In this post, I will discuss blood sugar measurements and whether it is something that a type 2 diabetic can benefit from.
But first, as usual, a little update on the physical activities that I challenge myself with:
Hiking in the mountains of Hardangervidda, Norway, in early September.
Nothing beats Norway's nature up there in the mountains, and my son and I went on some hikes both above the treeline, where there was a little snow, and further down where there were trees and more lush vegetation. My son took the difficult route, and I took the slightly easier one. The first day was with full gear, but fortunately, the following days were day trips where I only needed a small backpack.
The other day, I walked Amarminoen from DR-byen to Dragør. A lovely trip of 27 km through the beautiful nature of the commons and coastal areas. It is highly recommended.
Blood Sugar Measurements
According to the Service Law, municipalities CAN provide grants for measuring equipment, i.e., strips, lancets, and blood sugar meters, but it seems that municipalities have found a place where they can save some money, as you often hear that grants are denied – and also that doctors do not consider it necessary. I have a pretty firm opinion about this.
I think it is a very short-sighted and one-sided saving, as the saving will undoubtedly result in more diabetes-related complications in the future, and the costs of treating these will increase. If you use blood sugar measurements to test the impact of foods on blood sugar, and thus also insulin levels, you can adjust your diet based on the measurements, so that blood sugar is less affected with fewer peaks and valleys, and the insulin level in the blood will be lower and more stable.
When I started to take an interest in the disease and its causes and risks, I tested all the foods that I normally consumed, and it meant quite a significant change in the staple foods in my diet. I decided that I would not have a higher blood sugar peak than max 8 mmol/l after a meal (45-60 min after where it almost always peaks), and a maximum increase of 2 mmol/l. For example, a small portion of oatmeal caused my blood sugar to rise quickly and too high, so it was completely removed from my diet.
It is otherwise a food recommended by the official dietary guidelines and claimed to be slow carbohydrates. If I had not measured my blood sugar myself, I would still eat oatmeal with great pleasure and believe that it is the healthiest food in the world.
There are also many healthy things in it, including dietary fibers, but also far too many fast carbohydrates.
I used plenty of strips in the first few months, which I bought myself, but after these many measurements to find the right and healthiest foods, I no longer needed to measure so often. Only if I need to test something new and to see the status of my general blood sugar, i.e., measuring fasting blood sugar in the morning. The very best thing to use to find your carbohydrate threshold and the healthiest foods is a CGM (continuous glucose monitor), such as Freestyle Libre, which I also use occasionally and again at my own expense. It is close to impossible to get a grant for a CGM as a type 2 diabetic.
The picture nicely shows what you also uncover when testing different foods by measuring blood sugar after eating.
Carbohydrates have a significant impact.
Protein has some effect.
Fat has very little impact.
Some doctors apparently believe that it is sufficient for a diabetic to have their HbA1c measured a couple of times a year, and they do not need to measure it themselves on a daily basis. In my opinion, this is a fundamentally incorrect assessment. An HbA1c merely shows the average blood sugar levels over the past 3-4 months. There can be too many unhealthy high and low blood sugar peaks and valleys hidden within a possibly satisfactory HbA1c. It is not the HbA1c itself that causes complications, but rather the high and low blood sugars that have created the current HbA1c... and nobody knows about these blood sugars if they are not measured.
Not measuring one's blood sugar, I compare to driving a car in the dark without headlights. Perhaps it goes well, but there is a great risk of ending up in the ditch.
However, undoubtedly, some diabetics feel better not measuring their blood sugar themselves because it stresses them out to measure, as well as the results of the measurements and what they should do if their blood sugar is too high. Nevertheless, I believe it should be up to the individual diabetic whether they want to measure or not. Personally, it would stress me out a lot if I did not measure my blood sugar because through the measurements, I feel that I can control the disease and keep it at bay with the right foods and also exercise. I am convinced that it is my blood sugar measurements that allow me to still keep the disease at bay after 14 years with it in my backpack.
Feel free to comment on my post.