First the highlights:
It’s important to take care of your diabetes.
It is burdensome to do so.
Continuous Glucose Monitors
Next the review:
The article begins by alerting you to the fact that attention to detail is critical for managing diabetes. This is true of almost any chronic illness and to me strengthens the “nurture” argument. Many, myself included, diabetics have or develop Type A personalities and/or OCD. I highly doubt having a Type A personality makes you MORE likely to get diabetes. I believe needing to be so attentive can lead to other issues later in life. (Not trying to be a downer, just calling it like I see it)
The quote by Dr. Fruge is helpful, “They can certainly reach all of their life’s goals,” she should have just stopped there. That is what this blog is all about. Reminding you that you can reach all of your goals.
But she continues, “because they have a condition [that effects] the functioning of their brain and how they feel, it’s important that they take charge.” I don’t know if she’s talking about the affects of high and low blood sugars or what, but I do NOT think that just having diabetes affects your mental status. It shouldn’t. It will affect how you feel physically and when you have physical highs and lows you’re more prone to emotional highs and lows.
Guys, if you have diabetes, don’t let it become an excuse. Everyone knows someone who’s just a total jerk one week of the month and claims it’s PMS even though you know it’s the wrong week. You are allowed to feel things, you are allowed to feel sorry for yourself, and yes sometimes diabetes can cause you mental distress but do not rely on that as your excuse to hate everyone.
The article moves into glucose monitoring and calls it burdensome. Understatement of my life. It is no secret amongst my family that I call diabetes the “most annoying disease in the world” and I know many of you feel the same. This (blood sugar checks) is the part that goes most easily by the wayside.
Supposedly a way to make checking your blood sugar less burdensome is to use a CGM or Continuous Glucose Monitor. I call BS. The article itself reminds you later that you STILL have to check yourself 4 times a day to calibrate the thing. For those of us who already use insulin pumps, the CGM is just another thing to implant in your body, cause you scar tissue, and worry about falling out. Not worth it. It creates more cost instead of eliminating it. It does help give a clearer picture of blood sugar levels and how good your control really is, but if you think getting a sensor pump or CGM is going to save you from remembering to check your blood sugar, you are dead wrong.
A little later the article talks about showing graphs with “up and down arrows”. I find that a little insulting. I think most people could figure out an upward trend without an arrow.
Next is proper nutrition. This is important in any case, not just with illness. The article talks about Calorie Count, an online database that allows you to add in the foods you eat and calculates the nutritional content. There are a lot of programs that do this, but this one is free. I think things like this are cool to use for a week or two but then the drive usually runs out. Like the CGM what this database lets you do is see patterns. What are your healthiest and unhealthiest patterns. I think putting these two ideas together would be more beneficial. When are you forgetting to bolus for meals? What meals do you eat and typically under-bolus for?
The article talks about the Calorie Count being an open forum for young calorie counters. That’s great. More online support groups, I’m all for those!
Moving to texting. It’s a great concept (having your endocrinologist text reminders to you about eating and checking and such) but I think it would be more valuable to text your endocrinologist. It holds you more accountable. Kids and teens can pretty much ignore anything, and texting is no exception. It’s easy to become dulled to the texts and continue not helping yourself. I had an endocrinologist once who had me call her with my blood sugars at the end of the week. Those were the weeks where I never missed a check. I knew I had to face her and be held responsible for my own actions. I miss that.
Finally the article quotes Dr. Jennifer Dyer talking about how you cannot reason with teenagers by telling them about the consequences of their actions now, for when they’re 30. That is true. Even at 23, 30 seems light-years away and feels like there will no impact for not keeping your blood sugars in check. Don’t fall into this trap. I had a diabetic friend when I worked as an optician who had a heart attack when she was 25. It’s not hard to do.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Hope you enjoyed the review, let me know why you did or didn’t! Happy Spring!