Dexcom Arm Site – I’m Such A Wuss!

dexcomarmsiteI am such a diabetic wuss.  Why do I say that?  Because I just put my Dexcom G4 sensor on my ARM for the first time, and that mofo HURRRRRRT.  OH – MY – GOD.  Danica, YOU LIED!  LOL!  At least I finally did it though.  I’ve been wanting to forever, I’ve just been afraid to.  Girls everywhere where their Dex on their arm, and this diabetic MAN with 43 years of experience, who just completed a workout program called Body Beast, . . . is afraid of a Dexcom arm site.  Mannnnnn that hurt.  I don’t know if I want to do that again, but at least now, 10 minutes later it’s only burning a wee bit.

My arms are really tiny as it is, and I just completed a really serious 90 day strength training program, so I’ve actually built more muscle in my arms, leaving very little fleshy area on the back of the arm.  I tried to fit the sensor over that little fleshy area, but I think I miscalculated the direction or angle of the needle insertion.  It felt like it went straight into muscle?  I hope it’s not a waste of a sensor?  I guess we’ll see how accurate the blood sugar numbers are soon.

I’d like to thank some members of the diabetic online community.  I’d like to thank Diabetic Danica of http://www.youtube.com/user/DiabeticDanica, Kim Vlasnik of http://www.textingmypancreas.com/, and Sarah Kaye of http://sugabetic.me/.  When I tweeted of my desire to eventually gain the courage to do this, Danica and Kim encouraged me to “man up”.  LOL!  Then I used Kim and Sarah’s YouTube videos to help me understand the mechanics of getting it inserted solo.  Please watch their videos below:

 

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Dexcom Review: Trusting the Dexcom G4

test drive 1 - G4 Platinum receiver-transmitterThis is my 6 month Dexcom review of the G4 continuous glucose monitor (CGM).  To get straight to the point, I think every diabetic should have a Dexcom G4 CGM.  One thing that we’re told when we get any CGM device, is that we still need to check our blood sugars normally by blood draw to calibrate, and I understand that, but when I had my Medtronic Guardian, I couldn’t trust that thing at all.  It made me check my blood sugar more often because I never trusted it.  With my Dexcom, I trust it, even when I haven’t calibrated it for 24 hours!  (Don’t do that BTW!)  Most importantly, is that with my Guardian CGM, it was the worst when my blood sugar was rising or crashing, but I trust my Dexcom to be accurate even when I’m rising or falling, which is when a diabetic needs their CGM to be accurate.

A couple days ago was the first nice, sunny, warm day we’ve had here in Iowa this spring.  Actually, it was earth day too I think?  Anyway, I decided to go throw some disc golf.  (If you haven’t noticed yet, I love to play disc golf.)  Normally I wear a fanny pack on the course with me, that has all my supplies in it.  Actually I go everywhere with it.  It’s been referred to by my friends as my diabetic man purse.  So I’m prepping my disc golf bag, and I realize this is the first time I will have gone disc golfing with my Dexcom because I got it in November.  So I decide to leave the fanny pack in the car, and just throw some glucose tabs in my bag, and my Dex in my pocket.  I played a round with no problems, secure in that my Dex was accurate, and I didn’t need to check my blood sugar while playing.  What freedom!

Today I did a foolish thing.  I left for work without my diabetic man purse.  When I realized I forgot it, I was to far from home to go get it and get to work on time.  I have a job where if you’re late for work, you can get fired, so I didn’t go home because I knew my Dex was in my front pocket.  However, I hadn’t calibrated it since I went to bed the night before.  I ate and bolused for breakfast and lunch, using my Dex as my guide for my blood sugar.  I checked it throughout the day, and was floating around 150, which I was happy with.  I got home and checked my blood sugar at about 8PM.  My Dex said it was 156, and my One Touch said it was 184.  I’ll take it!!!  Remember, this is nearly 24 hours since it’s last calibration!  (#winning)  Now of course I don’t recommend leaving your diabetic supplies at home, but when you happen to forget them like I did, you can trust your Dex to keep giving you accurate results for hours and hours.  If you tried that with the Medtronic, it would turn off the sensor when you didn’t calibrate it at the first warning alarm.  (#diafail)

To conclude, if you’re currently evaluating the Dexcom G4, I recommend you just call up Dexcom, tell them you want it, let them deal with your insurance, and wait to hear from them.  I don’t think you can lose.  Ever diabetic should have one of these.  Sound off if you agree!!!  (That means please leave a comment!)

