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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.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sun 03-Feb-13 19:27:15

Awsangel & Scotch smile

Mynewmoniker Sun 03-Feb-13 20:07:01

Just have one teeny tiny potato and one grain of rice. Then you wont be lying when she asks if you're having your cabs!

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sun 03-Feb-13 20:32:49

Oh - I don't have any problem lying to her grin and I wont even need to really, she wont ask for any details and if she does I can honestly say I've cut out all 'bad' stuff, cut down on cheese/butter and I'm eating more veg...

isithometime Mon 04-Feb-13 09:54:40

If think youre thinking of trying without the metformin then I would say you could do with a monitor asap, you can get it delivered next day from loads of online places.

Also, I know its a gradual process to get your head around, but heading off diabetes by diet and exercise, when metformin has been prescribed, really is an all or nothing situation. If youre not ready to put everything into it then I dont think you will get the results you want and your body needs - the monitor will help you to see a clear pattern so you can assess how well things are going

sazpops Mon 04-Feb-13 10:06:00

exit and myhead - I posted at the beginning of this thread to say my husband had recently been diagnosed and was low carbing, so this is just an update to say we're really not finding it too hard to cut the carbs right down, with really good results on his readings.

Breakfast cereals and porridge are definitely out for him, he has two slices of either Burgen soya and linseed or brown soda bread with cheese or peanut butter, or eggs at the weekend.

Lunch is either home made soup with a couple of ryvita, salad, omelette (I make frittata so he can take it to work and have it cold). I also make sugar free jelly with a few raspberries in for a sweet treat, or he has natural yogurt with a few berries.

Dinners: I have had to think a lot more about what to cook, especially on days I work, as you can't just bung a load of pasta on and do a quick sauce! I do stir fries, but with half the amount of noodles I used to do, but more veg, that seems to work. Also, cauliflower puree (with a bit of cheese added) is a great substitute for mashed potato. He can manage 3 small new potatoes without affecting his levels too much. It seems that any carbs don't have as much effect if they're combined with something fatty (not great when you're trying to lose weight I know!), so lasagne seems to be OK.

I know everyone is different, and it does seem a bit of trial and error, but I just wanted to say that you can eat pretty well without starving yourself. yes, he's given up crisps and chocolate bars, but there's plenty he can eat that he enjoys, and that's what you need to focus on! I'm going to experiment with a low car bakewell tart this afternoon, using sweetener in the frangipane and just a little filo pastry for the base, with mashed raspberries instead of the jam. I'll let you know how it works!

ExitPursuedByABear Mon 04-Feb-13 10:25:42

It is all so complicated it makes my head hurt!

I really should get myself checked out, as if I was also diabetic then it would be easier to forge ahead with a totally new eating regime.

sazpops Mon 04-Feb-13 10:41:37

exit - don't go wishing a lifelong condition on yourself just to push yourself into a new eating regime! I don't need to lose weight, but it hasn't been that hard to modify what we eat to something that's acceptable to both of us. If I want a 'treat' I just have it when DH isn't around - he always says 'Oh, eat what you like, it's not fair for you to do without' but I'd rather be supportive and eat my carbs on my days off (like the bit of toast I'm having with my coffee right now!). It really isn't complicated - the diabetes.co.uk website has loads of advice and their forum is very useful too.

ExitPursuedByABear Mon 04-Feb-13 11:02:10

Gosh saz - I wasn't wishing it upon myself, I would be devastated - but I am overweight and I drink far too much white wine and I am early 50's so I am probably a prime candidate. I was tested a couple of years ago and was fine, but things can change.

DH is off to see the nurse on the 6th and I need to get him to read this thread. I suppose it is a choice between becoming insulin dependent or managing the condition through diet.

If it were me, I would be more motivated to do the latter but it would be an uphill struggle with DH.

sazpops Mon 04-Feb-13 11:05:46

exit - the thing is, if you both make these changes now, you might actually prevent yourself becoming diabetic, so it really is worth the effort. And if you do it together, will your DH be more willing to try to change his eating habits?

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 04-Feb-13 18:32:52

isithometime I'll have a look online tonight and order a monitor. I've had a look at the local chemists as I wanted a local stockist of the strips (and I was hoping that I could get one which would use the strips they prescribe, if they ever do), but all of the local chemists are pretty useless, so I'll just do it all on-line. Not one of the 4 local chemists had any ketosis pee sticks either.

