Welcome to our little club. While I'm certainly not a doctor, those fasting levels do certain sound consistent with diabetes! So do your symptoms. In any event, following the a diet suited for diabetics and a good exercise plan will help you immensely before you get back to civilization, so to speak.
Many here have MUCH more experience than I do with all this, but having gleaned MUCH from their posts I would recommend the following: small frequent meals/snacks that feature lean protein and veggies. Starchy foods spike bs including: white flour and potatoes, many fruits, sugar in ANY form. Personally, I can't touch a lot of things others can ... it's all so individual. Your new best friend will be that blasted meter. Test upon arising, before a meal, two hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Doing that will give you a pretty good idea of how different food works in your system.
Eat frequently in SMALL amounts. A handful of nuts is a GREAT snack!!! Your goal is to keep that bs consistent and happy.
Personally I'd love to hear how this goes for you. When my youngest graduates from high school I would like to consider some opportunities abroad but am curious how diabetics do with that. I 'm a diet/exercise person so wonder if "healthy food" is available. I'm a teacher and am considering doing some sort of "Teachers Without Borders" type of thing.
Where are you now?
Here's my two cents and, like Ruth, I'm not a doctor but I'm controlling this with diet and exercise and have learned a lot by reading through the postings on this forum. You might want to read back through some of them. Knowing what your blood sugar readings are is the best first step in figuring out what and how much to eat. As Ruth said, choose lots of vegetables with fish, lean meats and chicken. Stay away from the starches like white rice, potatoes and breads or at least eat them in moderation if your blood sugar levels don't rise to dangerous levels. Get some exercise in like walking for about 20 minutes everyday. When I lived in W. Africa and Iran, everyone ate rice everyday, sometimes twice a day. If I'd been diabetic at that time, I would have chosen to eat only the meats and vegetables they served with the rice - and that's what I do now at home (US). Luckily, those places didn't have processed food or cakes and cookies and candy everywhere you turned, so if where you're living has a pretty simple lifestyle, that's better than living amongst all the junk food we have here. Natural peanut butter (no sugar and no salt) is good (and most nuts I think) in moderation. You might use cinnamon with your food. Some studies say it can help with blood sugar. If you do eat a heavy meal even with the "good" foods, your blood sugar readings may be higher than you want. Making your meals smaller but eating more frequently may keep the numbers in line. You'll be able to figure out how to control the numbers when you see your readings. And do keep a food journal so you know how certain food affects the readings. Other members will be along soon, I imagine, with more expert advice. Hang in there.
Ok, for what its worth you are on the LOW end of the scale for diabetics. Yes, you definately did the right thing by ordering in a meter and thinking about doing testing every day (right now the most important number for you is that number right after you get up in the morning). 136, thats not so bad. 185, thats worse but not like 250 or 350 which is what most full blown type twos can run unmedicated in the morning. Now don't get me wrong, 185 means there is definately something wrong but what Im telling you is that if you really tend to run around 130-140 in the morning, there is probably a very good chance that with religious diet and exercise you can get your numbers back into a "good" range.
However if you are averaging around 185 most mornings, the diet and exercise will help, but you are probably gonna need some medicinal help to get back to normal. If this is the case, Metformin is a fairly common drug in most 3rd world countries and probably available in most clinics to you. This is the "beginning" diabetic drug for most people and the one that right now will probably help you the most. A dose of 500mg twice a day is a good beginning dose that shouldn't hurt you a bit but should help you immensely. You can even buy this over the internet and have it shipped to where you are and its very very inexpensive.
Now, as to what can happen if you go unchecked/untreated for 18 months?? Well, if your at the "185" or higher level, things will get progressively worse. At this level, diet and exercise aren't going to control your diabetes and it WILL get worse. How bad can it get? In 18 months you can start to suffer nerve damage in your feet, possibly do some damage to your kidneys and definately lay some serious foundations for heart disease as well as do some damage to your retina's. Yes, all this can happen in 18 months, so even if you have to self medicate, I've given you a good starting point for being in a 3rd world country. If you do decide to self medicate (and this would be ONLY because you can't get to a Doc in the country where you are), make sure you go to one of the internet sites and read the warnings and side effects for Metformin. MOST people tolerate it extremely well, but best to know what your playing with. Hope this helps. Feel free to ask questions in this forum and if you don't have access to a Dr., we will try to help you make with your decisions!
Wow, thanks guys. I appreciate all of the advice and tips. To celebrate I ate wheat toast and cream cheese followed by granola! Did I get my snack right? I even integrated cinammon!
So, it sounds as though I may be in the low range, which makes me hopefull, and I am glad I did the right thing ordering a meter. That makes me feel more confident.I am doing measurement and statistical work in my present position, so whichever doctor gets my data is in for it!
Now that I know what I am facing, there must be a psychosomatic element to this, because now I am getting close to blacking out during excercise, something I most certainly did NOT experience previously. Feels similar to when you jump up suddenly from a seated or reclined position.
I have a question for you knowledgeable MedHeads: Is tingling/burning of the extremities a function of neuropathy, or is it related to circulation? The second symptom I identified was a marked decrease in circulation to my hands and feet, noticeable during excercise and at night. They "tingle" just like when you fall alseep on your hand the wrong way at night, or such. Is circulation to the extremities compromised in diabetics? Is this why amputations occur?
Last nutty question, are there any SCUBA enthusiasts here that dive despite their condition?
Thank You all again for your excellent commentary. You have informed me, and even put me a bit at ease. I appreciate that.
What an insidious evil little disease. My God, to think that this is caused by one of the most simple compounds found everywhere in nature. What has gone wrong in our evolution to allow such catastrophic damage to befall us? You would imagine that after millions of years of evolution that our bodies would have a backup pathway to deal with this sort of thing.