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********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

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Have you ever had a diabetic seizure?

diabetic seizureI’ve been diabetic for 42 years.  I left home for college at 17.  I haven’t owned a glucagon shot since then.  I see a lot of people post blogs, videos, tweets, about having a glucagon shot in their diabetes bag, but I’ve never had one as an adult.  My parents kept them when I was a kid, and used them a few times, but I’ve never kept one as an adult.  I wondered if I was the only one who didn’t keep one, so I tweeted about it, and got tons of responses immediately from other type 1’s who don’t have them either.  So I guess I’m not alone.

What is glucagon?  Why does a diabetic keep a shot of it?  What does it do?  Well it comes in a shot because it’s for those times when you’re blood sugar is so low that you’re unconscious, or sleepy, or otherwise unable to eat carbs.  So it kinda needs someone else around to give you the shot.  If you live alone like me, what’s the point, right?  So back to what it does.  I’ll bet you know what insulin is?  Glucagon is the opposite of insulin.  It’s insulin’s sister hormone.  Insulin is a builder, and glucagon breaks things down.  The 2 can’t co-exist in the blood stream at the same time.  What glucagon does for a diabetic when it’s injected, is it places a high concentration of glucagon into the blood stream which quickly forces the liver to start converting (breaking down) glycogen into glucose, or converting protein (amino acids) into glucose via gluconeogenesis.    This quickly raises blood sugar so you can recover from your hypoglycemia.  So glucagon is for when you’re unable to help yourself out of hypoglycemia.

I can remember regularly. . . VIVIDLY . . . when I was a kid, having a diabetic seizure in my sleep from low blood sugar, and mom and dad trying to force different forms of sugar down my throat while I was seizing.  When I say vividly, I mean I can still see mom and dads faces hovering over me while seizing and I can see the bright light of the hallway behind them, shadowing their heads.  I can hear them yelling, urging me to eat what they were trying to force down my throat.  Honey, sugar cubes, juice, etc.  They didn’t believe me, but I was FULLY CONSCIOUS while I was seizing, and I always got furiously mad at them for trying to force that food my throat instead of letting me try to eat it myself.  A few times they used a glucagon shot to bring me out of those seizures, but when I saw them coming with that shot, I’d get the strength of bigfoot and I’d fight them.  (I used to have nightmares of bigfoot as a kid.)  They never believed I’d be ok, unless they did these things.  It’s ok mom and dad, I understand, BUT I WAS RIGHT!!!  LOL!!!

When I went away to college, I was lucky that I never had a seizure with roommates in the apartment.  Or did I?  Crap!  I don’t remember now.  John, Mike, do you remember if I did?  Anyway, after college, living alone, I did have seizures now and then.  Mom and dad never understood until I moved away, that I would come out of those seizures on my own, and I could then get glucose into my system on my own.  I was always 100% conscious, and aware of what was wrong, and what I needed, while seizing.  There’s one night in particular that I remember like it was yesterday.  It was probably 18 or so years ago.  I was seizing in my waterbed, which is a horrifying experience by the way, because as you’re seizing you’re arms and legs are outstretched trying to stop you from falling every couple of seconds, even though you’re not falling, and the bed moves.  *shivers*  Yeah, horrifying.  Anyway, as I was seizing, I was able to roll myself out of bed and onto the floor after many minutes.  I then seized my way about 20 feet into my kitchen over who knows how many minutes.  I knew I needed to get to the kitchen where the sugar was.  When the seizure stopped.  I calmly stood up, stepped over to the sugar container, took out the 1 cup scoop and started swallowing raw sugar.  I knew I’d be fine, but the experience was definitely not fun.  Now I keep glucose tabs on my nightstand.

