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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.

OhlimpPricks Wed 23-Jan-13 15:33:14

Glad you are seeking medical attention. I have had it about 2 years and take tablets. My fasting level is normally 7/8.

SCOTCHandWRY Wed 23-Jan-13 16:16:08

Please listen to what I am about to say, because it is really important. My DH is a GP, he was reading over my shoulder when I posted my previous reply - his comment was "Good call by the Pharmacist". In his practice the protocol for anyone with any diabetic type symptoms whatsoever (including anyone who utters any comment about thirst or being tired) is to pee-on-a-stick, followed by an instant blood test done right there and then by the GP (whole thing takes less than a couple of mins). You had a random blood sugar test of 20 - that is actually enough to diagnose diabetes right there and then (although they are likely to want to repeat them anyway). They pick up large numbers of previously undiagnosed Diabetics that way.

DID the DR MENTION KETONES? Did he test for these and were there any present on the peestick?

If you feel worse, or vomit, please seek urgent medical attention.

Littlebearlost Wed 23-Jan-13 17:12:16

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are actually very different and I wish sometimes they had different names.
Type 1 is usually younger onset, requires insulin, has nothing to do with diet, weight or how many sweets you eat and is completely incurable. At the moment there is no way back after a type 1 diagnosis. Insulin dependent for the rest of your life. There is no definite known cause, may partly be genetic, may be caused by an infection causing the immune system to attack the pancreatic cells.

Type 2 or age onset can be cause in part by lifestyle. It is also hereditary. Being overweight and not exercising can be risk factors but are not the only causes. It may be treated with diet and tablets and in some cases losing weight, watching diet and exercising can allow you to come off medication. It is caused by insulin resistance. You still make insulin. In type 1 the insulin making cells no longer work, hence the need for insulin injections.

SCOTCHandWRY Wed 23-Jan-13 17:30:04

You can have elements of both - type 1.5
I have a friend with type 1.5 and interestingly she has a number of different autoimmune illnesses.

Type 1 (autoimmune) is occurring across all age groups (getting more common in adults), it is not know why.

Type 2 is getting more common in younger people too.

You can need insulin for type 2 as well, it is only diet controlled or tablet controlled in the earlier stages.

GobTheGoblin Wed 23-Jan-13 17:59:02

OP don't be surprised if you get a call earlier from your GP asking to see you urgently or saying you need to go to a hospital. It just means that your sugars are to high and they want to start with insulin/tablets immediately.

Unfortunately diabetes is a 'for life' condition.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 10:25:37

I just wrote a really long post and MN ate it sad

I will go back and re-do it.

In the meantime, can anyone help me feel less crap in the morning? When I wake up I feel awful - a bit shakey, light headed & nauseous. Do I need to eat something before bed? Not eat for hours before bed? Eat something when I wake up? Or wont any of those help. I used to be able to get out of bed, straight into the shower and on with the day, now I feel so shit I have to sit around until I 'equalise' a bit with life. I have to get up at least an hour earlier to 'deal' with this and I'm fed up with waking up feeling so awful sad

shagmundfreud Thu 24-Jan-13 10:30:28

MyHead - if you're diabetic you will feel MILES better once you start treatment. smile

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 10:40:32

Tory - I'm glad she's OK now smile

Dawndonna - I'm really sorry to hear about your SM sad that's really scary and definitely went through my mind last night when I was feeling sick, had a 'loose' tummy and felt light headed - a bit scary.

Mos - I'm really sorry to hear about your Mum sad I can totally understand how she struggled to deal with this after your Dad died, dealing with anything other than your grief is really hard, even if it's really important. I guess it's helped your DD understand how critical it is to do what she has to do. I hope you don't think I was saying you or your DD (or anyone else!!) had caused their D, I wasn't, not at all. It very clearly runs in your family sad I was just looking purely at myself x

Ohlimpricks - have you tried controlling it through diet? Don't answer if you don't want to - but would you class yourself as overweight and if so, have you lost any weight since your DX?

Scotch - I am very definitely listening smile He didn't tell me what he tested in my urine, though I guessed it was keytons (having done a diet which involved testing them) but he didn't tell me what the result was and I was going to ask but we got talking about other things. I rang the surgery this morning, but it's not on my notes and he's not in today - she's going to ping him a message which he'll get tomorrow when he gets in and I can call back, but I assume he didn't think it was worth recording, just enough information to make him decide to go straight to blood tests and not bother with the glucose test. I feel pretty rubbish a lot of the time, as I said in my previous post, particularly in the mornings. I've been putting it down to not sleeping. I haven't been sick and although I feel like death warmed up in the mornings I don't feel anyworse than I have in over a year - but if I am sick or do feel worse I'll definitely go straight away as you've said that.

