Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Matters of the heart

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Dec. 5, 2011

My heart has been put through the paces this week.  First, I returned to a regular exercise schedule.  Second I had a consultation with a cardiologist. Both were very stressful situations.

In my Nov. 14th post,  I stated that come Monday (Nov. 15th) I would begin my exercise program.  I did, but the two weeks before Thanksgiving is a hectic time.  My exercise schedule was very erratic and very slow paced.  Two months of no exercise meant my body was very sluggish.  To avoid sore, achy muscles, I greatly reduced the pace of my workout.

This past week I had a daily commitment to exercise: 3 days go to the gym and 3 days walk through the neighborhood.  Rest on the 7th day.  The walks went just fine.  My time at the gym was another matter.  My rapid breathing and pounding heart reminded me I was still very much out of shape.

 The struggle to complete the circuit twice sent my heart rate into the high 140’s (90-95% of maximum).  At my age of 61, I should only be at 80% -85% during a workout, which is a rate of 130-135.  A few times I had to reduce my pace even more so that I could lower my heart rate.  I felt dizzy.  I did not want to pass out or fall into one of the many exercise machines.  Next week will be another slow week, but soon I will be back to my normal pace.

The trip to the cardiologist was a preventive measure.   My endocrinologist said during my last visit that since I am a woman, over 60 and have diabetes I am a prime candidate for heart problems.  She related statistics from the American Diabetes Associations. 


  1. One in three women will die of heart disease
  2. Forty percent of heart attacks result in death
  3. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women with diabetes.
  4. Women with diabetes are 2 times as like to have a second heart attack and 4 times more likely to have heart failure than women without diabetes. 


Needless to say, she had my attention and I agreed to the appointment. 

At my initial visit with the cardiologist, my health history and list of medications were recorded.  Then I had an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) test.   After looking at the EKG results, my doctor said all was fine.  He could see no problems.  That was welcomed news.

 Next he listened to my heart and found I have a “soft murmur” related to the mitral valve.   I have known about this murmur for decades.   He saw no reason to be concerned so I won’t give it another thought.  Then he said he heard a “swishing” sound in my right carotid artery.  This will be checked out tomorrow, Monday.  

I did return to his office the next day for an echo stress test (Echocardiographic stress test).   A blood pressure cuff recorded my heart rate and blood pressure.  Electrodes were attached to my body and sound waves were taken of my heart at rest and after exercise.

I walked on a treadmill for several minutes.  The goal was to get my heart rate up to 161.  (I chose not to tell them I had come close to 161 several times that week when working out at the gym!)  Everyone was concerned and kept asking if I were ok, having any pain.  No I was fine.

When I reached the magic 161 mark, I got off the treadmill and had a second echo test done.  Other than the thunderous pounding of my heart, I felt great.  My doctor confirmed that feeling when he said all looks great and I’ll see you in 10 years (meaning he saw no reason for a return visit before then).

I must confess it is pretty amazing to watch your own beating heart on the monitor.  The image – just a grainy picture of an odd shaped mass, pulsing – looks nothing like all the heart pictures I have seen.  But there it was beating a steady rhythm.  It was just as fascinating to hear the various sounds made by the different chambers.  

Of course, I still have the carotid artery test tomorrow, which could necessitate another visit with my cardiologist.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t have to return before the 10 years are up.

My heart appears to be in fine condition even when pushed beyond a comfortable rate.  My belief is that these past 16 years of managing my diabetes well by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, reducing stress and (oh, you know the long list of what we do to manage our diabetes) has also protected my heart.  I plan to continue living a healthy lifestyle.

I hope you are taking good care of your heart by managing your diabetes well.  No matter your age, if you are a woman with diabetes, please have a discussion with your doctor to ensure you are doing all you can to maintain a healthy heart.



Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Nov. 28, 2010

During this season of thanksgiving, I give thanks for a loving family, an adorable grandson, good health, great friends, and a fulfilling life.  I am also thankful for the many blessings that have come my way because of my diabetes.