Now, here’s the kicker.  When I went on the pump, the seizures stopped.  Haven’t had a seizure in over 6 years.  It’s that damn long acting insulin dumping in the bloodstream all at once!  All my life I had been on either NPH or Lantus, along with Regular, until I went on the pump when I changed to Humalog.  I still have low blood sugars in my sleep, but they come on so slow, that I ALWAYS wake up.  When I get any low blood sugar, it comes on way slower on fast acting insulin.  Explain that?!   I think I’m hypo right now actually, so I’m gonna sign off and get some glucose tabs.

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

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Dehydration and Diabetes

Do you know that dehydration and diabetes go hand in hand?  Did you know that if you have diabetes and a high blood sugar, it can cause dehydration, which causes a high blood sugar AND temporary insulin resistance, causing an even higher blood sugar?  Yeah, neither did I for the longest time.  When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me that dark urine meant my sugar was high.  That’s true.  The urine is dark because my kidneys are trying to reduce my blood sugar by filtering it out in the urine, which can lead to dehydration.

When you have a high blood sugar, the body tries to correct this naturally, by removing the  glucose from the blood stream, filtering it through the kidneys, and out of the body when you urinate.  This is what causes your urine to become dark.  If you become dehydrated as a result of this, your network of blood vessels can’t deliver nutrients or INSULIN as well, so your insulin won’t work the way it should (temporary insulin resistance).  Now you bolus, but your blood sugar won’t go down.  Sound familiar?

Have you ever noticed that when your blood sugar is high, you have to pee a lot?  When you’re peeing, you’re helping, and making it worse at the same time.  You’re getting the glucose out of your system, and you’re making the insulin resistance worse.  It’s a catch 22, right?  Wait, it gets worse!

The next thing the frequent urination causes, is an electrolyte imbalance.  Some common symptoms of the imbalance are muscle cramps, trembling, mental confusion, and many more.   Do these symptoms sound familiar?  Common electrolytes are sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride.  I use Real Salt and Himalayan Salt in my house, and eat avocados almost every day to keep my electrolyte levels up all the time.  Electrolytes are needed for most of your bodies functions, including the beating of the heart and other muscle action.  Without them, we die.  (Check out my guest blog about the diabetic superfood, the avocado on Diabetes Daily.)

So now we have a recipe that causes that dreaded 3 letter abbreviation we all know.  DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis)  DKA happens because the body can’t utilize the insulin you’re injecting, so it turns to burning fatty acids which don’t require insulin.  The body starts to break down fat cells into fatty acids, which releases ketone bodies, both of which can be used for fuel.  Insulin is what brings down the level of ketone bodies in your blood, just like glucose.  Since insulin isn’t working at this point, your ketones rise to dangerous levels, making your blood pH acidic, and you can end up in the emergency room.

When you go to the hospital, they treat you with an IV of saline (salt water), insulin, and electrolytes.  This is the combination to correct dehydration, and thus DKA.  To prevent dehydration, and DKA, my advice is to always drink lots of water, eat avocados, and use a good quality sea or himalayan salt.  When your blood sugar is a little high, put a pinch of salt in a bottle or glass of water and drink up.  Problem averted.

Symptoms of dehydration include frequent urination, dry mouth, weakness, lightheadedness, muscle cramps, sweating stops, and more.  Easy ways to check for dehydration are the color of the urine, and the skin test in the picture to the right ———->

Oh, by the way, caffeine makes dehydration worse because it makes you pee.  So don’t think your soda, coffee, or tea will help in preventing dehydration.    Drink water, . . . just plain water, in a dehydration scenario.

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

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Blood Sugars Below 250

I think I got my first glucometer in my early teen years.  Before that, I peed on a paper test strip that measured sugar in my urine.  I don’t really remember how often I checked my blood sugar back then.  I know it wasn’t very often though.  Didn’t check it very often in my early adult life either.  Just kinda checked it maybe once or twice a day, took my Lantus and Regular insulin shots, and lived a rather normal life, without concern for my diabetes.  Never got A1C tests, never had an endo, just family doctors.  In my early 20’s one of those family doctors told me that the life expectancy of a type 1 diabetic was only 26 years.  I believed that for some stupid reason, and didn’t expect to have a 30th birthday.  When I reached my 30th birthday, I didn’t know what do with my life?!  Then I suffered cardiac arrest, at age 34, from undiagnosed heart disease cause by my uncontrolled diabetes.  Emergency quad bypass.  Healed quickly, recovered quickly.  After that, I started testing frequently.  Started living a different lifestyle.  Started exercising . . . . . . a lot.  Hung out with bodybuilders.  Started realizing just how out of control I was.  Started working my ass off trying to get healthy.

