Flash glucose monitoring, treatments, diet: keeping type-2 diabetes under control
Published 27 Jan 2020 • Updated 28 Jan 2020 • By Andrea Barcia
How can you keep type-2 diabetes under control and what tools can help you get there? Paracelsus, a Carenity member living in Spain, talks to us about his diagnosis, how he's doing today and how he keeps his blood sugar levels in check using a flash glucose monitor.
Type-2 diabetes, a silent enemy caught late in the game
"I found out I was diabetic in 2008 when I was 48, but I probably had blood sugar levels much higher than normal long before that (for at least at 8 years). I took a standard medical exam to get my pilot's licence and that's when I was told I had diabetes, the silent enemy. Hello diabetes, dyslipidemia, saturated fat, cholesterol and triglycerides...(not) pleased to make your acquaintance!
Strangely enough, my mother was diagnosed at the age of 50 and she died 31 years later - last year. In my family, besides my mum, my grandfather was also diabetic. The apple doesn't far fall from the tree.
Medication and diet: the heart of my treatment
I placed my trust in an endocrinologist who prescribed two medications: METFORMIN and FENIFIBRATE and one hour of brisk walking per day.
At first, I didn't really watch what I ate; I thought I only needed to avoid sugar, but diabetes touches all the foods I liked to eat on daily basis, like toast at breakfast, white rice and even potatoes which can make blood sugar spike. Alas, I learned all of that later, thanks to Freestyle Libre. I had no idea what my blood glucose levels were, no idea what the repercussions of eating three pieces of bread would be, even if I bought whole-grain. For a little while, I tried an "alternative" treatment that was a total fail and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
I think this happy go lucky attitude is what got me pancreatitis in 2010. It could've killed me but, thank God, I'm still here somehow. I wasn't my time. Finally, "thanks" to the pancreatitis, I learned how to control my diabetes (excess of triglycerides very highs levels of them is one of the causes of diabetes).
I used a glucose monitor to keep my diabetes under control
My endocrinologist told me to get a Freestyle Libre glucose monitor, even if I had to wait 8 months before I finally got my hands on one. I was ready to beat my blood sugar levels back into submissions! And I started to notice things, details about my diabetes that I had never realised, for instance, what foods make my glucose spike. The paella at my favourite restaurant, the one they cook over a wood-burning stove, the one I adore, makes my blood glucose levels rise over 350. I would've never known otherwise. So goodbye paella and rice, hello pears and semolina! I also started adding walnuts into my diet, since they help raise good cholesterol.
Really, this device, with its little patch on my arm, has changed my entire philosophy on diabetes, even if the measurements the device gives can vary a lot at the beginning. But after a period of about 90 days, the glycosylation on the screen and on the connected computer are more or less the same as what I would get from a blood test.
"You absolutely must watch what you eat and get a feeling for variations in blood sugar levels after every meal."
The Freestyle Libre lets me organise my exercise better. For example, I always take a walk after breakfast (I'm a freelance journalist, so I can get away with it), which means my blood sugar levels lower out before lunchtime. I walk for 40 minutes. 20 extra minutes in the afternoon. Walking has a positive effect also after supper if I want to go to bed with a maximum of 150 and wake up with 130-150 and not 180 because I ate supper late.
I've passed all my periodic eye exams, my kidney function is good, and there are no symptoms of neuropathies, nerve or sensibility deterioration. I take care with what I eat and consume to stay healthy."
A big thank you to our member for sharing his story!
What about you, how do you keep your diabetes under control?
Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this testimonial are the member's and in no way constitutes an endorsement of a particular treatment. Besides Freestyle libre offered under the NHS's Flash programme, there are many other glucose monitors on the market such as Accu-Chek (ROCHE), Glucocard (ARKRAY), Contour Next / Contour Link (BAYER), OneTouch (LIFESCAN), StatStrip (NOVA BIOMEDICAL), etc. Talk to your doctor before making any changes in your treatment.
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