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  1. #1
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    diabetes and cycling

    I've always been the type that lives by the "feel ok and never visit the Dr's office" type person. Well, I've been going in and out of Dr's offices since Nov. for certain reasons. I found out last night from a Nephrologist that there is a VERY good chance I'm diabetic. I've got to go to a different Dr. to get it confirmed or discredited. Any riders out there that are diabetics?

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    I have had type 1 diabetes since 11/1948, 53 years since age 19, when I was about 28 or 29 years old had near become unable to hold a job, was placed in the hospital, Dr said could not find anything that would cause the problems, except I must be on a strict diet & exercise program, I begin measuring what I eat begin riding a bicycle, never dreamed I would live to be 40, but here I am 73 yrs old still in good shape, still measure every bit I eat, ride the bicycle around 4,000 miles per yr, had a physical a short while back the Dr said way I was going might live to be 100.

    I give credit to the bicycle & close attention to what I eat, I feel good, energic
    never have a headacke, have not had a cold in more than 50 yrs, do not need nothing but insulin, to stay in good shape, THANKS FOR A BICYCLE.
    Elzie Speir

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    That's what I needed to hear, thanks.

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    Originally posted by brad
    I've always been the type that lives by the "feel ok and never visit the Dr's office" type person. Well, I've been going in and out of Dr's offices since Nov. for certain reasons. I found out last night from a Nephrologist that there is a VERY good chance I'm diabetic. I've got to go to a different Dr. to get it confirmed or discredited. Any riders out there that are diabetics?
    I have type 2 diabetes. Diet, exercise (ride, walk) and live! It works.
    Robert Tankersley

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    I am a Type 2 diabetic, and I believe that if I could ride about 90 minutes a day, I wouldn't need to take any medication. I can't speak for anyone else, but time on the bike has an incredible effect on my blood sugar.

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    I have the exact same situation. When you are younger and healthy, it is hard to believe that you could ever get permanently sick. I did many sports in my youth, including cycling. There is no history of diabetes in my family either. I was never seriously ill either. High pressure management job, too much food and beer, combined with no excercise after the age of 22. Suddenly noticed at 50 - High blood pressure, High cholesterol, High sugar (type 2 diabetes). Time to take things seriously, diet, excercise, don't worry so much - lost 110 lbs in about one year, Nordic Track, walk, then run and bike at least 2 hours per day - got rid of all the medication (it was actually producing some very scarry side effects) and now I feel great again, even though the neurophathy in the feet is still there. It appears to be getting better though. Actually I am fortunate that I got the warning in non-cardiac way. Several of my classmates weren't so fortunate, and I am just 54 now...

  7. #7
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MisterJ
    I am a Type 2 diabetic, and I believe that if I could ride about 90 minutes a day, I wouldn't need to take any medication. I can't speak for anyone else, but time on the bike has an incredible effect on my blood sugar.
    I have found that to be the case. I now ride about 5000 miles a year, mostly commuting. Since I got up to that level, about three years ago, my glucose levels have been normal and I've needed no medication for my Type II. My blood pressure has also improved enormously.

    RichC
    Training: 2002 Fuji Roubaix Pro (105 triple)
    Commuting/Daytripping: 2001 Airborne Carpe Diem (Ultegra/XTR, touring wheels)
    Commuting/Touring: 2000 Novara Randonee (Sora/Tiagra/LX, fenders, lights)

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    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    You're right, it is possible to control your glucose with diet and exercise. I know someone who was diagnosed a couple of years ago. He was on meds to begin with, because they have to bring the blood sugar down. Once he started cycling, he noticed that the meds were making him feel terrible, bonking all the time. So he embarked on a program of cycling or running nearly every day, and sticking to a diet plan (for diabetics) and has managed to not only lose 45 pounds (since his diagnosis) but he is now off meds. At his last test, his fasting glucose was higher than his Non-fasting glucose, meaning his insulin resistance is very low. He told me that his endocrinologist told him that he was wasting her time and to only come for tests once a year. Also, the effect is cumulative. If youget on a program of controlling with diet and exercise, your metabolism becomes more effective. When my friend injured himself running and was unable to run for a month, he put on a few pounds and worried about his blood sugar, but it tested normal in spite of the weight gain. So yes, it's possible to stay off meds.