2 years ago I started trying to help others as a sort of health coach, which motivated me to try even harder at becoming healthier myself, and about 9 months ago I discovered the Paleo lifestyle, which has brought my A1C down by 2.5 points in just 6 months time.  I also discovered the Diabetic Online Community (#doc) about 9 months ago.  Having all of you from the #doc to talk to has really motivated me too.  Recently, I realized that I used to be satisfied with a blood sugar below 250, then it was 200.  Now I want it below 100 or I get annoyed.  I’m shooting for an A1C of 7.0 before the end of the year.  I wanna do what they say can’t be done.  There’s a long way to go, and a short time to get there.  (Anybody catch that?)

So do you remember when you were satisfied with blood sugars below 250 or 200?  If you’re sugars are still there regulary, I urge you to somehow find the motivation to fix that.  Connect with me, and I’ll connect you to the people of the #doc.  I’ll recommend good books for you to read, recommend supportive peeps and friends to connect with.  We can all help each other.  I don’t want what happened to me, to happen to you.  Dying sucks!  I speak from experience.  Please leave a comment if you can relate.

 

 

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

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Unexpected Highs With Diabetes

Unexpected highs with diabetes is a fact of life.  We all have them.  Many of them ARE explainable though, and thus avoidable.  Diabetics and diabetic caregivers just have to be armed with the knowledge of what causes those unexpected highs, so they can successfully avoid them.  My guess is that your doctor/endocrinologist has never explained this for you, or if they did, they did it so quickly that you couldn’t remember it.  If you can find a good diabetes educator, that will spend some time with you, that will certainly help.  I encourage you to take this list to your next doctor visit, or Google more about each, so you can become more empowered in the management of your diabetes.  now you know, and knowing is half the battle.  (Yes, I just quoted G.I. Joe)  Now I’m no expert on this, but here are 13 possible reasons I’ve learned that can unexpectedly raise your blood sugar.  Go Joe!

