Monthly Archives: May 2011

Catching ZZZ’s

I’m sure this goes without saying, but sleep is IMPORTANT.

Last night I got between 3 and 4 hours of sleep due to some “domestic” arguments in the apartment below me, some drunk people next to me, and the rest of the apartment complex trying to get those people to shut up.

I was expecting this to be fine when I woke up at 7am and started getting ready for work but I was wrong.

As it turns out, I fell asleep on the bus and almost missed my stop. When I got inside the hospital I consumed more than HALF my daily calorie allowance. Before 9am. Yes the Egg and Cheese McMuffin was delicious and yes, the Strawberry Cream Cheese Croissant made me remember why I like to be alive… but now for the rest of the day I have about 400-500 calories to burn.

This is NOT ideal.

So: sleep is important for regular people and, as these things go, it’s even more important for diabetics.

First, I’ll go through the reasons from Harvard Health:

1. Memory

You  know how you feel after a night of no sleep: drunk. And you know what you remember from the night of being drunk: nothing. That doesn’t need a whole lot more explanation.

2. Metabolism

Lack of sleep alters hormone levels that tell you when to eat. When you’re sleep deprived, your body knows it needs to be awake and it knows it needs energy. So it tells you you’re hungry. And then you eat 900 calories before 9am. See Taco Bell post for the dangers of that one.

3. Safety

Sleepy people fall asleep. While doing things you need to be awake for.

4. Mood

Sleep deprived new parents are some of the crabbiest people I have ever met (no offense). It’s the same for non-new-parents. Anyone who is tired and in a good mood has probably taken some kind of mood-altering drug.

5. Cardiovascular Health

Less sleep = more stress. Stress is bad for your heart. Also: diabetes is a heart disease. Any extra stress put on a heart that is working too hard to begin with is bad news. As a diabetic, your heart needs to be attended to and getting enough sleep is an EASY and EXCELLENT way to not add stress to your life.

6. Disease

Getting too little sleep affects how your immune system works. Let me give you a hint: it doesn’t make it work better. The same with heart disease, sleep is an EASY way to help your body work properly. Give yourself a chance to be able to fight off the infections that you’ll be more prone to anyways with your diabetes.

Second, let me break it down for you:

Sleep will lift your mood, keep your weight down, and help keep your diabetes under control. Don’t add to your body’s stress by keeping it from resting.

Thanks Harvard, for spelling that our for us.

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Filed under List Posts-Diabetiquette, Random Extras

Born This Way

“I’m on the right track baby I was born this way…” whoever writes Lady Gaga’s music for her.

Genetics is a fascinating and growing field these days. Our genes make up who we are, after all.

I think many people are familiar with the Dominant and Recessive gene idea (see Mendel’s pea plants). Basically the super-simple-speedy explanation is that when two people make a baby, what they’re really doing is exchanging information. Genes are the blueprints for life and both people have their own copy of each gene.

Through a series of complicated pairings and crossing overs, certain amounts of mom’s genes and dad’s genes are smooshed together to make… a baby!

Let’s say a human is as simple as a pea plant. If mom is short, and dad is short (and their predecessors were also all short) you, as the baby will be short. If mom is tall and dad is short, it’s kind of a crap shoot as to how you’ll turn out depending on each parents ancestors. But to simplify things, you will be tall because tall  is Dominant over shorty-pie dad.

That basic overview was meant to prepare you for discussion! Now, for a quiz:

Diabetes is:

a. passed genetically

b. only attributable to environmental factors

c. both

d. a gift from heaven to differentiate you from mere mortals

And now for the answer… Drumroll…

Yeah, well it depends on what version of diabetes you have. Usually, the answer is C.

Type Two or adult onset diabetes is considered genetic. There are genetic factors that influence obesity which is a major player in TTD. After reaching the point of obesity, your body can become insulin resistant (meaning it’s still being made, but not used) making you diabetic. There are other factors as well, not only obese people have TTD. You can be genetically predisposed to High Blood Pressure which makes you more susceptible to TTD. You get the idea. That’s not to say that people without a family history of diabetes cannot get TTD. If you’re healthy but don’t care about what you eat, you can just as easily McDonald’s your way to some diabetic fun.

TOD, or Type One Diabetes, sort of follows the same pattern. Typically diabetes itself is not “passed” but if your parent’s genes mix in just the right way, it will make you more likely to get infection (or something) which could lead to diabetes. That’s how I got it! That’s how my friend Kelsey got it too. Genetically, we were lucky enough to be prone to infection and some BAD infection (me chicken pox, her pneumonia) killed off our pancre-i and left us with TOD. It would be very difficult to shut down a pancreas with environmental factors, usually those factors will give you pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis instead of the ‘betes. (I’m not linking to either of those things, don’t look them up)

Hopefully that happy pancreas will cheer you up!

So parents don’t blame yourselves and kids don’t blame your parents. They just loved each other (or you know) and had a kid. You can’t plan where your genes are going to go. Maybe someday you could, but for now you were just Born This Way.

The real quiz answer, C. The quiz answer I think is true, D.

I’m pretty sure the heroes of Greek mythology all suffer through life, but they are the heroes and always win at the end. Be patient and remember “baby you were born this way.”

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Filed under How to: get diabetes.

Apologies and Thanks

I wanted to take a few sentences to thank the few, the proud, the followers of this blog.

I know I haven’t been posting much lately but with summer vacation coming up, I AM BACK.

Sometimes the people you think will always be there for you completely let you down, and in ways you didn’t even imagine.

Keep people in your life who keep you sane, who DON’T tell you that you’re crazy, and who speak honestly with their hearts. Those people are rare and will be a constant support to you in your lifetime.

Emotions and diabetes can be tricky to manage, and when both of them aren’t being taken care of, it’s a recipe for disaster. Be kind to yourself. Take the time to know that you’re ok. Life is easier to manage when your diabetes is managed, and diabetes is easier to manage when you’re protecting your life.

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Filed under Random Extras