My name is Louise, and I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 24. I did not know much about the condition, other than the fact it involved blood sugar. I was aware that different types existed, but I was oblivious to their own intricacies. While I still had much to learn, I knew I would not let this chronic condition define me.
I could have easily let my diagnosis derail my plans and aspirations, but I did not let myself become despondent. While I did not fully grasp what the condition would involve, I knew it would change everything. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens.
In fact, my diagnosis was the spark that ignited my return to academia. My inquisitive nature led me down a rabbit hole of the idiosyncrasies of the condition and pushed me to pursue a Ph.D. Now, I am looking for people who have gone through a similar journey to take part in my research.
In March 2017, I had spent a few weeks feeling unwell: blurred vision, unquenchable thirst, constantly needing to urinate, and a general feeling that something was wrong. My husband half-jokingly suggested it sounded like diabetes and that I should go to the doctors, but I dismissed this idea, thinking nothing more of it.
Despite feeling unwell, I kept upbeat, preparing myself for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan that my husband and I had planned for months. However, due to my eyesight, I added a stop to the optician to my holiday checklist. While I was there, the optician asked if I or anyone in my family had diabetes. The answer was no to both.
After the appointment, I went to work as usual. The lingering mention of diabetes obviously became stuck in my head, as I made a passing comment to my manager about the optician’s question. He called over our colleague who had type 1 diabetes and suggested that out of curiosity, we use his blood glucose meter to check my glucose levels.
As my colleague prepared his glucometer, I remembered thinking it was a lot of effort and materials to check something that most people take for granted. After pricking my finger and placing a droplet of blood onto the test strip, I handed it back to my colleague. I heard a little beep to indicate the reading was complete and saw his face drop. He told me that I had to go to the hospital immediately.
My reading from that initial check indicated that my glucose levels were six times higher than what health experts consider healthy. When I arrived at the hospital, I explained the situation, and a doctor came quickly to see me. Again, I was asked if I was diabetic, to which I replied no.
The healthcare team began running diagnostic tests. This included checking my glucose levels multiple times, and each time, that dangerously high number would appear.
After several blood tests, the doctor came back and explained that the tests showed I had autoantibodies in my blood that are indicative of type 1 diabetes.
I was diagnosed there and then. The doctor informed me that if I had gone on holiday as originally planned, I likely would have fallen into a life threatening diabetic coma. He added that I was feeling unwell, as I had entered a state of diabetic ketoacidosis. This refers to a dangerous buildup of harmful substances called ketones in my blood due to a lack of insulin.
Some people may not be aware of the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In my experience, when I say I developed diabetes in adulthood, people tend to assume I have type 2. It is a common misconception that only children receive a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. However, roughly 50% of diagnoses occur after the age of 18 years.
I found the news of my diagnosis devastating. At that point, I had limited knowledge of the condition, and being told I would need multiple daily injections for the rest of my life scared me.
I am a massive foodie, love concerts, and live a very sporty lifestyle. I thought my diagnosis would mean giving up everything I enjoyed in life. I had to stay overnight at the hospital as the healthcare team monitored my sugar levels. I did not sleep much that night and spent most of my time reflecting on the drastic changes in my life.
After I was deemed stable, I received reading material on my new condition, which included instructions on administering insulin. Excited to go home, I struggled to take much information in but was informed I could only leave after demonstrating I was able to inject myself with insulin safely. This is now something I regularly do multiple times a day.
Living with and managing type 1 diabetes has been a steep learning curve. I typically check my glucose levels 5–10 times a day. I found having to check through drawing blood from the side of my fingertips a painful experience. As this check requires several bits of equipment, I also found it inconvenient.
Fortunately, I was placed on to the Freestyle Libre 2 years ago. This is a continuous glucose monitoring system that replaces most of my finger-pricking checks. Every 2 weeks, I insert a new sensor into my upper arm. Now, instead of pricking my fingers regularly, I can just scan the sensor with my phone to check my glucose levels conveniently. The app also keeps a log of my sugars and provides other useful data.
When necessary, I correct my sugar levels with insulin. I have a long-lasting insulin I take before bed, which stabilizes me for 24 hours, and a fast-acting insulin, which I take when I eat.
