Posts

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Inspire – don’t judge!

“You give other people with diabetes bad conscience!”

The words of my Sweet Friend surprised me. I was gobsmacked, then I was amazed, then everything suddenly made sense.

“That’s soooo not my point”, I said, laughingly. “I know, I know it’s not, but if everyone knew how to take care of themselves like you do, then everyone would feel better. Not everyone has that motivation,” she continued.

My goal is always to inspire others, not to make anyone feel less worthy. I don’t want to be the one who makes you feel bad about your diabetes management, or yourself. I‘m not ever ”better than you!”

I want to inspire you, because higher powers know I would have needed it myself. When I was at my absolute worst, with double digit A1C’s and didn’t know my ass from my elbow in terms of diabetes management, I was trying everything out, one thing after the other and it all lead to the same shit… I wish, I wish social media would’ve existed, and I could’ve found some sort of motivation and inspiration in people who have walked the same path. And even when I had A1C’s of 7-8% I would’ve needed someone who I could look up to.

That’s who I aspire to be – I want to be your cheerleader, the one that cheers you on when the going gets tough! Me sharing my values and numbers, me sharing my lifestyle and tips, me sharing everything that I do on social media is NEVER about bragging. It’s about me being on the diabetes journey / just as much as you are. And I want you to see it as inspiration.

If I could get myself from double digit A1C’s to a healthy, healing, happy range of blood sugars, so can you. I promise And I’ll be there for you, to guide, inspire and motivate you. If you want me to, that is. Always rooting for you. 🙌🏼💗🌟

Post originally published on my Instagram account, @hannadiabetesexpert

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Type 1 Thursday – Why Movement?

Why should you focus on movement as a person with diabetes? Isn’t exercise just boring, but has to be done and potentially raises your blood glucose?

Not necessarily! It’s time for Type 1 Thursday, my Sweet Friend, where I explain why moving our bodies is a GREAT THING, what we need to focus on and how to do it.

Why Movement? – Type 1 Thursday with Hanna Boëthius

How do you move your body?

Transcription

If you prefer to read about why movement is so good for us people with diabetes, here’s a text version:

Movement – I’m talking about another lifestyle factor that you can do to perhaps help your diabetes management along. I call it movement, because exercise sounds like a lot of work, quite honestly. And I don’t like it to be seen as a burden for myself mainly, but perhaps also for someone else out there. So that’s why I call it movement. It should be fun!

Why should we pay extra attention to movement as people with Type 1 or Type 2, (or actually any kind of diabetes at all)? This is one of these power tools that we can use to get better diabetes management and results. Number one is that it helps our blood sugar management, even if we do perhaps spike during the the movement that we have chosen. The general rule of thumb is that heavy lifting and and anaerobic movement will raise your blood sugar, whereas cardio and aerobic movement will lower your blood sugar. This is, of course, as usual, individual, it’s just a rule of thumb. But it is just something that you can bear in mind when you are trying to get moving. With the fact that it helps blood sugar management, it also can help you lower your HbA1c. This is something that I have recently managed to do, again. That can be a good motivator for moving your body.

Movement raises your well being , to use your body the way it’s intended to, are not meant to sit (like I’m doing right now) we are meant to be moving around and enjoying using our bodies. The risk of cardiovascular disease is lowered with exercise. Also a potential weight loss tool if that is needed and wanted. Then it can be a huge benefit to move your body! Also more biochemically, the engines in your cells, called mitochondria, they actually increase in the cells with movement. The cells have bigger engines, essentially, when we move our bodies. This is a really good thing, as it keeps the mitochondria young, which is part of staying young in mind, body and soul. Movement can also lower your triglycerides, if that is a problem for you, and it can also lower your blood pressure. Movement raises our immune function, which is really great in times, like now, when the fall “nasties” are here. It also, first and foremost, raises our insulin sensitivity (I will get into why that is in a little bit). First, movement increases our muscle strength, and also our bone density, which is really great to prepare our bodies for maybe higher age. And yeah, those are some of the main benefits of moving your body. There are of course many more, you get out in nature, perhaps you feel and a sense of accomplishment, along with many mental factors that are really good when it comes to moving your body.

Why is movement helping our insulin sensitivity? Because the main part of our glucose storage is actually in our muscles. In our liver, too, absolutely, but it’s mainly in our muscles. We can use movement to help with sensitivity and blood sugar management. Insulin is key number one, of course. But movement can help control your blood sugar levels. The glucose in your blood goes into the muscles and is stored there. In a very short explanation, we become more insulin sensitive because the blood sugar isn’t in the blood anymore. It’s stored in the muscles.

