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Another slightly freaked out newbie

Discussion in 'Newly Diagnosed' started by JulianneG, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. JulianneG

    JulianneG · Member

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    Hello everyone, thank goodness for this forum and website, that’s all I can say. Last Friday I found out by accident that I was diabetic after a bloodtest because I was convinced I was in menopause, I’m 50 next year. A letter for diabetic eye scans plopped through the door, I thought they must have confused me with another patient so queried it at the GP to be told “no, you’re definitely diabetic”. So I had a day of panic (and there were hulahoops because comfort eating carbs was my go-to self medication) and a huge amount of research. The first thing I discovered was that my ‘funky bloodsugar issues’ that I’ve had since my early 20’s had a name and I wasn’t imagining it – reactive hypoglycaemia. I followed the prevailing advice of the early 90’s that fat was bad and carbs were good, but then found that if I ate white bread, chocolate anything like that before the evening meal that my sugar would crash a couple of hours later and I would go hypo, which is horrible. I learned by trial and error about low G.I foods and I avoided going hypo as long as I stuck to wholegrains and didn’t indulge in office cake and biscuits and whatnot in the day. My blood sugar results were always around 4.5 on random tests, so diabetes hasn’t been on my radar at all, although my weight has been creeping up and up since I had kids and I haven’t been able to work out as much as I’d like. I’ve also noticed over the last few years that I crave chocolate and sweets, which I never used to, I’ve always been a crisps/chips kind of girl. So yes I’ve been indulging in those in the evenings more than I should lately, but not to a crazy degree.

    What I failed to notice is that I could now go long periods of time and skip meals without feeling the dreaded hypo coming on. Not a surprise really, considering that I was depressed, anxious and unable to cope with anything, I was convinced that I would be told I needed HRT and all would be well.

    Wrong!

    My HbA1c was 52 and my cholesterol 6.1 (no surprise there, it runs in the family and it’s been at this level since they first tested me years ago). My BMI is around 32 but I do Zumba or spin classes 3 or 4 times a week if I can get to them. This year it’s been really patchy on the exercise front and high on the stress front, something big seems to go wrong every week and I haven’t been able to get into a routine properly. I use the exercise to raise my mood, so being hit and miss hasn’t helped that.

    So, on Friday I found out I’m diabetic and I needed to do something about it, so from Saturday I radically changed my diet. Out went all the junk and the white stuff and I reduced my complex carbs intake as well, upping the fruit and veg and some fats too. I also started a food diary. On Sunday evening I felt the familiar sensation of a hypo coming on and headed it off with nuts and some raw veg and then had a low carb dinner. The next Morning I woke up with a hypo coming on and had to eat an apple before I could drive. A morning hypo has never happened before that I can remember from my reactive hypoglymaemia days. It’s now Thursday and I haven’t experienced any more hypos but I have stuck to my low carb diet (which had an ‘interesting’ effect on my bowels for a couple of days). The last few evenings I have had some sugar cravings though, it's like my body has worken up to the fact that we're missing the naughty yummy stuff.

    What I noticed this morning when I woke up is that I felt perky. Perky! Nothing hurts, all the aches and pains have gone. Honestly, I’ve been so low and tearful for so long that I can’t remember when I last felt this good. And today my monitor arrived, I did my first BG test, mid-afternoon which came out at 6.

    So, a few questions that I haven’t found answers to yet – firstly is it possible that I’ve really pushed my blood sugar down to near normal levels in less than a week and reversed some really debilitating symptoms that seem to be all hyper related?

    Also, I’m a bit confused about what my monitor is monitoring, is that reading I took today 6 mmol/mol? Is it the same as the A1C test? I can’t work out if there are two different tests.

    Is keto a safe thing to investigate with diabetes? Especially with my high cholesterol? I don’t know how fasting works if your blood sugar drops to hypo levels, I’ve always avoided things like the 5:2 diet because I know that’s where I’ll end up if I don’t eat regularly. I’ve read Jason Fung’s book and it’s terrifying, but I’ve heard conflicting theories about the liver being clogged with fat and now I’m thoroughly confused.

