Fragmented thoughts of a fragmented mind

12 Aug 2018

accumulating data for health

Today is the second day of my post-menstrual migraine. It seems to be less painful than yesterday, alleviated a little by a bout of running. The pain returns after my body settles down post-run. Nobody really knows what causes migraines and why menstrual hormonal fluctuations triggers them. They are all hypotheses at the moment. In traditional chinese medicine, there could be a number of causes: excessive liver heat, qi and blood deficiency. According to my sinseh I suffer from all of them. They probably influence each other.

My body feels exhausted during PMS, in pain and fatigue from the blood loss during the cycle, gets a migraine post-cycle, so in reality I only feel relatively well for 1-2 weeks each month. 2 weeks if I am lucky and if I live religiously like a monastic.

I tested my blood glucose upon waking up today. My reading for fasting blood glucose was not ideal. Based on information from yesterday and today, I seem to fall upon very borderline pre-diabetic ranges, though there is also varying information out there on what is considered pre-diabetic. I have terrible food comas so I already know that my insulin response is not great, so this is not surprising. But on the other hand I have excellent pulse rate, heart rate variation and blood pressure, so there is a part of me that expected a much lower reading, especially since I intermittently fast.

Until I found out fasting can also cause blood glucose levels to spike. Trying to get healthy is like walking around blind trying to find some semblance of light somewhere. There is conflicting information everywhere. Know what can cause glucose spikes? Waking up, exercising, low carb diets, fasting, etc. Do you know what can improve the insulin response? Exercising, low-carb diets, fasting.

WTF.

I think what matters are the long-term trends. I regret not doing this blood glucose monitoring thing earlier because of my fear of blood and needles. It would shed a lot of light on whether my current readings are an improvement or a deterioration.

There is a wildcard in all of this: stress. Stress produces cortisol, and cortisol causes elevated blood sugar. So I need to run and control my eating but not too much. But how does one know what is too much?

Is blood glucose monitoring a little extreme? Well, if I’ve been trying to be healthier for the past three years and nothing seems to really work, then I guess I should try everything I can in my power and capacity. Maybe I could have gotten healthier earlier if I haven’t been so resistant to being extreme. To be fair, I did get healthier compared to 2015. My eyes have stopped being chronically dry and painful all the time, my migraines are considerably less painful, less lasting and they occur less frequently. At least now it is once a month and I can time it.

It is my 50th consecutive day of running today. Last week I got to run 5km without stopping and it felt like a big milestone. But this couple of days I gave up jogging without a pause because the research seems to be more in favour of running intervals. So I vary it in a single run. I jog, stop to walk, sprint, brisk-walk, alternating between them. There is a certain allure to endurance runs: I think there is a masochistic part of us that likes to see how much we can push ourselves and how much we can improve our limits. I find it interesting to observe how reluctant I was to give up my long jogs in favour of intervals, despite the science.

I look forward to accumulate more data to look at the longer term trends. It’ll be a bonus to feel a little more alive in the process.

P.S. I forgot to explain why I’m monitoring my blood glucose in relation to my migraines. The evidence is pretty compelling that migraines is an by-product of chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammation is directly linked to high blood sugar (and hormonal dysfunction). It is a vicious cycle, because the more chronically inflammed, the worse the insulin response, the higher the blood sugar goes. My suspicion is that my health is not so bad that I am diabetic but it is chronically bad enough that it is causing a whole host of issues and I’m definitely on a slow long ride to worse complications if I don’t nip it in the bud now. I don’t care much about dying, I just don’t want to live a slow, long, painful death. I already feel semi-dead now: my migraine feels like someone twisting a blunt object in the insides of my head. It is exponentially worse than the needle pricks for my blood glucose monitor.

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