Education on Diabetes

The FreeStyle Libre 3?!

Abbott are officially launching the FreeStyle Libre 3 which is more than exciting, it is life changing.

Keep reading for all of the details on the Libre 3!

The difference between the Libre 2 and 3

There are a few differences between the Libre 2 and 3.

The first difference is the 3 will be the smallest and thinnest glucose monitoring system in the world.

FreeStyle Libre graph - Libre 3

Another update is the continuous real-time glucose reading feature. This means the Libre will automatically send glucose readings every minute to the reading device.

The final update Abbott have stated is the Libre 3 will have a one piece applicator making the application process smoother for users.

The changes makes living with diabetes more discrete and glucose control more efficient. how exciting!

As well as the incredible updates to the system, the Libre 3 also upholds the 14 day glucose accuracy, as well as high and low glucose alarms.

Access to the FreeStyle Libre 3

Abbott have been able to create the Libre 3 at the same price as the previous Libre generations.

Libre 3 cost

This is fantastic news because it increases the accessibility to advancing diabetes technology.

This means here in the UK, the NHS should have no problem funding the Libre 3 because it is exactly the same price as the Libre 2.

I hope this post gets you excited, the work achieved by Abbott is incredible and shows how advancing tech is easing the burden of living with diabetes. We are hoping the Libre 3 will be available in Europe in 2022 or during 2023.

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out Diabetes technology 101! and 10 facts about Type 1 diabetes!

coffee beans and white mug
Diet, Education on Diabetes

Coffee and diabetes

Drinking coffee has a big potential to impact glucose control. The impact depends on a variety of factors, like the type of coffee you’re drinking, your genetics and time of day.

Keep reading to see how drinking caffeine might be impacting your levels and how to minimise this!

Caffeine and sugar levels

caffeine/coffee and sugar levels

Caffeine can make it harder for some people to keep sugar levels stable.

This is because caffeine causes adrenaline to spike, which can raise blood glucose and decrease insulin sensitivity. This means caffeine can make it harder for glucose to move into cells.

This response is varied across individuals, some people are extremely sensitive to the side of effects of caffeine and struggle to control sugar levels. It is worth keeping a close eye on sugar levels when drinking coffee so you can make the right adjustments.

Benefits of drinking coffee

  • Nutrients – Coffee contains polyphenols which is an important antioxidant in preventing inflammation and chronic illnesses. Good quality coffee also contain magnesium which is vital for relaxation and the uptake of glucose into cells.
  • It may be beneficial to heart health – studies have shown coffee drinkers are at less risk of getting clots, arrhythmia, heart failure and strokes.
  • Coffee is delicious – looking forward to having one or two coffees a day is absolutely fine!

Cons of drinking coffee

starbucks coffee
  • Milk and syrups – takeout coffees that are mostly milk and sugar are far from ideal. The high content of sugar completely removes the benefits of coffee. So remember to save these drinks for the occasion.
  • Getting hooked on caffeine – we don’t want to start relying on caffeine to get through our daily lives. Drinking too much coffee can also impact quality of sleep, which creates more risk of health problems.
  • Poor sources of coffee can contain harmful chemicals. Cheap instant coffee contain pesticides and preservatives. It might be worth going for more expensive coffees and organic brands.

Good quality coffee brands to check out:

  • Lifeboost Dark Roast Coffee
  • Bulletproof The Original
  • Kicking Horse Coffee “Kick Ass”
  • Equal Exchange Organic
  • The Organic Coffee Co. Ground

To summarise, if you’re a coffee drinker try to drink one or two cups of good quality coffee and avoid sugars, syrups and lots of milk. Also try to stop drinking coffee at around 3pm so it doesn’t impact sleep.

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If you liked this post be sure to check out Is stress making your glucose levels impossible to control? and 5 ways to reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes

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Education on Diabetes, Fitness

Tips on losing weight with diabetes

Carrying excess weight is linked to many health problems and has a large link to developing insulin resistance.