LittleBear/Scotch - I did know there was a big difference in T1 and T2, but I didn't know about T1.5.

Gob - I wouldn't be surprised. Of course, as these things tend to be, it would be terrible timing, but if needs must sad

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 10:42:14

Shag - that is at least one good point smile

shagmundfreud Thu 24-Jan-13 10:53:21

No honestly - if you have diabetes and you get your blood sugars under control you will feel like a new woman!

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 10:57:05


It's the other thing (the first thing being exercise) that I thought I could at least start changing/doing to help but I am confused.

The booklet the Dr gave me says to have 3 meals a day and have carbs at each of them - it actually says that crumpets/toast/potatoes are 'good' to have and that 'the amount of carbs you eat is important to control your BGL....' it does then go on to say lower GI are better. Fine. But the diabetes web site I was looking at was saying to avoid all/any processed carbs - bread, pasta rice and (not processed of course -but) potatoes.

The website was also saying that although a lot of Drs wont support you doing it that people have had brilliant results doing the Newcastle Study diet or the Cambridge controlled diet - 600 calories (though 800 actually as 200 are from shakes). Have any of you tried this? A lot of reviews say they actually brought their results back into the normal range doing this for a few weeks.

Weight have any of you brought yours back into normal by losing weight? or know of anyone who has? The booklet or the website (can't remember which now) says that losing as little as 5-10% of your weight can achieve this. I also read somewhere that each x amount of weight (didn't actually catch the amount of weight) means your body has to produce more insulin for it to work, so each x amount of weight you lose means that your insulin will cope better.

Exercising is proving hard because I feel so bloody awful and whereas before I'd just push through thinking that it was just because I was overweight and that was making it harder to do that 4 miles/run up the stairs etc - now it's actually a bit scary too as it makes me feel so sick that I'm scared of something happening sad Any thoughts/suggestions?

Thanks all smile

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 10:58:31

Shag - do you have it? Do you (or whoever you know that makes you say that) control it through diet or do you need tablets/insulin?

Inaflap Thu 24-Jan-13 11:04:32

If you are feeling sick then that can be a sign you have ketones which then can get dangerous. Headaches are also a sign of high bloods.

You will have type 2 diabetes. Your pancreas is either not pushing out enough insulin or you body has stopped absorbing insulin properly. Essentially, we have insulin to help convert what we eat (the carbs) into glucose which our blood carries to our brain and other areas to help us function. Excess glucose goes to be stored as fat. Now when insulin is impaired, the body calls upon the liver to take over which does something jazzy with some hormone or other (gets a bit technical here so can't get it right) and that uses the fat to turn into glucose. The problem with that is that it makes us thirsty, thus weeing more, loss of body weight and a bi product of ketones which kind of turns the blood into acid and you know how damaging acid can be.

Any way. Your life is not over, its all very manageable and you will be a lot healthier. If you eat a low GI diet and take tablets then all should be well because your pancreas probably is still splurging ou some insulin. If it stops then you wull have to inject. My son is type 1 and was diagnosed when he was 8. He injects.4 times a day. My mother is type 2 which she got in her early 50s she has 4 injections a day. She is about to be 80 and is fine. If you are put onto insulin then pm me and i can go through more stuff with you.

Remember, most things contain sugar. Did you know that cornflakes raise your bloods higher and more quickly than chocolate. Ice cream is medium GI and doesnt raise bloods much. Fruit has loads of sugar in it. Basically anything with carbs will raise your bloods. There are aps and blood meters that work it all out for you. There is a thing now with type 2 that they are not giving them meters or test strips. These are essential and worth buying if you need to. Again happy to advise.

OhlimpPricks Thu 24-Jan-13 11:15:07

Yes, I am very overweight, and was before. It's ridiculous, as the shock of it caused me to give up smoking after 30 years when Dr told me to. Losing weight has not been so easy to do. I am disabled (problem with my foot, I need a stick to walk with, stairs a big deal) though that is no excuse for obesity, it's a lot harder to exercise.
I have done the Atkins diet on/off since dx. When I am doing it, bs levels are in single figures.

Inaflap Thu 24-Jan-13 11:27:35

Carbs, ohhh this gets hard. Essentially there are long acting carbs ( porridge, brown rise, brown anything really) and short quick acting carbs (generally more porcessed and stuff with sugar in). You do need carbs but need to be careful which. So fruitjuice is going to ramp up your blood sugar because tons of fast acting sugars in it. Different people also react differently to different foods. Exercise is key. For example we went on a visit to excell arena, tons and tons of walking, DS2 didn't have to inject at lunch time even though he had a massive lunch. You are feeling rough at the moment so don't go great guns until medication can get your bloods down. It will also take a while for your sight to get less blurry. This is the body getting itself back to normal. High bloods can make people rather tetchy and slightly manic and possibly panicky so be aware of your emotions. Diabetics can be quite hard work and moody at times. Sigh!