    My GP wants me on Metformin, I’m just a bit concerned that I’m going to find myself in hypoville on a regular basis if I take it. I’ve decided to give it at least a week without to self test and work out my ‘don’t go there’ triggers and what does work for me. How much does metformin suppress the appetite? It does have its upsides from what I’ve read and provides protection for you heart.

    Finally, I’m mourning the thought of fish and chips and the odd dinner out at Zizzi. Is it OK to cheat every now and then if your control is really good the rest of the time?

    Sorry for the very long list of questions, but this is definitely the place to land when you get that devastating diagnosis, so thank you in advance for reading this long :)
     
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  2. Rachox

    Rachox Type 2 (in remission!) · Moderator
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    Hi Julieann and welcome! What a truly shocking way to learn of your diagnosis.
    As you say you’ve landed in a great place, this forum!
    First let me give you a link to a useful info page:
    https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/basic-information-for-newly-diagnosed-diabetics.17088/
    I was diagnosed with an HbA1c of 70, HbA1c is a clever test which works out your average blood sugar level over the preceding 3 months approx. Here’s some info:
    https://www.diabetes.co.uk/hba1c-test.html
    As you will see at 52 you aren’t too far into the diabetic range. The HbA1c is different from a finger prick test which shows you your blood sugar at that moment in time. You’ve done the right thing buying a meter, you need to do some methodicay testing before and two hours after meals to see how certain foods affect you.
    As for Metformin, it’s entirely up to you if you start on it, remember your GP can only advise. I do take Metformin as I wanted to get things under control quickly, both blood sugars and weight (you can read my stats in my signature). However with an HbA1c of 52 it is entirely doable to get that down to non diabetic with a low carb diet that’s what I use.
    Do some more reading and come back with any questions that occur to you.
     
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  3. Diakat

    Diakat Type 1 · Moderator
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    Hi!
     
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  4. copilost

    copilost Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    what an excellent post, asking all the questions I've been thinking about but been too cowardly to ask :)
    I also feel better than I've felt in years (almost too much so), I was talking to a friend just now trying to describe how "ill" I've felt for a while, finally came up with "it's like when you come down with a cold and you think oh that's why I felt so rubbish for the past couple of days!" Only obviously there was no cold. She said "well you have been coming down with something only it's diabetes"!
     
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  5. copilost

    copilost Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    i sent of for control solution for my glucose meter because I didn't believe the results!
     
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  6. HSSS

    HSSS Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Welcome. You’ve done really well already with your actions and I’ll try answer some of your questions

    First off the awful feeling you’ve had this week could also be a false hypo. When you dramatically drop the carbs your body effectively throws a tantrum and behaves as it it’s having a real hypo. It feels much the same but doesn’t actually involve hypo numbers. Only testing can differentiate the two. If it was a false hypo they will pass as your body gets used to new lower levels.

    Hb1ac is a 3 month average cleverly worked out from the effect the glucose has had on the red blood cells that last about that length of time. It’s weighted a bit towards more recent weeks as a result. The meter you bought tests the here and right now level. Both are mmol but meters are mmol/l and hb1ac is mmol/mol.

    Hb1ac of 52 isn’t too far into diabetes and can be tackled quite realistically by diet alone, I. Fact is quite common to be given 3 or even 6 months to try it that way first before medication is introduced. I think it very much depends on the nurse/dr and how motivated they think you might be. Some are a little jaded to say the least and outdated in their knowledge. Some believe it’s profressive and not much to be done. Others are aware how much difference diet (carbs!) and lifestyle can make and advised accordingly. They can only suggest medications. It is your choice entirely whether to take that advice.

    Cholesterol is another large area and quite controversial in that it’s really it as simple as a total number, or even if it’s actually damaging or just another symptom of problems. This thread https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/cholesterol-and-statins.156985/ will tell you more than any gp ever will. Ratios are much more important than total figures even if you believe in what many consider to be a myth.