To figure out how much to inject, I quickly had to learn to carb count. This involves measuring or estimating the amount of carbohydrates in my meal or snack and administering an appropriate amount of insulin. As a general rule, my insulin to carb ratio is 1:10, meaning that for every 10 grams of carbs, I will typically inject one unit of insulin.
This is a general rule, though, and it has been an experience discovering which foods do not play by these rules. For example, I find that pizza and gnocchi require extra insulin and monitoring.
Living with type 1 diabetes is a constant balancing act. I need to try and stay within a healthy range to avoid hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic episodes. This can be challenging, as so many things, such as emotions, misjudging a dose, exercise, and illness, can all impact my glucose levels.
People often ask me what hypoglycemia feels like. Symptoms typically vary from person to person, but personally, a hypo makes me feel hot and causes me to start sweating and shaking. Sometimes, if my glucose levels go particularly low, I also start speaking incoherently. Normally, a small can of cola or three pieces of jelly candy is enough to help me.
The worst and scariest instance of hypoglycemia happened late one night. I did not check my glucose levels but felt my usual symptoms to indicate my levels were low. I got up from watching Netflix in bed and headed to the kitchen to grab a can of cola.
However, as I made my way down the corridor, I realized that I was in a worse state than I originally thought. I was drenched in sweat, struggling to think straight, and everything was spinning. I could tell I was very close to passing out.
I managed to slump to the floor and mustered enough energy to call out to my husband for help. He immediately ran to me, cola in hand, and found me lying on the floor. After checking I was (just about) conscious, he sat me up and helped me drink the cola. That was a terrifying close call and one I never want to experience again.
In case of such events, I also have an emergency kit containing a shot of glucagon. This is another hormone that can help raise my sugar when levels are dangerously low. So far, I have managed to control my diabetes well enough not to need it, and I intend to keep it that way.
After 4 years and 7 months with diabetes, this is my new normal! There are days when it can be challenging, but generally, I feel in control of the condition. Although I have to be mindful of my health, at no point do I believe diabetes has held me back or limited me. I still do and (most importantly) eat everything I previously did.
As a psychology undergraduate and naturally curious person, I spent a lot of time reading about diabetes. This is where I encountered the term “diabetes distress.” This refers to a common feeling of frustration or overwhelmingness caused by living with and managing diabetes. This resonated with me, as I found it was something I struggled with in my first year.
The more reading I did, the more I noticed an absence of research investigating the experience of diabetes distress, specifically in adults recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes such as myself. Rather than wait for others, this inspired me to apply for a Ph.D. so that I could fill this research gap.
If you are an adult living in the United Kingdom who has received a type 1 diabetes diagnosis in the last 12–36 months, you may be eligible to take part in my research. Participation involves an audio-only interview over Microsoft Teams or Skype about your experiences.
To find out whether you meet the criteria and for further details, please click here.
The Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Workouts For Swimmers – Swimming World Magazine
The Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Workouts For Swimmers
The correct management of aerobic and anaerobic sets within a swimmer’s training will influence performance. This balance includes sharpening cardiovascular endurance and sprint speed. For instance, sprinters are more anaerobic-oriented. On the other hand, distance swimmers rely on the benefits of aerobic sets. In analyzing these types of workouts, the primary difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise is the workout’s intensity.
Swimmers increase their cardiovascular conditioning by maximizing the amount of oxygen in the blood. The goal is to build cardiovascular conditioning and improve the muscles’ oxidative capacity. For that reason, athletes should perform the sets at a moderately high intensity with minimum recovery between sets. However, since swimmers can consistently breathe and send oxygen through their bodies, aerobic workouts are categorized as “less stressful.” Subsequently, since oxygen is the main source of energy, swimmers should breathe faster and deeper when their heart rate is at rest. Subsequently, athletes can do aerobic workouts for longer periods.
Aerobic training is fundamental at the beginning of the season, approximately during the first eight to 12 weeks. Following this training approach will prepare athletes for high-intensity workouts and competitions that arise later in the season. Meanwhile, sme of the benefits of aerobic exercise include an increase in a swimmer’s stamina and a decrease in fatigue during exercising. Equally important, aerobic workouts also improve a swimmer’s ability to perform more efficient strokes with less energy.
