So, You Think You Know Diabetes #14-The FINALE!

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the final edition of “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”.

I’ve covered about every aspect of diabetes that I could feasibly cover.  There are so many more, both about the good and the bad; focusing more on the struggle of being a carer, but instead, I’m going to leave you with this.

Don’t give up!

Seriously.  Both carers and sufferers, don’t give up.  Sure, there are the ups and downs, but that’s how life goes.  Everything has their ups and downs.  You just have to fight through them, and come out stronger in the end.  Life is cruel, and plays unfairly.  It’s a matter of playing that hand that you are dealt in a way that you can, at least for the time being, overcome life’s obstacles.

Yeesh.  That was a cliche train if I’ve ever seen one.  Sorry folks.  But seriously though.  Diabetes is an ever shifting illness that does require constant vigilance from those who have it, and support from those who love them.

That’s about all I can do from here.  If you want to chat about diabetes, or anything else in general, hit me up.  Comment, message, hit the Twittah machine.  Even if you just need someone to vent to, or bounce ideas off of, I’m here for you.

That’s all I’ve got for this series folks.  Thank you so much for coming along for the ride.  Next week will be something entirely different, and I’m sure that you’ll at least appreciate me diving back into my wrestling roots.  Don’t worry, I’ll try not to bore you.  Anyway, thank you for coming.  Until the next time…I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

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So, You Think You Know Diabetes #13

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”.  Today is a topic that is extremely close to my heart.  Why? It’s because it affected me personally.  I’m talking specifically to those of us who aren’t diabetics, but are the ones that care for these people who are afflicted with this chronic illness.

For us who are there, day after day, night after night, struggling along with a diabetic, you need to know that it isn’t easy.  I know there were times where I was incredibly frustrated having to adjust or have to sit up and wait while Beth’s blood sugar decided that it wanted to cooperate.  And I’m not going to lie.  Going in with the greatest of intentions of being the most supportive, caring person that one can be is hard.  And you’re gonna want to give up and quit.  But, you can’t.  Because you love that person.

So, what are you going to do? Get educated of course.  Read up on it.  Pay attention to their blood sugars.  In fact, paying attention is the best education one can obtain in terms of diabetes.  ‘Cause let’s face it, diabetes doesn’t act normally.  It doesn’t have a “set” way that it acts.  A lot of other factors will influence what happens to blood sugar.  Hormones can cause some major fluctuations.  Obviously, food and exercise have an effect on blood sugar.  Stress can also do really bad things for blood sugar.

So, what does that mean for your diabetic? Well, for one, keep them calm.  Don’t let them get stressed out, whether it’s you or something else that is stressing them out.  Obviously, if your diabetic is having problems with food, either stop eating that food; change up the insulin regime; or wait to see what happens.  Maybe, it’s a burst of hormones that are causing this sudden change in routine.  Speaking of routine, don’t settle down into one set routine.  Or if you have to have routines, don’t set it so rigidly.  Things are going to change.  From how much insulin is going to be done, to carb counting, to just various lifestyle changes in general, a routine is going to change.  Trust me when I say that it will be very difficult.  There will be a lot of late nights.  There will be random visits to the emergency room early in the morning.  There will be stressful days and nights ahead.  But, you must be strong.  You have to help take diabetes by the horns, and wrestle it down as best you can with your diabetic.  They could definitely use all the support that you can get.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Thanks for reading! Hopefully that my advice to you will be helpful in the future.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

So, You Think You Know Diabetes #12

Hello everyone, and welcome back once again to another edition of “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”.  Well, today’s topic is one that will agitate even the most oblivious type 1 diabetic, and that’s the social stigma and perception of diabetes.  Let us begin, shall we?

So, have you ever been hanging out in a store with a friend or a group of friends, and you’re just walking around, doing what friends do in stores.  Then, you come across something absurdly large in the candy aisle.  You all take a look at it; marvel and gawk at the fact that the candy companies can make their product this large for retail, and then someone says “well, that’ll give you diabetes”.  You stand there, flabbergasted, unable to get out your explanation as to why that won’t “give you diabetes” while also beating back the thoughts of bashing their head in with said giant chocolate bar.

Before you go bludgeoning anyone with sugary items, let’s break it down as to why the public perception of diabetes is like that.  And it has to do with the fact that we, at least in American society, are trying to be extremely health conscious.  And one way to make people start to become health-conscious, is scare tactics.  What better way to make people worry about their health is to use…DIABETES! Remember when I linked back to the WHO’s press release on Type 2 diabetes, and how they list that the most common occurrence comes from a poor lifestyle.  How many commercials do you see for medication for those who are Type 2?

