March 30, 2018

A Hot Cross Blood Test

Now, whoever you are, whatever your knowledge, whatever your health situation, you probably know that people with diabetes test their own blood sugar.
If you’re a Type 1 or have advanced Type 2, you do it to determine how much insulin to add to your system and some other meds can mean you need to self-test.
Or you can do it to see how things are are going, as a process of self-reporting, or self-education, as we encourage people on Dia-Beat This! to do. I’ve been self-testing since I was diagnosed and despite having reversed my Type 2, I still keep an eye on my readings, to see how things are going.
Earlier today, I thought I’d have a hot cross bun.
Before I was diagnosed, I used to love a hot cross bun, ideally toasted, with butter and I wouldn’t think twice of having them as a snack.
Since being diagnosed with Type 2, three years and two months ago (not that I’m counting) they’ve become a far rarer treat, as I now know that the little fellers are absolutely teeming with carbs, being as they are doughy, glazed, sweetened bread filled with with dried fruit. Low carb they are not.
Still, since a life with absolutely no treats ever would be a bit miserable, and since I live with two non-diabetics (my wife and my son) and there are thus always a few treat-like things knocking around, I thought I’d have a hot cross bun. Rock and roll, I know. It’s hardly soaking myself in a bath of Jack Daniels but hey.
I was suspicious of what the bun would do to my blood glucose so I reckoned it’d be a chance to see what the exact results were.
I sliced the bun in half and popped it in the toaster. Then I checked my blood glucose. And I got a shock.
I pricked my finger, watched the blood scoot up the test strip – and the result came out at 10.7! I think that’s the highest reading I’ve ever had.
I thought, ‘Must have been a bad strip, do it again.’ The result this time was even worse – 12.4! Argh. What was happening?
I then realised why. The bun had had a sugar glaze on it and when I’d handled it, sugar had got onto my finger and was corrupting the test. D’oh.
I washed my hands thoroughly – as you of course you absolutely always should before pricking your finger – and re-tested my blood. The result was 5.9.
That was a bad moment and a waste of a couple of test strips. Lesson learned.
So, I ate my hot cross bun, toasted, with plenty of salted butter, and very nice it was too.
I set my alarm to test my blood 75 minutes later and come the hour I was happy to learn that my blood glucose had only risen 0.2, to 6.1.
I tested it again 15 minutes later, 90 minutes after eating, and it had risen by 0.8 to 6.9. Then 30 minutes after that, it was heading down again, at 6.6.
Putting aside the fact that you may find all this brain-numbingly dull, what does these figures tell us?
Well, unsurprisingly to those of us in the know, carbs make our blood sugar go up. That’s not exactly news. The bun had 38.9 grams of sharbs in it, so it’s not surprising that it pushed my blood sugar up by a whole point. However, it remained well under our healthy upper post-prandial threshold of 8.0, so no real problem.
What else do we know? Well, for me, eating the bun was enjoyable. It didn’t nourish me much but it probably didn’t do much harm either. I enjoyed it. I ate it consciously and savoured it. So that’s all good?
However (isn’t there always a ‘however’) the price of liberty is a reasonable amount of vigilance.
If I was to eat the same amount of sharbs on another day, the results would be different. If I was more stressed, had less sleep, or any one of at least 42 other factors came into play (see recent post below), it’s almost inevitable that I’d get a different outcome.
Does this mean we have to test constantly? Yes and no.
If you’re in the process of reversing your Type 2, you need to get your head into a place where you’re really focussed on the outcome you want but, obviously, you probably can’t keep that going for your whole life.
Once you’ve got a handle on your Type 2, it’s more a matter of balancing and adjusting. Nothing’s fixed. Our health is in a constant state of change, as we age, as we react to a changing environment.
So, we learn, we test from time to time, and from time to time we maybe need to revisit stricter rules, depending on how things are going.
The trick is to stay awake, to stay conscious, to keep an eye on the bigger picture but to still enjoy life and enjoy celebrations.
And on that note, I wish you all a very Happy Easter!
Speak soon, E xx

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