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Count your Carbs...You Must!

Had a strange experience in a diabetes chatroom on Friday. Was happily chatting about levels and how I was coping, when one of the members suggested that my levels were bad if they went over 7 and that I must start carb counting immediately. When I said that I would consider it, but wouldn't be told I had to do it, she took umbrage and left following a rant about not listening to advice! Carb counting is quite an emotive issue, particularly I have found with Americans (although this person was British). People who carb count can almost be categorised like various stages of religious beliefs, there are atheists (not many), agnostics (me), followers and evangelists. This person and several Americans that I have spoken to fall into the latter category. I have no problem with people evangelising about anything, as long as they don't expect me to follow exactly what they say without question.

The ironic thing is that this person is constantly complaining about having hypo unawareness. This is where your blood glucose levels go dangerously low without you being aware. This has particular issues for driving. Reading my favourite text book, it becomes clear why she may be having this hypo unawareness. As I have mentioned before, the Hb1ac test, gives you a snapshot of your blood glucose levels over the past three months. The target is less than 7%. This person, as far as I remember is proud of a Hb1ac of around 5%. The book explains that the Hb1ac result relates also to the level that you get the symptoms of a hypo. At 5% you won't feel the affects until about 2mmol/l whereas at 7% you will feel them at 3.5mmol/l or less. The 7% is the safer level. Equally to get an Hb1ac result of 7% your average blood glucose for the three months will be 8.3 mmol/l. As my average is currently 7.5 , I don't feel the need to change anything.

Having said that, I did give carb counting a try. It was really quite successful, but only really works if you can tell the exact amount of carbs in the food. This is easily done with pre-packaged food, but not so easily with my normal 'from basics' food. I added up all the carbs in the food and adjusted my insulin dose accordingly. My post-prandial (2 hours after meal) reading was exactly what I predicted. So, maybe it does work!

My new exercise regime started today. After doing a test cycle yesterday, cycling to work and back, I cycled in this morning. It is a really pleasant journey. Most of it is down the towpath of the Birmingham & Fazeley canal. Obviously, this is lovely and flat, apart from a couple of flights of locks. So far it takes me roughly 20 minutes for the 3 mile journey, even with a head-wind as there was this morning. I am sure I will get quicker as I get fitter. I wonder what it will do to my levels? Maybe I'll be able to eat more breakfast as a result!

Levels went to my lowest yet last night: 2.8 mmol/l. Didn't feel quite as bad as my last low. It was self-inflicted! I was a bit annoyed that my pre-evening meal was a bit high, so I took extra insulin and then didn't eat very much for supper. I had a piece of bread to correct my levels and they were soon over 6 mmol/l. I just can't believe how sensitive my levels are between meals.

Finally, I know it is a bit sad, but the last few evenings Claire and I have been playing on my Playstation 2. There is only one series of games that we ever use the Playstation for and that is the Final Fantasy series. After first playing Final Fantasy 8 on the original Playstation we have spent many hours on the subsequent titles in the series. Final Fantasy XII was released in the UK on Friday and the ever-reliable Amazon delivered it (even with super saver delivery) on Saturday morning. To the uninitiated, the Final Fantasy games fit into the RPG (role playing game) genre. This basically means that you run around worlds with various characters fighting monsters and building up skills and attributes. I guess why we like it, is that there is quite a lot of logic to how you progress in the game and you don't have to be particularly dexterous to achieve results. However Claire still hasn't got the hang of walking her character in a straight line, so leaves that to me. She does the brainy bits instead! We even played instead of watching Top Gear last night (thank goodness for Sky+)!

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