    Keto is fantastic for type 2. If carbs are you’re problem then not eating them solves the immediate problem. It allows insulin levels to fall and insulin resistance to improve. As you lose weight (by any method) your lipids may rise as they “escape” from your body via blood. Once weight stabilises the good numbers are almost always higher and triglycerides lower. LDL isn’t calculated accurately on low carb and should be separated into damaging small particles and harmless large particles but it never is. On low carb the large particles increase and the small decrease in studies.

    Testing is best done in a structured way. On waking for a fasting reading. This will often be the last figure to fall into line. Being aware of that helps prevent disappointment. Dawn phenomenon also has an effect. Then immediately before eating and 2 hrs after. You want a rise of no more than 2mmol. Ideally less. More means the carbs in the meal were mor Ethan you could cope with. Either ditch them or reduce the amount. Some foods will rise and fall at different rates but this is a good first method to get to grips with what’s good to eat and what’s not.

    Highly likely to cause big rises are sugars of any type, bread (any type), potatoes (any colour), rice (all types), cereal, grains, flour, underground veg that’s starchy including parsnips for example, some overground like peas and carrots to some extent for some people, fruit with the exception of a few berries. When we ditch these carbs we fill up on fat to keep us full and give energy. It doesn’t have to be huge amounts, it’s up to you what you need. It won’t make you fat or raise your cholesterol if you aren’t also eating carbs.

    Eating out is doable. Your tastes will change though so what’s desirable now won’t always be the same. Cheating has the risk of starting up the cravings and carb rollercoaster. Only you know if it’s worth it and can truely be a one off.

    Yes numbers can drop very quickly
     
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  7. HSSS

    HSSS Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Because? High or low? After eating what foods?
     
  8. HSSS

    HSSS Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I’m assuming you are type 2. Could you go to your profile and make the appropriate selection of type and medications. (It doesn’t work from the app, it needs to be from the website itself). It helps a lot when people answer your questions to know this as advice will change depending on your answers and it’s a pain to have to keep asking and risks misinformation.
     
  9. copilost

    copilost Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    low. I'm newly diagnosed (10 July) I stopped eating all carbs except vegetables (and milk in 3 cups of tea) and did some fasting. Three days later, when the meter arrived (online order) I got the following: pre meal 5.5%, 1 hour after 5.7% two hours after 5%. All mornings thereafter until I ran out of test strips 5%.
     
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  10. copilost

    copilost Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    ok should be done I think. I'm newly diagnosed Type 2, pre diabetes for a while, hovering around 6.2% fasting glucose for a few years then suddenly jumped up at my last annual blood pressure review. I have been trying really hard to fix my diet so eating lots of good carbs: beans, lentils, brown rice, veg and little meat, not too much fat. I have been feeling ghastly. Dropped all carbs except veg and a little milk, felt odd but "better" within 24 hrs. Great by day 3. I had an appointment with my dental hygienist yesterday and warned her that I'd been fasting so breath might smell (she said it did!).

    The question I'm worrying at is: can it really make a difference this fast?
     
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  11. HSSS

    HSSS Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Yes your profile has updated. Thanks.

    Blood glucose levels tested by meters in the here and now are dynamic and can change quickly. Hb1ac averages will take a while to reflect the changes because of what and how it measures.

    Do you mean 6.2mmol? Meters don’t measure in %. That’s a form of hb1ac (the 3 month average). The before and after readings show whatever you are eating is suitable with little to no rise after 2 hrs. Well done.

    Do you mean you first went to “eating lots of good carbs: beans, lentils, brown rice, veg and little meat, not too much fat.“ then went to just veg and milk and saw the improvement after the second change? If so that would be because beans and lentils and rice of any colour are highly suspect for raising bgl.

    There’s nothing wrong with meat or fat on a low carb or keto diet so no need at all to avoid them. It’s a suspect agenda scientifically that’s anti meat (the only unarguable reason to reduce meat is moral based or a few uncommon medical conditions) and fat has had an unscientific bum wrap for decades and it’s now coming to light how inaccurate the assumptions (not science) has been.

