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Backpacker's Health & Safety The Backpacker's Health & Safety forum is for the discussion of health and safety/survival issues that directly relate to backpackers.


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  #1  
Old 02-10-2014, 01:40 PM
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Robislookin Robislookin is offline
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Type 2 Diabetes and the Backcountry

I was just recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. But I don't have to use insulin, only pills.

My question to all y'all that have dealt with diabetes. What do I need to pay attention to most? (As far as my diabetes is concerned, that is, i.e. my blood glucose levels...etc.) What should I avoid the most? What do I need in food, considering that I need to watch my carbs with diabetes, but I also need those very same carbs on the trail. How do I deal with the exertion of a hike or is that the same as with anybody else. Can I do any solo hikes or only joint hikes. Can I go on long hikes (5-7 day) or just weekenders..

Any advice from y'all would be appreciated, and thank you in advance.
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2014, 10:36 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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I'm looking forward to the replies since my wife was recently given the same diagnosis. There are books and videos on dealing with diabetes and various associations that could also have useful information.
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  #3  
Old 02-11-2014, 02:45 PM
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Perkolady Perkolady is offline
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I have hypoglycemia, and my sister has type 2 diabetes and takes pills for it. We try to eat about the same way. I'm no expert on your issues, but I would strongly suggest doing your homework, which can benefit anyone

You may want to learn as much as you can about complex carbohydrates vs simple carbs, and about the glycemic index. There are websites that even have various foods listed and where they fall on the glycemic index. It may seem like a lot to learn, but education is very important making good food choices and managing your glucose levels!

If you monitor your glucose levels fairly closely, along with what you eat, you'll learn how those things affect your levels. Also watch closely how exercise effects it as well. Maybe talk to a good doctor or even a nutritionist about your concerns.

Just as people sometimes test gear in their back yards, one option is to see how certain foods and rigorous exercise affect your blood sugar closer to home first. Maybe a day hike at a park or something to test things out.

Learning what works for you will help you to have the confidence to be on the trail.

I wish you all the best with this. Hang in there!
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:16 PM
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Robislookin Robislookin is offline
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With knowledge comes power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perkolady
I have hypoglycemia, and my sister has type 2 diabetes and takes pills for it. We try to eat about the same way. I'm no expert on your issues, but I would strongly suggest doing your homework, which can benefit anyone


I completely agree with you about educating myself about my disease. And that is the reason for this thread. I wanted to get as much information from as many sources as possible.

I am reading almost anything I can get my hands on. And driving my doctor crazy with all the questions that I have when I see him...lol.

And thank you for your info and advice. Especially the advice about doing local test runs.
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  #5  
Old 02-12-2014, 10:23 PM
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Robislookin Robislookin is offline
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Local health department

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa
I'm looking forward to the replies since my wife was recently given the same diagnosis. There are books and videos on dealing with diabetes and various associations that could also have useful information.


Check with you local county health department about diabetes education classes.

I am going to a series of classes at my county health department, covering everything from what is diabetes, to foods, and self management. And it is free here. And fortunately it is helping me a lot and teaching me more than I could have expected.
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2014, 09:12 PM
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Mever Mever is offline
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Don't let this in any way limit your enjoyment of hiking. The health benefit of the exercise will do you more good than anything you are risking. Carry a candy bar for some quickly digested sugar in case you feel " funny". Carry your glucose meter also, and check often. It will require a different caloric and carbohydrate intake to be on your feet all day but learn as you go. The benefits of the exercise and the independence gained are immeasurable - .
Do day hikes and grow from there.
Marty
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  #7  
Old 03-23-2014, 09:00 AM
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OCDave OCDave is offline
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Robislookin,

The goodnews is "pills only" therapy suggests your pancreas is still able to produce some insulin. The pills will help your pancreas produce a bit more insulin and/or make your body a bit more responsive to the insulin available.

Lifestyle changes are first-line therapy. Increased activity, attention to diet and weight loss if appropriate all have the potential to reverse the course or delay the progression of type 2 diabetes. Getting out on the trail is a giant stride toward your improved health on all these fronts. Putting those hiking muscle to use early and often burns up excess glucose and improves muscle cells' responsiveness to existing insulin. Also, we are more attentive to what we eat when have to plan multiple meals in advance and carry those meals on or backs.

Carbs- we all need them but, not all carbs are the same. Complex carbohydrates result in slower rises in blood glucose levels than simple carbohydrates. Rice and pasta meals are easy to prepare on the trail however, these foods can result in spikes in your blood glucose levels. Limit portion size of simple carbs and consider limiting those foods to early in your day rather than end of your day so your activity will burn glucose rather allowing blood levels to remain high. Find ways to incorporate more whole grains, fruits and veggies into your trail diet.

Hypoglycemia- The risks associated with "pills only" therapy is minimized by starting with low doses, assessing effectiveness and adjusting slowly. Avoid setting out on a weekend trip soon after a dose change. Keep a few hard candies (simple carbohydrate) available in event of low blood glucose. While solo trips can be rewarding, hike with a buddy until you have a good idea how your body is responding to the meds.

Hike more. Live more. Live better. Good luck with your new challenges. I hope any of the above is helpful.

OCDave
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  #8  
Old 10-07-2014, 05:49 PM
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Mever Mever is offline
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So how has it been going, are you getting hiking? I'm insulin dependent- hiking is one of the BEST THINGS FOR IT! I hope you have gotten out and gone for it! I hike every week and I backpack - all solo. Best !
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