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Time to take this serious

Lizzie60

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi all was diagnosed last year with a hb1ac of 57 decided I didn’t want to go on medication but would try to do it with diet & lifestyle changes already take ramipril & thyroxine & am not really a tablet taker my dr was quite happy to go along with my decision as long as he could see changes didn’t really take things seriously until I started reading about all the complications diabetes can bring with it I’ve got my hb1ac down to 50 lost over a stone then the dreaded covid hit myself & my hubby after a weekend away in Edinburgh ,after 2 weeks I developed a chest infection which dr thinks is a secondary infection from covid so a course of strong antibiotics was given which I finish tomorrow but when I’ve tested my blood sugars they have been up as high as 9 can anyone tell me if having an infection or antibiotics can raise blood sugars I’ve become a bit obsessed with my bloods as my dr said just to do it every now & then but now I’m doing it all the time & getting myself stressed over it HELP
 

Vonny

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi @Lizzie60, both stress and infections can cause BG to rise so you've got a double whammy! I personally don't think it's a problem doing your bloods regularly and took mine 2 or 3 times a day for around a year until I was down to respectable hba1c levels and had got to my target weight. Now I only tend to take it if I've eaten something which I'm not sure what it will do to my BG. However, if you're on antibiotics and shaking off infection I'd maybe give yourself a break for a couple of weeks until your health is a bit more stable, just to avoid extra stress! Best of luck.
 

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi and welcome
My blood glucose shot up when I had a very persistent infection and was on antibiotics. It dropped quite a lot when I recovered - over about 3 months - and is still a work in progress. I used to test 8 times a day until I worked out what foods affected my blood glucose and now only test for new foods. I think you have to give your body time to recover then think about testing again. Your next HbA1c should give you a better idea.
 

Lizzie60

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Thank you Felinia I can see what you mean about infections causing havoc with your hbA1c & by the look of it also affecting your BP mine has also been higher than normal I also see that you all seem to know what your cholesterol readings are does this get done at your GP reviews? As I havent got a clue what mine is do they do this each time or do you have to ask them to do it & what is an acceptable level ? Sorry for all the questions
 

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi
Yes, it took 4 months to get over the infection, and I had to keep stopping and starting the medication. We weren't sure at first if it was the medication or infection that made me feel so ill. Once my kidney function returned to normal, I was able to take my current medication without side effects. I'm in the middle of doing my home BP review and am averaging around 130/80, so getting back to the level I was down to before. I am due for my next HbA1c in 3 weeks and am hoping that will have dropped below 60, and my cholesterol back down to its usual 5.2 to 5.4. Also I've lost another 5kg. So slowly getting there. As another member says - it's a marathon, not a sprint.
My cholesterol is checked as a matter of course each time I have my HbA1c blood test, and now also my kidney function. My GP service posts my test results online and then phones me to discuss them. If you are not told, you should ask for them, so you know where you are and what you're aiming for. These are the targets I was set when first diagnosed. HbA1c <41, BP <120/79, Total cholesterol <4.0, Weight <67.9kg.
I was given to understand that diabetics should have a lower BP and cholesterol level than non diabetics. Cholesterol is a contentious issue - statins do tend to be pushed very heavily for diabetics, non-diabetics, and even according to age. I did try for 18 months but had very severe side effects from 3 different statins. I was taken off them and now just take a cholesterol lowering drink and spreads. Each time I get a new GP or diabetic nurse we have the same "discussion" as I flat out refuse to take them again. But it's a personal choice - many people take them with no side effects. As for the other targets, I try! Exercise does help - I'm in the pool 2 or 3 times a week, and I follow a low carb eating plan. Best wishes
 

Lizzie60

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Thank you Felinia yes I was asked about statins but refused as I i don’t like taking tablets I also take cholesterol lowering drinks & had a kidney function test about 3 months ago which they said was in the acceptable range think my next hbA1c is in January ,I do go walking & look after my 18 month old Grandson a few days a week so think I’m fairly active can I ask you when you say you follow a low carb diet roughly how many carbs a day do you eat Ive been reading & diabetes uk say 130 carbs a day ? There’s so much to take on board
 