The purpose of anaerobic exercise is to improve the muscles’ ability to lessen lactate. Lactate, also known as lactic acid, is a byproduct produced in the body after cells produce energy without oxygen around. Furthermore, during this process, the body grabs energy through glycogen. Glycogens are stored calories that the body uses when oxygen is not being pumped to the muscles to continue working out.
Anaerobic sets involve short-distance and high-intensity intervals. These strength-based workouts also include exerting a swimmer’s maximum effort. Since it is fundamental to reach maximum effort within the sets, anaerobic workouts can include long periods of rest. Then again, due to their high physical and mental demand, anaerobic sets sometimes are considered “more stressful.”
When done properly, anaerobic workouts benefit a swimmer’s muscle strength and mass, reduce soreness, and boost joint protection.
These sets occur when the athlete holds 1650 yards or 30 minutes (without stopping) pace. While doing so, the swimmer should tolerate the buildup of lactate. To sum up, a threshold set is a long workout in which the swimmer must speed through the set. For that reason, the required effort should be located between the aerobic and anaerobic zones.
Some of the benefits of doing thresholds include improving the swimmer’s stamina, the ability to process lactate, generating aerobic fitness and developing anaerobic explosiveness. Consequently, swimmers will be able to perform more repetitions of high intensity. The threshold set gives the swimmer a better idea of what the desired race pace feels like.
Usually, sprinters do not feel the need to perform aerobic sets. In the same way, long-distance swimmers may exclude anaerobic workouts. However, swimming has evolved and its training methods, too. Therefore, new training phases have emerged such as the threshold. It is best for coaches and swimmers to identify the correct balance between aerobic, anaerobic and threshold workouts. Additionally, it is fundamental that each swimmer keeps straight communication with his or her coach to avoid burnout, injuries and overtraining.
All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine or its staff.
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The #1 Root of Diabetes, According to Science — Eat This Not That – Eat This, Not That
We’ve consulted with our team of licensed nutritionists and dietitians to bring you informed recommendations for food products, health aids and nutritional goods to safely and successfully guide you toward making better diet and nutrition choices. We strive to only recommend products that adhere to our philosophy of eating better while still enjoying what you eat.
The number of people living with diabetes is staggering. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, “34.2 million people, or 10.5% of the U.S. population, have diabetes. An estimated 26.8 million people – or 10.2% of the population – had diagnosed diabetes. Approximately 7.3 million people have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed.” Eat This, Not That! Health talked to experts who explained what diabetes is, what causes it and how to help prevent it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Diabetes and Causes
Dr. Ani Rostomyan, a Doctor of Pharmacy , Holistic Pharmacist and Functional Medicine Practitioner who specializes in Pharmacogenomics and Nutrigenomic says, “Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease which has multifactorial pathogenesis, which means many factors are involved in disease formation, the root cause of type 2 diabetes is only partially understood even in current day’s medicine. It is a heterogeneous disease and both genetic and environmental components are involved. The combination of these factors, such as obesity, genetics, some ethnicities, certain unhealthy lifestyles, affect insulin release and responsiveness, causing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is accompanied with hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), insulin resistance, and impaired insulin secretion, and it is clear that Western lifestyle and diets attribute greatly to vastly growing numbers in the United States as well. Diabetes is getting younger, affecting more and more teens and young adults as well, which again correlates that lifestyle has a tremendous impact on management and prevention of it.”
