After leaving work at little early on Friday after not feeling the greatest and suffering some of the effects of high-blood sugar associated with Type 1 Diabetes, I decided it’d be very beneficial to me to read some book out there on the subject and see what I could learn. I read Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook, Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, Pumping Insulin: 4th Edition, and Think Like a Pancreas from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. Yes, this was a heck of a lot of reading, but when things concern your well-being, you tend to be able to maintain more focus than what you think you can. All the books offer some great advice, some good advice, and some advice you’re just not going to take.
Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook is a great book discussing what changes a diabetic would need to make in order to perform at their peak during a given athletic activity. The first seven chapters describe the basics of exercise, fitness, insulin, blood sugar control and other related subjects. I’ll admit I found them very interesting since they describe in layman’s terms what is going on in the body when you exercise and how to best control your blood sugars. The second section of the book is really what you want the book for. This section provides guidelines on preventing low blood sugars while partaking in your particular athletic endeavor. The book covers everything from gardening to football (both American and the rest-of-the-world) to motorcycle and off-road racing. I found it worthwhile since I enjoy working out, mountain biking, and doing day hikes and nature trails. This book has exactly what I need to do in order to remain safe without me having to go out there and find out for myself how to best handle it.
The next book, Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution is billed as ‘The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars.” I won’t disagree with the title, the book is very thorough on what exactly Dr. Bernstein does with all of his patients from how to draw insulin correctly to what diet you should eat. Although he never comes out and says anything he doesn’t seem to be a fan of Insulin pumps which I think are wonderful things (thanks to my severe hypoglycemic reactions to the long lasting insulins like Lantus); however, the advice can still be followed by pump users even if you have to modify some of his advice. Personally, I’m not a fan of his diet routine described in the book, but, I see where he is coming from and do intend to integrate some of his ideas into my diet. I am also very big on his idea of getting all diabetics down to normal blood sugar levels seen by non-diabetic people, even if it will take them a little bit of time to drop their blood sugars and feel comfortable in doing it. The section devoted to supplies that all diabetics should have is complete and matches almost exactly what I was told when I first visited my endocrinologist. In fact, many of his ideas were used by my endocrinologist and diabetes educator so it was almost like redoing the first few visits at the doctor’s office.
Pumping Insulin: 4th Edition is nothing like Pumping Iron with Arnold Schwarzenegger unless pushing a button on a pump is like doing bench presses :). Pumping Insulin is probably the best book for general information I read this weekend. It goes into detail on everything needed to adjust and determine initial bolus and basal doses as well as carb to insulin ratios and correction factors when using a pump. If you’re on an insulin pump or thinking of going onto one, this book is worth getting.
Think Like a Pancreas sounds like a children’s book, but it is most definitely not. I was amazed that this book covered situations that occur in the real world and doesn’t tell you to just “don’t do it.” For instance, drinking alcohol; most diabetic books will say never drink it, this one says, you can drink it, and here is how to make sure you don’t suffer from the low blood sugars afterward. Of course, one still needs to exercise some form of discretion because getting hammered isn’t going to help you adjust your pump and there aren’t many people I’d trust to adjust settings on my pump. This book in content is much like Pumping Insulin and covers most of what Pumping Insulin covers, just sometimes not as in as much detail.
If you’re looking for a good general reference book I think Dr. Bernstein’ book is the best bet. If you’re looking for information on helping you adjust to a pump and are an adult Think Like a Pancreas is better than Pumping Insulin, but if you’re prone to forgetting things, Pumping Insulin is better. Finally, if you’re an athlete or like to think of yourself as one; Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook is worth the purchase.