    The breath smell will disappear and your gums might well improve along with any other inflammation you might have.
     
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  12. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 (in remission!) · Expert

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    Yes, low carb for a week will have turned around a few things, flicked a few of the switches, got things rubber side down - it is a powerful tool in the work of lowering blood glucose.
    Hba1c is an accumulation of how your levels were over the last three months so it is slower to change.
    If you are a lucky type two then you should be heading back for normality - and that does involve feeling a lot better than where we'd got at diagnosis.
     
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  13. copilost

    copilost Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    thanks, don't want to hijack Julianne's thread! will be brave and raise my own questions later :) i need to sort out all the different measurement units (i'm confused), so 6.2 was the report from my previous annual check ups which i think was fasting blood glucose. HbA1c was 6.5 at my last check which is much higher (maybe 7.5 fasting?) unless i've got this completely wrong.
    For the past 2 yrs year eating "good" carbs during which I felt pretty rotten. Three days following diagnosis eating no carbs. Results feel too good to be true.
     
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  14. HSSS

    HSSS Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hb1ac numbers like those will be %
    Fasting glucose numbers like those will be mmol

    This site is much more than the forums. Hit the home button top right and take a look around. In the meantime some handy converters are here
    https://www.diabetes.co.uk/blood-sugar-converter.html
    https://www.diabetes.co.uk/hba1c-to-blood-sugar-level-converter.html
     
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  15. JulianneG

    JulianneG · Member

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    Copilost you go right ahead and ask, I don't mind at all because all information shared is information gained. I've learned so much just in the last couple of days, particularly that my lovely porridge with chopped banana and sultanas was a complete disaster carb-wise, even if I drop the banana it's still 61g per serving. I'm going to up the porridge content and learn to live without the dried fruit - or think of something else to put in it. Still a lot of work to be done on lowering the carbs, even though I've completely cut out the ****. I'm making a spreadsheet of all the things I either eat or cook with so that I can carb count my own recipes. What's the ideal daily carb intake? I don't know what my total calories are because I've never counted them and when I google about daily carbs it seems to depend on your calorie intake, so I'm none the wiser.

    The other thing I've learned is just how fast you can lower your BG with exercise. I had a high pre-breakfast reading of 8.3 (will have to investigate why this is last to come down and thank you for the warning btw) which came down to 7.5 2 hours after breakfast and just before I did a spin class. I checked after the class and it was down to 4.9. I was hungry and could feel my BG was lower, but I didn't feel I was going to hypo. HSSS I think you're right about the false hypo and that I'm going to have to re-educate myself on the signals my body is giving me because it all got screwed up with the high sugar.

    I'm so glad I got the meter, I can't for the life of me figure out why a doctor wouldn't want you to have one, how do you control it and make adjustments otherwise? Madness. I think my lancet technique is a bit hit and miss, I don't always get enough for a reading, even though I've got the depth set to 5 now. To squeeze or not to squeeze? That's my biggest question today.

    Thank you for the brilliant help so far, I really appreciate it. I'm going to follow the cholesterol links and look into keto more.
     
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  16. copilost

    copilost Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Thankyou :)
    oh me too! love some advice on that.
     
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  17. JoKalsbeek

    JoKalsbeek Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member

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    On keto you can forget the porridge completely, unless you go for this kind: https://www.dietdoctor.com/recipes/keto-coconut-porridge It's not just the carbs in the fruit, but the porridge for most T2's would mean a spike like you wouldn't believe. As for what's ideal per day, get a keto diet app and fill in your details, and then what you eat. It'll let you know what your ideal ratio's are with carbs, proteins, fats and calories, which means a lot less calculating and just trying to stay out of the red zone. ;) (I suck at calculating things myself, so that was a big help. I subscribed for a month when i started on keto last year, and that was that, I knew what was what and went from there.). Your meter'll help with the figuring-out-food too, so keep testing. And yeah, squeezing is fine. Just make sure you jab on the side of your finger rather than the pad, because that's a very sensitive bit of finger and it'll hurt.

