Dr. Marcus’ Diabetes Tip

Dr. Alan Marcus is a diabetes specialist who practices in Laguna Hills, California. He is also a medical advisor to MiniMed Technologies and a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk Insulin. Dr. Marcus also serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine for the USC School of Medicine.

  • Because every single person absorbs food differently, the time to test blood sugar is 60 to 90 minutes after a meal, because that is when the blood sugar is highest.
  • We need to check our blood sugars after we eat to see what is good and what is not good for us. I always tell patients with diabetes to keep a little address book with pages for A-Z where they can write their “No” foods. A “No” food is any food that causes their blood sugars to go too high (greater that 145 mg/dl) after that meal. Ideally we would like them to be less than 130 mg/dl after a meal. (Remember that a finger stick reading is lower than the actual reading because it has whole blood in it.)
  • What happens when the blood sugar goes above 200 mg/dl? When blood sugar goes above 200 mg/dl, the blood gets thicker. Instead of being a smooth flowing liquid, it turns into a tar-like liquid, moving extremely slowly through the body.
  • The average American eats far too much protein. You need a half gram of protein for a kilogram of body weight to maintain your body. If you weigh 100 kilograms (220 pounds), then your body requires 50 grams of protein a day. The average American eats 180 grams of protein a day. If you reduce the amount of protein, you will reduce the likelihood of kidney dysfunction.
  • Blood pressure is a lot like blood sugar: it fluctuates during the day. It goes up and it goes down. What’s a normal blood pressure? For a woman with diabetes, the established norm for blood pressure is less than 85 on the bottom number. How do you find what your blood pressure is? You have to be checking it at home. It is just as vital for you to know your blood pressure as it is for you to know your blood sugar. You should check your blood pressure three times a week at various times during the day.
  • If you reverse the blood pressure elevation, and if you reverse the high protein, you may actually reverse kidney damage.
  • With nerve damage, the main key is tight blood sugar control. Other things are avoidance of things that make the nerves bad: cigarette smoking, alcohol, and anything else you take that is toxic. Other things that may help are magnesium and vitamin E.
  • For people with Type 2 diabetes, there is a good study now that shows that Chromium Picolinate is helpful. It helps insulin to work, but also helps lower the cholesterol level and increases the HDL which is the good cholesterol. (Chromium Picolinate is available over the counter at many pharmacies and health foods stores.)
  • The important things about diabetes are not medicines and drugs, though they play a clear role. The more important part about diabetes, and especially diabetes education and diabetes care, is the knowledge that we have. Eighty percent of the complications that we used to think would typically occur are preventable. They are not preventable by magic potions or magic drugs. They are preventable by understanding and checking. These are things that the patient, the diabetes educator and the families are going to be involved in doing.
  • Understanding and treating diabetes means understanding and treating a disease in each individual person.

Next month, Dr. Marcus will explain how you can work with your Cholesterol, HDL and LDL to reverse hardening of the arteries.

(Editors Note: If any of these tips have brought up questions for you about your own diabetes care, we strongly encourage you to meet with a professional to go over all of you questions and test results. Diabetes care is constantly changing and everyone should be treated as an individual. Our purpose is to inspire you and your doctor to seek out more information to increase your health to the highest level possible.)

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