Here are a few of my blessings:

- a healthy life style.  I exercise daily, make healthy food choices and sleep well.

- lots of new friends and acquaintances in my local area and throughout the 50 states.

- improved math skills.  I can add up the carb load of a meal (or a specific item) and calculate my bolus in the blink an eye. 

-a great medical team who allows me to participate in the decision making process for managing my diabetes and my health.

-knowing that I have inspired someone with diabetes to better manage her diabetes because I shared my diabetes journey.    

-unbelievable opportunity to travel to different area of our country.  

-self confidence.  Knowing that I manage my diabetes well at home and on the road boosts my self confidence.  I am more willing to step out of my comfort zone to try new adventures.

Yes, I would gladly give up the daily headaches of sticking my fingers 6 or 7 times, counting carbs, injecting insulin, having my supplies, and being aware of each bite of food. 

But diabetes has been good to me too.  When the daily routine become a grind or the going is tough, I think about these blessings.  I know I am a better, happier, more confident person because of diabetes.

I hope you see that having diabetes has blessed your life too.


Not feeling well

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Nov. 21, 2010

Two weeks ago I was traveling from one state to another and from one hotel to another.  Just before I left on this trip, my throat was a little sore and red.  To head off any chance of being sick while traveling, I got my allergy shot, began using my sinus rinse, added an antihistamine to my meds, and made sure I used my nasal sprays as directed.  I sailed through the week without any signs of a sinus infection or any congestion.   I thought I was “home free” on Monday of this past week as I began to check off the items on my To Do list: empty suitcase and store away, wash clothes, write out grocery list, etc.    Tuesday morning I knew I was sick.

As I rolled out of bed that morning, my head was pounding and my ears were hurting. There seemed to be no congestion in the nasal passage (I was breathing fine), but my ears were another matter.  Every step was a pounding in my ears and brushing my hair was nails across a blackboard.  Then the ringing in my ears began.

I have spent this week dealing with a raging infection in my ears.  I have used home remedies such as warm heat, peroxide, even sweet oil.  I began taking a decongestant, ibuprofen and an antibiotic.

I am feeling better.  The congestion is break up, but the ringing in my ears is deafening and sounds are muffled.  I am concerned about the harm this could do to my ear drum.

As you would expect, my blood sugars have been elevated.  Not too dramatically but just enough to cause an increase in my insulin intake each day.  So I am testing more frequently, and I have increased my intake of water because of the higher blood sugar numbers and the added medications.  That extra fluid means I am frequently in the bathroom to relieve my full bladder.

I haven’t had much energy and find that I am slow in getting things done.  Tomorrow I will be at the doctor’s office.  I hope she will be able to provide relief for the congestion in my ears and the constant ringing.

My busy schedule for this past week has taken a back seat to dealing with this sinus/ear infection.  This was to have been my week to get ready for our grandson and his parents to visit with us during Thanksgiving.  I had each day plotted out so that I would be ready and not rushing around at the last moment. 

Now I will do what I can to prepare for Thanksgiving and not worry about what I cannot get done. There will be food in the house and clean linens on the beds.   More important than a super-clean house and a beautifully set table are the people you love. 

I will spend Thanksgiving Day with family and friends, and I hope your Thanksgiving will be spent with those who are special to you. And may both of us be truly thankful for the many blessings in our lives.


Dining Out

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Nov. 14, 2010

This past whirlwind week of travel and a weekend retreat have left me carrying home more weight than just the heavy dirty clothes and the souvenirs I bought.

From Knoxville, TN to Dallas, TX to Hershey, PA to Townsend, TN – all food establishments were into the fall theme of apples, pumpkins, fall vegetables and hearty game.  Menus offered Pumpkin breads and apple pies; creamy, savory soups; and all things chocolates.  (Did you know that Hershey will sell you a 5 pound chocolate bar?)  Some meats were encrusted in bread or nuts and often accompanied by sugary fruit chutney.

Eating out is a minefield that can be navigated successfully once or twice a week.  This week ALL my meals were eaten away from home.  From an airport grab ‘n go to an elegant circular dining room, I searched for healthy, fresh fare. 

