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Help for my sister: Is she diabetic?

Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by editfmrt, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. editfmrt

    editfmrt · Newbie

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    My sister has been ill for three years. All her symptoms are totally uncharacteristic but she has been labelled by the NHS and cannot get help. I'm no expert but her diabetes blood tests look to me like something is going on but the doctors just don't follow anything up. These are the results:

    27th July 2007 – ref 3.5 – 6.00 result was 6.4.
    4th August 2008 – result: plasma glucose level OR 6.5 ref range 3.5 – 6 – fasting yes.
    3rd September 2008 – plasma glucose level 6.0 - fasting yes reason for request raised glucose levels in previous test.
    31 July 2009. Plasma glucose level –Result: Plasma Glucose level – OR 7.1 mmol/l reference range 3.5 – 6.00.

    Not many tests because the Drs say this is nothing to worry about. Are they right or should she have had some addtional tests to follow up further?

    She has severe burning, stabbing pains in feet, legs, thighs and back. Frequent urine infections. Urine results all say she does not drink enough but she insists she does. Always thirsty. High blood pressure but sometimes this drops to alarmingly low levels. High lipids. Low potassium. Tuning fork tests have worsened in the last year (no response now at thigh level but was at ankle level a year ago).

    Two different opticians in a regular eye test have asked if she has diabetes and said this should be checked urgently - they appear mystified when my sister said her doctors have said no.

    She is being dismissed as a time waster - but I know my sister and know this is definately not the case. She lived a normal life until three years ago when this first started.

    My questions to all you kind people are these:

    1. The blood test results above don't seem to be very much out of range - could she be diabetic and could these low figures cause such devastating results with pain etc?

    2. Where can we go to get some definitive test results? Are there private consultants that will do all the tests properly so we can trust and be sure whether she really has got diabetes or not? She does not have private insurance so will have to pay. Her GP is so useless that I don't want to ask for a referral. She lives in Hampshire.

    She is at her wits end and so is her family - any help is gratefully received.
  2. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    Hi editfmrt.
    Welcome to the forum.

    Sorry to hear of all your Sister's problems. My advice in this instance would be to first of all get a referral from her own GP. If this is refused then is there another Dr in the Practice that she could see ? Take the matter up with the Practice Manager and if needs be make an official complaint to the Practice and/or the local PCT. Does tend to focus the minds of errant GP's quite a lot !
    If that fails then is there another Practice in the area she could sign up with ?

    If all else fails contact some of the local Private Hospitals nearby and ask if they will accept self referrals from Patients. Some do, others will not. You have to ask. There are also WellPerson Clinics which are run at Private Hospitals which may be used and you should then get a full report and advice as to any diagnosis or treatment options. Ammunition to place in front of your GP if he still refuses to see that there is something wrong with your Sister.

    Hope you have some luck using these tactics.
  3. editfmrt

    editfmrt · Newbie

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    Thank you very much cugila for your speedy response.

    Your suggestions are all good and I am really pleased for your help. I'll investiagte your suggestion for self referral at a private clinic. We've done some of your suggestions already and gone down a number of false trails with medical people saying it is neuropathis pain/fybromyalgia or all in her head. No-one seems to have considered the possibilty of diabetes except calling for the tests shown and then saying the results don't indicate anything.

    However, I am concerned because I know they can't be trusted to follow things up properly because they refuse to believe there is anything wrong.

    I know no-one on this site can or will give a diagnosis, I just wanted to know if these borderline results could indicate a problem that warrants more investigation - we will have to go it alone outside of the NHS.

    Thanks again cugila for takingthe time to reply.
  4. m_cooper

    m_cooper Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    the pain and burning is probably neuropathy,i would suggest eating last meal quite early and then go for a walk for about 20-30mins about 2 hours after eating and do not eat any snacks later.i have burning in my feet at night and it does help me.try to keep away from carbohydrates ie potatoes,bread
  5. phoenix

    phoenix Type 1 · Expert

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    Cugila gives some good advice.
    Is your doctor older perhaps? The levels for diagnosis were lowered in 2000, perhaps he doesn't keep up to date.
    For ammunition with your letter. You might want to look at this page from diabetes UK which sets out both the criteria for impaired fasting glycaemia and also for diabetes diagnosis.
    note particularly:
    If the the level is 7mmol or above and there are no diabetes symptoms, bg tests should be repeated to confirm (or not) diagnosis.
    edit I've just realised that the quote isn't as clear as I thought. It should say above 6.1mmol and below 7mmol but there is probably a transcription error on the webpage.
  6. goji

    goji · Well-Known Member

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    Hi edifrmt

    The test your sister really needs (to rule things out one way or another) is the Glucose Tolerance Test.

    I had similar fasting test results to your sister but my complaints were dismissed by an endocrinologist and I was told I certainly didn't have diabetes and my symptoms were 'all in my head' etc. It's only because my nice GP sorted out a Glucose Tolerance Test that I got unequivocal confirmation that I have type 1 diabetes.

    It sounds like your sister's GPs are being a bit obstructive but perhaps a chat with the practice manager will help.

    If you can't get your GP to organise this test, then have a look at e-med (you will have to google 'e-med' as we are not supposed to put commercial links on here). They are an online GP service, they charge £15 to join (for one year) and £15 for an online consult. They say they can organise any test anywhere in the world. So would no doubt be able to sort something out for your sister in Hampshire. I have used them to get obscure endocrine tests and they were helpful.

    Has your sister had her thyroid tested? Often, people with thyroid disease get misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia etc. Thyroid problems also cause neuropathic pain so it's worth bearing in mind.

  7. markd

    markd · Well-Known Member

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    While I agree with what others have suggested, another thought is to buy a DIY A1C test and mail it in.

    While it is certainly true that HbA1c is emphatically not a diagnostic test (at least in most parts of the world) it does give a good average reading of glucose levels over the last couple of months.

    Doing the test has two potential advantages; if it gives a figure well down in the normal non-diabetic range, she gets some comfort about glucose metabolism and can perhaps concentrate on other causes.

    If it gives a high reading, well into the poorly-controlled diabetic range. she can go and beat her doc over the head with the results! There are, of course, a number of other non-diabetic problems that might lead to a higher-than-average blood glucose level, but these too should be investigated.

    I've used this product:

    http://www.glucomena1c.com/flash.shtm - bought online.

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