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Chemist tested me for diabetes - sent me to the Dr TODAY urgently...please come and talk to me...

(723 Posts)
MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Tue 22-Jan-13 15:28:34

<Sorry, just got to the end and realised how long this is!!>

These are my questions

1: The reading the chemist got was 20 - can anyone tell me what this means (ie how 'serious' it is) and if they think it could be controlled and/or preferably gotten rid of through diet and exercise.

2: What will the Dr do today.

The rest is whittering background.

Also, I just wanted to say that I'll have to go in about an hour and wont be able to get back on line until tomorrow afternoon, but I haven't done a runner and will be grateful for any help/advice.

[I'm a regular - I've namechanged because I'm not sure yet if I want to tell anyone or not and I have a few RL friends on MN. It's not that I mind people knowing as such it's just that I don't want it to turn into A Big Deal]

I have been wondering for quite some time if I might have diabetes. A few things have made me wonder about it such as

- Excessive thirst (always having to have a bottle of water on me)

- Eyes a bit blurry at night (been blaming the overhead light and the small tv screen with tivo bright red background and only a problem at night and spending too much time looking at screens)

- Occasional 'shakes'

- I am overweight and struggle with feeling like my 'blood sugars' aren't right

...but what made me 'man up' to getting tested was that last week & yesterday I had a couple of episodes of light headedness/feeling faint when doing things such as changing a lightbulb, I had also been having them in the shower, but put that down to it being hot/steamy etc

I called the chemist about a year ago blush to see if they did the tests, but ended up not going <hence my name for this thread>

I also went to my Dr about 3-4 years ago with constant tiredness and no real reason for it.... he put it down to my weight (which although I'm overweight was not stopping me doing anything, being reasonably fit etc), he really wasn't interested in looking further. I haven't been back, but am and have been pretty much constantly tired since before then. I know I should have seen another Dr but it's hard when you are overweight and they don't seem interested in seeing past that and accept their might be something other excess weight causing the problem.

I wonder now how long I might have had it for and thus how much damage I might have done already to my body, especially my eyes, that's pretty scary.

I was already overweight, but I was pretty fit - then something quite lifechanging happened and I've put on more weight, stopped exercising and I am not unfit. I'm certainly not can't move off the couch unfit - I could still easily walk 4 miles, run for the bus (i'd be panting but I could do it and would recover pretty quickly) - but something else I've noticed (just yesterday I really 'thought' about it) is that I have been putting off doing stuff like walking places (now I take the car), running up the stairs (now only ever walk), kicking the ball about with the kids etc and I realised yesterday it's because when I do I feel awful - not just tired/worn out but light headed and a bit pukey - it's been a gradual thing.

I am totally committed to exercising - a minimum of 30 minutes every day without fail (have just been for an hours walk - about 3 miles) and to improving my diet (which I fully accept hasn't been great for a while, since this 'thing' happened and for a wee bit before then).

I'm not looking for any magic cure - I just want to know if I can get rid of the diabetes through diet and exercise.

Thank you if you made it this far - or even if you didn't wade through it all but can help.

SCOTCHandWRY Sun 10-Feb-13 23:15:39

One bit of advice - I know from experience, some carby foods can raise bs for several days, especially if Eaten regularly, so try to test one food at a time and eat it daily for 3 days and see what happens (banana is likely to be a no-no, but might be fine as an occasional treat once your weight comes down a bit more).

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sun 10-Feb-13 23:42:13

SCOTCH - sorry, I'm a bit confused. So are you saying if I try say half a jacket potato one night and my BS are raised they could stay raised for a few days? and that I should then still eat baked potatoes every day for 3 days? or that if they aren't raised I should eat them for 3 days?

SCOTCHandWRY Mon 11-Feb-13 07:38:32

Jacket potato is likely to be very bad for bs as it ha very very high gi - close to pure sugar! Sweet potatoes are better.

What I mean is, if you try a new carbs food, and your blood sugar is ok with it, don't start eat lots of it, you may find its fine to eat once in a while but if you eat it daily even in moderate amounts, then you may get a bigger effect on bs, and it may take a few days for baseline bs to go down. Ie maybe dropping to 6.2 between meals instead of 5.2 ... Just an example but with me this happens with all grains, potatoes and rice. But especially potato and rice.