Now, I know I just unloaded on you guys.  But think about this for a second.  Diabetes is a life-long, chronic illness.  Do we make the same kind of jokes when it comes to other chronic illnesses? That’s what gets me the most about the public’s perception about diabetes.  Yes, it can be attributed to being unhealthy in terms of our lifestyle and the foods we eat. BUT, please, stop making jokes of it.  Hell, stop making jokes of ailments that do not affect you.  Seriously people.  There are times where we, as humanity, just need to grow up and say, “Hey, maybe this is harmful to some people.  Maybe we should stop.”

Yes, I did just unload on you.  But, to use a personal example.  When I started my job a couple of months back, we had gotten in these gigantic Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (1/2 lb each, and there’s two in the package).  Now, thankfully I didn’t hear more of these comments, but there were two people that commented that it would give you diabetes.  The first one, I let slide, but I admonished the second person for it.  Whoops.  Oh well.

And that’s all I’ve got for you folks.  Sorry if this turned out to be more of a rant on people’s ignorance rather than an analysis of public perception, but, sometimes, you have to let things get personal.  Thank you so much for reading, and until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

So, You Think You Know Diabetes #11

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”.  Well, we’re moving closer and closer to the end of the tunnel with this series.  Now, there are probably SO many topics left to cover, but, as a non-diabetic, I can only cover so many topics.  I couldn’t tell you the exact struggles a diabetic can go through EVERY day, or the fears of not being able to pay for their medical supplies.  Maybe one of these days I can talk a diabetic to doing a write-up on that point of view for me.  But, that’s for another day…possibly.  Anyway, that’s not what I want to talk about.  Instead, I want to talk about something that does hit much closer to home.  I’m being very literal with this one…

Image result for type 2 diabetes

My father is a Type 2, and he’s a very baaaaaaad one.  Granted, what I know of diabetic care and management, came from watching Beth.  And since I currently live at home with my parents, I might as well cover what I have come to understand about the more…widespread of the two major types of diabetes.

So, as we all know from an earlier post, Type 1 is when the pancreas cannot produce enough, or any, insulin to sustain the body. Well, with Type 2, the pancreas still functions, but at a reduced rate.  Now, that rate varies from person to person, and that’s where it gets complicated.  See, there are different “classifications” of Type 2 Diabetics.  There are those who only have to watch what they eat, and do occasional blood sugar checks.  Then, there are those like my father, who are put on insulin in order to help regulate their high blood sugar, along with meal control and exercise.  My father…isn’t one of those.  At least, from what I can see.  While he is getting better at it, he’s not checking his sugars nearly as often as he should be, and subsequently, can get to be a little high sometimes.

As for the cause of Type 2? That’s subject to debate.  An unhealthy lifestyle, according to WHO, is the primary cause of Type 2 diabetes.  But, there are other factors to think of, such as genetic anomalies that can lead to the development of Type 2.  If you want to learn more about what WHO thinks, click on the link, go down to the references, and click on #3.  If you can get past all of the medical jargon, you should do just fine.

Now, I’m not going to say too much more on this topic, because Type 2 is a pretty serious disease, and I’ve covered a lot of what can affect both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics throughout the previous installments.  However, the next couple of weeks are going to sound a little bitter.  You’ll see why soon enough.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

So, You Think You Know Diabetes #10

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”! Now, last week, we covered pumps, the current technology in insulin care.  And at the end, I said that I was going to come back this week and cover…

Image result for The Future

Well, here I am.  And the future is getting ever closer to becoming the “now”.  Introducing…

Image result for artificial pancreas

Yes.  There is new and upcoming technology called the artificial pancreas that is supposed to do much more than what the insulin pump currently provides diabetics. Are you standing there with a confused look on your face.  Here, let me explain.

In 2006, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) started the Artificial Pancreas Project in 2006, in order to eventually come to the ultimate goal of having a fully functional artificial pancreas that can take a lot of the work and worry out of diabetes management.  Slowly, but surely, little advancements in the science have pushed this goal ever closer.  Starting with the development and usage of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) (which the FDA first approved in 2004 for patient use), to the development of the “closed-loop system” that is showing promise in clinical trials.

Speaking of, you probably just looked at “closed-loop”and went “huh?”.  Easier to explain.  Simply: In order for an artificial pancreas system to function completely like a healthy human pancreas, it has to be able to completely automatic in the release of insulin.  That sounds promising, doesn’t it? I know it does for me.  That’s where the FDA comes in.

Picture of the device.

Meet the Medtronic MiniMed 670G Hybrid Closed-Loop System.  It’s the latest advancement in artificial pancreas technology.  The reason why it’s a hybrid closed-loop system is because it’s not completely automated.  It only will administer the basal dosage; not calculate and deliver bolus dosages for mealtimes and other corrections.  But, this is just the beginning.  Technology continues to advance further along, and there will come a time in the not-so-distant future that a system like this will be able to do both basal and bolus deliveries, with little manual corrections from the diabetic.