Exercise does so much! But how do you do it? Well, it’s easiest to work it into a routine, it’s easiest to do daily movement, to have set times when you do it. What type of movement is best? It’s quite simple – choose something that you think is fun! It shouldn’t be a chore, it shouldn’t be feeling like a burden. It shouldn’t feel like that at all! It should actually feel like fun, like something you are rewarding yourself with, something that you’re giving your body as a treat. So the type of movement can be whatever you want, whether that’s dancing along to your favourite song, yoga, or maybe something on YouTube. I found a really great resistance band workout, for example, my muscles can feel it… Or you can go for a walk in nature, or you can run if you think that’s fun, you can go lifting if you think that’s fun. Play, for example, Primal play with Daryl Edwards is a fantastic way of moving your body without you actually realising that it’s proper exercise (and your muscles will be hurting afterwards). The key is to have fun when you are moving your body!

How to get started, it really is easiest to start small. It don’t take on too much, “I have to go to the gym three or four times a week, starting now”. NO! Start small, start moving more in your everyday life, take the stairs instead or the elevator or escalator, get off the bus stop earlier, park further way at the parking lot – all of these things that that are cliches by this point, BUT they actually do work! It gets your body moving. Slowly start to increase your muscle mass because muscles are our main glucose storage devices. The more glucose that is stored in there, less is in the blood. A really easy way to do this is, and this is something that I’ve been doing myself. Recently, I was inspired by a few people that I follow online, and I started the 100 push ups a day challenge I thought it was ridiculous, I thought I could never do it. I thought I was one of the weakest people on the planet! I started actually doing push ups against my kitchen counter, because I couldn’t do them on the floor. But very quickly, within those first 30 days, I could move on to lower and lower surfaces, until I now am doing all 100 (not in one go, I do them in sets of 15, and then 10 at the end) on the floor on my yoga mat. I’m very happy about it! It feels like an accomplishment. I really like that it also builds muscles, works many big muscle groups in your body. The bigger the muscle groups, the more effect you have. The other one that I added was squats. So I do 100 pushups and 100 squats, which takes me about 15 minutes or so to do this. It’s not a lot of time that you actually give up from whatever else, whether it’s 15 minutes or social media, 15 minutes of TV watching a day… It’s not a lot of time you give up in order to get the benefits of getting a bigger muscle mass.

Before you start anything like this, whether it’s yoga, the 100 pushup challenge, dancing – anything, do check with your doctor if you are okay to start exercising. In some cases, maybe not. So check with them.

Generally, movement can be a great tool for our diabetes management, all of us. I would love to hear from you, how do you move your body? What do you think is fun? Let me know in a comment.

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Type 1 Thursday – Period & Blood Sugar?

Type 1 Thursday is back!

This one is for the ladies – managing blood sugar before and during your period, HOW?! 🥵

I was asked on Instagram about how I handle my blood sugar during my cycle, and I wanted to share my four best tips on what to do. It can certainly be tricky and requires extensive trial and error in order to find what works for you, but it’s definitely worth it.

Watch the recording of my Facebook live session here:

Type 1 Thursday with Hanna Boëthius – Period & Blood Sugar?

How do you manage? Share in a comment!

Transcription

If you prefer to read about period and blood sugars, here’s a transcribed version of the video above.

Welcome to the return of Type 1 Thursday! Type 1 Thursday has been enjoying a beautiful summer break. But we are now back and more than happy to share thoughts, concerns and everything else regarding Type 1 Diabetes, and blood sugar management, food, nutrition, all of these things that really bother us in our everyday life.

I am Hanna Boëthius, the founder of Hanna Diabetes Expert. I am also a Type 1 diabetic since 34 years, I was diagnosed in 1985. And I have a fantastic topic for you today! This one is for the ladies, so if any guys are watching, please, you’re welcome to stay. But it’s going to get a lot with female hormones and so on. If you’re interested, please tag along. If not, I completely understand if you choose to maybe not stay around for it this particular episode.

Today we are talking about how to control blood sugar, before your period during your period, as that can be really difficult especially when you do live with Type 1 Diabetes. It’s not just one hormone that is fluctuating at same time, and remember that you don’t even produce one of the key hormones. That’s why maybe don’t have as easy of a time as other ladies have.