All too often I found the healthy sounding selection was anything but healthy.  Who would guess that the Harvest Soup with “vegetables straight from our garden” would come loaded with salt, cream, and maple cured ham!  Or the benign sounding white fish would come on top of a two cup serving of creamy, pumpkin risotto.

Yes, I did often order the simple garden salad (almost no dressing), fresh fruit, and water.  But it is hard to continually pass up the culinary delights of highly talented, creative chefs. (Often I find great ideas to spice up my own cooking.) My goal was balance throughout the day.  And many days I came close.

My dining out became a dining in during my weekend retreat on a mountain top.  The need to serve 20 people quickly and economically narrows the options to quick breakfast items, soups and breads, a wide variety of processed snacks, lots of bought desserts, and pasta.  While I did avoid the snacks, at meal time I ate what was offered.

Today I returned home in time to attend a “kick off the holiday luncheon” with my Sunday School class.  We have such great cooks and each one brought her signature dish.  The feast before my eyes seemed never ending:  a meat, bread, choice of (or ”just  a taste of”) 12 different vegetables and salads, and 8 homemade desserts!  I will only say that I did not return for seconds.

 A week of eating out coupled with the past 3 weeks of missed regular exercises activities (see my previous blog) can wreak havoc on a body.  Add to that the stress of deadlines and travel.  I am a tired, overfed, grouchy person.

Thankfully, tomorrow is a new day, an opportunity to start a routine of daily exercise and healthy, home cooked meals.  My workout clothes are laid out and the grocery list is made. 


Too stressed

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Nov. 5, 2010

With flailing arms and burning lungs, I struggled to reach the end of the pool on my first lap.  What was going on?  I wondered why I was floundering so on my first lap.  I am not a competitive swimmer but I am a competent swimmer.   I swim 3 or 4 days each week!  On the heels of that thought came the realization that I had not been in the pool for the last 10 days.  And neither had I been to the gym!

How had I let this happen?  I have a schedule of when I will either lap swim or workout and had been faithful to that schedule for the previous three months.  I was so proud of the results of sticking to this schedule: more energy, loss of a few pounds, and clothes a little loose.  Now, after just 10 days of not following my schedule, I found those hard won benefits slipping away along with some of my pride.

Not only had I neglected my exercise schedule, I was behind on yard work, which I enjoy doing, and count as extra exercise.  I saw that my house could use a thorough cleaning too.  I was ashamed to admit that we had eaten out more than I had cooked at home in these few weeks.

 I also had to admit that my diabetes management was not up to par.  The eating out frequently, not exercising regularly, being stressed from over committing myself and mindless snacking were taking a toll.  My fasting blood sugar readings were creeping up each day.  My two hour after meal readings, while in the acceptable range, were still higher than I normally see.  I was irritable and often not kind in my responses to my husband.  My energy level was low.  I simply felt stressed out!

I am angry, frustrated, and very disappointed that I allowed my volunteer activities to become my focus not my health.  The last two weeks have been very stressful as I worked hard to complete the different projects that I had committed to do. Somehow all the deadlines were within days of each other. I found myself working in my home office for hours on end.  Some days I worked 8 to 10 hours trying to “tie up those loose ends” for each project. I had lost a healthy balance between work and personal activity.

I am happy to volunteer my time to my church, community and diabetes projects.  I want to continue to offer my services, but I do not want to skimp on my personal time.   Managing my diabetes and maintaining good health are two important goals for me.  I want to live a healthy, active life and to enjoy time with my family!

Even though I am over commitment this coming week, I have a plan in place.  I have scheduled two light works outs next week. I know that I cannot just jump back into exercise at the same level I had attained.  I will have to build up my endurance and level of intensity.  Yes, I know that the holiday season is fast approaching, and many requests will be made for my time.  I will choose carefully how I spend my time. The fact is I am tired of having no energy, being stressed, and making poor health choices.  

