What is Blood Sugar and A1C?

Blood sugar is the main sugar found in the blood. We get the glucose from the food we eat. Blood sugar is an important source of energy for the body’s organs, muscles, and nervous system. The insulin produced by the pancreas helps to regulate the glucose in the bloodstream so that it can be stored and processed by the body correctly.

Hemoglobin A1C, also known as just A1C, is the average levels of blood sugar over a 3 month period. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells. Glucose attaches/binds with the hemoglobin and A1C tests are based on this attachment and show the heightened levels of glucose in the blood. This means high levels of glucose are attached to hemoglobin and in your bloodstream.

Normal people have an A1C of 5.7% or less.
Prediabetic people have an A1C of 5.7-6.4%.
Diabetic people have an A1C of 6.5% or more.

Check out this chart to get an idea of what your blood sugar should look like whether or not you have diabetes.
It’s also A good indicator to see whether or not you may have diabetes.

Glucose is fuel for your body when it is at normal levels. High sugar levels in the bloodstream erode the ability of cells in the pancreas to make insulin which can permanently damage the pancreas. This could also lead to the hardening of blood vessels.


Getting the A1C test will help your doctor determine if you have prediabetes or full blown diabetes and then counsel you on any lifestyle changes and monitor your condition. If you catch it in the prediabetes stage, you have the chance to reverse it and keep yourself away from diabetes.

I was told for two years that I was on the verge of getting diabetes. My doctor gave me multiple chances and I still didn’t listen. Now I have to work extra hard to lose the weight and fix my lifestyle. I don’t think I can fully reverse my diabetes now, but I can manage it to the best of my ability. It’s just a lot of work now.


I created a printable daily diabetic log where you can keep track of the medication you took, your blood sugar for the day, any workout you had, and the food you ate for the day. Click here to download the log and keep track of your day. I plan to come out with more printables to help keep you accountable with your diabetes, so stay tuned!


References

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease
WebMD
Live Science

The Journey: Episode Two

FEBRUARY 20, 2020

My insulin is not exactly working right now. I have had to up it to 35 units and I’m going to take my second dose tonight so I will see if it’s working.

Currently these are the medications I’m on:

  • Lantus 35 units, once daily
  • Metformin 1000mg, twice daily
  • Glyburide 5mg, twice daily
  • Lisinopril 20mg, once daily
  • Pravastatin 20mg, once daily
  • Lutera, once daily

I’m also experimenting with some supplements as well:

  • Cissus Quadrangularis: tendon and ligament support, weight management, and mood support
  • D-Mannose: urinary tract support
  • Berberine: blood sugar support, cholesterol support, and a healthy gut
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: weight loss support, blood sugar level support, and detoxification

In one of my posts, Some Signs You Might Have Diabetes, one of the symptoms is frequent urination and yeast infection. I have had some issues with urinary tract infections and so far the D-Mannose is the healthiest thing I could find that did not need a prescription. So far I think it’s been working but I am not entirely sure how I would know if it works or not. The D-Mannose is supposed to attract the bacteria that causes urinary infection then exit through the urine.

My husband and I are seriously considering moving out of state. We live in Hawaii and the cost of living here is ridiculous. We are thinking of moving to the mainland and trying to start over. It would put a lot of things on hold for us. We have to save up money to ship our car and find a place to stay up there. I’m going to continue to take my medications and supplements and work on exercising on the cheap.

We’re going to figure it out and I’ll keep you folks updated. Hey, it’s a how to go through a move and life change while on diabetes.


I want to know what you want to learn about diabetes. Take this survey to let me know what you are interested in learning.

Some Signs You Might Have Diabetes

DISCLAIMER: There is no true way to know if you have diabetes unless your doctor orders you a blood test that specifically looks at your blood sugar. However, this is a list of symptoms that could help alert you that something might be wrong.

Here is a list of symptoms that could indicate you have prediabetes or diabetes:

  • frequent urination – because there is excess sugar in your system, your kidneys work overtime to expel it but while the sugar is in your system, it soaks up water from all over your body causing frequent urination and leaving you thirsty
  • unusual thirst – ties in with the above symptom
  • blurred vision – high blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell
  • extreme fatigue – because the insulin in your body is not working properly, the sugar is not converting in to energy that your body needs to function
  • dry mouth – ties in with the unusual thirst
  • slow-healing sores and cuts – uncontrolled diabetes can affect the circulation of blood causing wounds to heal slower
  • itching of the skin – because the sugar in your blood is soaking up all the water in your body and dries out your skin
  • yeast infections – yeast feeds on glucose and likes warm, moist areas
  • numbness/tingling of the hands and feet – result of nerve damage
  • unplanned weight loss – your body is not getting the necessary energy from the food you are eating
  • nausea/vomiting – your body starts burning fat abnormally thus creating ketones, too much ketones can make you feel sick to your stomach

Sometimes you can have episodes of low or high blood sugar and it makes you feel out of it and you are not entirely sure what is going on. These lists could help you figure out which one you might be experiencing and then you can act accordingly.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Image result for low blood sugar
  • Shaky
  • Nervous or anxious
  • Sweaty, chilly, or clammy
  • Cranky or impatient
  • Confused
  • Lightheaded or dizzy
  • Hungry
  • Sleepy
  • Weak
  • Tingly or numb in your lips, tongue, or cheeks

You might notice:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Pale skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Nightmares or crying when you sleep
  • Coordination problems
  • Seizures

When experiencing a low blood sugar episode, take a couple glucose tablets, drink 8oz of juice or soda, suck on hard candy, or take a bite of a candy bar. Try to get your blood sugar up, but not too high.


