(Editor's Note: This article was orginally published in the April 2008 edition of Diabetes Health and later online as article 5658. We are reproducing the article in light of the American Medical Association's recent decision to treat obesity as a disease. That decision will spur much debate, and we think this article will help add some perspective to the discussion.)
We’ve all heard a lot of discussion about low carbohydrate diets and whether they are effective for weight loss and blood sugar control.. What most of us do not understand, however, is how diabetes affects the way that we process carbs. Beta cells make more than insulin: they also make another satiety hormone: amylin. If we are beta-cell deficient, then we are amylin-deficient as well. When the amylin hormone is not available to tell our brain that we are full, we crave more food, especially carbohydrates. Carbohydrates act as a mood stabilizer, making us feel good when we’re stressed.
A new year means new beginnings. Traditionally, it's a time to resolve to make changes for the better in our lives. This year, I decided to write a resolution list dedicated specifically to diabetes. I hope that some of you will want to try these ideas with me.
It's hard being the new person at work. It's even harder when you're the new person and you have diabetes. Whenever I start a new job, thoughts race through my mind: Will I go low while I'm training? Will I have quick access to snacks? Will I be able to check my blood sugar without an audience? How about taking an insulin injection at the lunch table? It isn't easy feeling forced to expose so many personal details to people you just met.
Trying to lose weight as an insulin-injecting person with type 1 diabetes couldn't be more frustrating. It gets on my last nerve that exercise can trigger mind-numbing lows, lows that cause me to inhale a portion of those recently burned calories. That said, I don't skip exercise to avoid lows. I just check my blood sugars more often, use caution with my insulin dosing, and follow the advice of my doctors.
Sometimes I don't feel like explaining myself. Sometimes I just want to eat a pastry in public in peace, without the "diabetes police" showing up and giving me their two cents. When that happens, I can usually handle it without my blood pressure rising. I politely explain to these well-meaning people that I'm perfectly in control of my diabetes and that as long as I count the carbohydrates and take my shot, I can eat anything I please. Occasionally though, I find myself getting irritated and angry. I get tired of defending myself all the time.
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