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Daily carbs are a very personal thing. Some people are very sensitive to carbs (Drummer) and have a very low total number of carbs. That is what suits their bodies so there is no hard and fast rule. 130gm a day is just a possibility, not a rule. I experimented between 50gm to 130gm and settled around 90gm per day +- 15gm.
For example, I measure my carbs on the NutraCheck app and yesterday I had:
B: 2 boiled eggs, 2 medium slices of Warburtons Wholemeal, toasted and a raspberry Benecol = 24.4gm carbs
L: 100gm Ham salad with a drizzle of seafood sauce = 14.2gm carbs
D: Pork burger, 2 small new potatoes, runner beans, cauliflower, gravy = 42.8gm carbs
Skimmed milk for drinks = 9.2gm. I had 1.5 litres weak decaf tea and coffee, and 1.5 litres mineral and soda water
Total = 90.5gm carbs.
I had tested my reaction to bread and potato and found I was one of the lucky ones, and these portion sizes did not cause a big spike. But I don't often have potatoes, as I find cauliflower a very acceptable substitute. I don't often have bread with breakfast either, as I enjoy a poached egg with just grilled mushrooms and tomatoes. I make my own soups for winter lunch, but just have vegetables and stock - no thickeners like potato or flour. For example I make squash and red pepper soup with onion, stock, some curry powder and light coconut milk. Also a Minestrone soup with stock, Italian seasoning and tinned tomatoes. I do have some higher carb soups but still OK in small portions.
 

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rebrascora

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Hi
Covid infection and also the vaccine seems to be a cause of raised BG levels so it is not surprising that your levels are higher. I would not be overly concerned about getting a reading of 9 at the moment but out of curiosity was that before or after food and if after how long after and what did you eat?
It sounds like you haven't been following any sort of structured testing system and this may mean that you are not getting any useful data from the testing, just anxiety by the sound of it.
Most Type 2 diabetics here on the forum use testing to help them modify their diet and figure out how much carbohydrate (and even what type of carbohydrates) their body can cope with whilst maintaining good BG levels. To do this they test immediately before eating a meal and then 2 hours afterwards. They are looking to keep the increase in BG (ie the first reading subtracted from the second) to less than 3 whole mmols. So if you tested just before eating breakfast and your reading was 5.1 and the after breakfast reading was 7.8 then your breakfast was OK but if your after breakfast reading was 9.6 then you ate too many carbs for breakfast and you should maybe look at having 1 slice less toast or a smaller portion of cereal or maybe substitute some berries for the banana. Of course you may already not eat any of those quite high carb foods, so you might need to consider how much milk you have in your coffee and would a lower carb alternative like cream be a good swap. Keeping an itemised food diary with a rough estimate of the number of carbs in each meal along with your before and after readings will help you to work out which foods you can get away with and in what quantity and which as best avoided or kept for very special occasions. Staring with breakfast is a good idea, because most of us have the same breakfast most mornings, so once you have tested that over a few days (never make a dietary decision based on just one set of readings.... always look for trends over several sets of figures) and figured out a breakfast that your body/diabetes can cope with, then move onto lunch and perhaps just test breakfast once in a while to make sure all is still OK. Weighing foods like cereals if you use them is really important because I think most people have lost sight of what the recommended portion actually should be. If you look on the packet, it will suggest something like 45g which looks rather piddly when you weigh it out. Portion size is probably one of the biggest causes of obesity and diabetes, so starting to be conscious of that by weighing and reducing is important.

Anyway, I hope that gives you more idea of how to use your test meter to modify your diet and work out how many carbs per day is about right for you. I tend to have roughly 70g per day but there are people who need to go much lower to control their diabetes and others who get away with more. I would add that low carb does not have to be boring or limiting, so please shout up if you want ideas. I made a lovely halloumi and cauliflower curry the other day and had it with Konjac rice. It was probably about 20g carbs per portion and very tasty. Love, love, love ratatouille and have it with steak or high meat content sausages or halloumi or chops. Today I will be making mousakka and having it with a big side salad and cheese coleslaw. I always have a huge dollop of coleslaw on my salads.
 