I'm not sure what you mean by this

"...but heading off diabetes by diet and exercise, when metformin has been prescribed, really is an all or nothing situation. *If youre not ready to put everything into it then I dont think you will get the results you want and your body needs*"

It has actually really upset me, almost to the point of tears (the only thing stopping the tears actually is the fact that it should be 'words on a screen' and you are not here, so can't possibly know how much I am doing, so I really shouldn't take it so hard). It's the first time I've felt that way since I was diagnosed. I am doing everything I possibly can... where is it exactly that you think I'm failing?? sad

mirry2 Mon 04-Feb-13 18:55:21

OP you aren't failing. All GPs seem to prescribe metformin as soon as diabetes2 is diagnosed. I've heard that it's inevitable that patients will take it as the condition is progressive, however the longer you can put it off the better, imo, as eventually metformin will fail and then it's injections.
But you do need to get that monitor and be prepared to pay a fair bit for the test strips. Only then will you know if your efforts are paying off.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 04-Feb-13 18:57:37

Sazpops Hi again.

It's great to hear your DH's readings are going so well smile

Has he tried making his porridge with water (not milk)?

How are his readings with the burgen & soda breads?

I've had a few Rivita, but they are high in carbs, so I've tried to restrict them. Has he done readings after them?

I don't eat eggs which for me is unfortunate as they are very convenient when you lo carb!

I've bought a small pot of total today to try it for breakfast to see how long it keeps me satisfied. The avocado and small amount of cheese (25g) is good, but I need a few alternatives so I don't get fed up of it.

Dinner does definitely take more thinking about if you don't want to eat the same thing everynight (especially when you are vegetarian/no eggs).

I haven't had any pasta/noodles or anything like that - I've tried to cut out all processed carbs except for the odd Rivita and the two slices of 'bread replacement stuff' that I was having, but I cut that out today too.

I'm being uber strict because on top of wanting to control my blood sugar levels through diet, I also know that dropping some serious weight should help loads, so for now it's a hard hit from both POV. (But I'm pleased for your DH that just cutting down is enough to keep his levels good - and for the future me who can start to add the odd little thing back in when I've lost the weight and got control of my levels).

Are you putting anything other than cauli and a little cheese in your puree?

I've also cut out potatoes (but they're a hopeful future add-back as a treat, in small quantities).

Lasagna - good to know he can still enjoy that and a good one for eating out smile Have you tried the low carb one on the bootcamp recipe thread? It sounds lovely (I think it uses leeks instead of pasta).

That Bakewell sounds lovely smile

Please keep posting, it's really good to know the things you are trying and which are working for your DH. As you say, we are all different, but it's a good place to start - even if I keep lots of them tucked away in my mind for 'future add backs for treats!'.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 04-Feb-13 19:08:41

Exit - I totally understand how you feel. I knew for ages that I needed to sort my diet out (general health) but for many and varied reasons I just couldn't sort my shit out - sadly sad It appears that I have had diabetes for years - I hate that I could/have done so much damage to myself when I could have been managing the condition and reducing the chances of ending up on insulin a long time ago.

I hope you do get yourself tested - but if you don't, I hope you can get control of your diet/weight/general health. It's a struggle I know - but we can support each other (along with others on here!) smile

If I can't be an example - let me be a warning!

<Not sure who that was stolen from??>

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 04-Feb-13 19:18:56

Mirry - Thank you.

I have been looking to see how accurate/helpful another HbA1c test would be in a months (paid for myself). I know they are hard to get and not cheap, but if it was worth it I'd do it. I know it will only change the 'average' , but it was significant surely it would mean that diet/exercise/weightloss was starting to control it wouldn't it - whereas if it was the same it would indicate that I should start on the metformin?

The nurse seemed to think it was pointless - but not sure if that's true or just a cost saving comment?!

sazpops Mon 04-Feb-13 19:22:17

The bakewell tart worked! I discovered it was shortcrust pastry(ready rolled) in the freezer, not filo, so I used half a sheet and rolled it REALLY thin. I cut it into 6 pieces and I reckon there was 9gms of carb in each. DH had one and the rest are in the freezer (out of harm's way!). As he's now gone out to play 2hours of badminton I think this is fine.

The cauli puree is just cauli and cheese - the cheese helps 'stick' it together, I think it would be quite watery without. You need to cook it until it's quite soft or it won't puree properly (as I found to my cost the first time!).

2 slices of Burgen or soda bread and cheese have given DH readings of anywhere between 6.5 and 8, 2 hours afterwards. 2 ryvita seem to give similar readings, as long as he has some protein with them.

Porridge is just a no-no unfortunately, even though oats are low GI I think it's the fact that it's just carbs and nothing to help 'soak them up' if you see what I mean.

another good tip for a sauce you'd normally have with pasta - shred carrots into ribbons using a speed peeler and cook them for a minute or so, and put your sauce onto a bed of these.