  1. Infections:  Colds, flu, wounds, other infections.  Infections cause the liver to turn proteins into glucose for fuel to fight off the infection.  This is a natural and normal reaction for your body.  This can happen hours or days before any symptoms begin to show.  Thus appearing unexpected.
  2. Dehydration:  Along with infections comes dehydration.  This also raises your blood sugar.  I’ll write a blog post about dehydration soon, but have you ever noticed your urine is a dark?  That means you’re dehydrated.  It can happen without infection too.  You’re dehydrated because your blood sugar is high, and your kidneys are trying to lower your blood sugar by removing it through urination.  Then the dehydration causes a sort of insulin resistance, so you can’t bring the blood sugar down.
  3. Scar Tissue:  If you inject your shot into, or attach your infusion set into . . . scar tissue, this can cause unexpected highs.  This is more prevalent with those who take shots because it only happens once, and the next shot is fine, so it appears completely unexplainable.  Those of us with infusion sets for our insulin pumps notice this for multiple boluses, and then we “might” realize the problem, and it becomes explainable.
  4. Gastroparesis:  Many of you probably don’t even know what this is, but diabetes is the leading cause of it.  It’s otherwise known as “delayed stomach emptying”.  This is more common in diabetics who’ve been living with diabetes for many years, with poor A1C scores.  High blood sugars cause the nerves in the stomach that push the food through to the intestines, to become weak, thus causing the stomach to take hours to push the food through to the intestines.  The effect of this is that instead of your blood sugar rising from a meal in an hour, it waits for 4 or 5 hours before it rises, so you get a low from your bolus, then an unexpected high later.  You can ask your doctor to be tested for this.
  5. Medications:  There are literally hundreds of medications that can raise blood sugar unexpectedly.  There are supplements that can cause this too.  Whenever you’re doctor prescribes something new, ask the PHARMACIST, not the doctor of drug interactions as well as blood sugar interactions.  dLife has a very comprehensive list of these drugs.  You can Google more from there.  You’ll be surprised at some of the common drugs on the list.
  6. Stress:  I mentioned it briefly above when I spoke of infections.  When you’re physically, mentally, or emotionally stressed, your body releases cortisol from the adrenal glands.  Cortisol tells the liver to convert amino acids (proteins) into glucose, which can be used as fuel by your muscles.  The problem is, you often don’t need that extra fuel, and as diabetics, our bodies won’t adjust by secreting insulin to bring it down.  This also why stress causes weight gain.  Your body was designed to do this intentionally as a fight or flight response.  The next time your blood sugar is unexpectedly high, ask yourself if you’ve been stressed lately.
  7. Exercise:  I can hear you now.  You’re saying “Wait, I thought exercise lowered your blood sugar?”  Well, not all the time.  For those who try to go low carb, they’ll most likely notice that now when they exercise, their blood sugar goes up instead of down after a workout.  With low carb, your body doesn’t store much fuel in the muscles and liver, so exercise depletes it quickly, and then the body goes about turning protein into glucose again, via gluconeogenesis.  This sometimes happens even when you’re not truly low carb, but have been without carbs for 12 hours or more.  Like in my picture at the top of this article.
  8. High Carb Meals:  With a high carb meal, you have to take a large dose of insulin.  You know exactly what your insulin scale is, and you know exactly how many carbs you’ve eaten.  Then why 2 or 3 hours later is your blood sugar over 300?!  Because with large doses of insulin, the insulin doesn’t behave in an expected fashion.  It’s basically a form a form of insulin resistance, thanks to the large dose, so only some of the insulin works.  Eating high carb over time with large doses will still cause insulin resistance even in type 1 diabetics, so you’ll need more for it to work, just like a real junkie.  LOL!
  9. Low Carb:  When you eat low carb as a diabetic, especially type 1 diabetics, it’s not abnormal to have your blood sugar rise, and keep rising, even after a bolus, when you’ve had no carbs for hours or days.  This is a normal response (the science of it is a whole other article), and the way I found works best to handle it when I was trying low carb, was to double my temporary basal for 4 hours.  Having higher insulin over time fixed it well.  However, it caught up to me, and eventually my little trick wouldn’t work anymore, and I experienced Diabetic Keto Acidosis (DKA) for the first time in my life.  Won’t do that again!
  10. High Fat Meals:  Yes, a high fat meal can cause your blood sugar profile to change.  If your normal blood sugar profile gives you a normal blood sugar 2 hours after a meal, eating a high fat meal will cause those carbs to be delayed getting into your blood stream, due to the fat slowing it down.  This creates a similar effect that gastroparesis has.  A low from your bolus, then a high from you eating carbs for the low plus those delayed carbs hitting your blood stream.  There are other foods like vinegar that delay carbohydrate digestion too.
  11. Infusion Set:  If you wear your infusion set for more than the recommended 3 days (GUILTY!), you could have unexpected highs.  They don’t tell us this to make more money, they tell us this because after 3 days, your body starts to attack the infusion set as an intruder, and it starts to build up tissue around it, making it harder to deliver the insulin  through the buildup.  I know some of us wear them longer to save money because we don’t/didn’t have insurance, but if you can afford to, change your sets every 3 days.
  12. Pump Problems:  This isn’t so elusive as the other issues that can lead to unexpected highs, but if your infusion set gets twisted on your skin, you get an air bubble in your tubing, your pump motor fails, your battery dies, etc, etc, etc.
  13. Insulin Fails:  Insulin has an expiration date.  Do you keep your vials for months before using them?  Do you store it in the fridge?  Do you ever look at the expiration date?  Insulin can die on you.  It literally fails.  Right out of the box, as soon as you bring it home, or after sitting in the fridge for to long.  Expired or not.  I’ve had to return vials to the pharmacy because they simply didn’t work.  Then everything was fine.  It takes a day or more to realize though.  So in the mean time you’re pulling your hair out.

There are more of course, but I think those are the most common things we might run into.  If you can think of one that I missed, please leave a comment for us all, so that we can share the knowledge.

