Happy Saturday! Ready for our no-holds-barred diabetes advice column, Ask D’Mine? Ready or not, here it comes — hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes author and community educator Wil Dubois.
Wil answers all manner of queries related to life with diabetes here: emotional, social, logistical, intellectual, cynical, clinical… oops, no, that last one’s for your doctor*.
But if you need help navigating life with diabetes, email us at AskDMine@diabetesmine.com
Amy from DiaPeePees blog, type 3, writes: When my son’s blood sugar starts to spike, we’ve always told him to run around and bring the sugar down. Is that good advice? I’ve also heard it might be taxing on the body to exercise when blood sugar is already high. What’s the right answer?
Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: The right answer is to walk around, rather than run around. Here’s why. Chapter 1: running releases epinephrine which raises blood sugar even more. Holy crap! We don’t want to do that when the kiddo is high in the first place! Chapter 2: if your kiddo is already high enough to have ketones, exercise can graduate you to ketoacidosis (‘cause to fuel the exercise in the absence of insulin, the body will burn more fat, which creates even more ketones). So for a kid who’s really high already, running around can elevate the situation to a full-blown medical emergency. Ack! Chapter 3: however, some movement can help work the sugar out of the system (as will drinking lots of water), because the muscles will start to suck some of the excess sugar from the blood in order to operate. That’s why walking around helps; it uses some sugar while not creating more, the way more vigorous exercise will.
So, moral of the story: walk, don’t run, to lower blood sugar.
(Clarification in avoidance of comment pummeling: the above advice is for T1s with momentary high blood sugar only. Regular exercise can help lower overall blood sugar levels for all PWDs, but especially for type 2s. In fact, 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise is as good as any pill that Pharma makes for T2, and it’s cheaper.)
Marianne from Australia, type 2, writes: To my horror, I read that glucosamine might increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes or, if you already have it, might have an impact on your sugar levels. I’ve been taking glucosamine for my arthritis since before I was diagnosed with type 2, on advice from the naturopath and my local chemist. Now I’m in a quandary – do I keep taking the glucosamine or should I give it up? I’ve done a little bit of reading from various sites and, as usual, different sites provide conflicting information.
Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: Does it matter if the glucosamine caused your diabetes? I mean, something was gonna “cause” it anyway, right? A quick review on type 2 diabetes—if your genes are set up for it, all you need is a trigger to turn them on. The most common triggers are age and weight: the older or the heavier you are, the more likely your diabetes light switch is to flip on.
But once the diabetes gene is out of the bottle, there’s no stuffing it back in. Diabetes is chronic, meaning permanent. Type 2 diabetes is progressive, meaning it gets a little worse every day no matter what the heck you do about it.
Personally, I doubt that the glucosamine caused your diabetes, as the latest clinical evidence indicates that it’s highly unlikely. Maybe it was your age. Maybe it was your weight. Maybe it was all of the above. But the fact you have T2 diabetes tells me that glucosamine or not, diabetes was in your destiny. So don’t beat yourself up about the glucosamine. And don’t beat your naturopath and your chemist up either. (US reader alert: chemist=pharmacist.)
The real question to ask is, does the glucosamine actually help with your arthritis? If so, you should keep taking it. The fact is, you have arthritis and you have diabetes. You need to treat both. From what you’ve written, it doesn’t sound like the glucosamine has been causing you any major, long-term issues with high BGs. If you find that it raises your BG a bit, that’s no different than dealing with the million other things in life that raise blood sugar. Just treat the high blood sugar and move on. If the glucosamine helps your arthritis, you should take it. If it doesn’t, then why the Sam Heck were you taking it in the first place?
*Disclaimer: This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and openly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small part of your total prescription. You still need the professional advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical professional.