I'll post any other tips as I remember them (or discover them) but do bear in mind that your body might react entirely differently to DH's. It might give you some starting points though.

mirry2 Mon 04-Feb-13 19:52:28

OP there's no need for a private HbA1c test. Get a monitor and some test strips instead. Most monitors come with some free test strips. Start testing straight away and see whether your bg levels comes down over a month.

tazzle22 Mon 04-Feb-13 20:39:49

have just read the whole thread with interest as although not diagnosed (waiting for HbA1c results) I am either just over or just under the diagnosis level for T2 and am definatley at least glucose intolerant.

I bought a meter a few months ago after my brother was diagnosed T2 and caon honestly ay it has been the best thing I have ever done. There is T1, T2 and gestational diabetes in my family so I always knew there was a risk of it .... but kinda "put it off" doing something.

I wondered if my GP would brush it off that my numbers were only just over at times (11.8) but frequently over 8 ...(I had charted all I had eaten and the numbers for two months) but he was brill !!!

as he said, its a continnum.... just because an hour can make a difference between a point over or an point under and a diagnosis it means that lots people are not diagnosed as IGT ( Impaired glucose tolerant) and actually have already damaged thier body systems by time of diagnosis.. spiking in 7's and 8's can be enough to do some damage. He thinks it great I am being proactive.

Re meters and strips ....... very expensive to buy them at the chemist ..... I get mine on ebay at less then half the price !!!!

I eat to what my meter tells me is happening sith BG and am still learning .......... like how much having a virus shoots BG up......... 11.3 on 1/2 slice bread yesterday shock

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 04-Feb-13 22:15:05

Sazpops - that sounds great. I think I need me a wife grin

Mirry - the thing with testing like that though is that it doesn't give you the same average that the HbA1c does because it's only a reading at x time not a reading of 24/7/12 - so surely you aren't getting such an accurate reflection? Just a 'at this point in time'...?

Tazzle - Let us know when you get the results (fingers crossed it's a no!) although hopefully it can be diet controlled if you are on the line or just over it anyway? It's good that your Dr thinks it's good that you are being pro-active - my diabetes nurse seems to think anything you do yourself (other than not eat pies & cake) is OTT and Should Be Left To The Professionals and Medication hmm <sigh> Which meter do you have and what do you think of it? Where do you get your strips from? How much are they? (LOL did you realise there'd be an interrogation??

isithometime Tue 05-Feb-13 08:59:11

ahhh op I am sorry thanks, I have people in my family who read the books, buy a monitor and dont use it, make dietary plans and dont follow them closely, buy an exercise machine but dont use it, and you can imagine the outcome, their sugars go up instead of down.

Your sugar levels mean you really can crack it with diet and exercise but you DO need a monitor ASAP and it is a tough road, a total lifestyle change - your diet will have to be turned on its head, not substituting crackers for sandwiches, but something a bit more hardcore and bootcampy for a few months - you need a lot of aerobic exercise too to give yourself the very very best chance of booting the diabetes out.

Scientific studies last year or the year before showed that people with pre diabetes who lost a lot of body fat (= lo carb to cut body fat and not muscle mass) quickly become totally non diabetic - and that can be you.


isithometime Tue 05-Feb-13 09:00:43

I just looked on ebay, the strips are genuine long shelf life sealed units at about half the shop price, maybe £15-£20 for 50 and delivered to your door

mirry2 Tue 05-Feb-13 09:59:59

The HbA1c test is done every three months. What it doesn't tell you is whether you have great swings of blood sugar depending on time of day, food eaten or exercise taken. for example because I test regularly I know what my BG level is, more or less, when I get up, before and 2 hours after a meal and when I go to bed. If my BG level starts to rise I take action straightaway, by upping my exercise or checking my diet. It means really getting to know your body and what foods affect it. I know that toast and marmalade in the morning will send up my BG level so I avoid it except maybe as a holiday treat.

I know that at some point my BGlevels will start creeping up and then I'll have to bite the bullet and start taking metformin once my BG levels regularly go beyond the NICE guidelines. If you don't want to take medication and you manage to keep the BG below the NICE guidelines you have to be very firm with the doctors.

I haven't found that my diabetes impinges much on my life. I have had it for at least 6 years I think with no symptoms. I was only diagnosed when I was having investigations for another health problem. Nobody knows I have it, apart from my Dh, because I don't want people judging me or my eating habits and there's so much negative press about it.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Tue 05-Feb-13 10:05:30

isithometime - thanks.