    I actually attende a confererence on diabetes,which focused on type 2. I was covering it for a newsletter. All the doctors there who gave presentations essentially said the same thing- lifestyle is essential. DIet and exercise are the best way to control glucose and diabetic complications (including high blood pressure- it is also a disease of the vessels, not just the pancreas). However, many people have difficulty changing their lifestyles because when they are diagnosed, they are often overweight, sedentary and eat bad food. You guys are already better off because you cycle and are fit, so if you keep it up you won't have to worry. I actually told one of the doctors there about my friend and he said, "if more patients were like that I'd be out of a job!" Of course, that's a good thing!
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  9. #9
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Too many Americans forget that both exercise and proper diet are essential to good health. Keep cycling! Although my father is type-2 diabetic, as was his father, I simply do not worry about it.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  10. #10
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    My Wife has had diabities for 20 years (Type 1 or 2 ?, I forget. She injects 4 times a day). Rode 300 miles of the Danube Trail last summer. No problems, just keep active

  11. #11
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Brad. I guess they'll be thorough and do the full battery of tests. They might put you in for an OGT (oral glucose tolerance) test and if they suspect you are diabetic in the making, ask them to do a c-peptide assay - that usually sorts out the type 1, type 2 category. I'm type 1 myself and dart myself 4x a day on insulin.

    Now, does it interfere with cycling? Hypoglyceamia is always a potential worry, but being prepared for it is the answer. Exercise boosts insulin sensitivity so the more you do the better it is for you. Any exercise (providing there is no injury involved) is usually always beneficial, though sadly, not always enjoyable. Like has been mentioned, most folk are diagnosed as a result of being overweight and often in response to diabetic complications but whether you are or not, cycling has a broad spectrum appeal as it involves both aerobic and anaerobic thresholds so it's a win-win situation! Two for the price of one!

    If you do turn out to have DM, those of us already with it, will reluctantly welcome you to our little 'secret' world. Fortunately diabetes is one of the very few chronic diseases where the patient can manage it quite successfully. The complications of the disease are awful, and exercise is one of the great guns in our arsenal, so enjoy your cycling even more.

    Let us know how it pans out.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  12. #12
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Originally posted by wabbit
    ...At his last test, his fasting glucose was higher than his Non-fasting glucose, meaning his insulin resistance is very low...
    Wabbit: another thing that can also explain that is that the hormonal kickstart the body gets in the early hours of the morning can cause the liver to dump glucose raising fasting blood glucose. Not everyone experiences that to the same extent but it's well documented and known as the 'dawn phenomenon'. I suppose if you happen to live with Seven-of-Nine from Star Trek, you'd also get a dawn phenomenon, but of a different kind!

    As you say though, getting the insulin resistance reduced should always be a primary goal for most type 2's whereas type 1's don't have that problem to the same extent.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  13. #13
    Where did whooooo go nemo's Avatar
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    My best friend and her husband are both diabetic she manages hers with diet and mild exercise, he however seems not to care and gains weight like mad and so on. here is an added incentive for u guys.... he has ED as result of high sugar levels. so exercise and eat right so "junior" will keep working LOL
    Just put on your big boy pants and get over it!

  14. #14
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    I agree! Keep "junior" pointing in the right direction, upwards, and forwards, if you get my meaning!
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  15. #15
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    It is very true to say that if you exercise, you can control your insulin shots. I attended a few lectures on this topic. To cut the story short, when you exercise, the body needs more glucose for energy, so it will use the excess glucose floating around in your body that insulin normally clears but cannot when you have diabetes.

    If anyone's interested, I can dig up my notes and do a short synopsis on what the mechanics of it (after tax time....). Plus, I got a lot of riding to make up for, so I gotta get out of the house in less than an hour!

    Koffee

  16. #16
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    Hi,

    I too am a type 2 diabetic. I started riding again back in August after a Dr. visit for the bi-annual take some blood to see where everything is. For some odd reason I thought I would start exercising. The only real exercise I have ever enjoyed is bicycling. So I treated myself to a new bike and started riding again. Six months later I'm in the Dr.'s office getting another blood sample taken and I let him in on the bicycling. He appears to be very excited and can't wait to get the results from the tests back. Mind you this is just after the Holidays and its hard to resist some Holiday foods. Well a letter from his practice arrives in the mail, I figure he's tired of dealing with me and is telling me to find another practictioner. Instead its my lab results. (Never gotten a letter before always called to discuss what to do). Everything was normal except for my fasting glucose level which was just a little elevated. My cholesterol and triglycerides were in the normal ranges. Prior to this my lab results were a mess. The only thing that I changed was to ride my bike. I started at 8 miles a day and now ride 20 miles a day (soccer permitting).

    Bicycling works! Do the things you enjoyed as a child, they are the ones that will keep you young.

    Good Luck.