I have been reading, and it appears as though the reasons for diabetes are as varied as its symptoms. Inoculations seem to be a popular suspect. Boy do we get plenty of those; 6 different Anthrax vaccinations, smallpox, MMR, Rubella, Annual Flu, Hep, all of the standard childhood Vac's, and not to mention daily doxycycline for the last 13 months to protect against Malaria. Or Mefliquine weekly.
If we are doing this to ourselves to protect against common disease, that is just so ironic. Where are the hard federal studies on this pandemic, anyhow? Shouldn't this be National Objective #1 if so many Americans are at risk? I see that even the Chinese are now recognizing this killer as well. No doubt all developed nations have a head start given our ample food supplies and couch potato lifestyles.
And in researching the treatment options, in almost 100 years what great technological leaps have we made? Aerosolized Insulin that damages the lung. Wow. We put men on the moon, robots on Mars, eradicate Polio, Small Pox, and crush 12 cancers, but we are still injecting Insulin. How about monitoring? 10 sticks a day? Ridiculous. We can send cameras through a human digestive track and diagnose illness. We can monitor oxygen saturation with lasers, but we cannot develop an implant that can measure and transmit glucose levels in real time? No laser that can penetrate skin and measure levels? This is a conspiracy. What other diseases or conditions cause such widespread systemic damage? Sure, they are out there, but what the heck? Who are we, mud?
This is sad for so many reasons. Did our bodies betray us, or did we betray our bodies? It’s nice to see the benefits of 10 mile runs at 5 am, healthy eating habits, abstaining from tobacco and alcohol, and just generally taking care of my body. For what? For the chance to die blind without sensation in my fingers? Of a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, pancreatic cancer, what else? I'm sure there are a dozen other ways.
I tell you, this might be a rare opportunity for you veterans out there to see how a new guy responds to his diagnoses. I don’t know what I would do if I was not married. I can’t even tell my wife about this until I can get back to the US in 4 months, she doesn’t deserve the stress. Probably pursue some dangerous lifestyle like bull fighting, skydiving, or becoming a Republican and move to California. I think this is what is known as the "Anger" phase of acceptance, agreed? How can humans be so strong and adaptable, and yet so very fragile at the same time? The very same molecule that makes is killing us. Life is killing us. Is this not profound? Carbon Hydrogen and Oxygen.
Boy do I owe you guys for having to read this. I have no one I can vent to as this condition will effectively end my career, so you guys are it. I do appreciate it. All I can offer in return is support in those areas that I am competent to comment on. Thank You.
Wow, Mac, sort of hard to reply to your last post. If there's no way for you to leave early to come home, then the bottom line for you at this point since you're going to be there for 4 more months is to watch your diet and exercise. It sounds like you're obviously already doing the exercise. Keep measuring your blood sugar and adjust your diet if you can if your numbers are high. Stick to fish, chicken and low-fat meats and lots of vegetables. Drink lots of water or unsweetened tea. Have smaller portions at meals; smaller but more frequent meals. If there isn't much meat there, eat some beans but not in large quantities as they might raise the readings. I think you'd said you were keeping a food journal so you'll know what food/meals give what numbers. You're probably through with vaccinations except maybe gamma gobulin and taking the malaria medicine. Don't skip the malaria medicine. (I did and malaria is not a pretty illness.) I'm not sure how you can deal with stress but it can raise your numbers. Since you can access the Internet, you've got lots of infomation in your hands. Good luck and stay well.
Oh hey Mac, you have lots of reasons to be angry, I'm sure. Carbohydrates are what raise the blood sugar to bad levels. So, breads, cakes, white rice, potatoes will do that. Even different fruit has different glycemic values and that's why you need a list of the glycemic index of foods. You can Google for lists. If you do eat any carbs, be sure to also eat proteins like meat, chicken or fish or even peanut butter (the natural kind with no sugar). That's supposed to "balance" the carbs. (I wishe that worked for me but it doesn't.) Honey is natural sugar and will raise the b.s. levels, too. Whole grains in bread or cereal have fiber which is good even though they're carbs but it takes the body awhile to process them, so shouldn't cause high spikes - but you will know how your body reacts to different food because you're monitoring your blood sugar. If you're eating any processed food from mixes, boxed food, etc, check out the carbs and sugars on the package. Processed food has so many additives, so it's better to prepare the food fresh yourself. Rather than 3 big meals a day, try to spread the food out at maybe 4 or 5 different times. If you eat a really huge meal of "good" food, you b.s. might still end up high only because of the quantity you eat. A glass of wine with dinner is supposed to be ok. I don't know about beer or hard liquor. (And, hey, I remember those gamma shots. You know if you stand on the opposite leg when you get the shot in the other side, it's not supposed to be as bad.)
Take care and just be methodical with what you eat while you're there.
If you can get a hold of it, long grain rice has got a much lower GI (glycemic index, a measure of the effect of carbs on your bs levels) than the normal stuff. Thank heavens for that as my wife makes a great chicken curry!! There are quite a few fruits you can eat that have a low GI too, although I know that GI is not the be-all and end all. GL (glycemic load. GI x carb) is another useful gauge. Where you are, you probably won't see anything with a GI number, but if you do, below 55 is low, 56-75 is intermediate and above 75 is high. There are loads of sites that can give you more of an idea. Any grained bread is better than white or even brown. If you ever make down and to the right of where you are (to the Western shores of Australia), I'll buy you a (really neat) low carb beer! Any info that might be more local to our area that you might need, let me know. Otherwise, you've have come to exactly the right place. Great advice from those that know. The people on this board rock!
Post Edited (Jeannie143) : 2/27/2007 8:27:22 PM (GMT-7)