Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Losing Weight, Insulin and Type 1 Diabetes Counting those carbs to loose weight while managing #Type1Diabetes

Counting those carbs to loose weight while managing #Type1Diabetes

Loosing weight while managing type 1 Diabetes can be tricky, but once you'v had an education in carb counting ( like a DAFNE course ) it becomes easier to understand how shedding those extra pounds can be achieved.

It becomes about choosing your carbs wisely and deciding what time of day you need them most. Depending on your lifestyle and routine.

We eat carbs to sustain us from meal to meal, we inject insulin to counteract the effect the carbs will have on our blood glucose, we start the downward spiral towards low blood glucose, so we eat, and so the vicious circle continuous.

It all depends on so many things that can literally change in a heartbeat. Stress, rushing around, housework, walking from A to B, hormones, hot weather, cold weather, and the very first sign of us even getting a cold is often unexplained high blood glucose, meaning more insulin, which can then mean more food. And so on, and so on .....

Weight watchers will tell you how many Syns your allowed per day.
Unislim will tell you how many points your allowed per day.
They all claim to know ALL about diabetes, when in fact they haven't a clue, and you can't figure out how to make it work for you.

I joined Unislim and yes I lost of weight but not while following their diet. I only went for the weekly weigh in. Sure by the time id have eaten their recommended allocation of Bread, potatoes, and rice, my insulin would have had to increase and that's something I was trying to avoid for 2 main reasons. 
- insulin being a growth hormone and me not wanting to grow any further ..... Out !
- didn't think eating "just about anything I wanted" and injecting it away was the cleverest of things to do. Not exactly what you'd call healthy living.
Self control, reduced portion, reduced carbs, reduced insulin, = reduced clothes size and that would be my only road forward.

- Forward planning will help on a day by day basis and making sure when you start your day that your foods are prepared and ready for you when needed.  
- portion size is important and will also help you when it comes to planing your activities and insulin through the day.
- A little research will help you swop your usual foods for substitutes with lower carbs and hopefully lower calories.
- A steady daily routine of conscious changes that are carefully thought out and even a 20 minute walk per day is what will help you drop those pounds "steady as she goes"

1 or 2 pound off the hips is real progress and you should be very pleased with yourself if you achieve this after all 1 pound a week is 52 pounds in a year.  
That's 3 and 1/2 stone in a single year.

I'm Not a professional, just a person with Type 1 Diabetes sharing experience.


Saturday, 16 July 2016

Every now and then, there's a "Light Bulb Moment" That moment when everything looks a little clearer .......

Every now and then, there's a "Light Bulb Moment" 
That moment when everything looks a little clearer .......

My first lightbulb moment after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes was finding myself at a DAFNE course with others just like myself. Living with type 1 diabetes.
It felt a little like being adopted into a club of like minded people. People I could communicate with and we all knew exactly what we were talking about, "daily life with type 1 diabetes"

It made me feel accepted, understood, and then by the end of the week, educated.....

My second lightbulb moment was when I attended my first conference for people with type 1 diabetes. That was Thriveabetes 2015. I had no idea what to expect but the idea of being among so many people with type 1 always feels like a comfort.

There were so many people I knew online and chatted to regularly, I could see their profile pictures so it all felt familiar but meeting them in person was brilliant.

Those who arrived the night before met up for drinks in the lounge and chatted and laughed getting to know each other. That's when I first saw the Medtronic 640G integrated insulin pump. " funny the things we chat about over drinks".

The next morning I arrived early for breakfast where I got chatting to a Medtronic rep as luck would have it.

As people arrived I felt excited as I got to meet them in person and watching the event fall into place there was a feeling of relief that everything was going to the plan Grainne had set out in her vision.

Joe Solowiejczyk diabetes educator and person with type 1 diabetes, http://www.parentingdiabetickids.com/ask-our-team/meet-our-team/joe-solowiejczyk/
who was one of the Speakers talked about personally living with T1 and told that story in such a humorous way.

Other speakers covered, education, statistics, what we should be aiming for and how best to achieve it, latest on research and latest technology.

There ware separate groups for adults living with type 1 and parents of children with type 1. Among the renowned speakers we had a representative from JDRF, and Dr Kevin Moore, Consultant Endo from Naas and Tallaght Hospital diabetes clinics.

At lunch I saw a pebble watch with nightscout, something I'd never heard of before and there it was right in front of me, absolutely fascinating, and I was told where I could get more information about it.

It was a day full of fact from professionals and information from other people with type 1 diabetes about useful groups and where to find the very latest info, a day full of learning, education and making friends.

I arrived, and attended as a part of my T1 community, I left at the end of the day fully motivated and feeling like nothing was beyond me.

That day I became a diabetes advocate ....

