In Preparedness Tips

Many people that know they have diabetes still die or suffer permanent bodily harm from the disease because they do not make important and necessary lifestyle changes. During or after a major crisis, this disease can make it much harder to carry out daily tasks and adapt to the situation. Because modern commercial foods contribute to diabetes, it is important for everyone interested in prepping to have a comprehensive diabetes management plan in place.

Hack #1:  Investigate everything.

Study DiabetesIn the modern world of health care,  it is very important to research and investigate all treatments, medications, and diets that are available. With this information, you will be able to talk one on one with your doctor. It is very important to understand what they are talking about and to know as much as you can so that you can ask important questions about long range consequences of different courses of action. Make it your business to find out how far into the future your doctor is thinking, and also how he/she is weighing risks vs benefits. If you disagree with the doctor’s assessment, that is important to know and be open about.

Remember information is power, and a well-informed patient leads to better health and longevity.

  • Obtain copies of all blood tests, imaging studies, and other lab tests. You have a right to this information and it cannot be denied to you.
  • Use a tape recorder (or your smart phone) to record all visits, and then play back the information later on. Compare what you are told to information found through the National Institute of Health, peer-reviewed medical journals, pharmaceutical inserts for medications, and other credible sources.
  • Sign up for or obtain access to medical databases and other resources that will help you better understand what your doctor knows and is talking about.
  • Do research on class action lawsuits and adverse drug reactions bulletins.
  • Seek the advice of an endocrinologist or other specialists when you find discrepancies

Hack #2: Make Sure You Know the Factors Causing Excess Sugar to Build up In Your Blood

Blood CellsOn the surface, high blood sugar levels look like the actual disease. Underneath, however, you may have one or more problems contributing to the high blood sugar levels. Here are the most common:

  • You are consuming more carbohydrates (essentially sugars and starches)  than your body can handle. This can occur either because you are eating too many carbohydrates, or because your pancreas is making enough insulin to process some glucose, but not enough for a normal amount.  Always be wary of foods with high fructose corn syrup or modified sugars because they have more glucose in them per molecule, which means they put twice as much (or more) burden on your body.  This, in turn, will drive up your blood sugar averages even though these foods may be causing your blood sugar to crash and spike during the day. Sugar substitutes can also turn into glucose and alcohol later on, which can also interfere with the delicate process that keeps blood sugars in the normal ranges.
  • You are consuming foods that may harm the pancreas, liver, stomach, or other organs that play a role in carbohydrate digestion, usage, and storage. Do some research on food additives and then compare them to what is in your own diet. There are many chemicals in commercial foods these days that act as hormonal disruptors.   Since insulin production is controlled in part by other hormones such as melatonin, any one of these foods may be causing your body to produce insufficient insulin amounts.
  • The cells of your body have an increased resistance to insulin. Exercise will increase sensitivity to insulin. You can also try drinking decaffeinated coffee as it has proteins in it that increase cell sensitivity to insulin. Do not drink more coffee than usual, or limit to 3 cups per day.
  • Your liver may be converting fat into sugar at a higher rate than your body actually needs. This can happen if your stomach does not send the proper signal to the liver that it does not need to convert fat into glucose. Have a snack with 10 – 15 grams of carbohydrate at bedtime to reduce liver glucose dumping during sleep hours. Aim for protein and carbohydrate mixes such as fruit or nuts.
  • Disrupted sleep cycles and imbalanced melatonin production may be throwing off insulin production cycles. Aside from foods that have caffeine, any food that causes you to be restless may be having hidden hormonal effects that will, in turn, impact melatonin production.
  • Since any kind of light decreases melatonin production, it is also very important to keep your sleep area as dark as possible.
  • Keep up with new research on intestinal bacteria, leaky gut, and newer studies that may shed more light on different paths that contribute to diabetes.

Hack  #3: Know, and Do Not Ignore Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Blood Glucose Monitoring DeviceType 2 Diabetes is a treatable disease that you should not fear the discovery of. Diabetes, however, is fatal when you pretend you don’t have it, or you try to deny something is wrong. An honest assessment can save your life and make it better.

It is very also very important to know these symptoms during a major crisis so that you do not wind up using corrective measures that won’t actually solve your problem. For example, if you have unexplained weight loss, you might initially think you have a worm infestation or something else from consuming risky food or water.  If you test your blood sugar, however, you may be alerted to the fact that you are actually consuming too many carbohydrates. While you can never depend on just one test or a single symptom, at least you can find out if blood sugar is part of your problem. This is especially important if you set aside many canned goods or commercial foods that have hidden amounts of glucose or chemicals that contribute to diabetes.