Lol, sorry if I was not very clear grin

BIWI Mon 11-Feb-13 08:46:12


I never use salt

This could be a real issue you and could be behind some of your issues. When you cut carbs, and drink more water, you need more electrolytes - sodium, magnesium and potassium.

Sodium is key. You need to start using salt on your food/in your cooking. Or make a hot drink with Marmite.

BIWI Mon 11-Feb-13 08:49:24

I don't want to be alarmist, but please read this about the effects of lack of sodium

You really do need to make sure that you are getting enough sodium and it doesn't sound to me (not a doctor, blah blah blah) that you are.

BIWI Mon 11-Feb-13 08:56:13

Also, have you read "Escape the Diet Trap" by Dr John Briffa? (Sorry, if you've mentioned it already I can't remember!)

He has a whole section of the glycaemic index and glycaemic load of foods. GI is the rate at which the food raises blood sugar, with glucose set at 100. the GL tries to take this into account but set it in the context of an average portion of that particular food - so it's a more 'realistic' figure to look at.

The GI of baked potato is 85 and the GL is 26. (Anything over 20 is deemed high). So definitely one to avoid!

sazpops Mon 11-Feb-13 10:12:45

Gosh myhead, you've done brilliantly to get your levels down so well. Do you think you can sustain that way of eating?

Good luck on maintaining and hope you can get the headaches sorted out.

SCOTCHandWRY Mon 11-Feb-13 10:44:50

I second biwi comment on salt, though I use lowsalt in my cooking as its potassium and sodium.

Don't worry about the high blood pressure salt link at this stage- it's mostly bollocks, and I'm pretty confident your bp will start dropping as your bs comes under control.

BIWI Mon 11-Feb-13 11:00:03

Here's a quote from a post on lowcarbfriends:

From, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living , (The latest LOW CARB book and it is FANTASTIC!) by Jeff Volek, PhD, RD & Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD

"The short answer is that the amount of carbohydrate in our diet changes our need for salt. High carbohydrate diets make the kidneys retain salt, whereas a low carbohydrate intake increases sodium excretion by the kidney.

Salt and water are more efficiently excreted, which is a good thing as long as you maintain an adequate minimum sodium intake. Ignore this lesson and you are likely to suffer the completely avoidable problems of headache, fatigue, weakness, and consipation."

Dr. Eades has also written about this recently in his blog:

"The good news is that it’s great to get rid of the excess fluid but it comes at a cost, which is the bad news. As the excess fluid goes, it takes with it sodium an extremely important electrolyte. When sodium levels fall below a critical threshold (which can happen within a short time), symptoms often occur, the most common being fatigue, headache, cramps and postural hypotension.

Postural hypotension happens when you stand up too quickly and feel faint. Or even pass out briefly. It’s a sign of dehydration. So if you’ve started your low-carb diet, made your multiple runs to the bathroom, and jump up off the couch to answer the phone and feel like your going to faint (or actually do pass out momentarily) and have to sit back down quickly, you’ve got postural hypotension. It’s really easy to fix – you simply need to take more sodium and drink more water. Salt your food more. Increasing sodium is just another one of the many counter-intuitive things about low-carb dieting. Just like eating more fat to lower your cholesterol. You’ve got to start thinking differently. The low-carb diet is one that absolutely requires more sodium. A lot more sodium.

...get some Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan Salt or one of the other grayish, pinkish kind of grungy looking salts and replace your normal salt with these. And don’t use them sparingly. These salts have been harvested either from ancient sea beds or obtained by evaporation of sea water with high mineral content and contain about 70 percent of the sodium of regular salt (which has been refined, bleached and processed until it is pretty much pure sodium chloride, often with anti-caking agents added). The other 30 percent of the volume is other minerals and micronutrients (including iodine) found in mineral-rich seas. Consuming these salts is not just following a Paleolithic diet using modern food, but, depending upon the origin of the salt, it is consuming the same food your Paleolithic ancestors ate. I much prefer these salts taste-wise to regular salt, and I salt the heck out of all my food with it."