Fluctuating hormones ahead of your period will, in most cases give you a very bumpy ride when it comes to your blood sugar. Our blood sugar is impacted by everything, not just insulin, movement and nutrition, those things that are commonly known as influencers of blood sugar. Beautiful hormones such as estrogen and progesterone definitely have a big impact on what happens to your blood sugar’s during, or ahead of that time of the month.

Estrogen and progesterone are the two biggest female hormones and are made in the ovaries, which is a really important thing for our bodies to do. It’s a natural thing that should be there and we shouldn’t suppress them, like some may suggest. They essentially prepare the uterus for the upcoming pregnancy, and if it doesn’t happen, that’s when you have your period. That is the whole point of those two hormones. So PMS or PMD, or whatever you want to call it, is all about the changes in hormone levels. That’s why you sometimes feel cranky, sometimes you want to cry about it, sometimes you are really hungry, and sometimes you crave weird foods that you didn’t have any clue that you were even eating anymore.

A lot of things can happen when your hormones are at play. This is also what causes the erratic blood sugars ahead of your period. Female hormones can also call cause insulin resistance, which is why we get fluctuating blood sugars. The body doesn’t react to the insulin like it should, because it’s impacted by the other hormones.

What can you do to make this better, to improve this for yourself? And what are the tips and tricks that maybe you can can do to to help your time of month get a little bit easier?

(I’m of course super happy to hear your experiences. Please share those with me in a comment somewhere on the internet, and I will continue the discussion with you there.)

Before I start the what’s and the how’s, remember that very often, in very many cases, insulin sensitivity returns on day one, or two of your period. Be careful and do not push too hard on the insulin dosing.

Number one of what you can do is to track. Track your cycle, when you have what symptoms and also track your blood sugar. There are beautiful apps for this! If you know of an app that combines period tracking or cycle tracking with your blood sugar, please let me know because I’m looking for one of those myself. What you do is to look at the trends from both of these trackings, and compare them and see where and when when you can expect to see the pattern of insulin resistance increasing. Then you know exactly on which day, at which point of time in your cycle, you have to start reacting. This can be done by on paper, as well. But I like to keep as much as I can digitalized, I would prefer to have an app to track both of these at the same time.

In terms of tracking, this is where a CGM really, really does pay off. You can see exactly when the blood sugar went up, and not have to wait for the finger prick to show you. CGM is the movie of your blood sugar, and the finger pricks are the photographs you take every once in a while. You simply get a more complete overall picture. I recommend every single Type 1 diabetic, who has the possibility, to get a CGM of some kind, so that you have a better overview of what’s going on in your body. We’re all individuals and all react differently.

Number 2, this goes hand in hand with the tracking – find out how insulin resistant you become so that you can change your insulin dosages in time. Or even before even the blood sugar starts going up. You can change your basal dose if that’s what’s needs tweaking and tracking during that time, or bolus, or maybe both need to be increased a little bit in the week or days before your period? Some women also experience a few days of insulin resistance when they ovulate in the middle of their cycle, but not everyone. And so that’s also a good reason for tracking, so that you can find out how much more insulin you need.

Number 3 is be ahead of the curve. Make sure that you do find the patterns through your tracking, so that you know what is happening when, to empower you to act before anything really happens at all. You have to go through how much you should increase your doses when you become insulin resistance ahead of your period with your healthcare professionals. Or if you feel comfortable doing it alone, then you know what, that’s fine. I suggest that you talk to health care professional, like your doctor, your CDE or nurse, who can help you figure this out and how to play with the dosages if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

Number 4, I know it’s difficult in many cases, but keep to your healthy lifestyle. Try to keep to your nutritious and nutrient dense foods that you’re eating, make sure that you move your body (that also helps the cramping), make sure that you de-stress because this is an additional stress on the body (which could also cause insulin resistance and your blood sugar’s to be wonky).Make sure that you have the supplements that you need, for example Magnesium can be really good for relieving cramps and also for de-stressing. Hydrate properly.

The reason why I chose this topic today is because I was asked on Instagram how I handle it in my own case. I have to say that I used to have huge problems with insulin resistance ahead of my cycle a couple years ago. My blood sugars would be up in the 200’s mg/dl, or 10-11 mmol/l, without me doing anything differently. I tried to handle it with these tips and tricks that I’ve just given you, I tried to work with insulin dosages, tried to work with all these tools that I have in my toolkit. Frankly, it was a hit and miss. I didn’t really know if I was going to be successful, if I increased the dose too early so that I would go low, for example. It was really difficult. But actually, and I know this sounds stupid, but the longer that I have stayed low carb and keto and not have eaten that much sugar, the more my hormones have, all together, regulated so that I don’t really have a problem today at all. Maybe it could be an age thing, as well. I’m older now, and I have a different body than I did a couple years ago. I really believe strongly that eating healthy, nutritious food can really help regulate your hormones, even the female hormones. Today I maybe notice a day ahead of my cycle that “oh something is off, I’m a little bit insulin resistant today”, followed by “oh yeah, of course”.