  • Increased hunger or thirst.
  • Fatigue and tire very easily.
  • Increased nighttime urination.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • The onset of blurred vision or the sudden need for glasses.
  • Sudden and ongoing tingling in your hands and feet.
  • Sores on your body that do not heal.
  • The onset of heart problems.
  • Loss of interest in sex and erectile dysfunction

 Hack #4:  Be Aggressive About Testing

Blood Sugar TestThe following tests can help you manage your diabetes and alert you to important changes.

  • Lab blood tests to check fasting blood sugar, A1C (three month blood glucose average based on amount of glucose found in hemoglobin molecules in the blood), kidney function, liver function, fructosamine levels (3 week blood sugar average based on amount of glucose found in albumin molecules in the blood), blood counts, and your cholesterol levels. These tests should be done every 6 months.
  • Urine test every 6 months.
  • Eye and hearing tests every year.
  • Cardiac stress test and cardiac ultrasound every 3 – 5 years (or more if heart problems are detected).
  • Every office visit to the doctor should check your blood pressure and examine your feet.
  • Home blood sugar testing (finger sticks) 1 – 2 times per day.
  • Urine ketone testing weekly or daily depending on your needs
  • keep a record of what you have been eating, including the total calories, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fats in each food item. If you notice changes in your test results, this log will help you sort out what is going on.

Hack #5 Know Which Herbs to Take in a Crisis

Herbal Medicine for DiabetesOne of the biggest problems diabetics will face after a major crisis revolves around obtaining medications. Since there is no such thing as one herb that will address all of the biological pathways that cause diabetes, some additional research will be required. For each herb, use the NIH research databases or other peer studied sites to find out how each herb works, as well as if it actually will suit your needs.  When combined with aggressive testing, you will find it easier to get the right herbs for your current condition as well as make corrections as your body changes.

  • Always know which aspect of diabetes the herb addresses. For example, bitter melon is a well-known treatment for diabetes. Unfortunately, this particular herb may not sensitize cells to insulin, let alone boost insulin levels. Even though you may get lower readings with this herb, it may not be addressing your needs.
  • Make sure you get the right herb genus and species. Today, many claim prickly pear cactus has a form of insulin that will survive digestion and act as an insulin replacer. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of different species of this cactus that may or may not work. When you consult a peer reviewed site, make sure you know exactly which genus and species of plant were tested. If you decide to buy seeds so that you can grow these herbs, only work with reliable sellers that supply heirloom, organic, non-GMO, non-hybrid seeds.
  • Study each herb thoroughly so that you know what side effects and drug interactions can occur. You should never treat herbs as “more safe” than drugs.

Hack #6 Protect Other Areas of Your Physical Health

Exercise to Prevent DiabetesPeople with diabetes have a higher risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and weaker bones that fracture more easily.

  • Make sure you can maintain good hygiene during the crisis situation. You should have the resources to continue brushing your teeth as well as make sure your skin and hair stay clean. Learn to make soap, shampoos, and body odor eliminators. Given the number of dangerous chemicals in modern body care products, you may even find that switching to homemade or survival recipes may help you feel better and even reduce the severity of your diabetes or related health problems.
  • Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. This will help keep your melatonin levels stable. When you are more rested, it also reduces stress levels.
  • Eat your meals at the same time each day and try to have 5 smaller meals instead of 3 big ones. If you cannot eat lower carb foods, this will help reduce the impact and give your body a chance to recover.
  • Stay mentally active. Reading, doing mental puzzles, and doing debates that challenge you to think are all very important. Do not forget about social interactions as that is also important for good brain and mental health.
  • When you are stressed out, your body releases the hormone cortisol which can raise blood sugar. Use meditation and binaural music to reduce stress. If you need to see a doctor or take medications, do so.
  • Know your mental, physical, and emotional limitations. Don’t go beyond them or allow yourself to be pushed by others.
  • Try to take a good 30-minute walk daily. Start off slowly and increase the distance as your body can tolerate it. Also try swimming, bike riding, or dancing.

Hack #6 Adapt to Survival Foods and Eating Techniques Now

Diabetes SignsBefore the discovery of insulin in 1921, the standard treatment for diabetes was low carb diets. When using these diets, you must be careful to ensure you are getting enough carbohydrate to meet your body’s needs. You should be able to achieve this without burning fat (excess conversion of fat into glucose can cause kidney damage). Work closely with a doctor that is willing to counsel on low carbohydrate diets and a dietitian so that you get the best information for your needs.

Along with adapting to a low carb diet, set aside at least 5 meals per week that would be in your survival stockpile. This will help your body adapt to different foods, and also help you practice preparing them. If at all possible, use these meals to get away from pre-packaged foods and use ones that you grew or hunted on your own instead. When consuming meals, make it a habit of consuming proteins first so that you can slow down the absorption of carbohydrates.

In today’s world, diabetes is one of many diseases that are running out of control. As it stands now, there is no cure for it, but it can be treated. If you have any diabetic experiences, please add them in the comment section below.