I'm not sure we can buy Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt, but you get the gist!

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 15:16:17

SCOTCH - Don't worry, I wasn't planning on going out and diving head first into a Baked Potato - it was just an example grin I looked after my friends little boy this morning - guess what he wanted for lunch?? Baked Potato, with beans & cheese! Only one of my favourites little bugger! My friend had even put another potato in the oven before she went out in case I wanted one as well! Of course I didn't eat it - so has anyone got a spare Gold Star?? grin

so try to test one food at a time and eat it daily for 3 days and see what happens That's the bit that confused me - what did you mean by that?

What I mean is, if you try a new carbs food, and your blood sugar is ok with it, don't start eat lots of it, you may find its fine to eat once in a while but if you eat it daily even in moderate amounts, then you may get a bigger effect on bs, and it may take a few days for baseline bs to go down. Ie maybe dropping to 6.2 between meals instead of 5.2 ... Just an example but with me this happens with all grains, potatoes and rice. But especially potato and rice That's what I planned on doing smile Mind you, with my BS apparently being so good at the moment, I'm not keen on trying anything that will spoil it - I don't want to ruin my 'Grade Average' grin

BIWI - and it doesn't sound to me (not a doctor, blah blah blah) that you are that always makes me smile grin trust me, my salt from processed food was definitely high enough for it not to have been a problem before blush and I had all the same symptoms? I have had a look at the link you posted and I will also ask the Dr about that today (bloody scary stuff - I have most of the symptoms, but I'm coming to the conclusion I have most of the symptoms of everything as they all seem to have the same symptoms!). I've had a look at what I've been eating and I think I'm getting enough sodium (veggie sausages, cheese, houmous) but I will definitely keep an eye on it and add some if I don't think I'm getting enough. As a diabetic I need to keep it lower than a non diabetic apparently - especially as I have a tendancy to high blood pressure. <I've since read your other post & scotch's - replies below)

Funny you should mention Briffa's book - I ordered it about 3 weeks ago and it arrived today smile I've also read his website.

Sazpops - not forever no, but long enough to drop some weight (I hope, scales are a bit stuck at the moment!) and to give my pancreas a bit of a rest smile I may do the Newcastle diet (800 calories a day for 8 weeks - it's supposed to be good for 'resetting' your pancreas and your insulin resistance). I'm hoping if I can do that, then maybe a low level of carbs will be acceptable to the old body - but will have to wait and see. Thanks re the headaches - it's driving me nuts, I ate lunch at 2.30 and now have a horrible headache, it's putting me off eating (not entirely a bad thing, but I'm trying to be good and eat 3x per day).

SCOTCH (again -sorry, going through all the posts in order!) All of the diabetic web sites say to reduce sodium and not to use salt replacements? It's a bit confusing.

BIWI (again) Fecking hell - I think I might just shoot myself now and be done with it grin Postural hypertension sounds like what I might have too but as I said, I felt the same way when I was eating lots of carbs and salt???

We can get Himalayan salt - Ocado, Holland & Barret & other 'fancy' shops smile

Talk about a head spin.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 15:38:58

So - today (so far)

Fasting - 5.6 (pretty good huh!)

However, when I went in the shower I felt really, really faint and nauseous, I thought I was going to pass out. I have always (since being a child) been 'funny' with temperatures though and I did have it quite hot in a cold bathroom. I got out as soon as I could, lay on the bed and raised my feet, gradually felt better. Not sure it's related but just thought I should mention it.

T.umble t.ots was as bad this week as the others - felt dizzy and quite warm (in a cold room, I was in a t-shirt, everyone else was in a jumper etc and the kids feet were freezing when we'd finished).

Breakfast - half an avocado & 30g of cheddar cheese.
(Missed my latte at the cafe, hot water is not the same sad )

+1 6.5 (*)
+2 6.4 (*)
+3 6.1

(*) I tested 7.6, but I'd washed my hands quickly with a bar of soap (at tumble tots) and a fussing toddler 'helping' so I might not have rinsed the soap off properly. When I got to the car I washed my finger with a bottle of water I had and re-tested and got a reading of 6.5. (less than 5 minutes later). At +2 I did much the same - so I think the lower readings are right really. It's a big difference. I need some alchol wipes for when I'm out and about.