What are your experiences wit hormonal fluctuations and blood sugar? Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to chat with you there.

Type 1 Thursday – How to treat hypos

Let’s talk about treating hypos/low blood sugars in today’s Type 1 Thursday!

How do you treat your lows? What do you use?

Comments and questions are, as always, welcome!

Transcription

If you prefer to read:

Hello and welcome to Type 1 Thursday with me Hanna Boëthius, one of the cofounders of The Low Carb Universe. And of course, also a type one since 34 years this year. Yay. Let’s celebrate. That’s a question actually for an other T1T about dia-versaries. Do you celebrate your dia-versary? Or do you not? I tend to not really because I don’t really see the point. But let’s keep that for another live.

Today, we are talking about hypoglycemia. And that is, for those who maybe aren’t as in with the diabetes lingo, low blood sugars, so when your blood sugar level drops too low, and you maybe won’t be able to carry on as usual.

Yes, this will also happen, of course, when you are low carb, this is no guard against lows and hypos, but I will tell you this, it will happen less, because of the of course now legendary law of small numbers. Because you’re not adding tons of insulin and tons of sugar, you don’t have the that huge error margin. So you’re playing with small amounts of sugar and small amounts of insulin, so that you don’t ever really dip that low. Anyway, so hypos do happen and they still happen on and off for me.

What has changed for me, of course, from when I was high carb to eating low carb, and therefore took a load of insulin is that the amount of carbs needed to treat a hypoglycemic episode is, of course, a lot less. And I will go through this in a little bit to show you the comparison.

Hypoglycemia has different symptoms, you can be shaky, you can have a bit of brain fog, you can’t really think clearly your vision can go blurry. And you can, there’s so many different things that for example, at times, I’ve had that my nose get goes tingling, or my lip. But now I rarely experience these episodes. And when I do they’re not as low like my blood sugar level is not as low as it maybe it has gone before.

What happens when you have a hypoglycemic episode is that you’ve taken too much insulin, there’s nothing in the world that can cause you to hypo and but actually taking too much insulin for the required thing that you took more insulin than you needed in that in that specific example.

So for example, maybe you took a little too much for the meal that you just had, or maybe because of exercise, you got extra insulin sensitive, there’s so many variables that can make you sort of overdose on insulin, but you know, apart from just shooting up too much. So yes, there are many, many reasons for why but there’s only one sort of correlation as to why you get a hypoglycaemic episode, and that is taking too much insulin for in comparison to your needs. And that’s it.

What I think is very, very interesting, when you do go low carb and high have lower blood sugars than desired is actually that ketones, and this has been proven in some fancy study or another, actually seem to have a cognitive protection for your brain. So even if your your blood sugar is low, and you don’t have enough, well enough, let’s call that sugar in your system, your brain will still function, because it is also fueled by ketones, so it always has fuel rather than relying on only sugar, which is of course, a little bit, well, maybe not ideal. It’s always nice to have double, and fuel sources for your pretty little brain to keep busy with.

What is the definition of a hypoglycemia?

This is something that we can debate forever, because it is very, very individual. So for me, for example, I think the official one is under 3.9 mmol/l, which is about 60 mg/dl, is the lower limit. Anything under that should be treated as a low blood sugar.

According to the conventional method, one should treat hypoglycemia with eating 15 grams of carbs, wait 15 minutes, measure again, and repeat if necessary. That is what it’s taught to all of us diabetics out there. I have figured out that I maybe need something a little bit different than that specific method. But then again, I don’t do things by the book anyway, do I so no surprises there.

Because my carb sensitivity has gone up so much. I’m so sensitive to carbs now because I don’t need them too often. So that’s something I’m happy about. Because in return, my insulin sensitivity has gone up like crazy.

What I usually do is I if I measure a low or if my CGM tells me that I have a low, I will take, listen to this, two grams of glucose. And maybe four grams, if it’s really, really low, and then I will be fine within about half an hour. And because I can keep cognitive for longer, how do I say this without getting into trouble, at relatively low measurements, I can still stay cognitive. And I don’t mind waiting instead of shoving everything in my face, like have done many, many times. When I was high carb, I sometimes needed 25 to 50 carbs to treat a low because I simply had that much insulin swerving around in my system and it being too much for me, of course. So that’s why I needed so many carbs to treat back then. And now I need to for maybe if it’s a really bad one, I will need six grams of glucose.

