After six long months, I found out that I had acid reflux and ruled out other possible issues. Now the real question is how to reduce its impact when going back on medication is not an option for you.
Why is acid reflux more common in people with diabetes than without diabetes? During my experience, the symptoms would come and go. I started to explore the reasons why.
When I was growing up, there were no blood tests. We would pee on a test strip to see how much sugar was in the urine and on each test strip there was a ketone test. What happened to the test for ketones? I started to notice that doctors were no longer emphasizing it as much as part of the diabetic’s routine testing, as they were back in the 1980’s.
Now you are told to check for ketones if your blood sugar is over 300 mg/dL in the CDE community. I had been reading up on how ketones are an acid. It is broken up into three parts. One part goes to feed the brain, and another part helps the lungs breath. Our kidneys process the last part of ketones. When blood sugar rises, the kidneys gets overwhelmed, and ketones spill into our blood stream sending acid to every part your body. High ketones impact all our major organs including our digestive system.
I believed it was ketones that were causing my acid reflux. The next time I went to pick up some test strips, I also asked for ketone strips. It cost me $12.99 for a bottle of 50 ketone strips. The bottle didn’t say for diabetics or even mention diabetes. Instead, it stated that it was for those on high protein diets like the Atkins diet.
Although I changed my diet, I was still eating a lot of high protein foods and have been all my life. It was weird finding out now, that proteins cause ketones. I cut back on my protein intake, and my symptoms did reduce some.
I was eager to test out my new strips. So, next time I went to the bathroom, I tested positive for ketones. It wasn’t possible! I am in excellent control! I barely go over 200 mg/dL after eating a big meal, so what is going on? I ran to my glucose monitor, and my blood sugar was at 212 mg/dL.
I thought this could not be right as my blood sugar wasn’t even close to the guidelines to check for ketones. There it was in black and white digital interface 212 mg/dL with small ketones on the strip. Multiple small ketones will impact your whole body over time.
Getting ketones under 250mg/dL is just another reminder that diabetes is different for everyone. Now I tell my clients to test when they go over 200mg/dL to be on the safe side. A few bucks a week is not a big price to pay for a happy tummy.
One thing is for certain; control reduces the impact of acid reflux. Drinking a lot of water also reduces the effects of ketones.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.