When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (“T1D”) about 4 years ago, it was very stressful having to see my blood sugars swing up and down. My initial A1c test was 6.7 which is essentially an average blood sugar of 146 (most non-diabetics are around 85). I remember initially being in denial thinking that I may not really have T1D, however, my blood sugar readings kept being in the 180s (pretty bad).
Obviously a Type 1
The doctors initially were trying to figure out whether I was a T1D or type 2 diabetic (“T2D”), but being a 5’10 / 160 lb. person who exercised 6 days per week, I think the answer was quite obvious which type I was.
As a T1D, the key to alleviating stress in one’s lifestyle is to stabilize your blood sugars. Easier said they done! Insulin obviously helps decrease a T1D’s blood sugars, but if you are not eating the right diet, then those roller coaster blood sugars are sure to come. And roller coaster blood sugars = stress.
Thank God I’m a Type A Personality
I am by nature a very type A personality with a quantitative frame of mind. I really only check my blood sugars once per day when I first wake up in the morning (fasting blood sugar). Over the past 3.5 years, I’ve found that I am able to fairly accurately predict what my A1c readings will be before the actual results come rolling in.
As a lesson, an A1c reading is the quarterly test that most diabetics take which shows the average blood sugar reading over the past 90 days. As we all now how waiting for blood work is…early on after diagnosis, my heart used to pound as I was logging into the blood work site to check out my A1c results.
What I started to notice over the years is that my A1c was actually predictable to some extent. I listed below what my rolling 90 day average fasting blood sugar was prior to my A1c tests.
I use an iphone app called Pocket A1c which allows me to translate an average fasting blood sugar to an A1c reading. As you can see, my A1c is typically 2 to 3 points higher than what the iphone app predicts (click for a larger version).
Let’s Just Go Vegan
Also, a few months ago I watched the documentary “What the Health” which essentially made me go vegan. I was close to vegan before watching this documentary (~90% plant based / ~10% animal product), but the information in that was so powerful that I lost much of my desire to eat animal products.
7 Straight Days Under 100!
After a couple months of going vegan, my blood sugars became even less volatile and more predictable. I even went a stretch of 7 straight days where my fasting blood sugars were below 100. Not bad for a T1D off medication. I put below a chart that shows my fasting blood sugars from mid-July (I started vegan) to mid-October. As you can, my levels have been around the 100 mark on average (click on graph for larger view). Any T1D would be thrilled with these levels, even on medication!
I was especially proud of my 70 fasting blood sugar reading after I ate a raw kale salad for dinner the night before! Kale is one of the most powerful foods in fighting disease. It’s remarkable for me to see my fasting blood sugar be 70 which is exceptional for even a non-diabetic human.
As I’m sure many of you are thinking, yes, being vegan in this society is hard. However, I am at peace with my dietary decisions and I quite enjoy living this way. My overall body is much healthier and my blood sugars are much lower and more predictable.
Health Vegan Diet = Plummeting Blood Sugars
I wanted to show my rolling 30 day average blood sugars prior to going vegan. As you can see, the drop was substantial (click for a larger version).
Ultimately, I have found solace in tracking my fasting blood sugar readings and being able to predict within a small amount of error what my A1c readings will be. This allows me to reduce the amount of stress in my life that is devoted to worrying about what my average blood sugars are.
I have always said that if I was going to get a chronic disease that T1D fits my personality the best. Living medication free isn’t easy as a T1D but increasing the predictability of my blood sugars has made this disease much easier to cope with.
New and Improved Website Coming!
Stayed tuned for next month’s blog post which will be unveiling my new website!
Also, I had the absolute pleasure of getting a family picture with the Stanley Cup a couple weeks ago. Hopefully the Penguins can make it a 3-peat!