Lunch - red cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, avocado, houmous

+1 7

SCOTCHandWRY Mon 11-Feb-13 17:24:10

grin I guess the websites telling you to cut your salt intake are the ones that also tell you to eat low fat and high carb?!

The blood pressure salt link doesn't stand up to scrutiny at all, firstly cutting salt out of the diet does not reduce bp in any significant way, and actually mortality is higher in people with heart disease who follow the advice to cut salt!

Some people do need to be careful to keep salt low ie people with very poor kidney function, but most people are not in that situation.

Your symptoms as described sound likeLOW bp not high! Maybe you do need a bit more salt!

The same symptoms before diagnosis were likely due to high bs!

mirry2 Mon 11-Feb-13 17:25:56

Myhead - you sond much happier now. Testing regularly is the way to go and I really don't understand why the NHS don't recommend it

BIWI Mon 11-Feb-13 17:38:16

The need for salt, though, is different when you are low carbing.

Seriously. Try drinking some hot water with Marmite in it and see if that helps.

SCOTCHandWRY Mon 11-Feb-13 17:41:40

I agree Mirry, its a scandal that people often can't get the meters or test strips on prescription!

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 17:41:45

SCOTCH - I don't know. Possibly. I was only really looking at various view points on sodium. I'll have a better look and report back.

Low BS/High BS/Fuck Only Knows. I can totally see why people just throw their hands in the air, take whatever drugs are available and eat what they like! It seems no matter what you do, someone's telling you that you are wrong! (and I don't mean you!)

Mirry ... read my next post sad angry smile confused

mirry2 Mon 11-Feb-13 18:14:09

Myhead - not sure what you mean by 'read my next post'

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 18:16:58

Doctors I booked the apt for something completely different (for which she's given me a physio referral). She was totally different today & surprised to see me, quite 'Oh I didn't expect to see you so soon' <subtext I've sent you to the diabetes nurse, why are you bothering me?> - in typical 'too-busy-to-actually-bother-with-patients' mode sad Very disappointing after the initial apt... but anyway...

- She took my blood pressure. 160/95 - so higher than we'd all like, but lower than the other day, she's said it needs to be 130/80. She wants me to take blood pressure medication, but realises from my notes that I'm not going to be happy to do so. How else can I get this down 'naturally' other than losing weight? Is there anything else I need to tweek in my diet?

- I asked her about B12/VitD/Iron test and she said 'Yes, next time we do some bloods' (I will ask the diabetes nurse when I see her tomorrow, though I'm not sure if she can request them or not?). I should have pushed to get them done now, but we sort of got onto other things.

- I didn't even mention the other things as she wasn't in the mood to listen sad

- So, I showed her my bgls and she said 'Oh, they're OK' [WTAF 'OK'???] so when I said that I was surprised they were so low considering my HbA1c and fasting she said that it doesn't mean anything. That a few readings don't show you what's happening but the others do. I said, Yes, but I've changed my diet, lost 4kg and they seem pretty good to me?! She said that time will tell. I didn't tell her I wasn't taking the metformin as I didn't think about it, then when I thought about it she was so busy telling me off that I didn't want to bring it up.

- Then she said that she couldn't really explain why it was so different, but that my monitor could be faulty or there could be another reason, but basically it doesn't matter - all that matters is their result from 2 weeks ago. But that I can make an appointment to see the diabetes nurse to check my monitor if I want to (so I have - tomorrow)

- She said there was a report out that said all diabetics should be on cholesterol tablets, irrespective of their levels and it's something we need to think about [she can think about it, while it's at a reasonable level - and hopefully coming down, I will not be taking statins].

Meds meds meds meds meds meds meds....

So, I have an appointment for tomorrow with the diabetes nurse (oh joy)... what do I tell her? She's going to be spitting that I'm 'low carbing', not taking the metformin, don't want to take statins, don't want to take blood pressure meds. I'm going to have to be honest though aren't I sad

I think this is one of those times where inner strength is going to have to play a BIG part, I really just want to say 'Fuck it then' and eat chocolate! Especially when my weight has come to a grinding halt (same weight again this morning) and yes, I KNOW that it does that from time to time and I need to drink more water - but it's still not motivating.