Leadinglights

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi
Covid infection and also the vaccine seems to be a cause of raised BG levels so it is not surprising that your levels are higher. I would not be overly concerned about getting a reading of 9 at the moment but out of curiosity was that before or after food and if after how long after and what did you eat?
It sounds like you haven't been following any sort of structured testing system and this may mean that you are not getting any useful data from the testing, just anxiety by the sound of it.
Most Type 2 diabetics here on the forum use testing to help them modify their diet and figure out how much carbohydrate (and even what type of carbohydrates) their body can cope with whilst maintaining good BG levels. To do this they test immediately before eating a meal and then 2 hours afterwards. They are looking to keep the increase in BG (ie the first reading subtracted from the second) to less than 3 whole mmols. So if you tested just before eating breakfast and your reading was 5.1 and the after breakfast reading was 7.8 then your breakfast was OK but if your after breakfast reading was 9.6 then you ate too many carbs for breakfast and you should maybe look at having 1 slice less toast or a smaller portion of cereal or maybe substitute some berries for the banana. Of course you may already not eat any of those quite high carb foods, so you might need to consider how much milk you have in your coffee and would a lower carb alternative like cream be a good swap. Keeping an itemised food diary with a rough estimate of the number of carbs in each meal along with your before and after readings will help you to work out which foods you can get away with and in what quantity and which as best avoided or kept for very special occasions. Staring with breakfast is a good idea, because most of us have the same breakfast most mornings, so once you have tested that over a few days (never make a dietary decision based on just one set of readings.... always look for trends over several sets of figures) and figured out a breakfast that your body/diabetes can cope with, then move onto lunch and perhaps just test breakfast once in a while to make sure all is still OK. Weighing foods like cereals if you use them is really important because I think most people have lost sight of what the recommended portion actually should be. If you look on the packet, it will suggest something like 45g which looks rather piddly when you weigh it out. Portion size is probably one of the biggest causes of obesity and diabetes, so starting to be conscious of that by weighing and reducing is important.

Anyway, I hope that gives you more idea of how to use your test meter to modify your diet and work out how many carbs per day is about right for you. I tend to have roughly 70g per day but there are people who need to go much lower to control their diabetes and others who get away with more. I would add that low carb does not have to be boring or limiting, so please shout up if you want ideas. I made a lovely halloumi and cauliflower curry the other day and had it with Konjac rice. It was probably about 20g carbs per portion and very tasty. Love, love, love ratatouille and have it with steak or high meat content sausages or halloumi or chops. Today I will be making mousakka and having it with a big side salad and cheese coleslaw. I always have a huge dollop of coleslaw on my salads.
You are dead right about portion sizes, when you actually weigh thing, it makes you realise that say a jacket potato served in a cafe is actually a whopping amount of grams of carb.
 

Lizzie60

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Thank you all, rebrascora to be honest only test my bloods now & then but since having covid & chest infection as they were higher than normal started doing it every day that’s why I was getting stressed didn’t realise that you do it a couple of times a day befor food , & 2 hours after, didn’t really understand all the testing now I am beginning to understand why you do it befor you eat then again after i was just testing to see what my reading was that day not to see what foods caused my sugars to go up I’m still getting to grips with what I can eat ! Feliniathat’s great thank you for the ideas I am struggling to keep to low carbs low fat etc a diet for me has always been diet things as in low fat foods now going over to low carb is taking some getting used to
but I will get to grips with this have to say I have learned more in 2 days on here than I have in the last 12 months
 

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Thank you all, rebrascora to be honest only test my bloods now & then but since having covid & chest infection as they were higher than normal started doing it every day that’s why I was getting stressed didn’t realise that you do it a couple of times a day befor food , & 2 hours after, didn’t really understand all the testing now I am beginning to understand why you do it befor you eat then again after i was just testing to see what my reading was that day not to see what foods caused my sugars to go up I’m still getting to grips with what I can eat ! Feliniathat’s great thank you for the ideas I am struggling to keep to low carbs low fat etc a diet for me has always been diet things as in low fat foods now going over to low carb is taking some getting used to
but I will get to grips with this have to say I have learned more in 2 days on here than I have in the last 12 months
Glad to have helped, and rebrascora's advice is brilliant and clear. Here are some low carb suggestions with cauliflower the star of the show. I put cooked gammon chunks into cauliflower cheese, baked it and served with runner beans. I made carrot/swede puree, mixed peas and broad beans, and served with a small gammon steak and cauliflower florets. The lasagne is the standard recipe but with squash sheets instead of pasta. My dad loved devilled kidneys, and I served it with spinach, green beans and cauliflower. As you can see they are all good platefuls (a 10 in dessert plate) and I would say 2/3 veggies.
 