 With orange ink, I have marked my exercise times on my calendar.  I WILL keep those dates to exercise!  I look forward to having more energy, a less stressful life, and a fun-filled holiday season. 


A great beginning

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Oct. 31, 2010

Being part of a new beginning is a thrilling experience.  Like you, I have celebrated weddings and births and attended ribbon cutting ceremonies and organizational meetings for new programs.  As we move into November, American Diabetes Awareness month, I hope many communities who have not previously had a diabetes awareness program will start one.  This past Friday, I was part of such an exciting event:  a community initiating a diabetes awareness campaign.

I was invited to participate as a small town just a few miles north of the Virginia/North Carolina state line kicked off its diabetes awareness campaign.   The local hospital and YMCA joined forces to invite the citizens of the town to a Diabetes Walk.  The purpose was to generate awareness of diabetes and the obesity epidemic (their word) in the community and to show support to those who have diabetes.  

They did their homework for the event.  Ads were placed in the newspaper.  Flyers went up in the hospital and in offices of local doctors.  Prizes were ready to be given away.  Water and snacks were provided to those participating in the walk. 

Friday was a beautiful fall day.  The ceremony started at 5:30pm, just before the sun set for the day and the cooler temperature began to chill the air.  Around 75 people, ages 6 months to 82, gathered to hear the City Manger share the statistics that 23.6 million Americans (or 7.8% of population) have diabetes and that 1.6 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people age 20 and older each year.  I spoke briefly about the causes of and the risks associated with diabetes, and the tools to manage this disease.

Then all of us headed for the track to walk a mile.  Kids raced around the track.  Some walked in groups of 3 or 4 talking and laughing.  Others jogged their mile.  All achieved the goal of walking a mile or more. A few won prizes.  And many talked about ways to become healthier by being more physically active.

This is not the end.  Those who were in charge, Ruth, Shannon and Danita, are already planning the next event.   In November they hope to have a guest speaker, a person with diabetes, who will talk about living successfully with diabetes.

I applaud their successful Diabetes Walk and am encouraged by their willingness to continue to educate their community.  My hope is that this scenario will be played out in many communities across our country and that you will find a way to help your community to be better informed about diabetes and ways to live a healthy life.


News from my email box

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Oct. 24, 2010

Like many of you, I regularly receive diabetes information in my email.  Recently I read about two good ideas and one important research study that I will share with you.

In Diabetes Health I read about a decal to alert responders in an emergency to the possible presence of someone with diabetes.  The Cope family of Miami, Florida, was concerned that in the event of a car emergency, first responders would not know that the young child in their car had diabetes and may need more specific medical attention quickly.

They were also concerned that law enforcement officials may not realize that a driver was having a low blood sugar episode and not intoxicated. The decal would let them know there could be another reason than being intoxicated for the erratic driving.

AlertPaw, created by the Cope family, is a durable decal for vehicle windows, motorcycles, bicycles, or other smooth surfaces. It comes in two sizes: a three-inch round decal for car and house windows and a one-inch square decal for items such as your driver’s license.

Wearing medic alert identification is useful when help is close enough to recognize the identification.  But what if the responders cannot get close enough to see the ID?  A decal for the car window seemed an obvious solution.   

Share this information with others.  Parents of young people with diabetes worry about getting appropriate help during a crisis.  The larger AlertPaws decal will gain the attention of emergency responders.  The smaller decal is just right for documents such as school forms, car registration and passports.

The other good idea comes from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).  Just recently the ADA has launched its official blog,Diabetes Stops Here: Living with Diabetes; Inspired to Stop It.

The ADA is certainly increasing its presence in the social media arena.  Check out the site.  And visit often.  You will read posts from the ADA staff and volunteers and other PWD.  You can share your comments and personal journey on this blog. For more information you can read the press release. 

As women with diabetes, we know that our risk for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular events such as blood vessel damage, stroke, heart failure, heart attack, or kidney failure is greatly increased.  In general, more than 70 million people in the US alone have hypertension. Millions suffer heart attacks and strokes every year.