Further reading:

 

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Showing 2 comments
  • Joe
    Reply

    This is a pretty good article Fred. Luckily I don’t have anyone close to me who suffers from diabetes but there is always questions on this topic. This could be a good starting point for those people.

  • Wilson
    Reply

    A few of things I would note since I am a Type 2 diabetic. I say these things from experience.

    First of all this can and sometimes does fly under the radar. I was diagnosed at 32 years old when I’d probably had the problem for at least 20 years and I had 0 symptoms. It was caught by a fluke. I was never fat nor did I have any other “risk factors” that were known. It’s entirely possible that I could have gone on another decade or longer before becoming “symptomatic”.

    Secondly, when it comes to managing your diabetes there really are no really hard rules. People are surprisingly individual about this. Some people spike drastically because of Strawberries as opposed to Blue Berries but other people are the opposite and some can eat neither.

    However, the vast majority of people who are Type 2 can get off medications with diet and exercise. Specifically weightlifting. Yeah, it’s a PITA but it’s generally the best way to attack Type 2 for a couple reasons. First, building muscle requires breaking down muscle. That means that even when you’re not lifting the rebuilding of your muscle tissue still uses blood sugar. Secondly, muscles are always are using blood sugar. The bigger your muscles the more sugar you use even while resting.

    Third, things that will generally help:

    STAY HYDRATED. Blood sugar levels are milligrams of glucose per deciliter of fluid. Up the fluid level and you end up with a different fraction (one that’s better for you 1/4 isn’t as good as 1/5 obviously). On top of that proper hydration means that you urinate more, this flushes sugar and other toxins out of your blood.

    EAT FIBER: Insoluble dietary fiber acts like a sponge for blood sugar. It soaks it up and gets rid of it for you. Soluble fiber does this too but to a lesser extent. So, proper snacks with fiber can greatly reduce your averages.

    EAT PROTEIN: Your body will go after this first. It reduces blood sugar spikes that can come from eating. However, be careful about this and make sure you drink a lot of water. Low water + high protein can poison you.

    STAY AWAY FROM SODA/POP: It’s your worst enemy (unless it’s diet).

    BOOZE: You can drink, in fact I recommend it for your sanity, however do so in moderation and make sure you drink water while consuming alcohol or immediately afterwords. Also, be aware that alcohol, for whatever reason, spikes your blood sugar and then causes a crash afterwords. This will, counter-intuitively enough, spike your blood sugar again when your liver goes nuts trying to correct your low blood sugar. It’s this second spike to worry about. If you’re gonna drink make sure you get that water in you and make sure you EAT after you drink. Yes, you can get drunk. Just watch your averages. There’s a big difference between getting drunk a few times a year and doing it three times a week. Alcohol also dehydrates you, so… yeah. mg/dl… you’re lowering the dl and raising the mg. Be careful about that.

    TESTING BEFORE TROUBLE: Test yourself during and after exercise. Different exercises will affect different people in different ways but one thing you can be DAMN sure of is that hiking long distances with weight on you will drop your blood sugar drastically and require you to consume carbs to keep your blood sugar up (I found this out the hard way at the Darin Fink this year). Hiking long distances make it HARD to keep your blood sugar up if you’re a Type 2. Make sure you plan accordingly and know your limitation/capabilities before SHTF.

    Finally, and this is something I cannot stress enough: Understand what an insulin hallucination is, how you react to low blood sugar and all that good stuff. Especially when taking meds it’s easy to get really low blood sugar if you’re working to keep your levels in check. This can result in a lot of bad side effects which can eventually lead to coma and death if left unchecked. You need to know when this is starting so that you don’t end up with really low blood sugar. Insulin hallucinations are NOT FUN but they’re manageable. However, as stated above diabetes is intensely personal. Some people get shaky and just need to eat and it happens at 70mg/dl. Other people that I know personally are good to go until they’re in the 40’s. Yet other people become like combative drunks at 80mg/dl. These things can also vary in the individual. I’ve gotten shaky as high as 72mg/dl and not had a single symptom as low as 55mg/dl.

    You need to know how low blood sugar affects you for numerous reasons, not the least of which is that cops WILL NOT BELIEVE YOU. If you’re one of those people that acts drunk you can and will get a DUI and it will probably kill you. The cops will think you’re drunk, lock you up and you’ll slip into a coma and die because they think you’re a drunk and won’t feed you until it’s normal feeding time by which time you’re probably dead. Don’t believe me? Look at how Colorado is retraining cops about this after they killed a few dozen diabetics over the last couple years (and lost some lawsuits over it).

    Ultimately, for disaster prep, the key is this: Know your body and your own diabetes before SHTF because at that point it’s probably too late and you don’t want to go poking holes in your fingers (testing) when you can’t wash your hands for days at a time.

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