This applies to type 1 diabetes as well as type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops regardless of body weight, however keeping a healthy weight when living with type 1 will reduce risk of complications, as well as reducing insulin demand.

Which ever type of diabetes you are living with, it’s in best interest to keep excess body weight to a minimum.

Work with your medical team

sweets - losing weight with diabetes

Trying to lose weight can cause sugar levels to drop quite quickly and can cause stubborn hypo’s.

This is due to a change in diet, increased exercise and increased insulin sensitivity.

Therefore it is vital to get advice before you make any drastic changes to your lifestyle. Making gradual changes is the best protocol. This allows sugar control to remain stable, as well as increasing the likelihood you’ll stick to positive changes.

4 simple tips to focus on

1. Increase movement

Everyone knows we have to move more in order to shift some weight.

We want to gradually increase the duration and intensity of exercise, especially when trying to keep sugars balanced.

This can start with going on a slow 20-30 minute walk everyday. The duration can then be built up, increasing by 5 minutes every week.

Whatever form of exercise you choose, remember to start slowly and you’ll eventually learn to love it!

2. Make swaps, don’t ‘cut things out’

food swaps - losing weight with diabetes

If you go crazy and attempt to ‘cut out’ all ‘bad food groups’, I guarantee it’ll be an epic fail. Losing weight is generally viewed as a negative experience, but it doesn’t have to be this way at all.

Rather than focusing on taking away, we want to focus on replacing and adding nutritious foods. You can absolutely eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, have snacks and lose weight.

I’ll write another post on the specifics but here are a couple of examples.

  • Replace chocolate cereals with oats. Add 1 tsp raw cacao, a sprinkle of cinnamon, 1 tsp of nut butter, a handful of berries and walnuts.
  • Replace snack bars with homemade protein balls. See my recipe here!

3. Focus on sleep

Sleep is fundamentally important in losing weight.

Getting good quality sleep consistently is also key to mood regulation and productivity.

When we change our routine it will require discipline. It is so hard to stay disciplined when we are tired!

Make sure you are getting 8-9 hours of sleep, avoid blue light one hour before bed and make your sleeping environment quiet and peaceful.

4. Hydrate

water bottle - losing weight with diabetes

Hydration is vital to support your kidneys, digestive system, and well, everything.

People living with diabetes must support their kidneys by drinking enough water. This puts less pressure on them and supports removing toxins from the body.

Make sure you are drinking 8-10 tall glasses of water everyday. I recommend investing in a water bottle that goes everywhere with you. Seeing your water bottle is an instant reminder to drink some water.

Thank you for reading losing weight with diabetes, I hope you found these tips useful! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Bulking with type 1 diabetes and 5 foods packed with hidden sugars!

Education on Diabetes

A new transplant treatment for t1d

At the end of 2021 some very exciting research got released about a new transplant treatment for type 1 diabetes.

This is looking incredibly promising and is something to look forward to in the future!

Keep reading for all the details!

The details

Pancreatic beta cells were derived from stem cells of an individual without type 1, and placed into an individual living with type 1 diabetes.

injection - transplant treatment for t1d

The patient has been living with type 1 diabetes for 40 years and has been on insulin injections for this period of time. 

The results showed big improvements in HbA1c, glycaemic control and drastically decreased the need to inject insulin. 

This shows how promising this treatment could be in restoring the function of insulin producing cells in the pancreas and giving people living with diabetes more normal lives. 

The cons

immunosuppressants - transplant treatment t1d

Before we get ahead of ourselves, there are of course cons to all treatments, so lets consider this.

Immunosuppressant therapy also has to be administered to prevent the immune system from re-destroying pancreatic beta cells.

Increased risk of infections, loss of appetite, nausea and trembling are all potential side effects of taking immunosuppressants. So of course there is a lot for medical professionals and researchers to consider.

