So I’d gotten some tingle in the feet on the last long drive from Florida back to California. Figured it was just because I didn’t sleep much for 40 hours and just drove. Feet on vibrating floor and pedals the whole time. But it had not happened before on such marathons. Still, when I got home I was definitely a bit of a mess. I’d mostly just had cat naps in the car for the prior few days and became ‘reluctant’ to stop from about New Mexico to here as the car would “run very rough” when started cold. (Later I figured out this was from “wobbly shaft” in the distributor and not a symptom of imminent bricking of the car.)
Well, after a few days of sleeping, I was pretty much normal again.
Then a few times on other days I’d have the tingle again. Turns out this is “peripheral neuropathy”. That can be caused by a lot of things, but high blood sugar is one of them. (Type 2 Diabetes). So I got to wondering if mine was in line (or, horrors, might it be the one caused by alcohol too much…) Being the DIY sort, I ran out and bought a blood sugar measuring device at Walmart. (Got the “Pink” one that was on clearance for $7. Hey, I’m not going to be wearing the thing, so that everyone else hated pink is fine with me ;-)
Tested. About 1/2 hour after a large meal washed down with sugary drinks. 240
Hmmm… Looking into that, it’s in the “Worry” range. Then I read the manual and found that when you eat, and what, matters. A lot.
OK, I then stopped the morning bowl of sugar diluted by grain support structures, and shifted to black coffee. Next reading, not within 2 hours of eating, was about 142. Still not what is desired. That’s more like the “digesting meal” reading range. OTOH, I know I have a long digestive tract (colonoscopy Dr. commented on needing to use the whole thing…) and relatively long digestion duration. Basically, I’m a “food and drink camel”. It takes me over 24 hours to notice lack of food as I’m still pulling something out of the last 36 hours of meals.
Digging Into It: Seems that cortisol can cause your blood sugar to go high. Gee, where might I have gotten high cortisol levels? Oh, I know, on a 4 day nearly no sleep bus trip followed by a few days of marathon car preparation and then an OMG what’s wrong with the car dash for home for a few days with again nearly no sleep…
What else contributes to sugar levels? Low activity. Since returning, I’d been a couch potato as much as possible. Weather was not that great, I’d had some joint pains (resolved mostly now that I’ve been more careful about the “cow stuff” in the diet) and the new Roku gave me endless days of new stuff to watch. Hmmm… Waistline an inch bigger, legs and arms getting smaller… Less muscle mass to soak up any influx of sugar, fatty tissues full too…
So a week or so of garden work and cleaning the garage…
Somewhere in the middle of that, the sporadic (about 10 minutes once a day or skipping a day) peripheral neuropathy ended.
Also found a few references that said a 600 calorie / day “fast” for a week or two had been shown to “cure” T2D. (Type 2 Diabetes). So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been eating more modestly. Added salads to the dinner plate, reduced the starches. Smaller portions.
Then ran into another article that said alcohol can block the liver from converting fat to blood sugar, so T2D folks need to watch their insulin levels if they are drinking as “the usual dose” can be too high. Seems a decent guzzle of wine can give you LOW blood sugar into the next day. OK…
So this week I’ve had about an average of 1/2 bottle of wine a day for a few days. I tested blood sugar levels with / without wine, and they were a bit lower with wine.
Having not tested for a few days, I decided today was test day to see the net effect of it all. Had scrambled eggs for breakfast, couple of cups of coffee. Then spent about 2 hours doing decent garden work. Cutting bamboo… Having worked up a bit of a sweat, I decided to have a starchy lunch. Thick Split Pea soup. 2 hours later, the result is a 92. Normal.
Golly. That’s nice to see.
Now the instrument goes out of its way to scold NOT TO USE FOR DIAGNOSIS! OK, I didn’t. I used it to measure. I also never really hit a full on T2D level of “issues”. More the Pre-whatzit the doctors are now loving as a way to scare folks into doing what they are told.