One thing, you will get very good at reading the backs of packets!

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 11:32:00

Inaflap - funny you should mention that, in the last couple of weeks I've had quite a few headaches, which I'm not normally prone to. I didn't think to mention them to the Dr as I hadn't linked them with D.

If my urine test had shown keytones - do you not think the Dr would have done more than order bloods and tell me to make an appointment for a weeks time?

Quite a few years ago I had a problem with my liver. I had a virus attack it after I'd had glandular fever. My GGT levels were well out of whack for about 2 years - and ended up at the top end of normal when they stopped testing them. Not sure if that's at all relevant? One would assume I'd have been tested for D then? I seemed to be tested for LOADS of things. They did say at the time that the reason I was struggling/would struggle to lose weight was that my liver wasn't processing stuff properly and was putting fat back into the bloodstream instead of into 'waste' - it sounds odd thinking about it like that now, but it's what they said at the time.

I'm certainly not losing weight at the moment?!

Thank you for the offer of the PM if I need insulin x

I do know that most things contain sugar. Many years ago I was being tested for something (I think it was because I was still so bloody tired all the time 2 years after I'd had glandular fever - and to be honest, I haven't been the same since) and I had to go wheat and sugar free for 2 months. At the time it didn't change what they were looking at so I didn't need to continue.

I didn't know that cornflakes raise your bloods higher than chocolate - why is that? But understanding that would probably help as I'm very probably eating things I think wont raise my bloods and they will. Would the Low GI index help with those misconceptions?

The booklet the Dr gave me has this question:

Is it true that I shouldn't eat bananas or grapes

The answer is:

NO. All fruit is good for you. Eating more fruit can reduce the risk of heart disease, some cancers and some gut problems. Eat a variety of different fruit and vegetables for maximum benefit

Are you saying this is wrong and that I should avoid fruit?

(Quite willing to believe this is wrong)

You say Basically anything with carbs will raise your bloods So why does the booklet say to eat carbs at all meals? (complex ones, not just those in veg).

There are aps and blood meters that work it all out for you. There is a thing now with type 2 that they are not giving them meters or test strips. These are essential and worth buying if you need to. Again happy to advise

I don't have a smart phone (yet) so can't do any phone aps, but I'd appreciate any help you can give me.

I know I haven't had a dx yet, but my thinking is that it is highly likely I have D/T2 and so I might as well get all the info I can and start making changes (I'm just confused now about what they shoud be) as it will help me if I do have D T2 and wont do any harm at all if I don't smile

Honestly, I know it's not the end of the world and some people think I'm panicking, but I'm honestly not. I haven't told anyone IRL so this is my only outlet. I just want to get as much info as I can and start making changes to feel better and to help to try to stop it getting any worse... and to avoid any fits/hypos etc as I feel like I'm getting more symptoms very quickly now (over the last fortnight - not just since I went to the chemist).

Thank you so much for your help smile

shagmundfreud Thu 24-Jan-13 11:36:28

No - only had gestational diabetes in pregnancy, and it resolved afterwards.

However, have not great control over blood sugars now, at 46, and am worried about getting type 2 later.

I find the following helps - protein, fat and SLOW release carbs (granary - not just 'brown' bread, brown rice, rough cut oats) together at EVERY meal. Do not eat carbs on their own. I was also told that carbs (pasta, basmati rice etc) were fine when I had GD, and actually I found that they weren't in anything other than very small quantities, and even then only if I ate them with protein and fat at the same time.

I would say - no fruit or fruit juice between meals also.

Lots of exercise.

Look up low GI recipes.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 11:38:07

Ohlimppricks - thank you. It's great that you gave up smoking smile I think losing weight is harder in that you can't just go cold turkey with food, you still have to eat and so are constantly making choices, whereas with smoking you make one decision and can stick to it. I know it's hard, so I'm not minimising the effort you had to make to stop smoking! I'm glad I never started - as I know I'd have found it very difficult to stop. If you were to do Atkins all the time would you be able to come off your tablets? (not that I'm suggesting you do that as I don't know if it's really good for you). It must be that much harder with a disability that means you can't just 'go out for a good walk' and that makes me feel even more guilty that I don't - when I can.

shagmundfreud Thu 24-Jan-13 11:41:14

I was very shocked that the dietician at the hospital was encouraging me to eat loads of bread, rice and pasta when I had GD. It made my blood sugars go through the roof. By the end of my pregnancy I was only eating meat, nuts, green vegetables, a small amount of dairy, about half a cup of rice/oats a day. Couldn't keep that diet up now, but for pregnancy it was very good and definitely got my blood sugar under control. My third baby was 2 lbs smaller than my second baby, despite being a lot longer and having a much bigger head circumference (and grew much, much faster in the first few months).