This is potentially a breakthrough treatment for type 1 and it will only advance more in years to come. People living with type 1 should absolutely get excited about the news, this could lead to less insulin injections, elevating hypo’s and preventing the potential long term complications of diabetes.

If you would like to read more, like here!

wood love summer writing

Thank you for reading A new transplant treatment for t1d! I hope you found this exciting, be sure to subscribe and following me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Diabetes technology 101! and The side of diabetes people don’t see

Education on Diabetes

The side of diabetes people don’t see

I would say it is very common for people to assume that living with diabetes means eating less sugar and injecting insulin.

So I wanted to write something that gives more insight into the side of diabetes that people don’t see.

Stigma

One of the many things we have to deal with are assumptions, judgement and underestimation.

education on the side of diabetes people don't see

The stigma surrounding diabetes often leads to individuals hiding that they have diabetes, and can result in negative health consequences. As a society we have to question this.

In my opinion it starts with education. The majority of people still associate diabetes with obesity, ill health and laziness. This is not the reality.

I can’t count the amount of times I have been ‘brushed off’ as a detriment simply because I have type 1 diabetes.

So we need to collectively do better. Educating people about living with diabetes is the way forward, and giving these individuals some credit! People living with diabetes are parents, work full time jobs, exercise and manage their diabetes (which is a full time job in itself), so lets give these people some respect.

Mental health

The side people don’t see is the draining reality of living with this chronic disease.

People living with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from depression. In fact, from my experience all people living with diabetes have had periods of depression and anxiety.

mental health - side of diabetes people don't see

Unfortunately living with diabetes is not as simple as decreasing sugar intake and randomly stabbing insulin into your body.

There are times when we do everything we possibly can to keep glucose levels in range, but they just don’t comply. Take into consideration that when our sugar levels are high or low, it is mentally exhausting. On top of that, we have to keep making decisions despite this exhaustion. Sometimes this causes agitation, feeling emotional or being ‘needy’. Sometimes it is really hard.

Acceptance

I think it is safe to say people living with diabetes do ‘just get on with it’, but from time to time it is normal to feel down. You can accept that this is your life and to ‘get on with it’, but you also need to accept that sometimes you will negatively about it, and that is absolutely fine.

We simply would not be human if we didn’t feel negative about living with this disease from time to time. It is a normal process in life, and we have to feel the ugly parts in order to appreciate the better days.

I guess the point to this blog is to firstly educate people about living with diabetes, but also to reassure those of you reading this who are living with a chronic illness. If all you did today was simply survive, I am proud of you. The darkness of living with diabetes can be consuming.

If you are going through a burnout phase right now, I urge you to reach out. Chat to people who understand, or email me and I will point you in the right direction.

photo of a sign and eyeglasses on table

Thank you for reading The side of diabetes people don’t see. I hope you found this interesting and gave you some insight into living with diabetes. Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out 10 facts about Type 1 diabetes! and Dealing with annoying questions about diabetes

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Education on Diabetes

10 facts about Type 1 diabetes!

Here are 10 interesting facts about type 1 diabetes!

1. We can make around 180 health decisions every single day

This is a rough calculation, but people with t1d have to make a decision about everything!

Every activity requires us to make a decision on how to keep our levels balanced.

Put that into perspective – before eating, sleeping, training, going to work and so on, you have to consider diabetes first.

2. Diet is not the only thing that impacts sugar levels

Everything impacts sugar levels! Diet, activity level, hormones, sleep, emotions and so on.

Treating diabetes is not as simple as just injecting some insulin and getting on with it. Every dose of insulin has to be calculated carefully depending on that specific situation.

3. Burnout is very real

decisions - t1d facts

The fact that you never truly get a break from managing t1d makes mental and physical burnout very real.

Everyone living with diabetes will feel burnout, whether they are tired from low or high sugars, worrying about long term complications, or even just need some extra sleep.

