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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.

giraffesCantGoFirstFooting Thu 24-Jan-13 12:39:59

Hello! Hope Dr is helpful, no advice really am afraid!

Inaflap Thu 24-Jan-13 14:00:21

Can i reccomend a book, its called 'think like a pancreas' and its very useful. There is also a book called low GI guide to diabetes. I know my sister used this (shes also diabetic) and not only lost loads of weight but reduced her insulin intake. From this, they reccomend that for a daily intale of 1500 calories, you should consume 188 g of carb as part of that. So during the day this would be

4 slices of brown bread, three small pieces of fruit, some starch veg (sweet potatoe, corn, baked beans, peas, carrots, brocli)' one cup(sorry, its american) of either cereal, or cooked rice, or pasta, ot quinoa plus two cups of low fat milk or equivalent (including yoghurt).

Muffins I would steer clear of as they have a lot of added sugar. On the backs of packets, if you look at the carb bit and then it says 'of which sugars' i was told you should aim not to eat anything with more than 7 to 10g of sugar in it.

Another thing to warch are drinks. Sugar free squash is now your friend. Alchol apparently makes your blood low. Would reccomend Diabetes UK for information and if you join you get a quarterly magazine with some useful stuff in it. If they want to put you on meds then do it. You have a lifelong chronic illness which is going to be a balancing act from now on. This time next year it will seem like a doodle but we never get it right as there are so many variables. Stress, cold, heat, tension, all these things can affect blood readings.

I think you are right that if you had high keytone readings they would have seen you sooner.

Souper Thu 24-Jan-13 14:27:02

If you had ketones in your urine you would have been referred to hospital to have been seen that day.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 15:18:45

LittleBearLost - Drs next Wednesday (at this stage anyway).

I will go and get a BS monitor smile

I am irritable at times but as I said earlier I put that down to bereavement, family illness, redundancy, tiredness etc - but maybe D is a contributing factor.

Low BS = hypos yes? So does that mean when I do feel shaky, light headed that I should have something sweet? and if so, what's best?

Crazy - thank you smile I will get monitor. I guess it's going to be trial and error. My nausea/light headedness goes away on it's own, which I think is why I've just put it down to being tired/not really sleeping.

Giraffes - <waves> Thanks x

InADlap - I'll go and see if I can get the books on line now - thank you. That's a lot of food! I don't eat muffins - so very easy to stay away from those smile That's helpful to know about the 7-10 g of carbs from sugar. I don't drink much other than water, black tea & lattes really, so not hard to stay away from the others.

Diabetes UK was recommending the 600 calorie diet - has anyone tried it? It's actually 600 calories of 'food' and 200 calories in shakes.

I only thought about resisting the meds due to reading this...

mirry2 Tue 22-Jan-13 16:07:28
You may have type 2 diabetes. 20 is high but could be because you had just eaten. Wait until you have a glucose tolerance test, I have type 2, but I don't have any symptoms and I don't take medicine (I have resisted this since diagnosis and my glucose levels have remained 6-7 for the past 5 years).

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 15:22:30

Souper - oh OK. What do you think he 'read' that would make him decide to 'skip' the glucose test and go straight onto getting bloods done? He said something along the lines of 'Let's not waste time doing the glucose test, let's get the bloods done straight away - we can always do the glucose test later in need be'

MOSagain Thu 24-Jan-13 15:48:34

I had the glucose test at the hospital because I was borderline and I'm now type 2. They skipped the glucose test wtih DD as they sai there was no point, it was obvious she was type 1.
She had keytones in her urine and within minutes of the nurse picking it up she was on her way to hospital.

OhlimpPricks Thu 24-Jan-13 15:51:52

The blood sugar machine should be relatively cheap, at £10-15, it's the strips which cost(about £15 for 30) however you should get these on prescription. Some surgeries will try and refuse to prescribe them (all the true cost of prescriptions are eventually charged to the prescribing surgery), but under NHS/NISA prescribing guidelines you are entiltled to them. Quote the guidelines to them if they are reluctant.
If you are diagnosed diabetic, then you are entitled to an prescription fee exemption card. Your receptionist will have a form; you fill it in and give it to the doctor and they send it off. In the meantime,if you are prescribed medication for diabetes, tell the pharmacist that you are waiting for your exemption card to be issued.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 16:15:53

Mos - do you know if it's possible to be T1 untreated and not have keytones in my urine? I had assumed I would be T2 (if anything) given I'm 43 and it hasn't been picked up before now?