    I went with different amount of carbs, halving them as I went along as my meter told me, and when it just got too hard to calculate anything I just simply went for the fewest possible carbs while still enjoying my meals, which in my case meant going keto. (Keto being 20 grams of carbs a day or less). Your meter'll tell you what's working for you. :)
     
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  18. HSSS

    HSSS Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    That’s because the porridge itself is likely the biggest culprit in high blood sugars as it’s high carb

    Don’t worry about calories too much for now. Work out how many carbs you are currently eating, set a lower target and see how your bloods do. Reassess. Many of us are below 100g. Lots lower than 50g. A fair number below 20g (keto)

    Fasting readings are higher due to dawn phenomenon (in everyone the liver dumps glucose to get you up and going. In diabetics the off switch is faulty sometimes)

    Lancet. I use a multiclix with lancets in a little drum. Have warm clean dry fingers. Be well hydrated it really helps. Whirl your arm round in a windmill if you typically have trouble. Have your meter almost ready to go (strip poised but not engaged) so you’re not messing around with blood dripping (optimism!). Prick the side of the fingertip not the middle of the pad. Wait a second or two for the flow. If you need to encourage it massage from the base of the finger up toward the tip. Not a squeeze at the top. Only once you’ve got a blob insert your strip fully. This way you aren’t racing against the clock. Have. Asystem where you rotate fingers to avoid soreness. We all end up with some that perform better than others.
     
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  19. copilost

    copilost Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe how helpful everyone here is, thank you.
    I'm completely off carbs (except veg and a little milk in tea) at the moment, but at some point I'm going to want to start testing foods because I'm going to want to know :)
    Is there a strategy for doing this whilst not overly poisoning myself? Would one boiled potato be a valid portion to try? How much bread at a go? or I guess how many carbs per portion of food would be a better way to test, are there significant thresholds from a biological view? Is there something already written somewhere?
    Thanks again and I'm beginning to think this diagnosis is the best thing to happen to me in a very long time :)
     
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  20. JoKalsbeek

    JoKalsbeek Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member

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    Well, diagnosis changed my life for the better, so who knows, could be true for you too.

    As for how many carbs, that's different for everyone, depending on how much insulin you produce, how sensitive/resistant you are to it, whether you can burn it off relatively easily or not etc... And that's different for everyone. Too many factors at play for a one-size-fits-all answer. I started out with, I think, as it was a long time ago, something like 100 grams of carbs a day or something, then went down to 85, then 75, cut down to 40 and then 20-or-less. If you test before a meal and 2 hours after first bite, and you don't go up more than 2.0 mmol/l, you're all good, so you can experiment if you wish... Just wouldn't advise to try spuds and bread in the same day. Give your pancreas a break eh, have just one meal where you're your own guinea pig. And if you do try it, try one potato, or one slice of bread, and see what that gets you. Don't have a stack of sandwiches, you don't want to put your body through that right now. I know I can get away with half a mini-cupcake from my favourite bakery, or a single macaron, provided I walk around the beautiful city of Delft to burn it off again. (I go to Delft twice or trice a year, haha.). I'll maybe steal one or two french fries from my husband's McD's meal. I just always stay under 20 grams if possible, and I feel it if I go over. (Like when served my husband's soda instead of my sugar free one... Oh boy!) Anyway... You'll figure it out with your meter. Just don't overdo it and you'll be fine. Many here would advise against checking and just ditching them all together, but sometimes you just need to know where you're at, and that's a strong motivator... And who knows, maybe you're good at 60 grams of carbs a day, or 120.... Only your meter'll tell you. You might also want to look in resistant starch. (Just google it). Could be helpful to you, though it is by no means a "eat as much as you like" thing.

    And well, the keto diet of 20 grams or less IS kindof a one-size-fits-all, I guess, as all T2's would do well on it provided they still produce insulin, haven't worn out their pancreas completely and have become insulin dependant... But it's not for everyone. I love it, but I understand if others don't. It's not just a matter of diet, you still have to enjoy the food you're eating, and it has to fit in your life, really... Just see what works for you! :)
     
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