If you know someone living with diabetes and they appear to be burnt out, offer them some help. Whether you can grab a snack for them, listen to their worries or help them access medication! – it can be very hard at times, so however you could help would be greatly appreciated.

4. People living with type 1 CAN eat chocolate!

Yes, we CAN eat chocolate, cake, sweets and everything similar.

chocolate - t1d facts

If people living with diabetes fancy a treat, we will use our insulin ratio and experience to figure out how much insulin we need.

The other important time we might need a sweet treat is during a hypo! So yes people living with diabetes absolutely can eat everything, with the correct planning!

5. Insulin therapy is not a cure for t1d

Insulin therapy is simply the best way to manage diabetes.

A ‘cure’ would be a treatment that gives individuals back the ability to produce insulin and to regulate sugar levels.

Unfortunately we currently do not have a cure, but researchers are working daily to help us!

6. T1d does not always start from early childhood

age of diagnosis - t1d facts

Interestingly, research shows that there are 2 age brackets where type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed.

  • Between 4-7 years
  • Between 10-14 years

Despite this, being diagnosed in later teenage years and even at any age is still possible.

T1d is widely known as the diabetes ‘people get from birth’, but developing it is much more common in the above age brackets!

7. We don’t know what triggers t1d

What we do know is type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. This means our own antibodies destroy the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

There are some theories as to why our own antibodies might start to attack our own cells, but it is an incredibly complex system. Hundreds, even thousands of factors may contribute to the onset of type 1 diabetes.

8. Access to medication can be hard

expensive medication - t1d facts

Certain countries charge hundreds to access insulin and glucose monitoring systems. This can be catastrophic, resulting in individuals rationing insulin because they cannot afford it. This leads to many complications of diabetes, and even death.

This disease can be completely managed with the correct support, so you can only imagine the anxiety individuals feel across the world.

Even with the NHS in the UK, access can still be hard. This is due to budgeting issues and type 1’s often only getting a select amount of medication a month.

Don’t get me wrong, we are incredibly lucky to have the healthcare system, but global access to technology and medication has a very long way to go.

9. Diabetes tech is coming on leaps and bounds!

On the positive side, diabetes tech has come such a long way in the last 5 years.

With insulin pumps, FGM’s and CGM’s helping to provide more efficient glucose monitoring and diabetes control.

For people reading this who are currently using the Freestyle Libre 2 (I know, it has been life changing!) Abbott have the Freestyle Libre 3 launching in the coming months (which has even more advanced tech!) – It is smaller than series 1 and 2, and supposedly works more like a CGM, automatically sending updates to your phone.

Exciting times! 🙂

10. Everyone living with t1d across the globe are warriors!

Living with something that impacts your every move on a daily basis is something that should be looked up to. It should be appreciated and more widely understood.

To everyone reading who is living with type 1, keep going. I am proud of everything you have accomplished! I am only an email away if you ever need anything!

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Thank you for reading 10 facts about type 1 diabetes, I hope you found it interesting! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Myths vs truths about diabetes! and Confused about ‘types’ of diabetes? Here is your diabetes 101

Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

5 ways to handle high carb meals

Sometimes all we fancy is a nice burger and chips, but the anxiety of our sugar levels spiking stops us.

Here are my top 5 ways to handle high carb meals, so you can eat that cheat meal and stay in range!

1. Nail your insulin to carb ratio

Finding your insulin to carb ratio should be part of your consultation with your endocrinologist.

Insulin to cab ratio is essentially how many units of insulin you need per 10 grams of carbs. If you know this number, it makes it 10x easier to figure out how much insulin you need for each meal.

If you are unsure of your ratio, be sure to ask your consultant at your next appointment!

2. Pair it with protein and good fats

Having a balanced meal with carbs, protein and fat is essential. The presence of fat and protein slows down the digestion of carbs, slowing down the absorption of sugar. This really helps to keep sugar levels balanced post mealtime.