Symptoms of Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)

  • Heavy thirst
  • Blurry vision
  • Peeing a lot
  • More hunger
  • Numb or tingling feet
  • Fatigue
  • Sugar in your urine
  • Weight loss
  • Vaginal and skin infections
  • Slow-healing cuts and sores
  • Blood glucose over 180 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)

If you are already diabetic and you have a glucose meter with you, check your blood sugar to make sure whether you are high or low.

There are a lot of signs that could indicate you may have diabetes. I hope this list helps to lead you in the right direction. If you can catch it while it is still close to under control, there is a better chance that you will be able to get it under control and a chance you could even reverse it before it gets serious.

If you have any of these symptoms and you are suspicious that you have diabetes, call your doctor and set up an appointment. Do not let your doctor talk you down, this is your body and you want to make sure it is healthy. Better to be safe than sorry.


Related Content

What is Diabetes?


References

WebMD
Medical News Today

What is Diabetes?

The most basic definition of diabetes is “a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.”

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose from food be better absorbed into cells to be used for energy.

Blood glucose is the body’s main source of energy and comes from the food that is ingested.

Diabetes affects the insulin the body produces and its ability to absorb the glucose from the blood and transform it into energy for the body. Either the body does not produce enough insulin for the amount of glucose in the blood or the body does not produce any insulin at all.

There are different types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, gestational, and prediabetes.

Type 1 is when the body does not make insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Insulin injections are required every day to stay alive.

Type 2 is when the body does not make or use insulin well. The body may still be able to produce insulin but the body has developed resistance against the effectiveness of the insulin and the blood glucose is not absorbed efficiently.

Gestational diabetes develops in some women during pregnancy. These women did not previously have diabetes. However, if not treated properly, it could become Type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes occurs in people who are at serious risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes. They are showing signs of diabetes and if not taken cared of in a timely manner, will become Type 2. Most times those with prediabetes do not know they are at risk and they do not consult their doctor and change their lifestyle resulting in a confirmed diagnosis of Type 2 that may or may not be out of control.

If you do not know the signs of prediabetes, you might not know you have it until it is too late. It is very important to know what prediabetes looks like. I will do a post at a later date about the signs of prediabetes.


One of the last pictures I have of my dad, when I graduated from high school in 2012. Also one of our last family photos before he passed away.
Last family photo before my dad passed away.

Who is most likely to develop Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes typically develops in men and women over the age of 45, there is no gender disparity. Diabetes does not always care about how old you are or what gender you identify as, it will get you if you do not take care of yourself.

It can also develop in those who have a family history of diabetes. For instance, my dad got diabetes when he was 18 years old, both my grandmas got diabetes in their older age, my dad’s sister got diabetes around the age of 20, and my cousin was born with Type 1. Diabetes is a big chunk of my family so I was not completely surprised when I was diagnosed. BUT at the same time, my younger sister does not have diabetes at all. She is a lot more active than I am but she eats way more sugar than I do.

Diabetes also develops in those who are overweight. I was obese for my height, age, and gender, so it was no surprise. My dad had been pretty hefty at 18 years old, too. Likewise, my sister is basically a muscular twig so she might evade the disease a little longer than myself.

However, do not let this give you a false sense of security. If you do not take care of yourself and watch what you eat, diabetes will get you.


How does diabetes affect your body?

Diabetes itself is just the fact that your insulin cannot do its job sufficiently for whatever reason, but diabetes can really affect your body and lead to many health problems, such as:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems

In my experience, diabetes is not a direct cause of death, but it can really screw up the body and weaken it to many other diseases and issues that can kill you. We do not know the exact cause of my dad’s death, but we know that had he not been diabetic, we could have had twenty more years with him. He died at the age of 43.


Related Content

Some Signs You Might Have Diabetes


References

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease

The Journey: Episode One

FEBRUARY 10, 2020

So if you do not already know, I was diagnosed with diabetes in February 2016. For a long time, it has been out of control. I wanted to try to change my lifestyle so I could avoid insulin, but I could not keep myself accountable and I kept falling off the bandwagon. This is the documentation of my journey with diabetes.

Since my most recent appointment with my endocrinologist on Jan 23, I have been on insulin. I wanted to avoid poking myself every day if I could, but it was not possible. I was originally put on Ozempic back in Oct 2019, but it was over $400 for one pen that lasted a month. I liked Ozempic because it was one shot a week, but that price was ridiculous. I felt a lot better on Ozempic than just taking my pills and I was sad that I could not continue to afford it.

I am not a big fan of my insulin, but thankfully it is just once a day at bedtime. Some times I hit a nerve and it hurts really bad. Some times there is no pain at all. My doctor had me start off with 20 units for five days and if my blood sugar first thing in the morning was not under 125mg/dl then I had to up it five units for five more days and just keep monitoring. I have gotten to 30 units so far and I am surprised that it is working very well just not as well as we want it to right now. We are trying to find my sweet spot right now.

My prescription for insulin was over $1000 to get all of my boxes. I have no idea why they wanted me to take all of my prescription one time and charge me one time. But I was able to find a savings card online that made it possible to just get one box at a time for $99. That is much more affordable for me. My health insurance completely sucks.

I am not a fan of poking myself every night with insulin and then checking my blood sugar in the morning. All this poking hurts.

So far I weigh about 190lbs and I’m trying to get down to 160lbs by December 2020. I definitely want to have an update section with my measurements and weight as well as a post of my goals.