This is a topic that I’m really going to follow for probably the rest of my life.  After being a main support pillar for a diabetic for seven years, diabetes awareness has become part of my focus in life.  If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this series for you to read today.

I hope this gets both diabetes and non-diabetics excited for the future.  I’m including a read below.  It’s going to be rather lengthy, thick, and full of a lot of medical and legal terminology that will make even an expert’s head spin.  But, I think it’ll be worth reading through it.  So, until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

A “Light” Reading

So, You Think You Know Diabetes #9

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”.  Now that we’ve gone through some of the long-term complications, both physically and mentally, I want to cover something can actually help a diabetic monitor their diabetes.  And no, it’s not a human.

Image result for diabetic pump

Now, let’s get right into the history of the insulin pump.  Back in the early 1960s, this is what your pump would look like…

Imagine having to be strapped to that thing! Having to carry that around on your back constantly.  Now, the phrase “bigger isn’t always better” definitely applies here.  Thankfully, time, and technological advances have shrank the pumps down significantly.  For those of you who are on a pump, you should thank the creator of the AutoSyringe model, which was also large and clunky, and were difficult to operate.

Nowadays, a pump is about the size of a wearable pager, and is a lot easier to manage.  While there’s still a good amount of work that one has to do with a pump, by keeping the injection site and all of the equipment clean; keeping the pump full of insulin; and continuously checking one’s blood sugar so the basal dosgae can be adjusted and a bolus can be calculated.

There are two ways for a pump to administer insulin, either by a basal dosage or through a bolus.  Now, that probably didn’t make any sense, but let me explain.  For a “basal” dosage, it’s a steady stream of insulin that is administered by the pump.  Meanwhile, a “bolus” dosage is the extra insulin that one would do during meal time.

Now, one of the major drawbacks of having an insulin pump is that it is so expensive.  Insurance providers are very reluctant to cover any long-term medical conditions, let alone the supplies to keep those inflicted alive.  However, there are a lot of positives for the pump that vastly outweigh the negatives in the long term.  Sure, one might need to constantly monitor the injection site to make sure that it is still in the skin, but being able to not worry about the dangers of having low blood sugar and help combat the highs.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week for insulin pumps.  Next week, I’ll cover the impending future in diabetic technology.  Until then, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

So, You Think You Know Diabetes #8

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”.  Now, I was originally going to talk about diabetic foot here, but there’s only so many pictures of foot ulcers that I can stare at before I start to feel uneasy.  So, I decided to drop the topic.  And that’s fine.  Now, I’ve been doing this for a couple of months, and even though it’s probably understood, I must say that I am not a replacement for a medical professional.  Now, if you have some of these signs and symptoms of some of the topics brought up in this segment, please go see a medical professional.  But, now on to today’s topic:

Image result for diabetes distress

We’re going to talk about the toll that diabetes takes on a person mentally.  Let’s face it.  Diabetes is a stressful disease, when properly controlled.  Constant blood sugar checks, knowing how much insulin to do for each meal by counting carbs, constant checks for any long-term complications; it’s enough to drive a person mad.  And, I’m pretty sure that most diabetics are. But, they are a strong breed of people. But, even they can suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Those that suffer from diabetic distress may show it in the form of depression.  This depression is more focused on the fact that they have a lifelong disease, but they are tired of fighting it.  Or they may be tired of hearing the social stigma about diabetes, or they may worry about their future living with diabetes.  They may feel like they are a burden on those around them.  Now, besides getting treatment from a licensed medical professional, I have to say that if you are suffering from diabetic distress, one needs to take a step back and analyze what is going on.  Is something in the way that the plan has changed in a big way? Like taking everything that one has known, and turned on its head? Make the changes small.  If that’s not the case, talk with people, especially those who have an idea of what one is going through.

Now, looking back at my time with Beth, there have probably been at least one time where I can say that I suffered from diabetic distress.  Yes, me, a non-diabetic, was suffering from diabetic distress.  It’s probably not called diabetic distress. But, those of us who are either caring for, cared for, or in constant support of a diabetic (whether it’s a child or other family member), this disease takes a toll on us as well.  Yes, we have absolutely no idea exactly what you, the diabetic, are going through, but, at least are going to try to make sure that you are going to live.  Because we love you and don’t want to see you suffer from the many symptoms and side-effects of diabetes.

For those of you who may be struggling with diabetic distress in one way or another, reach out.  Get some help and support.  Use your loved ones.  Heck, use me.  As I said, I may not know what you are going through personally, but, after helping Beth manage her diabetes for seven years, I might know a thing or two.

That’s all I’ve got for you today folks.  Next week should be a livelier topic.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.