So ensure you are having a portion of protein – a palm sized portion of meat/fish/tofu, or 2-3 eggs for example.

Also ensure you are consuming good fats with your meals – by good fats I mean unsaturated fats. E.g. extra virgin olive oil, avocado, hummus, nuts, seeds etc.

3. Staying active is your bestie

walking - high carb meals

Another trick I like to use when eating higher carb is to walk post meal.

I like to go for a leisurely walk with my family/friends for around 30 minutes, or until my glucose comes back down into range. I will usually begin walking when my glucose goes above 9mmol/L with sharp rise (arrow pointing up on my FGM).

This not only keeps sugars balanced, but it is also a lovely routine to get into for socialising and for mental health!

4. Go for brown carbs

 brown rice- high carb meals

If you can, opt for brown or wholegrain carb sources. I know this is harder when eating out, so don’t sweat it if you can’t – it is fine to eat white carbs every now and then!

The reason I recommend brown carbs is because they contain higher amounts of fibre, protein, essential fatty acids and micronutrients than white carbs.

Therefore, opting for brown for the most part of your diet is adding essential nutrients!

5. Give your insulin enough time to kick in

Another tip I have is to give your insulin enough time to kick in. This amount of time varies between individuals, but it is a tip that has helped me so much!

Before higher carb meals (for me that is 60g of carbs or more) I will inject about 20 minutes before eating. – This works wonders for me, if you want to try out this tip I recommend starting slowly to avoid hypo’s.

So start with injecting 10 minutes before eating, then increase or decrease this time if you spike afterwards. Set a timer straight after you administer the insulin so you know exactly when to eat!

Experiment and adjust this time until you find what suits you! – Using an FGM or CGM is especially helpful for this!

timer - high carb meal tips

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If you liked this post, be sure to check 5 ways to improve digestion! and 5 Easy ways to lower your HbA1c!

Education on Diabetes

Oxidative Stress 101

Oxidative stress is an extremely interesting subject that is linked to many diseases including diabetes and complications of diabetes.

Keep reading for a simple summary of everything you need to know about oxidative stress!

What is it?

what is oxidative stress

Oxidative stress is defined by the balance of antioxidants and free radical particles in the body.

Free radicals have a uneven number of electrons and require antioxidants to ‘neutralise’ them.

Therefore, we must consume antioxidant rich foods in order to help the body clear free radicals.

A point to note – we cannot completely stop the formation of these particles. Free radical production is part of many processes in the body, including detoxification in the liver.It is all about balance!

How does it impact the body?

When we do not have enough antioxidants in the body, free radicals begin to cause damage. This can contribute to the beginning of diseases in the body.

It can be linked to:

  • Diabetes and complications of diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis (plaque formation in blood vessels)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Parkinsons and Alzheimers

How to minimise it

cleaning products - oxidative stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Decrease alcohol intake
  • Get antioxidants in your diet!fresh fruit and vegetables are high in antioxidants. Ensure you are consuming around 7 portions a day. Also drink herbal teas such as green tea which contains lots of antioxidants!
  • Prioritise 7-9 hours of sleep a night – the sleep hormone melatonin also acts as an antioxidant.
  • Wear PPE when using cleaning chemicals – wear gloves, open a window and even wear a mask.
  • Make exercise a part of your routine – exercise is fantastic for all aspects of health, so make it a priority (even if you can only fit 20 minutes in a day!)

Thank you for reading Oxidative Stress 101, I hope you found this interesting! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Metabolic syndrome 101! and Diabulimia 101!

Education on Diabetes

Metabolic syndrome 101!

This week I am raising awareness about what metabolic syndrome is, and most importantly what we can do to prevent it!

Metabolic syndrome affects around 1 in 3 adults over the age of 50 (UK statistics), and cases in younger people are increasing. This calls for greater education on the topic, and most importantly, how we can improve our health to live a happier life.