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rebrascora

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
The problem with testing randomly is that BG levels fluctuate quite significantly for everyone throughout the day and night and non diabetic people can get readings below 4 and as high as 10 occasionally without it being a problem, so a random reading of 15 might be concerning but a random reading of 9 less so. None diabetic people's bodies work efficiently and bring those high levels straight back down again after eating something particularly carb rich whereas for us diabetics those levels can stay high for too long. So in reality your reading of 9 (depending upon when you took it.... say an hour after a meal) could be perfectly normal but if it was 2 or more hours after a meal then perhaps not so good.

The thing is that whilst food is the main thing to increase our BG levels there are as many as 42 factors which have an impact on our blood glucose. Exercise is another main player and surprisingly it can raise as well as lower levels in the short term but in the longer term it will all generally have a lowering effect. Hormones, stress, illness, alcohol, medication and even the weather/temperature/length of day and time of day. This is why testing immediately before a meal and then 2 hours after reduces the effect most of those other factors can have and allows you to see mostly what the food in that meal is doing to your levels. It is not perfect which is why it is best to test 2 or 3 times for each meal to get a reasonable picture of how your body coped with that meal. Always make sure your hands are clean or wipe away the first spot of blood and test the second because even just passing a jam or chutney jar across the table to a family member can leave a slight sugary residue on your finger which can compromise the reading.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that fat is not the enemy. Doing low fat and low carb is really hard and I found it unsustainable long term because it was not enjoyable for me and didn't provide enough calories. Most of us who follow a low carb way of eating choose full fat options of things like milk and yoghurt and coleslaw. Some of us have cream in our morning coffee instead of milk because it is lower carb and the fat takes longer to digest so it keeps us feeling full for longer, provides slow release energy and it tastes good. Many other low fat products are higher in carbohydrates to make them taste more appealing and it is believed by some scientists that the low fat advice has in part been responsible for the obesity and diabetes epidemic we are seeing today, because fat stops you from feeling hungry but carbs spike your BG levels and then they drop. That drop after the spike can make your body feel hungry and leads to many people snacking between meals with biscuits and crisps to top their BG levels back up again. Eating more fat and less carbs, I can comfortably get away with just 2 meals a day and sometimes just one. I might have a chunk of cheese or some nuts in between if I fancy something but I just don't get the cravings I used to struggle with, so I don't find it difficult to stick to this way of eating and I don't feel deprived because I have my delicious cup of coffee with cream on a morning and quite often a chunk of nice cheese or some olives and feta and a small glass of wine on an evening. You might not enjoy these things but finding low carb treats that you do like is important and don't worry if they are also quite high fat, like cheese and nuts.
 

everydayupsanddowns

Administrator
Staff member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Sorry to hear you’ve been under the kosh with Covid and a subsequent infection @Lizzie60 - almost certain to have thrown a spanner in your BGs unfortunately :(

Sounds like you are really committed to getting to grips with your diabetes management, well done! I hope you find a balance of strategies and approaches that work for you, and that comparing notes with other people with diabetes is helpful :)

Keep asking questions, and experimenting. You’ll pretty soon be the world expert in your own unique version of diabetes.
 

Lizzie60

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Aww thank you both for the support & advice I have gone to full fat Greek yog , full cream in coffee , nuts etc just seems strange to me after following low fat diets for years ,changing my way of eating I’m putting everything I eat into my fitness pal tracker to keep a check on my carbs can someone tell me what ratio should I be eating carbs, fat , protein think I’ve set a default as 20% carbs 55% protein 25% fat give or take a few % don’t know if this is good just went with what I thought
 

ianf0ster

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
@Lizzie60 the amount of carbs really depends upon how well or how badly your BG reacts to them. Not all carbs are equal and we are each individual so what is right for me wouldn't work for somebody else. But those ratios seem a reasonable starting point until you know whether you need to go lower carb or indeed if you don't need to cut your carbs so much. But it's a balance, so the lower the carbs, the higher the Protein and/or Fat has to be to avoid hunger.
 

Drummer

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
@Lizzie60 - bit of overkill there - just eat the protein and fat you feel like and add in the amount of carbohydrate from foods you can tolerate, it really is a simple and sustainable way to eat rather than anything to fret over.
I have to really limit the carbs I eat each day and avoid high carb foods, but I have meals which are meat, often cooked with mushrooms, then a stirfry of sweet pepper, courgette and maybe some frozen mix from Lidl - or what I find in the fridge, or swede from the day before - and I don't need to record anything because it is all low carb.
 
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