This year I'm really looking forward to meeting up with everyone again, some new people, some Iv met last year, and some who have become treasured colleagues, friends and role models.

Not a professional, just a person with type 1 diabetes sharing experience

This year Thriveabetes is on 1st October in Killashee House Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare and registration is open here http://thriveabetes.ie/index.php/2016/05/09/thriveabetes-2016-registration-now-open/

Saturday, 9 July 2016

A Day of Delicious Math's - Counting Those Carbohydrates

Iv had a few folk get in touch and ask about Carb Counting. What is it, and How's it done? 

So as best I can I'm going to explain my regime, but remember everyone is different so please speak to your diabetes nurses about what would best suit you.
I have completed a DAFNE course to formerly learn how to match my insulin doses to the carbs I eat, and Iv been doing Maths ever since. 

DAFNE stands for "Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating" and its a way of managing Type 1 diabetes for adults it gives us the skills we need to estimate the carbohydrate in each meal and to inject the right dose of insulin.

The aim of DAFNE is to help you lead as normal a life as possible, while controlling your blood glucose levels, while reducing the risk of long-term diabetes complications. 

DAFNE usually involves attending a 5-day training course (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) There are usually 6-8 participants under the supervision of the DAFNE-trainers. The DAFNE course is about learning from experience. During the week you practice the skills of carbohydrate estimation and insulin adjustment.

Now after doing the course and graduating with what felt like a degree I thought, that's it, Iv got this well sorted, and to a point I did, however other than counting the carbs to match the insulin dose I then learned that not all carbs are equal. 

Eg: 30gms of apple, 30gms of bread or  30 gms of chocolate, all have different effects and have different timelines for impacting on blood glucose.

The Apple is a low GI food (high fibre whole food) and if I inject the correct amount of insulin when I eat the apple I'm sorted.

The bread, now that's a different matter. It doesn't pass through the system as quick, and will tend to keep blood sugar higher for longer even though Iv injected. If i butter the bread it's now got a higher fat content meaning 2-3 hours after injecting, my insulin has worn off and my bread because of the butter is still taking effect and spiking my blood glucose. ( fat slows down the release of carbs to the blood )

The Chocolate: ( I adore chocolate ) has a very high fat content. If I inject the right amount of insulin when I eat it at say 8pm I may actually go low because the insulin is working but the chocolate is hiding. ( chocolate is not recommended for treating a hypo for this reason ) 4 hours later when I'm in bed the chocolate is now out of hiding. The insulin has taken its leave and if I wake through the night, the 8 I went to bed on has now multiplied itself by 2 under cover of darkness.

Potatoes and Fruit have different effects on the blood glucose when eaten whole, than they do when you mash or pulp them. Mashed or pulped they hit the blood stream faster and can produce higher blood glucose because you'v changed the Glycemic Index ( G.I. ) of the food.

You can find out more about that here: http://www.the-gi-diet.org/lowgifoods/

Living with type 1 diabetes is a balancing act, it's not only about counting carbs and calculating doses, it's about learning how different foods effect you. 

Its finding out how to deal with all types of foods, and timing insulin injections to catch the glucose on route. 

It's about educating myself constantly. It's about learning tips from others just like myself.

It's learning when best to delay my dose, or split my dose. 

To start with matching insulin to carbs you must first have a "insulin to carb ratio" this is something your diabetes nurses will give you, everybody is different so others can't advice you on this. 

Mine is 5/1 that's 5gms of carbs to 1 unit of insulin. So if I eat something with 30gms of carbs I just do the sums. (30 divided by 5 = 6) so 6 units of insulin for 30gms of food in my case, presuming my blood glucose is 5 or 6 before I start eating.  If not il adjust again either up or down to take in a correction.

Iv added meal pictures to this blog so you can judge the portion sizes, remember the bigger the portion the more carbs there are.

The pictures are from the Carbs and Cals app on my smart phone. The only app Iv ever paid for and it was worth every cent. It is also available as a book but the app is always with you and is updated regularly.

I hope some of this may help others !

I'm not a professional I'm just a person with type 1 diabetes sharing experience.


Examples of meals with carbs included as taken from the Carbs & Cals App on smart phone 
Breakfast 50gms Carbs 

Lunch 57gms Carbs

Dinner 84gms Carbs

Extra - Treat - desert 45gms carbs

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Bedtime and That Horror Moment of Injecting NovoRapid instead of Lantus

Bedtime and That Horror Moment of Injecting NovoRapid instead of Lantus

Picture this. I'm in the dressing gown having a neighbour hood watch conversation with my daughter after a meeting we attended. Winding down and heading for the duvet, just had to take my 22 units of Lantus.