What is it?

blood pressure for metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the term used when an individual has a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Having metabolic syndrome puts individuals at a much higher risk of getting cardiovascular disease, having strokes as well as several other serious health conditions.

This is because diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity can cause damage to blood vessels. This can vary, sometimes blood vessels become stiff, and sometimes blood vessel walls become weak, both of which can cause health complications.

How is it diagnosed?

The NHS criteria includes:

  • Being overweight or having a lot of fat around the waist.
  • Having high LDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides.
  • Having a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or higher
  • The inability to control blood sugar levels (also referred to as insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes).

If you are concerned about your health, or any of the points above, make an appointment with your doctor now!

Prevention and action is key!

Most importantly metabolic syndrome can indeed be prevented and reversed! So if you have been diagnosed, it is time to take action for your health!

Here are some ways you can help yourself:

table salt - metabolic syndrome
  • Losing weight
  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes everyday – try to complete a variety of cardio, weight lifting and yoga based training for the maximum benefits.
  • Eat a rainbow diet rich in fibre, fruit and vegetables
  • Limit your packaged and processed food intake – opt for fresh food
  • Stop adding sugar and table salt to your food
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Increase your water intake to around 2.5L a day

I know for some people this is very simplified, but to change your lifestyle, it has to be achievable!

Thank you for reading Metabolic disorder 101! I hope you found this interesting and useful. Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Here’s what to do! and What is the deal with cooking oils

Diet, Education on Diabetes

Is ‘diabetic’ chocolate really healthier?

While the concept of ‘diabetic’ chocolate is thoughtful, it can actually do more harm than good.

When I was younger I mainly got given ‘diabetic’ chocolate, particularly at Christmas and Easter time and all I can remember is feeling left out and that it tastes horrible!

So from my own experience and research, lets look into why ‘diabetic’ or sugar free chocolate is not any better for you than normal chocolate.

What is ‘diabetic ‘ chocolate?

what is diabetic chocolate

This is essentially when a product has very little carbohydrate or sugar in it, which makes it ‘appropriate’ for those living with diabetes.

These products were created to help people manage diabetes while allowing some room for chocolate and treats. However, research soon exposed the loop wholes in these products, including inaccurate health promises.

In fact, labelling a product as ‘diabetic’ is now against the law. This is because research has shown absolutely no benefit in consuming diabetic chocolate over normal chocolate, and showing it can actually cause more damage to the body.

Why is it detrimental?

why is diabetic chocolate not great

Diabetic chocolate may be low in sugar, but it is still high in fat, calories and additives. Sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which can have some nasty effects in the body.

The artificial sweeteners and additives can cause severe stomach upset, including bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Furthermore, additives can still actually cause blood sugar spikes and increase insulin resistance. The theory behind this states that artificial sweeteners closely resemble glucose, which confuses the body into thinking blood glucose is high, when in fact it is not. This process is linked to worsening insulin resistance.

Finally, it just doesn’t taste the same and can cause people living with diabetes to feel left out.

Opt for this instead

My simple advise is to just have normal chocolate and treats when you fancy them. Of course have chocolate on the occasion and use carb counting to keep your levels in range.

All products have the carb and sugar content listed on the packaging, so use it! Also have your treats while staying active. I like to go for a nice post-meal walk with family and friends to keep my levels balanced. It is possible to eat ‘like a normal person’ while living with diabetes, it just takes some extra time and planning.

Never let living with diabetes stop you from having fun, just be mindful and learn about your body. Tell the people around you what you need, whether thats asking them to walk with you, or simply educating them about what diabetics can eat (which is anything with the correct prep!).

Lastly, tell your family members to get you normal chocolate on special occasions. I am sure they would much rather get you something you like! 🙂

person writing on brown printer paper

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out How to handle a hypo mid-workout! and 5 Minute Healthy Chocolate Dessert!