You, like me, may already be taking a medication to help regulate blood pressure and protect the kidneys.  What if a simple thing – taking the medication at night instead of in the morning – improved the efficacy or effect of the medication?

On Diabetes in Control.com the article Blood Pressure Pills More Effective When Taken at Night reports on a recent study into how biological rhythms effect high blood pressure medications.  The Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring in the Prediction of Cardiovascular Events and Effects of Chronotherapy ( MAPEC) study is a groundbreaking five-year study that may change the way blood pressure medication is administered. 

The newly completed study shows that taking high blood pressure medication at night instead of in the morning significantly increases efficacy in keeping blood pressure within a healthy range.  Another indication is taking medication at night offers extra protection against heart attacks, strokes and other types of cardiovascular diseases.

I will share this information with my doctor and continue to look for more follow –up articles on this MAPEC study.  This is a small change that I can easily make.




Medications that affect blood sugar

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Oct. 17, 2010

As people with diabetes we know many things affect our blood sugar:  food, physical activity, stress, travel, sleep or lack of, and medications.  I often test the effect of food or physical activity by taking my blood sugar before and after eating a specific food item or participating in physical activity. The increase or decrease in blood sugar tells me the effect of the food or activity. While I know that medications could impact my blood sugar, I did not know the specific impact of various medications nor how to “test” for the effect on my blood sugar.  Do you?

I was pleased to find information about drugs that are known to affect blood sugar levels.  An article in the e-newsletter from Diabetes in Control, provides a comprehensive list of drugs and how they affect blood sugar levels. 

Perhaps you are curious, as I was, to learn how the medications I take may affect my blood sugar.  If you are, have a list of your medications with you before clicking on the link below.

Each subtitle (ex. Drugs That Can Cause Hyperglycemia) will have a long list of drugs.  To make it easy to find your medication, the drugs are in alphabetical order.

Drugs That Can Affect Blood Glucose Levels

If you have any concerns after reviewing this list, share those concerns with your healthcare provider.  I did.  My healthcare provider and I discussed the effect of one of my medications and decided to change to a different medication.  The result is a slight reduction in my blood sugar reading just before going to bed.  


World Diabetes Day

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Oct. 10, 2010

The recent DiabetesSisters’ newsletter reminded me that I better getting moving if I am going to have plans in place to celebrate World Diabetes Day (WDD) on November 14, 2010.  I have let most previous years go by without participating.  Last year I did a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for our local TV channel.  This year is going to be different.  I am committed to make a bigger effort to raise diabetes awareness in the month of November.

Let’s take control of diabetes. Now is the slogan for the 2010 World Diabetes Day (WDD) campaign.  Created in 1991 by The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the escalating threat of diabetes worldwide, WDD reaches a global audience of over 1 billion people.  I am making plans now to participate in World Diabetes Day.  I am borrowing my friend’s idea.  Charles said he is going to write an article for his church bulletin and give out flyers to the church members.  What a great idea!  I have talked with my church staff and we are in the planning stages for doing the similar things at our church.  Information will be on the video message board, in our church bulletin, and flyers will be placed on bulletin boards throughout the church.  If possible, we will place a large sign in front of the church and light the church in blue. You know, once I followed through on my first action – talking with the church staff, I am thinking about other ways to celebrate World Diabetes Day in my community. I will ask our local newspaper, radio station and TV station if they will run a PSA.  I will be available to them for an interview if they would like to run a longer article. Now, you may be thinking I would do some of those things too but I don’t have time to create all the flyers, PSAs, or articles.  Well, you don’t.  International Diabetes Federation has done the work for you by creating The World Diabetes Day site.  This site has suggestions for activities and materials to use in planning an event.  You will find information readymade for use in the media.  Check out the site. I will be an advocate for diabetes awareness and celebrate WWD on Nov. 14, 2010, in my community.  What about you?  Share your ideas/plans with your DiabetesSisters. Your ideas may inspire others to act just like the plans from my friend Charles inspired me.