I would love to have a vodka and tonic - it wont help with the weight loss, but will it show on my monitor??

Chemist I went into the chemist on the way home (the one who did the original finger prick test) and asked her if she had time to check my monitor and explained why. She was quite impressed with my results smile and she thinks that doing it with diet/exercise/weightloss would be much better and the Gold Standard! (but that I need to discuss it with the diabetes nurse as she can't step on toes and she will have her guidlines to follow. NHS hmm.) She said that the diet was clearly working for me (bgl & weight) but that she didn't think I was eating enough (funny how you can tell that when you aren't there! So what she really means is that I'm not eating carbs <sigh>) and that I shouldn't be eating very much cheese or avocado as it will push my cholesterol level up. [cholesterol was 5.6 on a much worse diet]

Really feeling very 'Oh fuck it'

SCOTCHandWRY Mon 11-Feb-13 18:20:16

smileSorry too many abbreviations!! i meant you feeling faint this am could be low blood pressure (lack of salts can cause this), but that similar symptoms before your diagnosis were likely from high blood sugar.... And yes, headache, being tired and feeling awful does seem to be a symptom of just about every medical condition grin!

mirry2 Mon 11-Feb-13 18:38:10

Myhead - your post echoes my experience over the years. The received wisdom is that we should all be on statins and metformin, and lots of patients will tell you the same as well. I'm on neither. I doubt I'll ever go on statins as the jury is still out on their benefit. I may go on metformin at some time in the future depending on my BGL.

It's all so hard because on the one hand our BGLs are within limits for diabetes2 but on the other hand we have to deal with medics and others shaking their heads that we are causing irreversable damage to our bodies.

I know that I want to be in charge of my body and what goes into it. I don't want to be trotting off to the diabetic nurse or doctor every few months to be told what I should eat and I am truly sceptical of the advice I've been given.

Will I lose my sight and my toes in years to come? Will it be because of my unwillingness to take medication? Do we have any hard evidence? My father and father in law had diabetes2, never took medication and didn't suffer from diabetes related complications as far as Im aware.

I do know that there are acres of research studies that focus on why patients don't/won't take their diabetes medication - usually concluding that they have their heads in the sand.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 18:41:27

SCOTCH - no, I totally understood what you were saying smile I just have no idea how my bp could possibly be so low this morning I felt woozy and would now if I had to do another tots session, but it's still HIGH?

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 18:43:48

Oh and apparently if I don't eat carbs releasing their sugars slowly my bgl's will never stabilise.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 18:52:16

Mirry the chemist said I could try to talk the diabetes nurse around and try to make her let me try it with just diet & exercise, and as she's a lovely young thing <looks far too young to be a qualified pharmacist, I am getting OLD! grin> I didn't say anything, but inside I was screaming 'LET? What do you mean LET? It's MY body, MY health, MY life and as I am the only one heavily invested in it, I will decide what to do AND she can't exactly MAKE me take them can she???

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 19:02:58

Oh - and I shouldn't be testing at all as often, it's not helpful and not relevant apparently?! But to be fair, I asked her to prescribe me some strips and lancets and she did, though I think it will be a one off (but every little helps).

mirry2 Mon 11-Feb-13 19:15:29

Myhead - exactly my view.
It may take you some time to get them to see things from your point of view, especially as GPs are under pressure from the Department of Health to meet NICE treatment targets for people with long term conditions - so for everyone diagnosed with diabetes2 the stats submitted will include BP measures, BGL and medication, yearly eye tests and foot inspections - and GPs won't receive payment unless they've done so or can show that they have done their level best to get their patients to comply.

My GP has backed off now, but only because I said that I was feeling bullied and it had actually deterred me from seeing her about another potentially life threatening illness. She also knows I'm a sensible person and I have weighed up the risks.

I know lots of people shake their heads over not following medical advice, but it is my body and my decision. Now you've got diabetes2 you will have to continually deal with all this - this is why i never discuss it in real life.

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