Dialled up the 22 units and injected, that's when I realised I'd just injected 22 units of Novo Rapid at 11.30 at night. Il Never forget the initial panic, even with my biggest meal followed by desert Iv never needed 22 units. 
Holy shit is what I said, my daughter on the other hand had more choice language. On top of this it's the night before a big food shop so the house wasn't exactly loaded up with goodies.

A bottle 1/2 full of flat coke was plonked in front of me. Drink it she ordered as she got into the car fully dressed for bed and headed to the nearest shop, she ran around grabbing bread rolls, jelly sweets, cake, and basically full sugar anything like a mad woman hell bent on a midnight feast with a deadline. 

No ! 110 gms of carbs as pure glucose wasn't an option, the last thing needed here was a huge big fast high, I needed stability, some fast acting along with some slow release carbs. "Steady as she goes"

Once the horror of what I'd just done subsided, I started to calculate just how much I'd have to eat to cover it. My insulin to carb ratio was 5/1 that's 1 unit of rapid to every 5 gms of carbs eaten.
Now in reverse 22 units of novo rapid using a 5/1 ratio, that's 22 ✖️ 5 = a massive 110gms of carbs for supper right before bedtime. ( chocolate is not advised for treating low blood sugar because it's got a high fat content. The fat content slows down the release of glucose into the blood stream, but hours after eating it you have a delayed blood sugar spike with no insulin on board to deal with it ) and so it becomes correction time.

With paper and pen at the ready and trying to keep the sheer panic at bay, I wrote down all the carbs I was now eating and drinking until it added up to that magic number (110) by the time I'd finished eating i had a tummy pain and just wanted to be sick.

That's not where it ends though, the novo rapid would be active in my system for about 2 and 1/2 hours that's 2am. So going to bed even after scoffing all that still wouldn't be safe even if I could lie down with all that just sitting in there.

At 2am that morning my Blood Glucose was 4.5 I had to eat even more. 2 rice cakes and a coffee. I was in bed just before 3am and I did not feel at all well. 

Note to self, concentrate when I'm about to inject at any time. This is one of those mistakes I will only make once ...........


Co-Founder of Diabetes T One

Not a professional just a person with Type 1 Diabetes sharing experience.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

🎊 I Do 💙 Is All We Need From You" 🎊

🎊 "I Do 💙 
Is All We Need From You" 🎊

My sincere congratulations on your engagement Minister Harris / @SimonHarrisTD from the very core of my broken Pancreas, and we wish you a long and healthy life together.
Now it's my turn, I'm on bended knee and I'd like to pop the question ?

Will you improve our health service for better not worse. ?
Will you give us the services and staff we require to manage and live with #Type1Diabetes and stay healthy ?
Will you honour us people living with a chronic long term illness. ?
Will you be faithful to your people in sickness and in health as long as we need to live  ?
I now pronounce you ? 

The HSE now Spends More on Diabetes Complications than on Diabetes Services. Ok let me explain.

On Wednesday 22nd June 

We as a delegation representing of people with Type 1 Diabetes in Ireland went to Leinster house to brief our TD's on some facts about what life is like living with Type 1 Diabetes.

By "We" I mean those of us listed here :
Keiran O Leary & Dr Anna Clarke (Diabetes Ireland). Dr Nuala Murphy, Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist and National Clinical Lead in Paediatric Diabetes,  (speaker)
Dr Ronan Canavan, Consultant Endocrinologist, retiring National Clinical Lead in Adult Diabetes. (Speaker) Grainne Flynn (Co Clare)  Rebecca Flanagan (Galway) speaker Elizabeth Murphy (Waterford)  Davina Lyon Dublin & Kildare (speaker) Ms Siobhan Horkan Who is the new programme manager for the HSE’s Paediatric Diabetes Clinical Programme.   

Yes we travelled from the length & breath of Ireland to be the representatives of our community on the day, 

Because many of our children in Ireland with type 1 diabetes still need access insulin pump therapy, which is recognised as being the best therapy for managing this disease, Diabetes Ireland has told this to TDs and Senators in Leinster House.

The Politicians that came to see us on the day were briefed at an event on Wednesday  22nd June in order to highlight the need for more resources in this area. Speaking at the event.

Diabetes Ireland's chairperson and consultant paediatric endocrinologist, Prof Hilary Hoey, describes it as very frustrating that ‘the technology is there, she said "our children cannot access it'. We still see many children not getting access to insulin pump therapy, which is now recognised as being the best therapy for managing the condition, because there is no nurse available in the hospital to educate them on how to use and maximise the technology to most effectively manage their diabetes."
She said that the charity has been working with the HSE for years in order to develop strategies for both paediatric and adult diabetes services.

Last December, the then-Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, launched a new strategy ‘which put forward a strong platform on which to build a high quality service with equity, local access and support for all children with type 1 diabetes and their families, regardless of where they live in Ireland'. But sadly "As yet, we have seen no progress on implementing this strategy," Prof Hoey told the politicians.