What is low for me? I don’t generally treat until sort of around the 3.0 mmol/l, about 60 mg/dl. And that also depends on if I’m at home or if I’m out and about. If I’m at home, I can take my time treating it, I don’t have to hurry up and get into a safe zone. But that’s different if I’m out and about, and then I take two grams of glucose, I will minimize the basal on my pump, so that it is at 10 or 20%. So that doesn’t keep giving me insulin during my low as well. That’s usually is enough to get me up to a safe sort of 4.0 mmol/l, so 80 mg/dl to 5.0 mmol/l. And this is where I feel the best as well.

I don’t want to overcorrect it either, because this is not comfortable. This is where the most damage happens to your to your system, with either continuously high blood sugars or jumping blood sugars. I try to avoid that those two things as much as possible, which is why I don’t, or I try not to, over treat my hypos when they do happen, which is not very often anymore. I do not read my kitchen over there to find whatever I want to eat, because this is the opportunity to just eat all these things that I normally can’t, because then I would be over treating it. Anyone who has had a hypoglycemic episode or a low blood sugar knows that it’s a terrible feeling. It’s an absolutely terrible feeling. And your natural instinctive is to just stuff your face with as much food as possible, to be safe, and to be to get your blood sugar into a safe range.

I have relearned this. I actually had a period of my time of my life where I was really really afraid of hypos. So I knowingly kept my blood sugar at a higher rate, which I don’t recommend either, because that didn’t work out, as everything else that I tried back then. What I do now is I keep my calm because I know I have this alternative fuel source that will keep fuelling my brain, which are of course ketones. But if it does happen, and this is not a sponsored post, I pay with my own little cents and dollars for these, I take one or two of these, which I can find in any pharmacy. One of these is 2.2 grams of pure glucose. I take one of these, and then I put my pump on a minimum basal rate. And then I retreat after 25 to 30 minutes, if the level hasn’t changed. I want to show you my favorite flavor as well, which is blueberry yogurt. If you’ve had to use them, you know that the taste of glucose tabs isn’t fantastic, ever. They do taste like chalk. They don’t have very imaginative flavors, but this one is actually the best one out there.

Glucose tablets are just another medicine that I need to actually save my own life at times. So I don’t see it as an opportunity to stuff my face or or treat myself to anything. It’s just another part of medicine that I need to in order to be well. That is how I treat my normal hypos.

I have to touch wood here, I haven’t had hypoglycemia where I need help from other people. in very many years, since I actually started low carbing, those have completely disappeared. Before, it used to be a lot more, as I was playing with a lot of active insulin in my system. And that is sometimes a recipe for disaster. I also have, as I spoke about in the previous episodes, a glucagon kit in the kitchen so that it’s easily easily reachable for my husband, for example, and who is mostly the one who’s here with me, or for myself, if I would really need it. And this could be a case of life and death. This is where the glucagon does so, it activates the liver to push out its extra sugars, and glycogen storage. And that’s how the blood sugar raises itself. Well, not by itself, but how it’s prompted to raise with a glucagon kit. And those are always good to have around, because you never know how you’re going to react to something. In case something isn’t going to plan, then it’s good to have one of those. And you can actually, which is in emergency cases, you can also micro dose these. So for example, if you have a stomach bug or something and can keep anything down, not even liquids, although going to a hospital is a very good idea if you can’t keep down liquids. GLucagon could be a treatment option then, as well. I also read that they’re working on a nasal glucagon, like a nasal spray to activate the glycogen storage in that way, which I think would be fantastic. Because that mechanism of filling a glucagon kit can be quite intimidating. Luckily, I have drilled this into my husband’s brain, so he would be able to do it in the case of an emergency. But normally, I can do with one or two or maybe three glucotabs if it’s really bad, and I am happy.

As I said, this is not a fun topic because hypoglycemia are very, very, very uncomfortable. And even more so when you are maybe with people who don’t quite understand what is going on. But as long as you know that you can treat your own hypos, then you are pretty much all right to go and enjoy everything.

Anyway, I love that you were here with me today that you’re watching that you are sharing successes, writing all of these things. Thank you so much for the hearts and the likes and loves.

I’ll be back next week with another episode of type one Thursday. I’ll see you then. Bye!