Continuing Diabetes Education

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Oct. 3, 2010

Staying current on what is happening in diabetes can be a full time job and one that I don’t really take time to do.  I recently spent the day at a Taking Control of Your Diabetes conference learning more about diabetes, medicines to treat and tools to manage diabetes and listening to inspiring speakers.  TCOYD is a one-day, one-stop diabetes educational venue.

About 40 exhibitors set up to share their information and products with the 1200 plus attendees.  I found information on weight management, exercise, meters, continuous glucose monitors, heart health, and insulin. CDEs were available to answer questions.  Podiatrist checked feet. Outstanding diabetes leaders such as Bill Polonsky of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute shared their wisdom with us.

I scored a  OneTouch Delica, a new lancing device.  The Delica has a glide control for more precise lancing and has reduced the vibration of the device for a smoother, and possible less painful, lancing. It also boasts a new, proprietary 33 gauge lancet that is 40% thinner than current industry standard 28 gauge lancet.

A new exhibitor ResMed  demonstrated a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine.  ResMed develops and markets medical products/treatments for sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.  Their materials state that about one in five adults suffer from sleep apnea and at least 50% of people with type 2 diabetes also have sleep apnea. Some of the symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, poor memory and depression.   If you experience a combination of these symptoms, you may want to talk with your doctor about sleep apnea. Getting a good night’s sleep may help improve your blood sugars.

I met fellow blogger Scott Johnson who was manning the Diabetes Hands Foundation booth.  I had read about Scott on my friend Riva Greenberg’s site and now I frequently read his blog.  I introduced myself.  We talked about diabetes, blogging and our mutual friend Riva.  A stack of DiabetesSisters’ brochures on the table caught my eye so we expanded our conversation to include knowing Brandy Barnes and the excitement I feel being part of DS.  Scott is now a new DF (Diabetes Friend).

Nicole Johnsowas the keynote speaker.  I was excited to see her so soon after hearing her at our Weekend for Women Conference. Her courageous story of saying NO to giving up her dreams because of diabetes and saying YES to living her best life with diabetes inspires me. Like Nicole, I can be an advocate for living a healthy, active life while managing my diabetes.  And you can too.

Nicole, Executive Director of Bringing Science Home, will oversee the $5.6 million gift from the Patterson Foundation to The University of South Florida Health.  The purpose of this project is to develop new ways to help people with chronic illness live happier, healthier lives.  Keep an eye on this project.  I believe the research will result in a positive model for healthy living with a chronic illness such as diabetes.   

I listened to my fellow mentor Terry and Dr. Kane, an endocrinologist, discuss the use of insulin in managing type 2 diabetes. Terry shared that he began injecting insulin to have better control over his blood sugars.  He and Dr. Kane addressed many of the prevailing myths about insulin.  I also use insulin to manage my blood sugar and posted on DiabetesSisters a blog The Myths of Insulin (August 15, 2010), a good summary of their presentation. 

I was very interested in the Benefits of Resistance Training.  This session focused on using exercise tubing which I often use when I travel.  The light, compact tubes are easy to pack and to use in a hotel room.  Weight loss, improved balance, less fatigue and increased muscle are just a few of the many benefits that result from using them.  Exercise tubing can be purchased in the sporting goods section of Target, Kmart, Walmart or any sporting store and come  color coded to denote the strength of resistance.

Lunch was a healthy Greek salad with chicken and hummus with pita chips.  Lemon Mousse and biscotti was the simple, yet delicious, dessert.  I have the recipe for the great low fat (2 g), low carb (10 g) biscotti.  If you would like the recipe, email me at anng@diabetessisters.org.

A TCOYD conference provides a smorgasbord of learning opportunities. I have shared just a few of the many things I learned. Best of all, I left renewed to continue the struggle to manage my diabetes.  The San Diego, CA, and the Oklahoma City, OK, conferences are the remaining two for this year.  Soon the 2011 schedule will be on the TCOYD website.  If there is a conference near you, gather up your family and friends (with or without diabetes) and spend a day updating your diabetes knowledge.