OLP - I read about the free prescriptions in the booklet I was given yesterday - but thanks for mentioning it anyway. I will see next week what he says about the strips if the dx is D <I am assuming it will be, it seems clear to me really - unfortunately> but it's good to know how to push for them if I need to - thank you!

Is there any point in getting a blood sugar machine before the dx do you think?

Littlebearlost Thu 24-Jan-13 16:25:27

Hypos are caused by too much insulin. At the moment you will not be having hypos because you have too little insulin so it is unlikely that when you feel dizzy it is due to low blood sugar. Possibly could be blood sugar fluctuations though.

Low blood sugar is a symptom of the treatment of diabetes. You do not get low blood sugar from actually being diabetic. I get a hypo if I have miscalculated my insulin dose.

If you buy a meter you will get some free strips with it. Then can get the strips on prescription. Might put your mind at rest? Or some ketone strips which you can also buy from the chemist.

SCOTCHandWRY Thu 24-Jan-13 16:29:30

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.

If there were ketones - it should have been straight to hospital due to the risk of diabetic coma - but you don't know if the GP tested for this and he has not recorded it in his notes what he tested for (!), incomplete notes, that's not good a good sign IMO.

Yes, your liver issue is likely to be relevant, it sounds like you have been struggling with syndrome X (impaired glucose tolerance), for a long time... the glandular fever - could suggest an autoimmune component (type 1.5 or even type 1... which would make the ketone question more urgent).

The Dr skipped the blood test because you had a finger-prick reading of 20. Presumably also +++on the pee stick. A single random reading from a blood sample (not finger prick) of 11 = immediate diagnosis of diabetes (GTT will diagnose less clear cut cases). The finger prick is not quite as accurate, but your reading is way above that. PP's telling you a reading of 20 could be because you have just eaten are completely wrong! In a non diabetic person even at peak after eating a high carb meal, blood sugar should not be going above about 8 and should be back to <5 after 3 hours (diabetics even with good control are likely to be a bit higher than that).

You are not feeling ill because you are hypo (low blood, which you would get from taking too much insulin or medication), you are chronically HYPERglycemic (high blood sugar) at the moment.

I would be tempted to pop back to the pharmacist and see if they sell boxes of Multistix, pee sticks which have colour change squares on them which test for ketones and sugar amongst other things - anymore than "trace" ketones, go to A&E...

SCOTCHandWRY Thu 24-Jan-13 16:33:45

*Skipped the GTT

OhlimpPricks Thu 24-Jan-13 17:24:48

If you have a local pharmacy near your surgery that you will tend to use, then ask in there which machines they stock, as they are always likely to stock the strips for them.
I have the Accu check Aviva Nano. Brilliant, as it comes in a little pouch with finger pricker etc. it can also store all your results in the memory. It was about 15£ it's about the size of a small egg.

OhlimpPricks Thu 24-Jan-13 17:35:51

NICE prescribing guidlines
Sorry, it's NICE guidlines, not NiSA ! You sound like someone who is keen to evaluate and manage your condition and so that is a valid reason for them to prescribe them. If you manage and get to know your condition, what affects it, I.e, certain foods, illness, stress, then you're less likely to become ill and up at the drs every week...

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 18:10:47

LittleBearLost - thank you smile

Scotch - thank you! What else might he have been testing in my urine if it wasn't ketones? (baring in mind he was only focusing on diabetes. I know that as I asked him to check for thyroid (my mum has a thyroid problem and I was told I had a slight problem years ago) and I asked him to check my GGT levels - he said it was pointless to go looking for anything else as it could all come down to diabetes).