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Type 1 Diabetic: Insulin vs Glucagon

So I’ve been studying the role of glucagon in metabolism.  I wanted to know the difference between insulin vs glucagon.  I’ve never really known anything about glucagon, except that when I was a juvenile diabetic, I’d have seizures from low blood sugar, and when I saw my parents coming at me with that weird syringe, I knew it was glucagon.  They never understood that I was totally conscious during my seizures.  So anyway, I always thought glucagon was a form of ultra pure glucose or something, until I read Robb Wolf’s book “The Paleo Solution” back in March of this year.  He barely touched on glucagon, but did mention that it was a hormone, so I knew it wasn’t a form of sugar.

Well now I understand a great deal more about glucagon.  Been studying like a madman.  I understand that it’s insulin’s sister hormone, that they both come from Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas.  Glucagon comes from alpha cells, and insulin from beta cells.  That together, they are the core of metabolism.  A perfect feedback system that regulates energy in your body.  Glucagon is the yin, to insulin’s yang.  Glucagon releases fat to be burned, where insulin stores it for energy later.  Glucagon raises low blood sugar by signalling the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose via glyconeogenesis.  When blood sugar rises to high, insulin is secreted to store that glucose as glycogen in muscle tissue, or as fat.  When there’s insulin, you can’t burn fat.  When there’s glycogen, you can’t store fat.  Insulin is secreted when you eat carbohydrates.  Glycogen is secreted when you eat protein.

Ok, so I have the basic understanding I think?  Now, as a T1D how does glucagon work inside me, since it doesn’t work at all inside me?  I can’t find these answers yet?  I’m dying to figure this out.  I know how insulin works in a T1D.  I just take it externally.  T1D’s don’t take glucagon externally except in emergencies though, to raise blood sugar quickly.  In a T1D, those Islets of Langerhans are broken, so neither insulin nor glucagon is secreted.  When a T1D’s blood sugar falls, glucagon doesn’t bring us back up like it does in a normal person.  Haven’t you ever seen a diabetic that’s hypoglycemic?  We don’t know our own name or where we are sometimes!  So if our bodies don’t secrete glucagon, how do we burn fat?  I know we as T1D’s need to take external glucose to raise blood sugar.  Does epinepherine work in a T1D for releasing fat to be burned?  If I understand epinepherine (it’s totally possible that I don’t understand anything about all this), it can function similarly to glucagon in the release of fat for energy.  I know that T1D’s can burn fat, because I’ve done it,  but how if glucagon doesn’t work?

If anyone reading this, can explain how a T1D burns fat for energy without a working glucagon system, I would be eternally grateful.  I know I’m trying to understand something  that’s probably a whole course of material, but I’d really like to understand this.  I’m such a health nerd.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

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Paleo and Ketosis for a Type 1 Diabetic

ketosis-ketostix-ketoacidosisjpgKetosis and diabetes are 2 words that instill fear in the hearts of most diabetics.  It used to instill fear into me as well, until I started reading about paleo and primal living, and how ketosis doesn’t always mean you’re gonna die.  When I started to read about ketosis, and how some diabetics have taken control of their diabetes with it, I began to get excited.  I studied and studied for weeks.  Trying to understand everything I could about paleo and ketosis, and I was slowly starting to believe that there’s a way to be in ketosis as a type 1 diabetic, without it killing you.  I have a lifetime of beliefs, drilled into me by my doctors,  that ketosis means death.  It does, “IF” you’re in ketosis and you’re blood sugar is over 250 mg/dl.  Most diabetics know this as DKA, or Diabetic KetoAcidosis.  Your blood literally becomes toxic with acid created by the lack of insulin in your body.  This is a life threatening condition, and must be avoided at all costs, by all diabetics.

So why on earth would a type 1 diabetic want to intentionally enter ketosis? What is ketosis?

Let me start by answering the second question.  Ketosis occurs when you’re body doesn’t have enough fuel.  Your bodies primary fuel comes from carbohydrates that the body turns into glucose to feed the muscle cells and the brain.  If you’re body doesn’t have enough glucose, it has to get fuel from somewhere so it starts to burn or break down fat.  When a fat cell is broken down, that creates ketone bodies.  3 types to be exact.  2 are used for fuel, and the 3rd is just waste.  (Which you can smell on the breath.  It’s called Acetone.)  The brain and the muscles can run on ketone bodies.  Actually, the heart runs close to 30% more efficiently on ketone bodies.  When ketone body levels get to high, the body produces insulin, and they are reduced.  If no insulin is sent into the bloodstream, the ketone bodies rise, and so does the blood glucose.  Since the 2 ketone bodies that are used as fuel are acidid, this combination causes the blood pH to become acidic, and toxic, causing Diabetic Ketoacidosis, or DKA.