Speaking at the event, consultant paediatric endocrinologist at Temple Street Children's Hospital, Dr Nuala Murphy, pointed out that consultant paediatric endocrinologists are now ‘urgently required' in Galway, Limerick and the south east of the country, while in Dublin, ‘paediatric diabetes services are overflowing with insufficient clinic capacity to deliver high quality care'. We have a shortfall of consultants, nurses and dietitians in each of our Dublin hospitals and with the new Children's Hospital pending, planning for these posts needs to happen now," she explained.

Now here's the thing !
The TDs and Senators were informed that not a lot of extra resources are actually required for this. Currently, 10% of the annual health budget is spent on diabetes, but 60% of this is spent on diabetes-related complications, which are often preventable.
" If 0.4% (€5 million) of that annual spend was redirected towards funding the paediatric diabetes strategy, huge financial savings from preventing diabetes-related complications would be accrued in future years," Dr Murphy insisted.

according to consultant endocrinologist at St Vincent's and Loughlinstown Hospitals, Dr Ronan Canavan, diabetes is costing the Government €1.3 billion per year, with over €800 million of that being spent on complications.

TDs also heard from people living with Type 1 diabetes who also face barriers to insulin pump therapy, regular appointments and ongoing support. Ms Davina Lyon ( Me ) from Kildare and living with Type 1 diabetes said “I manage my condition as best I can each day with the support of my hospital team. I thought I was doing ok yet I recently received some blood results in relation to a possible developing complication of my diabetes. I am upset because I cannot get an insulin pump to improve my management as there is currently no training nurse in my hospital centre”.    

"We, as diabetes experts, know that we can reduce the staggering amount spent on complications each year. In the past few years, the diabetes community has worked with the HSE in reducing the cost of diabetes medications and devices, making financial savings Dr Murphy said and we believe him and so should you.

Our Recommendation:
"We need those savings reallocated to provide the manpower resources outlined to cope with the rising numbers and to encourage more effective daily management and better health outcomes."

He added that a ‘multi-annual resource commitment' is needed to achieve this rather than the ‘annual cap-in-hand approach we all go through to try and get a few additional posts each year'.

"In time, we will then see a reduction in annual diabetes complications spending, which will be good for the Exchequer and more importantly, our quality of life."

Frank O’Rourke TD who was responsible for facilitating this briefing said “I am delighted to facilitate this opportunity for Diabetes Ireland. Obviously, the diabetes community has really come together and developed plans to cope with the rising prevalence of diabetes. It makes absolute sense to me, as a public representative, to consider multi-annual investment and stem the €800m annual spend on avoidable diabetes complications. 

I Do ! Is all you have to say 💙

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that is not related to weight or a sedentary lifestyle. It is not preventable or reversible and is most commonly diagnosed in childhood, but is also diagnosed in Adults.

For further information and interviews with commentators, please contact Diabetes Ireland.

Yours Sincerely,

Davina Lyon, person with Type 1 Diabetes and 

Co-Founder of Diabetes T One, People with Type 1 Diabetes

Monday, 27 June 2016

Getting High with Coffee and #Type1Diabetes

Getting High with Coffee and #Type1Diabetes

Back in the early days of living with Type 1 i was always baffled by the fact that when I woke my blood glucose would be 5-6 but an hour after my morning cup of coffee my blood glucose would have risen to anything between 10 and 13 and that's without food.

My morning coffee is like my "On" switch and without it very little happens. It's my function button, fuel for my daily journey. 

Once I realised my dilemma and pinpointing what was happening I made some adjustments to my diabetes management. Now if your thinking I gave up coffee you'd be sadly mistaken, that would have resulted in either becoming a hermit or becoming people intolerant when I'm out.

My trick, and it works for ME ! While the kettle is boiling or the coffee pot is doing its thing, I bolus (inject with novo rapid) so it's starting to kick in when I'm drinking my very necessary morning cuppa, with no after spike ...

But let me remind you here everyone is different so speak to your diabetes health care professional about what YOU should do

 But why does coffee cause a blood glucose spike?

One theory put to me was that coffee blocks insulin. The majority of articles Iv read state that Type 1 diabetics should avoid caffeine as it makes insulin less responsive, causing sugars to rise. 

Another theory as to why it raises Blood Glucose is that the Caffeine causes an instant Adrenal response, this is one of the glands in the body which is responsible for the "flight or Fight" response. So when we drink coffee a hormone called Cortisol an Adrenalin is released into the blood stream which will have a slight blocking effect on circulating insulin take up. Also Cortisol and adrenalin and other fight of flight hormones released by the Adrenal glands will have a short term sudden impact on raising Blood Glucose, this is the main reason for a raise in Blood Sugar.

In not a professional just a coffee drinking person with type 1 diabetes