I haven't been the same since I had glandular fever/viral attack on my liver - which was years ago (1990) and have been fobbed off a lot when I've said I'm lethargic, tired, 'not me' etc I wonder if I do have T1 or had syndrome X (which I presume will now have turned into T2). Is there anyway to find out if I have had it for a long time?

The nurse took 3 vials of blood and said there were 'randoms' - it didn't mean anything to me.

That explain the 'straight to blood test' - thanks!

I will go to the chemist and get some 'pee sticks' tomorrow. I used them once before when I was on some diet that required you to be in ketosis. (I didn't do it for very long) and take action if they're above trace.

OhLimpPricks - that's good advice, I'll go and see what my local chemist has in tomorrow. I definitely want to manage it myself and minimise the impact is has on both my life now and my health later on.

I felt fine before (a little more energy than normal in fact), but hadn't eaten all day. Then I had 3 crumpets, one with apricot jam and two with peanut butter and banana with a latte. I probably wont buy any of those things anymore but thought I'd use them up as I had them in. Anyway, I now have a headache & feel very very tired - the two are not necessarily connected I know, but what do you think?

LayMizzRarb Thu 24-Jan-13 18:19:13

OhlimpPricks here, have name changed!
If you are diagnosed, you will be able to have the odd treat, but it just means making a few changes, and looking at food labels for a while.
Something's may suprise you with how much or how little sugar they actually contain.
Be very wary of stuff of stuff marketed as very low fat/reduced fat versions of things like yoghurt, deserts, diet foods, as they usually contain tons of sugar to compensate for the lack of taste that fat causes. Yoghurts are a number one offender. Advertised as low fat and slimming, but very full of sugar.

FarmerNell Thu 24-Jan-13 18:40:56

Hi MyHead

3 crumpets, jam, banana ... that's a lot of carbs in one go and it's probably sent your blood sugar way high. You need to be able to test your blood sugar and act accordingly (eg exercise to bring your levels down) if you want to get on a more even keel.

I'm type 1 and I can tell you I feel like crap if my levels gets too high. Lethargic, sick, chest tight, strange feeling in my mouth - not nice!

For the dizziness etc in the morning - it's hard to say what's going on unless you test. If your levels have been high for a long time (and it sounds like they have), you could feel hypo even if you're not. It could be your body adjusting to lower, more normal blood sugar levels. If you can gradually work on getting your overall levels down you might then only feel hypo when you are actually hypo (levels under about 4, for me anyway)

You can actually get meters for free from most manufacturers, just google and pick one. It's the strips that make them their money...

Inaflap Thu 24-Jan-13 18:56:37

Manufacturers do free meters. I wouln't dash off and buy one yet. Pee sticks will be fine until you get a diagnosis. If you get put straight on insulin then you'll get one anyway. You've just had a massive amount of carbs. My son works out his insulin dose based on his blood reading and the amount of carbs he is eating. Bit of a bore at feeding time but fortunately he is good at maths and has a meter that contains the formulas. If he ate that amount then he would have to have a wacking amount of insulin. You can't have a hypo but your body has got used to you being high so when you are not your body might think its having a hypo.

See what the DR says and then move forward but it is handy to be genned up. Its quite common for diabetics to have thyroid probs.

Melty Thu 24-Jan-13 20:50:54

Dont worry about buying meters sticks etc. The GP/nurse will sort you out. Most Diabetes is managed in the community these days, so between the GP and the diabetic nurse, they will supply you with what you need. Diabetic patients get free prescriptions for diabetic stuff so wait...

SCOTCHandWRY Fri 25-Jan-13 15:32:16

I felt fine before (a little more energy than normal in fact), but hadn't eaten all day. Then I had 3 crumpets, one with apricot jam and two with peanut butter and banana with a latte. I probably wont buy any of those things anymore but thought I'd use them up as I had them in. Anyway, I now have a headache & feel very very tired - the two are not necessarily connected I know, but what do you think?

I think you need to be very careful and eat very few carb/sugary food just now, until your treatment gets started - I am a bit worried about your headaches and your lethargy, and the posibility of Hyperclycemic problems (ketoacidosis - not the same as having ketones due to being on a diet but a very dangerous condition which can be triggered quite quickly when blood sugar spiral out of control).

