Friday, October 29, 2010

Service dogs for diabetes?

Service dogs are used for a number of odd things.  For instance, I've read about service dogs being used to detect a seizure coming on — I guess they can smell the difference in the person.  Heaven knows how you train a dog to do that!

I've always wondered whether dogs (or other animals, for that matter) can smell the difference in a diabetic who is crashing.  Do my dogs know that something isn't right with me, even if they haven't been trained to do something about it?  Furthermore, does my horse know if I'm riding him and my blood sugar goes high or low?

I guess dogs at least can sense it, according to this article about service dogs used for diabetic patients:

Dogs alert diabetes patients when blood sugar is off

I think the idea of a service dog for this is fascinating.  The only thing I don't like about the article is the big deal it makes about this little girl crashing.  Seriously, she is crashing more than 6 times a day?  And is "knocked out for an hour" every time?  And her parents had to check on her to make sure she hadn't gone into a diabetic coma during the night?

I am coming to realize that the media likes to exaggerate the dramatic moments of diabetes, and is probably eager to use someone as an interview subject who embodies the drama they are looking for.  Because really, most diabetics, if they are in good control, shouldn't crash that often or be at risk a diabetic coma every night.  And hey, it's not like you should have to need the dog's detection skills 6 times every day in order to deserve a service dog.

But I am getting away from what I am most interested in, which is: Do any diabetics out there have pets that respond to your low blood sugars in some fashion?  I'm talking about just regular pets here, not trained service dogs.  Have your cats, dogs, or other animals ever indicated that they know when you are crashing?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cholesterol medication time?

When I went into the doctor last week, I discovered that my cholesterol has gone up again.  My LDL is up around 130-140 again.  I think this is probably because I stopped drinking grapefruit juice months ago — I think the grapefruit juice was responsible for bringing down my cholesterol over the past few years.

My doctor is taling about putting me back on Lipitor, but I told him I want to try drinking grapefruit juice every day again first.  He wants to recheck my cholesterol again next time I'm in, in 3 months.  Even if my LDL is still around 130, however, I plan to tell him I won't take Lipitor again.  Like I've said before, I don't believe I am truly at risk for a heart attack — I am healthy, active, and eat pretty well — and if I weren't diabetic no one would care about my LDL being around 130.  If it keeps going up, of course I will reconsider, but I just don't feel that an LDL of 130 is worth risking the long-term effects of being on Lipitor for the rest of my life.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A scary finding about exercise

I am aware that as an active diabetic, I am not the norm.  I ride my horse several times a week at the very least, and my husband and I take the dogs for a brisk walk nearly every Saturday and Sunday.

As it turns out, it sounds like I'm not the norm for the average American, any more than I am the norm for the average diabetic.  A national telephone poll found that only about 5 percent of those called had exercised in the last 24 hours.  The majority of people polled had done nothing more active than food and drink preparation.

Yikes!  What kind of country do we live in, that the height of our daily activity is standing in the kitchen, making ourselves something to eat or drink?  I don't expect everyone to ride a horse every day, or even to go to the gym (I hate gyms).  But for heaven's sake, how hard is it to take the stairs at every opportunity or take a walk on your lunch?

What do you do to try to get some exercise throughout the day, and what could you do to improve your activity levels?