On what basis are you saying that my levels can be cracked with diet & exercise (ie - what qualifications/experience do you have to back that up?). Do you have a link to any of those studies?

I am not your family. I still don't think you are listening to me.

My lifestyle has changed overnight (well, it's gone back to the way it was before other things in my life went so drastically wrong). I have cut out pretty much all sugar (including fruit until I get this sorted). I know there is still some 'sugar' in my food as I am still having milk etc, I have cut out all 'crap', I have drastically cut down on processed carbs (in the fortnight I have had a few Ryvita (maybe 6), and most of the mornings I have had 2 slices of a wheat free, organic, rye 'thing' that very very loosely resembles bread, toasted with avocado, pepper and 25g of cheese - I have also cut that out now. Where you get the idea I'm just faffing about swapping one processed carb for another I don't know.

I have re-started walking every day. Only half an hour to 45 mins (2-3 miles) at the moment as I still don't feel too good.

What part of that is not 'bootcampy' - other than not wanting to join BIWI's bootcamp and only eating veggies from the 'allowed' list and still drinking milk. I think I'm actually following more of the bootcamp rules than most of the bootcampers are grin but I'm respecting BIWI's wishes that if you are doing her bootcamp that you follow her rules and right now, I'm not - so I'll lurk. I also think it's possible I'm in ketosis and I was trying to get some sticks to see, but for me (right now) it's not the be-all and end-all answer... (I'm quite well aware it may become so!).

I am 100% sure you are trying to help smile so thank you thanks but could you please read what I'm writing and if you still don't think I'm doing enough or doing it right, be more specific instead of generalising about things that shouldn't be done (especially when I'm not doing them). I'm completely open to suggestions and constructive criticism smile Thanks!

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Tue 05-Feb-13 10:30:19

Mirry - Thank you for posting (again). Which monitor do you have and would you recommend it? There are so many! I'm going to get the fast clix lancet that was recommended earlier if that makes any difference?

What do you usually eat? I've got to the point where I've taken everything 'out' of my diet, but I need to start adding a few things back in as I can't live with this (vegetarian <no eggs>, no processed carbs, cut right back on cheese. No potatoes, beans, lentils, oats, grains, rice, pasta). I'm pretty much doing low carb and low fat (other than the avocado). I'm a bit concerned about too much fat if I'm not in ketosis.

Breakfast and eating out are the hardest things. I'm meeting a friend for lunch to day - just a 'cafe' not a 'restaurant' <neither of us can afford a restaurant around here at the moment for a casual lunch> and I can't think of a single thing I can have - I think I'll baby cuddle and coffee while she eats lunch, which is 'ok' but other than saying 'I'm low carbing' I don't know what to say to my friends and family at the moment about what I'm not eating and I'm not doing well in saying what I can eat because I can't think of much! I met another friend in Costa yesterday, there was nothing I could have - which was fine with me, but obviously she was a bit hmm at why I wouldn't have a panini etc. I told her I was low-carbing but she kept offering me a little of hers (crisps, panini, cake) and I hated making her feel guilty for eating a fairly normal lunch when I just had a coffee. <Sigh>

If you don't want to take medication and you manage to keep the BG below the NICE guidelines you have to be very firm with the doctors I have 3 months and another HbA1c before I have to deal with that again! smile

I haven't found that my diabetes impinges much on my life... Nobody knows I have it, apart from my Dh, because I don't want people judging me or my eating habits and there's so much negative press about it Exactly. How have you coped with that when eating out/eating at friends?

sazpops Tue 05-Feb-13 11:05:34

myhead it sounds as though you're making yourself miserable, trying to cut out everything. You still need food to give yourself energy to do that walking and just to enjoy life! I think you should introduce beans and lentils back into your diet - yes they have some carbs, but they also have protein. From stuff I've looked at on the internet, they are the diabetics friend! We eat a lot of them and haven't found they affect DH's levels adversly.

I think you are right not to follow anyone else's 'rules' about what you should and shouldn't eat, I would really get yourself a monitor and see exactly how different things affect you, otherwise you're working in the dark really. Anway, well done on the changes you've made, but please don't make yourself miserable! Maybe next time you meet a friend for lunch try to go somewhere you can have a vegetable soup or salad.

Re: which monitor, we are in Ireland, so DH was given one from the docs as he had a load a rep had given him. The lancets and strips are free here as diabetics are given an exemption card. I think it's called a Freestyle something or other!

sazpops Tue 05-Feb-13 11:08:35

Sorry myhead, just realised I said you shouldn't follow anyone else's rules, then said you 'should' reintroduce beans and lentils! shock

Just a suggestion!

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