Thursday, 28 September 2006

Diabetes and Alcohol

As a student, I am completely aware of the temptation that drinking alcohol is. But I also know how to say no. I was fortunate enough to be diagnosed when I was 11, which has meant that not drinking has never been an issue for me. I do understand however that would I have been diagnosed during my potential drinking years, things may have been a little different. I have heard a few stories from diabetics who have had bad experiences with alcohol, and there seem to be a few common links between them:

Firstly, there is a lack of understanding as to how alcohol affects your system. So here is a quick breakdown from my vague understanding:
- Your body reacts to alcohol as a toxin, a poison. This means that your body will not secrete glucose until it has got rid of the alcohol in your blood stream. Which granted it can stay in your blood stream until the next morning can be a BIG problem.
- The dangers are greatly increased if you drink on an empty stomach or if you exercise at the same time.

Secondly, everyone feels peer pressure to drink. Life as a student means that I am regularly faced with the challenge of whether or not to drink, but for me, I don't find it hard to say no. It may seem like a challenge to not drink, but it is so easy. I will share with you some tips that I have come across:
- Have one drink and take it round with you the whole night, sipping slowly. This means that you always seem like you are drinking, when actually you haven't really started.
- Drink water. You may feel as though everyone thinks you are 'uncool', but you have to realise that you are the clever one! If you have had your limit of 1 or 2 drinks then switch to water.
- Avoid cocktails. If you are going out for a cocktail, have a look through the ingredients to see whats in them. Cocktails are one of the mot sugary things you can drink, expecially if it is very colourful.
- If you are going out dancing, be sensible and eat food to counteract the dancing before you go, and always remember that bars usually sell crisps also if you do feel hungry.
- Do not stay out too late. I have found it really important to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day to keep my levels good. There is usually an occasion every week that you can go to that finishes at 12 exactly.
- Make sure that you go out with friends. This ensures that if something does happen to you, that they will be there to know what to do.

Lastly, be sensible. You know you shouldn't have more than one glass, so don't.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Diabetes Skincare

Another complication that may pass unnoticed in those with diabetes is poor skin and a poor ability to heal. I find that when I have poor control wounds take longer to heal, and most frustatingly my skin gets more pimples. The only way to deal with this really is to gain better control, and it is a really good incentive.

Other ways in which to aid poor skin condition is proper treatment. I worked for a skincare company recently and therefore have ideas on how to keep your skin at its best condition:

- For wounds, use some vitamin E oil. This is great for helping the skin to heal better. You can eat more foods containing vitamin E (wheat germ, oats, sardines, nuts, egg yolk, leafy green vegetables) or you can rub vitamin E oil directly onto or around the wound.

- For body skincare, try a thick body moisturiser, such as Neals Yard or Dr Hauschka. I would recommend organic and natural products, as these contain only natural beneficial ingredients. Spread this all over your body so that your body can stay moisturised. There are also products like this for men, which can be very beneficial for the skin.

- For facial skincare, use a daily routing of cleansing and moisturising. Also, I would recommend changing your pillowcase every day, as this reduces infection very well (which is the means by which pimples spread). You can finds loads of products online that will help your skin.

The most important thing with keeping your skin at its best condition is to keep your levels in check, never substitute this for creams and lotions.

Diabetes Care - Checking your blood glucose

Checking your blood glucose is essential to good diabetes control. I have found that the more often you check your blood glucose, the better the control. This does make sense, as the more often you check your level, the tighter grasp you have on what it is, and the more often you can adjust your level.

For instance, if you check your level at 9am when you wake up and it is say 9mmol then you can adjust this at your ratio with your bolus for breakfast. After 2 hours, at 11am, check your level again. This could reveal that your level has remained at 9mmol or whether it has gone down. This should also help in knowing if there is something wrong with your infusion set or if there is a bubble in the tubing. It can alert you to problems that you may not otherwise notice until your next meal.

These are all helpful things to do if you want to avoid complications of diabetes (which can be strongly recommended!).

Checking your blood glucose