I hope you managed to get some pee sticks today smile.

The multistix used in most GP surgeries have little colour squares that change colour and you read them off against a reference chart on the box - they test for sugar, protein (sign of infection), ketones, ph, blood and a couple of other things.

I'm not sure what the nurse meant by "Randoms"?

Thyroid - often goes a bit wonky in people who have autoimmune illness, impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes... IMO worth testing function, not very impressed by your GP... maybe it's time to change to a different one soon!

SCOTCHandWRY Fri 25-Jan-13 15:41:45

Unfortunately, the way they will know if you have had this problem for a long time is by checking to see if you have already got some damage from you blood sugar being high for a long time (years) sad, newly diagnosed diabetics should have a series of checks to assess any nerve or eye damage they may have, it also means they have a clear picture of where your are NOW so they can check your treatment is preventing further problems when they recheck these things in the future.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Fri 25-Jan-13 15:50:59

I got a call from the Drs this morning to say I don't have diabetes grin but he wants to see me next week still.

I have spent a couple of hours like this >>>>> grin wondering how to share my good news here, without sounding like I'm gloating and without making anyone here feel worse about their situation. I felt I'd been given my life back and the chance to 'start again' smile I felt the low level depression I have been living with since my bereavement lift - I felt, for the first time in years - excited.

Then another receptionist rang. I DO have diabetes. She has no idea who called earlier, she has no idea why that was said, she's sorry. Sorry???

I am gutted angry

As you all know, I'd accepted that this would be how it went - that I am a diabetic and that I'd have to come to terms with the changes in my life and how it will affect lots of things in my life and my future health. The additional complications it will bring to getting/being/remaining pregnant if that even happens - I actually think this is the end of that dream sad

But to be told I'm NOT then I AM - I was lifted high and now I have crashed and I just want to cry.

Megatron Fri 25-Jan-13 15:53:20

Agree with everything SCOTCH says. DD has Type 1.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Fri 25-Jan-13 15:58:13

When I woke up this morning, I didn't feel awful, I felt almost 'normal' and able to go in the shower without having to wait until I felt OK. It was great.

I met a friend this morning and had 2 lattes while we were chatting. Came home, felt fine... got lots done, another good day, better than I've had in ages...

I took the first phone call, did some more housework then stopped for something to eat. I had 2 pita pockets with avocado and a bottle of water.

Then I got the second phone call.

I now feel tired and I have a headache sad

No pee sticks yet. But I might go out and get some now.

Receptionist couldn't seem to see my point when I said Wednesday was a long way away for me and I'd like to know more about my results before then. She huffily said she'd see if the Dr had time to ring me or not. He also said I have the Diet booklet and to just read that.

The thing is - the booklet goes against a lot of what you wise people have said - so what do I do??

thegreylady Fri 25-Jan-13 15:58:56

My dh was dx with T2 diabetes about 3 years ago.At the time of dx his reading was 7 which we were told was borderline.He was prescribed tablets and given a diet sheet and told to lose weight.
His main symptom was a little numbness in his feet.He has to have 6 monthly blood tests, eye exams and foot checks.
Last time he went to the hospital his reading was 4.8 and they were delighted with him.before that the reading had been up to 9 and the doctor was beginning to talk about insulin injections. My dh is 76 but he really took control of his diet, gave up all sugar in drinks and reduced carbs.he eats a normal healthy diet now and has lost 2 and a half stones of weight.

LayMizzRarb Fri 25-Jan-13 16:14:28

At least you got to speak to a human. After being tested, my GP left a message on my voicemail to tell me I was diabetic, and could I make an appt to see a dr at the surgery. Luckily I'm a pragmatic person, and had genned up on the subject on the Internet, but it would have been dreadful if I had been a bit vulnerable, or maybe very elderly, or with no access to the Internet.
Don't see it as something totally dreadful, but changes you make will hopefully lead to you being generally more healthy.
It will have a big impact on your life if you let it.
Don't let it.

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