LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Saturday Share #18

Doing my part to keep internet diabetes information fun and accurate I’ve been penning a new Saturday column over at Amy Tenderich’s aswesome Diabetes Mine site called Ask D’Mine, as well as answering reader’s questions over at Sharecare as one of their “Experts.”

I’m having a blast, and I’ve decided that every week I’m going to share one of my favorite questions from Sharecare with you here, and also give you a preview of what I’m talking about over at Ask D’Mine.

Sharecare Question: What is considered borderline diabetes?

My “Expert” answer: When the diabetes police are in hot pursuit and you are within five miles of a state border you have borderline diabetes.

Sorry. I couldn’t resist. In the medical world we use certain fixed blood sugar numbers to determine who has diabetes and who doesn’t. The standards are set by the American Diabetes Association and are adjusted from time to time as new research reveals new truths.

So if your blood sugar is above a set threshold you have diabetes. If it’s below a set threshold you don’t. If you fall between the two sets of numbers you’re not a member of either tribe. You aren’t really quite “normal,” but your sugar isn’t high enough to really be considered a person with diabetes either.

You have borderline diabetes, pre-diabetes, or in more technical terms impaired glucose tolerance.

But none of these labels convey the deadly seriousness of the condition. Here’s the truth, no bull, if you have borderline diabetes: full blown diabetes is on the way. The conversion rate from pre-diabetes to full blown diabetes is mind numbing, and because of this I especially dislike the term “borderline” as it makes the condition sound somehow less serious than it is.

At any rate, on to the numbers. We now use a quick and simple blood test called an A1C to diagnose diabetes. If your doctor’s office is so equipped, it can even be run from a single drop of blood from your fingertip in about six minutes.

The test gives us a picture of the blood sugar environment of your body over the last three months. Diabetes is now defined as a A1C score of 6.5% or greater. Normal is considered to be 5.6 and below. If you are between 5.7 and 6.4 you are on the border. (Just remember that it’s more like the border between North and South Korea—filled with land mines—than the border between North and South Carolina.)

To make it easier to grasp, these percentages can be converted into estimated average glucose numbers, in plain English—meter numbers. And in meter numbers “borderline” diabetes is defined as an average reading between 114 and 137 mg/dL.

You can check out other Expert’s answers to this question, and my answers to many more questions by going here.

Meanwhile, over at Diabetes Mine, today I’m tackling a question from a type Type-1 about how to keep insulin cold when traveling. Or if you even need too. And I tell another T-1 that maybe he needs a pump break.
Go check it out. Right now. And don’t limit yourself to reading. Join in the fun. Ask me questions!


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