Monday, 21 June 2010

It's Just a Number's Game

If you think about it, that's exactly what diabetes is all about....numbers!!

If it's not blood sugar levels, it's units of insulin or the number of carbs in a meal....basically if it's diabetes related, it will have a number associated with it.

Here are some of the numbers I could think of that are part of managing my diabetes on a daily basis:

- 19 years and 27 days since I was diagnosed at the age of 10
- 2 or 4 injections per day for 19 years - let's say approximately 10 years at 2 per day and 9 years at 4 per day, that's 20,548 injections (approx) since diagnosis
- 4 injections in 1 day down to 1 infusion set change every 3 days - this is the dramatic difference I will experience once I am on a pump!!!!
- 8 to 10 finger pricking blood tests per day - admittedly, it has only been relatively recently that I have done this many blood tests.  I used to go for a month at a time without testing during my teenage years.  Tut tut!!!
- Blood sugar level targets: before meals: between 4 and 7 mmols/L and two hours after meals: less than 9 mmols/L.  As all of us with the big D know, it can sometimes (or most of the time for some of us) be a real struggle to achieve these levels and there are all sorts of things that can play havoc with your levels such as being ill, stress, heat, eating out, alcohol - basically life just gets in the way sometimes....- HbA1C (Glycated haemoglobin) - This is a blood test (not a simple finger prick but a big scary one at the doctors where I am now well known for being the wussiest diabetic they have ever seen "But you inject yourself every day, how can you be scared of needles?" is what they always say - Ha ha!!!) which indicates your blood glucose levels for the previous two to three months. The HbA1c measures the amount of glucose that is being carried by the red blood cells in the body.  The target for this test is 6.5% or less (my last one was 11.6% which is not good at all but is an improvement on the previous one of 12.6% - where HbA1C is concerned even a small decrease is very important and really quite significant in reducing the risk of diabetic complications)
- Cholesterol levels should be less than 4.0 mmol/l.  My cholesterol level is too high and I am currently taking tablets to help to lower it.
- Carbohydrates - I have recently started to learn to count carbs in what I eat in preparation for starting on an insulin pump.  At first I was overwhelmed by all the numbers on the backs of packets and in the books I've got but I am slowly getting used to it.  At the moment, for every 10 grams of carbs I am taking 3 units of my fast acting insulin (Apidra). So for example, if a meal has a total of 120 grams of carbs, I would inject 36 units of Apidra.
- Number of times per day I crave chocolate = at least 10
- Costs to bear in mind regarding insulin pumps: Up to £3000 for the pump itself and approx £1600 for the consumables per year.
- Amount of money I have raised in sponsors, so far, for this years Diabetes UK Walk the Extra Mile in September.......£121.00
- Perhaps the most sensitive issue of weight!!! Currrently at 11 stone and 13 pounds - (I'm scaring myself with my honesty here!!!)   For my height this means that my Body Mass Index is 27 which means I am classed as 'overweight' - not good for the old ego that one!! Apparently my ideal weight is 9 stone 3 pounds - long way to go to get there!!! I had a phase on Slimming World which I did lose nine pounds on and I would like to do Slimming World again at some point but for now my focus is on getting some of my other numbers right, e.g. my blood sugars, and that is a big enough challenge for me right now without trying to lose weight at the same time.

A few more diabetes related numbers:
- 1,400,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes, that's about 1 in every 100 people.

- Diabetes takes up 9% of the NHS budget - that's a huge £5.2 billion per year.
- In the year 2000 there were 171,000,000 people worldwide with diabetes, this figure is predicted to rise to 366,000,000 in 2030, that is more than double.
- In the UK 1 person is diagnosed with diabetes every 3 minutes and 3 people die from its complications every 1 hour

Number of times I have wished I wasn't diabetic and that I could stop thinking about numbers = too many to count!!!!  :o)


  1. Those numbers are amazing Bec! I will definitely follow your progress toward the pump because I will be on the pump soon myself and am very nervous about it. Thank you for doing this!

  2. Thanks Angie, thanks for reading. How long untiil you get your pump? Im quite nervous too but more excited than anything else. I have heard such brilliant things about how good they are and how much of a positive impact a pump can have on your life. Good luck with your pump journey!!

  3. Bec.... this is just getting better and better!!

  4. Cheers Lee, I really appreciate you taking the time to read it and comment. It's just me rambling really. Lol :o)


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