Guest Post: Testing the Target Range.
I am honored to have Riva Greenberg guest blogging today, and she has some great insight on what might be happening in the bodies of those who don't have diabetes. Check out her post about testing the target range below, and thanks to Riva for filling in today!
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Thirty-eight years ago, when I was diagnosed, I remember very clearly lying in my hospital bed being told by my insensitive young male doctor that having a baby was out of the question. Oh, baby, how times have changed. Happy to fill in Kerri as you put up your tootsies.
If I asked you right now where you think non-diabetics’ blood sugar hovers what would you say? I would have guessed around 100 mg/dl and here’s why:
1) Pre-diabetes is considered anything over 100 mg/dl up to 125 mg/dl
2) 126 mg/dl and up is considered diabetes
3) The target range prescribed for diabetics is between 80 mg/dl and 130 mg/dl
4) I must have watched every video on videojug of Dr. Anne Peters, diabetologist and Professor of medicine and director of the USC Clinical Diabetes Programs, whom I respect and admire say we should shoot for 100 mg/dl most of the time.
But based on an unexpected family experiment the anecdotal evidence I gathered is rather different. In fact it seems non-diabetics’ blood sugar rises even above our prescribed target range some of the time. Call me crazy but this was news to me.
My evidence gathering all began a few months ago when my mother told me my 84-year old father had diabetes. I was shocked. Yes, a surprising reaction for someone who blogs and lectures about diabetes, but the thought that one of my parents would actually get diabetes was, frankly, shocking. Maybe I was just being a little possessive? After all, diabetes is my illness.
A few weeks later my mother told me my father no longer had diabetes. The doctor said his blood sugar was O.K. This seemed just a tad fishy to me. My mother was confused as well. “Would you bring your meter with you next time you visit?” she asked. “We’ll test his blood sugar.”
I returned two weeks later with a spare meter, 100 strips and 100 lancets, a lancing device and my intense curiosity. I had my husband in tow and my brother, sister-in-law and niece were there as well to join for a family lunch. Seeing my testing supply-haul, my mother said, “Oh, no, I just thought we’d test one time.” I obviously took this a bit more seriously than she did.
Bringing out the meter the requisite two hours after lunch my father looked at it suspiciously, so my husband volunteered to test his own blood sugar. Then everyone wanted in. My father tested, my brother, my sister-in-law and my 12 year-old niece. The testing results of this group of non-diabetics respectively were: 155, 158 (that’s dad), 131, 130, 102.
Now for the side-story. My husband’s 155 mg/dl made him concerned about his own blood sugar. So he decided to test his blood sugar pre and post meals for three consecutive days. His first day out, his pre-breakfast reading was: 92, two hours after breakfast: 94, before lunch: 83, after lunch: 128. That 128, we guessed was from his French baguette at lunch. We also reflected that his 155 at my parent's house was the result of a lot of bread at lunch. Both numbers seemed to confirm that no one lives at or near 100 mg/dl steadily and that a refined carb meal tips the scales upward even for non-diabetics.
Mind you this is all anecdotal evidence, but it does suggest that non–diabetics’ blood sugar, just like ours, goes up after eating and much higher at times than I would have guessed. It also makes me feel that these limits, bands and ranges we’re all trying to squeeze into throughout the day should come with a clause: “Sometimes no matter what you do your blood sugar will be out of range. Keep breathing and just fix it.”
This experiment may give you some piece of mind, it did me. I know that after struggling and striving to be hovering, like a space-craft, in target range all the time, that even my best efforts won’t always produce blood sugars that sit demurely where they should, and it’s O.K.
Two side notes: 1) My prince among men, my husband, toppled the second day into his blood sugar testing. “Boy, my finger still hurts from this morning! I don’t think I’m going to do this anymore,” he said. Frankly, I think it was the dribble of blood on his keyboard that pushed him over the edge.
And 2) my father does not have diabetes, but pre-diabetes would be a safe bet. As various doctors have told me, if we live long enough most people will develop type 2 diabetes over time as the typical American diet and lifestyle wears out our insulin-producing beta-cells. Good thing I left a meter and 95 test strips at my parent’s house.
Riva is the author of “50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life: And the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It” and “The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes.” Riva presents educational/motivational presentations to fellow patients as a peer-mentor, blogs on the Huffington Post and her web site diabetes stories, and helps others live an exceptional life, not despite having diabetes but because of it, using diabetes as a catalyst to create a healthier, happier, more meaningful life.