    Don

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    Well, due to lifestyle changes, IE: getting married, being a new step dad to two little boys, bieng a first time home buyer, quitting smoking, all the past 1.5-2 years. I've not hardly ridden a lick. I went from 6,000 a year (even though I smoked) to literally 500 miles in a year and put on 40 lbs since Aug of '01.
    Well, this diabetic news has slapped me back into reality. I'll now be a little more selfish with my time and make sure that I get my daily ride time. I feel like a Dip S**t for not keeping my ride more of an important ritual after getting married.
    After reading all the posts I'm not to freaked out by the diabetes thing anymore. The Dr did say "yes, right now you are diabetic. But, you are at a point that if you get back into shape and re invent yourself as a cyclist you can literally turn back the clocks".
    I got 100 miles in last week on my MTB and will shoot for 125 by the end of this week. I have a buddy that rides a 700c and I have to bust a$$ to keep up with him on my fat tire, feels good to be working hard again. Thanks for the input everyone.

  18. #18
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Well done, brad. Being positive about it is also a big plus working in your favour. Now then, just get your butt on that saddle and git out there and ride, darn it!

    You say your buddy rides a 700c? Is that cc, as in Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki?

    If so, no wonder you have to bust a$$ just to keep up with him!
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  19. #19
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    I wish but no, I'm just having to keep up with a 700 x 23c. I'd not have a chance against a 700cc.

  20. #20
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    brad, a lot of type 2 diabetics see it as a wakeup call, and make changes that they should make anyways, and then end up in better shape than ever! They lose weight, stop smoking and end up in great shape! I don't remember where I read this, but one diabetic said 'Don't think of yourself as being sick. Think of yourself as always being in training.' I imagine it's a big shock, but you can see so many people have it, and you're not alone and it doesn't mean you have to eat nothing but lettuce and birdseed for the rest of your life.

    The only thing I thnk would be a problem is crashing, because of the healing. If your glucose is under control, then it's not so big a concern. Racing in crits may not be such a great idea because you can lose a lot of skin.
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  21. #21
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Well said Wabbit! Sine I was dx'd with type 1 just over 2 yrs ago, I took the hospital consultants advice to make exercise a priority for the long term. I did. Since then, I've never enjoyed such levels of fitness as I have now for many years.

    I'm 49 (just turned) and I can confidently say that I possibly have the same level of fitness I last had in my early 30s. We have a rowing league at the gym, and I 'm currently 8th in the best times list, having posted 7min 18secs for 2000m! Exercise is a great boost, diabetes or not. Sad though, that as the middle age years creep in, most folk think of reduced fitness levels are part of the deal. Sure, I'll never peak again like I did in my 20s, but compared to most in my age group, I think as far as the UK goes, I'm probably way up in the top % of health and fitness for my age.

    Apologies for blowing my trumpet on this!

    But it took diabetes to give me the major wake-up.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  22. #22
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    Not just for the UK, for any country. People are just in terrible shape generally, that's why type 2 diabetes is such a problem. Because many people think that being older means letting yourself go to pot. So they stop exercising, put on weight, eat crappy food, etc. It's not only because of lifestyle, it also runs in families. But I just met a friend at a party and he was just diagnosed as well. He's late 30s or about 40, not overweight at all, in fact he's kind of skinny, and he wasn't in bad shape- not a big athlete or anything, but not a couch potato, and it isn't in his family! He did like to drink beer, though. I wouldn't be surprised if lots of brits developed diabetes that way- brits are huge drinkers! But yes, it's true, a lot of people just figure that when they hit 35, why bother exercising and they just stop doing anything, figuring it's just for kids. ANd then I see all these cyclists out on the road who look 25 and then you get a look at them and they're in their late 50s at least!
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  23. #23
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    Found out I'm a diabetic last year---type II----not to discourage you--but sometimes diet and exercise don't get you off the meds.

    Got down to a washboard stomach last summer---basically no extra body fat---no dice---still have to take the pills.

    I do feel the best when I'm riding---actually the only time of day that I feel good---feel like crap the rest of the time.

  24. #24
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    Originally posted by OmahaRider
    Found out I'm a diabetic last year---type II----not to discourage you--but sometimes diet and exercise don't get you off the meds.
    For many people, once they're on the meds that's it: they're on 'em for good. Getting in shape will definitely help hold the condition at bay for many people, but for many it won't reverse the condition, which is too bad.

    What's really unfortunate is that for too many people who are type II, that isn't a warning enough for them or something: too many of them go onto type I diabetes and insulin shots simply because of lifestyle.

  25. #25
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    Also, a lot of people who are diagnosed with type 2 are older. If you're in your 60s and 70s it's often difficult to make big changes, or to start getting active. People that age aren't likely to start taking up running or cycling. So it's hard to stay off meds and many of them end up having to do the injections. People who are younger probably have a better chance of avoiding that for longer because they can make those big lifestyle changes and they aren't set in their ways.

    I just read today that children as young as 6 are now developing type 2, because of obesity.
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

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