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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sudafed, High Blood Sugar, and the Value of Portable Glucose Monitors

I mentioned in a prior post that I have type II diabetes, a diagnosis that puts me in the company of millions of other Americans. It was also one that suitably stunned me. With a past history of weightlifting and bodybuilding, I've always thought of myself as a very healthy individual, and, generally, so has my family physician. Unfortunately, type II diabetes has more to do with genetics than anything else. In other words, my own genes would prefer that I stick to an eating regimen more in line with a paleolithic diet.

After being told that my fasting glucose levels categorized me as a type II, I had no problem with the notion of taking medication, as long as I made sure that this was accompanied by some fairly disciplined dietary changes (smaller portions to avoid overloading, becoming much more selective about the types of carbohydrates consumed, and what some would describe as a fairly radical decrease in the number of grams of carbohydrate consumed each day). After all, taking medication is practically worthless without the behavioral changes that should accompany a diagnosis of type II. Without those changes, a type II patient is really playing on borrowed time when it comes to the health of their eyes, kidneys, and cardiovascular system.

With proper changes and just a little bit of discipline, a type II diabetic can enjoy a wide range of foods and even deserts (typically low or lower carb alternatives) and remain just as healthy as anyone else. The trick, of course, is to monitor one's glucose levels which can be done with a portable glucose monitor.

This brings me to the point of this post. I have a cold that just came on and I decided to take sudafed the night before for congestion. This morning when I tested my blood glucose, the numbers were substantially higher than what I am used to seeing. The only alteration to my routine that I could see was...sudafed. So, I did some checking online. Sure enough, sudafed a.k.a. pseudoephedrine, can do the following:

1. Break down glycogen, converting it into glucose which is dumped into the blood.

2. Inhibit the secretion of insulin.

3. Decrease the uptake of glucose into the tissues.

4. Reverse the effects of certain medications, such as glimepiride.

Of course, none of this I would have known if I did not have a portable glucose monitor and had not checked my levels this morning. And this type of interaction had never been discussed by my family physician.

So, if you have type II and don't have a monitor, get one. And if you need to take new medications or desire over-the-counter meds for some purpose, do some research first (the preferable method would be to consult a physician, but, unfortunately, many of us know just how well that goes).








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