Diabetes Blogs

Sometimes Diabetes is the Least of Your Troubles...

learn to swim

A week or two ago, spurred by some ridiculous desire to prove my fleeting youthfulness, I slammed out two miles on the treadmill at the gym, walked twenty minutes, then realized I was in such pain that I couldn’t leave the treadmill at more than a crawl. It was a humiliating reminder that I was no longer 21.

But it also meant, felled by hip pain that I couldn’t exercise for two weeks, which made my sugars rise and my mood sink.

Not a good look for anyone.

Two weeks later, I’m pretty much healed. But it has me thinking about adjustments we have to make: to age, to diet, to meds, and to diabetes. And that sometimes what works today (or yesterday, when long ago and far away I once finished half-marathons) needs to be fine-tuned.

Take diet. As we grow older, what worked a few years back may no longer. Metabolisms shift and responses to things like processed foods may change. While you once were able to down a few scoops of Haagen-Dazs without too much damage to the scale, those days may indeed have fled. And when it comes to blood sugars, a treat that once had no effect on your readings may now send your sugars soaring, as your pancreas pumps out less and less insulin with age.

This can also spell a change in meds. For some, it might mean moving from oral meds to an incretin mimetic or to insulin, or adding additional (if not more super-intense) exercise. An extra walk at night or in the morning or one more strength training class a week might do the trick. Or, it may mean dietary reconstruction such as ruling out additional carbohydrates: giving up bread or potatoes until you can reach a new balance.

All of which can certainly affect your mood. After all, you might have figured that you’d conquered diabetes: and then things get totally out of whack. It can be depressing to find out that what worked so well in the past is now out of style.

The plus of all this is that it is doable—whether by shifts in diet, exercise, or meds. It might take a trip to an endo, a nutritionist, or a good therapist, but there are ways to get back in control of your health. It means listening closely to your body and what it needs, and staying on top of changes that may have occurred. It means not getting down about the shifts in time, but using them to your advantage, and going in for regular tune ups.

Ruining my hip for two weeks was no fun. Taking pain pills and lying in bed with an icepack, however, gave me a short course in how I do not plan to live. I may not be able to run two miles, but maybe I could start slower, with half a mile.

 Or maybe, I’ll learn to swim. 


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