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 11:55:34

Inaflap - I do understand the difference between long/good carbs and short/bad carbs, I think that's why I was surprised when the booklet said to have either - low GI = better, but any = good. It suggests having toast/crumpets for breakfast for example, which I thought was a bit hmm. I'd understand if they said NOT to have those but to have porridge.

Exercise is key

I will keep repeating this - my new mantra smile I know this will be different for everyone, but do you have any idea what kind is best? ie short hard workouts with weights, long walks, fast walks, one long walk a day or two shorter walks a day - or walk all day smile

Do you think I should refuse the medication and try to do it through diet/exercise/weightloss first or take the meds as well and hope to come off them?

As far as meds are concerned, do you know if I'd be better to try to do it with diet/weightloss/exercise alone then take meds if it doesn't change or if I'd be better to take meds straight away and hope to come off of them?

I'm pleased to say that my blurry vision seems to be limited to reading the pale bits of the tivo guide at night with the overhead light on. My general eyesight seems to be getting a little worse too - but for my age I think it's still pretty good (ie I haven't found any tiny text I can't still read, I just need to turn it to the light a little more than I used to and signs in the distance aren't quite as sharp as they used to be, but I can still read them from a long distance). I feel lucky in that and just want to do all I can for this not to affect my eyesight more than it will no matter what I do iyswim.

I assumed it was low bloods making me feel light headed - is that wrong?

I have felt a bit panicky at times over the last few months, but I put that down to 'actual' stuff I'm dealing with (bereavement, redundancy, family illness etc) and it hasn't been serious, just a bit 'not me'.

Diabetics can be quite hard work and moody at times Opps - will bear this in mind!! smile

One thing, you will get very good at reading the backs of packets! I'm vegetarian (vegan for 5 years) and have lived in countries without the UK's brilliant vegetarian labelling - so I'm good at reading packets smile The thing this time though, is that I don't really understand what I'm looking to have or avoid?!

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 12:02:33

Shag - thank you smile

When you say 'lots of exercise' can you define the level that you do that you feel works (I know it will be different for everyone, but just so I have some idea).

I will go and have a look at low GI recipies, but have you any 'off the top of your head' good ideas for vegetarian (no egg) meals (not necessarily recipes, just things you put together that work for you)

You did really well through your pregnancy smile

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 12:05:25

When I have been awake/up for about an hour/hour and a half I feel 'OK'. Tired but no longer nauseous, light headed etc and that's without eating or drinking? Do you think it's D related or not??

Littlebearlost Thu 24-Jan-13 12:12:32

If it were me I would probably go and buy a blood sugar monitor and check my own blood sugar in the morning and evening. When are you back at dr? Apologies if you've already said, I've skim read in between doing housework!
I would expect that the headaches / feeling sick / tired etc are blood sugar related. It's pretty much how I feel if my sugar goes above 13 or 14. I also usually feel very very irritable at that level.
Diet and tablet control at least means you won't be at risk of severe hypos (low blood sugar) which is part of the balancing act when you have to take insulin injections.

CrazyOldCatLady Thu 24-Jan-13 12:31:46

I assumed it was low bloods making me feel light headed - is that wrong?
I've had type 2 for a decade now, and I find that when it's been badly controlled for a while and I'm used to running high constantly, my body reacts badly to lower levels, even levels that are actually still too high. So I tend to get light-headed and nauseous in the mornings until I eat, even if my fasting BG is high.

There are various schools of thought when it comes to carbs and diabetes; I find a low carb approach works for me, but my local hospital's dietician is a fan of carbs and insisted that I have two slices of toast and a bowl of cornflakes every day for breakfast! We argued and I've been refusing to see her ever since.

In order to really know how the way you're feeling relates to your blood sugar, you need to get a monitor and start checking multiple times a day. They're cheap and easily available from any chemist. It's recommended to test before every meal and an hour afterwards (or two hours, depending who you talk to), and before you go to bed as well.

CrazyOldCatLady Thu 24-Jan-13 12:32:33

Littlebearlost, that's funny, I actually find I'm happier overall if I'm running high. Unfortunately!

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