Dr. Pri Hennis, M.D. Family Physician and Functional Nutrition Coach explains, “Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease caused by a dysregulation of cell response to insulin. Insulin is endogenous to our body and is created in the pancreas. Insulin helps break down the sugar we eat into energy. In type 2 diabetes cells in the body do not respond normally to insulin over time. This causes a rise in blood sugar in the body leading to blockages of small and large blood vessels and nerves. Although type 2 develops typically as an adult, the rise in obesity in America is causing a rise of type 2 diabetes in the young adults, teens and even children. When getting a new diagnosis of diabetes to prediabetes it is important to start some type of lifestyle change in addition to medications if your doctor suggests. Why, you ask? Diabetes is a progressive disease, and the symptoms and damage of the high blood sugars go on much before the actual diagnosis. For most people, without any other risk factors, it can take 10 years to go from normal blood sugars to prediabetes and then to full blown diabetes. So, what can you do to prevent this? Talk to your doctor about your labs checking for diabetes at least annually, if not sooner. If the numbers are not abnormal yet, put in the work with lifestyle changes, ask for support from your doctor sooner than later. Everyone’s journey before and after getting the diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes is different, so it’s important to ask for help if you are not seeing results in three months.”
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Environmental and Genetic Factors
“It comes naturally to blame someone or something when it comes to a new diagnosis,” Dr. Hennis says. “But remember our current state is the result of our past actions whether self-inflicted, environmental, or genetic. The effects of some of these factors are not always reversible, but if you don’t change your habits today you create more problems. Medications help some but cannot stop you from having the highs and lows of blood sugar if you continue to eat high glycemic index foods. Exercise helps the cells of your body become more efficient with managing insulin. So, walk past the donut in the lunchroom; opt to go for a walk instead. Sugar is addictive and requires a lot of support, so get the help you need from your doctor.”
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Poor Nutritional and Lack of Physical Activity
Dr. Hennis states, “It is important to incorporate a healthy lifestyle with both the right foods and right activity to help you. You might have heard your doctor say, “eat better, move more.” But how do you do this, each new habit feels like it needs some drastic changes in your lifestyle. You make a goal and stop after a week because it becomes unsustainable. I can start by sharing some important tips to get you started. Let’s talk about specifics:
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Dr. Rostomyan explains, “There is a great body of evidence showing that by the time people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 50% of beta cell function is already impaired so reversal oftentimes refers to managing Diabetes to a degree where major micro and macro vascular complications are prevented, we cannot fully reverse diabetes or cure it, since it’s a metabolic disease and prevention here is the key. Although in some instances it is possible to partially regain insulin sensitivity through weight loss, exercise, healthy Mediterranean Diet, and certain Diabetes medications as well.”
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Ways to Put Diabetes in Remission
“Prevention and diabetes awareness is the only proven way to avoid type 2 diabetes complications and living and breathing a healthy lifestyle and making core life changing habits is the way to go,” says Dr. Rostomyan. “I suggest the Mediterranean Diet. Adopting diets that exclude refined carbs, sugars, a variety of added sugars and adding foods that don’t increase insulin levels, such as healthy fats and lean protein is the key to keeping the insulin levels low and preventing carbohydrate overload . High insulin levels promote weight gain and more insulin resistance, which is the mechanism of progressing type 2 diabetes to a higher degree.”
Dr. Hennis recommends other methods of prevention. “One habit is drinking one 8 ounce cup of water before putting any food in your mouth. This helps you stay fuller, so you don’t overeat. Another habit is not shopping for processed or complex sugars which include: white flour, candy or juice. If you don’t keep it in your home, you are less likely to consume it. You can buy almond or coconut flour, sugar free gum or real fruit to replace those foods. Another habit is setting aside 15-mins at least three times a week to do some sort of moderate physical activity. This can include doing jumping jacks when your kids are playing, or using a skipping rope. Remember, you don’t have to complicate how to exercise, the important thing is getting it done. Your doctor is always a good support system, and can refer you to a dietician if you need more direction!”
The Difference Between Prediabetes and Diabetes
“If your body is starting to become insulin resistant, your blood sugar after an 8 hour fast will show numbers between 100mg/dl – 125mg/dl. If you are diabetic these numbers will be greater than 126mg/dl. For a non-diabetic numbers are below 100mg/dL upon fasting,” Dr. Hennis explains. “You have three options when you are diagnosed with prediabetes: lifestyle change, medication + lifestyle, or medication only. Your doctor can talk to you about what medication options you might be eligible for; however I cannot stress the importance of incorporating lifestyle changes. As humans we don’t like change, but choosing one item you could incorporate in your daily habits can make a big impact. If you change one habit per week, that’s at least 52 habits you can change in one year!” And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.
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