Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A1C and Salt Licks

Last Friday I went to see my endocrinologist.

Out of all of my doctors and diabetes support team folks, she is by far my favourite.

She doesn't waste time going through things we don't need to go through and she spends lots of time talking about the things I want to talk about.

So, in my 20-minute appointment, we talked diabetes for about two of those minutes. And we talked running and blood pressure and other things for the rest of the time. Because that is what I needed.

Diabetes? Well that's going just fine thank you very much.

I printed off the latest report from Diasend and we reviewed the last month worth of data from Rose, my trusty insulin pump/continuous glucose monitor.

Having the ability to prevent lows before they arrive and catch sneaky highs before they get too high has made such a difference in my overall diabetes management. For example, in the last month, I spent 81% of the time with a blood sugar between 4-10. I spent 4% of the time with a blood sugar below 4.0 and 15% of the time with a blood sugar above 10.0. That, my friends, is pretty freakin' fabulous.

And it all payed off.

My A1C result clocked in at 6.3. I believe that is my lowest one ever and it was reached with fewer lows that I have ever had. So yay!

(Anyone out there considering a Dexcom CGM, take it from me. It's absolutely worth the cost and having to wear extra cyborg parts.)

We spent a lot of time talking about the strange blood pressure drops I've been having on long runs and the alarming increase in them this year. I used to have them every handful of long runs. Now I'm having them on almost every run, sometimes as early as 7k in.

Turns out that this little girl is not getting nearly enough sodium in her diet. Doug and I eat very little in terms of processed food so my typical diet is naturally low in sodium. In fact, when I input my food into My Fitness Pal, I was only getting 1300mg(ish) of sodium on any given day. Significantly lower than the 2300mg that most people struggle to stick to.

Add to that the fact that Doug and I have been making a concerted effort to remove almost all processed foods from our cupboards and I was getting even less sodium, other than the naturally occurring sodium found in veggies etc which, as it turns out, is not very much.

Add to that the fact that, for the past few years, Doug and I often ate out on Friday evenings, the night before long runs, and I would often choose more salty choices (like a side of fries) because I was burning plenty of calories the next morning. We still eat out most Fridays but I was opting for salads and other naturally low-salt foods instead meaning that the pre-long run sodium intake my body was counting on wasn't happening either.

Add to that the fact that I am a very active person who is also a heavy sweater who also happens to be a very salty sweater and it turns out that my diet is dangerously low in sodium.

"You need to start salting your food" she told me.

"That sounds crazy to me" I said "even though I know you're right".

So I went home and had a saltier than usual dinner on Friday night. Saturday's 10k run was a hot and humid one. It started off ok but, by 5k, I knew in my heart that one salty dinner wasn't enough to make up for months of not enough sodium. I had two pickles with my lunch and added a bit to my dinner as well.

I have a handful of days left until race day. I have salt tablets for the race if I need them and I'm trying to make sure I get a little more sodium in my day - without going crazy and ending up with the opposite problem.

I must say, it would be very nice if the solution to my long-run woes turns out to be as simple as having a plate of french fries on Friday evenings.

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