I wanted to go on a ketosis diet, because I read story after story of type 1 diabetics that got off the rollercoaster by going low carb (which naturally causes ketosis).  By low carb, I mean around 50g or less per day.  Low carbs = steady bloodsugar.  This means you eat mostly fat and protein.  (Hello butter and bacon!)  I know, I know, you think I’m going to clog my arteries.  Well I’m not, but that’s another story.  Anyway, I tried this for a week back in March as an experiment, and it worked great after about 7 days, but for those first 5 days something weird happened.  I wasn’t in ketosis continuously.  I kept jumping in and out of it.  Whenever I’d be in ketosis, my blood sugar would spike, dangerously high, over 250!  When I’d bolus, it wouldn’t go down!  (I had never been in ketoacidosis in my entire life, so I didn’t know how to treat this.)  Tons more research about treating ketoacidosis, and I got it under control.  I discovered that if I bolused, AND did a 4 hour temporary basal with my pump, everything worked great and the blood sugar would come down.  Perfect!  Nothing had I read warned me about this, and when I went looking for answers, I didn’t find any on the big name blogs.  Where I found answers was in the forum at Marks Daily Apple.  Other T1D’s told me this happens to a select few type 1’s when they start a ketogenic diet (lucky me) and it will go away in a few days.  It’s caused by the body being stressed due to what I’m doing to it, and that stress creates cortisol, which tells the liver to dump what little glucose it’s storing, or to convert protein into glucose (called gluconeogenesis).  After 5 days, everything was running smoothly.

But then I tried to come out of ketosis.  To end the experiment.  I increased my carbs back to around 100c per day.  Well, that didn’t go so well.  If I went for more than 3 hours without carbs, I’d get ketones, and my blood sugar would spike, and I developed dawn syndrome.  (Ketones early in the morning because you’ve been without carbs for hours.)   So I did a lot of fighting my blood sugar for a while.  Adjusted my basal rates, and my carb ratio, and got back to normal (the normal highs and lows I mean), but still had dawn syndrome.

Then I got a Metronic continuous glucose monitor (CGM).  I had become even more paleo over the last few months, and even more strict with my food choices.  Loving my bacon and butter, and all the steak, burgers, etc.  So I decided to do this again, but go even more hardcore into it, and NEVER COME OUT OF IT.  The CGM sure makes it easier to do this that’s for sure, because you can see your blood sugar change in almost real time.  I went with no carbs for 3 days at the suggestion of 1 particular blog, to effect the conversion from carbs to ketones more quickly.  It worked!  Smooth transition with no spikes, and my blood sugar hasn’t climbed above 150 for 7 days straight.  Most of the week my blood sugar has been around 80-90 mg/dl.  I used to be afraid of that low of a number!  I’d start eating glucose tabs, afraid of a crash.  Now I’m annoyed if it goes above 125!  I’ve been in ketosis 100% of the time all week now.  It’s been emotionally uplifting too.  Not that I have any kind of depression problems, but it just feels good that I’ve found a way to control my diabetes that’s actually working.  I keep seeing carbs everywhere, and thinking “No Rich, that will make your blood sugar spike, today, AND tomorrow, and the next day.”  Then I just walk away happy that my blood sugars are normal now.

Now, I feel the need to say this . . . . . DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME.  There’s a lot of things about starting a ketosis diet that you need to learn, and it can be really dangerous if you don’t do insane amounts of research.  I’m a little crazy, and don’t believe mainstream medicine, and this is MY LIFE, but I definitely don’t want you to try this just on a whim because you read my blog.  I wanted to tell you my story, so you can see what happens, because I didn’t see this in any of my research, and had no idea that it might happen with all of the hours of research I did before I tried (maybe 50 hours I think).

I hope this article was helpful to you.

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