Diabetes Q and A
By Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N
Q How can I keep my New Year’s Resolutions? I usually quit by the time February rolls around.
A Many readers of this column are familiar with the Jump Start Pledge method that I created. It really works. Here are the steps:
- Choose a small and reasonable health behavior.
- Pledge to do it for only one week.
- At the end of the week, renew it, change it to better fit your needs, or add an additional pledge.
For example, walk 15 minutes each day for a week. At the end of the week, renew this pledge, OR increase your walking time to 20 minutes, OR choose a different activity that better fits your needs. When you feel ready, add a second pledge, such as a promise to eat ½ cup of vegetables at dinner.
Q I heard that you shouldn’t use an A1C test to check for diabetes. Why not?
A The A1C test is not reliable enough to diagnose diabetes. It may show an increased result when certain conditions exist, such as another form of hemoglobin, alcoholism, elevated triglycerides, increased bilirubin, chronic aspirin use, or the use of high-doses of vitamin C. The diagnosis of diabetes is a serious issue and therefore a more reliable test, like the glucose tolerance test, should be used.
Q I have type 1 diabetes and want to become pregnant. Will my diabetes make it harder to conceive?
A A diabetes-related condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can affect your fertility, but having diabetes alone should not affect your ability to conceive. It is important, however, to achieve good diabetes control for several months prior to becoming pregnant in order to make sure that your baby grows in a safe and healthy environment.
Q I know that I should keep my blood sugar level in a healthy range. But I’m curious, what happens to the organs of the body, when blood sugar levels go too high?
A When you have too much sugar in your body, your cells become “sugar-coated” and don’t work well. The excess glucose (sugar) attaches to cells throughout your body and interferes with their normal function. For example, when glucose attaches to white blood cells, they can’t fight infections as well as they should.
Excess glucose can also change into a product known as sorbitol that damages tissues by preventing water from flowing in and out of cells. This causes the cells to swell and become damaged. As sorbitol is produced, other compounds are created that can also chemically damage cells and tissues. Keep your blood sugar level in a healthy range. Each person has different needs, so ask your health care team to identify the range that is right for you.
**please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diabetes regimen.