For me, the interesting thing is to realize how much one can swing blood sugar from simple changes of diet and activity. Yesterday I had a slow cooker chicken dish for dinner. Chicken, celery, carrots, potatoes, can of cream soup (i.e. flour thickener). Not exactly avoiding starches. Ham sandwich for lunch some days, tuna sandwich others. IMHO, the biggest difference is from the activity.
You just can’t stuff 1/2 cup of sugar into your stomach without somewhere for it to go. Once the liver is full up on glycogen, the fat cells are saying “Hey, none for me thanks” and the muscle mass is just not doing anything, where is it to go? Umm…. So just getting the input vs output back into balance, everything now measures normal. Not ramping up my cortisol levels likely also helping a bit.
Sidebar on Insulin Resistance:
Along the way found some interesting bits about folks developing insulin resistance. IMHO that happens when all the cells are individually full up on sugar. They just have to start saying “NO!”. The glands see all the sugar and start raising the insulin levels, but if you cram too much into the cells, they are going to be sick, so they adjust to not respond to that particular sugar “dinner bell”. Get the saturation of sugar out, the response to insulin can return to normal. IMHO, that’s how the “fasting ‘cure'” works. I also think I’d not reached the insulin resistance point anyway, so it was easier for me to just cut back the sugar shocks.
Sidebar on Alzheimer’s:
Several articles popped up claiming Alzheimer’s is now being called “Type 3 Diabetes”. I have a few links saved that I may add in comments later. The bottom line is about 50% higher co-morbidity between the two diseases. There was a great lab experiment with the researcher giving rats an insulin blocker and them getting Alzheimer’s. (Nitrosomines… so maybe not so much nitrates in the processed meats would be a good idea…) Showed how the insulin receptors would ramp down on the rat cells too, leading to insulin resistance. That experiment was the one that sold me on the T3D claim. When you can demonstrate control of the machinery and get the expected results, well, it’s pretty clear evidence. So maybe it isn’t so much a disease of age, as one of inactivity and high sugar intake… There is a genetic component, but looks like environmental triggers may be needed too. Basically, it isn’t the beta-amyloid that’s the cause, but rather a symptom. The rats got it too, IIRC, after the insulin blocker was given.
So bottom line:
The machinery is designed for a fairly regular level of use and if you don’t do that, you can’t keep dumping in more fuel. It will overflow. Eventually it will fight you on that. Balance the sugar load to the fuel burn, and maybe take a weekend or even a week to do some kind of very low calorie episode. Get off the damn couch, turn off the TV, and go DO something. Then have a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer with the game on. It’s OK.
Oh, and sporadic tingling of hands or feet is the early sign you ought to do something differently. Don’t ignore it too long or the damage to nerves becomes permanent (sugar is toxic to nerve cells and at too high a level, the longest axons start to suffer and eventually die). If brief and dealt with inside a few weeks, it just goes away…
I’m planning on a good work-over of the entire back yard. With hand tools… and I found my old bike in the garage (where I hung it up when the kids got their drivers licenses…) so it’s getting a clean up and service too. Don’t know what I’m going to do when winter returns, but that’s 1/2 a year away for now.
I figure about once a week I’ll continue to get blood sugar data points, just to check on the longer term effects, if any. For now I’m quite happy with a cut of well over 1/2 and in the normal side of the range. Especially given I’ve not really done all that much. Modest normal activity and not eating a bowl of sugar everyday. Hardly a hardship. I’ve even found black coffee tastes OK, once you get used to the idea you are not going to be drinking coffee flavored sugar syrup ;-) (I do still have my mocha at Starbucks, though… but that’s only a once / week treat most times.)
FWIW, the biggest drop seemed to come when I tried doing “Jazzercise” to various music videos. While it is enjoyable, I don’t really like whacking the floor with my feet, and it isn’t exactly productive. So then I swapped over to yard work stuff. That feels like I’m actually accomplishing something, so I don’t feel guilty about “wasting my time”. Activity is activity is activity, in any case. 30 minutes a day of very active, or 2 hours of modest every other day seems to be “enough” for me. I intend to do over that level just to get my “fat pants” back in the closet and my “skinny pants” back on the body…