay!  Better blood flow is thought to be caused by a more liberal intake of water. The blood of someone with high glucose is like syrup, thick and sticky.  Proper water consumption along with proper nutrition and exercise may help postpone or even prevent complications of diabetes!  This is huge!

    My mama used to say, "just water it down" when something she was cooking got too thick.  It's the same principle with the blood of a diabetic.  These small changes make such an enormous difference in the long run!  I guarantee when you make up your mind and determine to turn this thing around, you will feel like a new person - literally!!!

    Develop A Positive Attitude

    Never underestimate the power of positive thinking!  The concept of mind over matter is as old as time itself, but has stood the test of time.  I'm excited to think that there is a chance that I can live a happy and healthy life with a few tweaks in my behavior.  Maybe I'm just an eternal optimist, but that's alright.  I hold on to hope and will keep holding on just as long as I have breath in me.

    I hope you read all of this very carefully and took plenty of notes because this is your health and it's in your hands!

    Take a look at this fun article I wrote last July 4th as the fireworks were being shot all around us.  It's entitled, "How Can I Get My Beauty Sleep With The War Of 1812 Going On Outside My Window?"  


    Today is GUY FAWKES DAY!!!!!!!!!!  Have a blast!!!!!!!! 


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