Diabetes Basics Part 11

diabetes management

We’ve covered 3 of our 5 M’s of successful diabetes management, and the emphasis here is on the term successful, as that should actually be our goal, not just to dodge some of the fire that the dragon breathes on us, but to slay the dragon.

So far we’ve discussed measure, manage, and medicate, and now it’s time to move on to the fourth one.  Dr. Hite selected motivation as one of his 5, and that’s indeed an extremely important one, so motivate will be added to our list.

There’s not a whole lot that needs to be said about this one, this is obviously critical, and especially so given that, like it or not, diabetics play a central role in the management of their disease.  In order to do so, you have to be motivated enough.  This is not always easy and does require commitment.

Motivate isn’t a black and white thing though, it is measured by degree, and while we do want to look to avoid being too obsessed with our diabetes management, and that’s certainly a possibility, we do want to ensure that we’re sufficiently motivated to meet the ongoing day to day challenges that successful diabetes self management entails and requires.

In his article, Dr. Hite specifically mentions avoiding depression, and this suggests that his standard here is a rather low one.  While not become depressed is clearly a necessary goal, the sort of motivation I’m talking about particularly avoids what is clearly the main enemy of all this, complacency.

It’s one thing to accept one’s fate as being diagnosed with diabetes, but we still need to be willing to battle it, to see it as a challenge that we insist on overcoming, with the challenge here not seeing ourselves and our condition deteriorate over time.  By the time one gets diagnosed with diabetes, one has had their glucose metabolism deteriorate over many years already, from neglect basically, and the time for further neglect is long past.  We must now act to turn the tables in our favor and keep them that way.

So if depression can be seen as avoiding the negative, and that’s extremely important, this is not enough and one must strive to increase the positive so to speak.  To do this effectively, we must set goals and continue to strive to achieve them, and we must never look to shirk our duty to ourselves in striving for them.

Last, but certainly not least, my final M is master.  Diabetics do not typically realize this, but if they do not master their condition, go out and actually learn what they can about it and dedicate themselves to becoming knowledgeable about their disease, no one else will.

Since you are reading this, you have made some sort of commitment to this at least, and this is exactly what you need to do, to at least be curious about all this and go forth and learn.  If not, if you simply are satisfied with a cursory understanding, then you’ll just end up with a bunch of misinformation, the kind you see at a lot of conventional sites, the kind you would get from your doctor, and the kind you would get from so called diabetes educators such as our friend here.

I picked this article because it embodies so well all the broken thinking out there on diabetes, but people must think for themselves, and look at all sides and use their own heads here.  My role is to just try to get people to think about these things and hopefully as you work your way through this series you will get some real food for thought.

It’s time to go back to the article we’re examining and start working our way through more of the FAQs.  The next one is, if I have so much sugar in my blood, why am I hungry all the time?  Dr. Hite suggests that it is because you aren’t getting enough of this high amount of glucose into your cells.

This embraces one of the real myths out there about type 2 diabetes actually, which is the idea that the reason why there’s so much sugar in our blood is that our cells aren’t taking in enough.  I don’t really want to go into all of this too much here in this introductory discussion but the reason why we have insulin resistance is to prevent too much from going in.

Insulin isn’t even required to get glucose into our cells, or to prevent high blood sugar, you can have normal blood sugar eating a normal diet with no insulin present at all, and this has been proven in experiments, but who needs science when old wives tales will do.

What insulin does do though is that it makes nutrients in the blood more available, but the cells fight back and end up being overfed but resist being too overfed, and we don’t want that.  The amount of glucose in the blood in itself is of no real consequence by the way, the danger and the damage arises when too much of this gets into our cells, called glucotoxicity, and especially when too much fat gets into our cells, called lipotoxicity.  It’s the lipotoxicity that is especially harmful.

Feeling hungry is mostly due to levels of certain hormones, and insulin is one of them.  Feeling weak and tired on the other hand is the main symptom if we didn’t get enough glucose into our cells, not hunger, and while diabetics do tend to suffer from tiredness, it is due more to cellular damage from lipotoxicity than anything, the result of too much insulin stuffing too much fat into them for too long.

A healthy metabolism doesn’t even need glucose to function anyway, it can get by just great getting energy from fat, as ketogenic people demonstrate quite well.  The brain does need some but that’s about it.  When we are deprived of glucose, a healthy metabolism shifts to burning ketones for energy, although if one’s metabolism is damaged enough, then it won’t do this effectively.

My answer to this question would be that being hungry has nothing to do with how much sugar is in your blood, and high blood sugar typically means higher insulin levels, and this can lead to a feeling of being hungry, but this is mostly due in fact to higher levels of another hormone called ghrelin which is known as the hunger hormone actually.

He does mention insulin resistance and when it is seriously high, this can indeed lead to an overcompensation and a reduction in glucose transporters, for instance this is how creatine helps us, by restoring a normal amount of glucose transporters, but in order for things to start to function more properly, we have to remove the stressor that is pushing on our cells so that they push back and sometimes they can push back too hard, but you have to start by reducing the need for them to push back so hard, and then you can heal them.

We’ll continue the discussion in Part 12.

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