The Missing Piece of the Diabetes Puzzle
Modern medicine operates much like a farmer who fixes his fences only after the horses or cows have broken out. Hence, most serious health conditions incubate for years before they are diagnosed. This is certainly true of type 2 diabetes.
A couple of weeks ago, I read a timely article in Life Extension magazine entitled “Glucose: The Silent Killer.” In addition to summarizing all of the really bad things that excess blood sugar can do to your body, the article documented an important fact: By the time you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you’ve actually had blood sugar problems for years. (Note: Do not confuse type 1 diabetes with type 2 diabetes. They are really very different. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, which begins in childhood and requires insulin. Type 2 diabetes, also called diabesity, is related to your diet and lifestyle.)
I certainly knew this to be true, and I have written about it in my books. But there is a new piece to the puzzle: We’ve set the range for normal blood sugar too high. Recent studies indicate that fasting glucose levels should be in the range of 70–85 mg/dL. Unfortunately, most standard labs give the upper limit of normal for a fasting blood sugar at 99 mg/dL. That’s too high!
In addition, blood sugar levels after a meal should not spike more than 40 mg/dL higher than your fasting level. This means that your blood sugar level should be in the range of 110–125mg/dL one or two hours after a meal.
After reading this compelling new data on blood sugar, I decided to test my own blood sugar on a regular basis to see how I was doing—to take my health into my own hands. Taking control of your health starts with knowing where you stand. You don’t need to wait! I sure didn’t. (I have a family history of cardiovascular disease, so doing what I can to keep my blood sugar normal is a good way to support my heart, and so forth.) The first thing I did was consult with my Facebook community. I have a lot of “experts” there — individuals with diabetes who regularly check their own blood sugar. After getting some opinions, I bought a One Touch Ultra Glucometer on Amazon.com, along with lancets and blood sugar strips. Ingenious, simple, and oh-so empowering!
I quickly discovered that my blood sugar never went above 120 mg/dL. Probably because I have pretty much quelled my excess sugar cravings over the years by focusing on lots of activities that bring sweetness into my life in other ways besides eating sugar. This includes dancing tango in close embrace, listening to good music, de-cluttering my house, doing work I love, and taking long baths while reading good novels or looking out the window at the river. I have created a personal paradise for myself. This process has taken a lifetime and began in earnest during perimenopause—the time of life when most women first develop blood sugar and blood pressure problems.
I encourage you to do the same. Be kind and gentle with yourself if you’re not there yet. (I realize that I am reporting from the front lines here!) Bringing sweetness of other kinds into your life will bolster your health, allow you to enjoy your life even more, and help you curb those carb cravings! Don’t get me wrong. I crave a gooey chocolate brownie, just like you might. So, from time to time, I indulge without going overboard and savor every bite. But I want to continue to flourish in the personal paradise I’ve created. And that means doing what I can to keep my blood sugar levels normal.
If you’re checking your blood sugar levels regularly, if you’ve figured out a way to curb your sugar cravings, or if you just like what you’ve read, please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.
Photo credit: Steve Rothman