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pre-diabetes or diabetic?

Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by sparrow61, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. sparrow61

    sparrow61 Prediabetes · Member

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    Hi, my name is Debbie, I am 56 and new to this, so please excuse any mistakes.
    Last year I had an hbA1c reading of 46 and was basically told if I did not lose weight, in a years time, she (my doctor) would be diagnosing me with type 2 diabetes. I was then sent packing, with no advice on what I should or should not be eating.
    The last few months, despite having b12 injections every 10 weeks, I feel awful. If I try to do anything, I literally have to drag myself around, awake most of the night, and irritable and weak during the day. I am under lots of stress because our son had cancer (but that's another story) and I have a form of mild spina bifida (occulta) with tethered cord syndrome, so I am not as active as i should be.
    Anyway, I went back to the Doctors last Friday in floods of tears and she did some blood tests. I got a phone call Monday morning and the receptionist says I have to have another blood test in 2 weeks. My hbA1c is now 48. I haven't got a clue what all this means.
    I haven't felt well for several years (after having acute pancreatitis from gallstones) but have never felt quite this bad.
    There is a history of diabetes on both sides of the family. I would be grateful for any advice because I have not got a clue what is going on. This is not living it is existing and I am so miserable x
     
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    #1 sparrow61, Jul 2, 2017 at 3:56 AM
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  2. AM1874

    AM1874 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @sparrow61 .. and welcome
    You have certainly made a good move coming here .. I was diagnosed T2 in early Feb and, like yourself and many others, I was shell-shocked with no information and no real idea of what was happening to me. Since joining this forum, though, the folks here have given me so much info, advice and support that I am now much more confident about the journey ahead. So ask your questions and be assured that you will receive the answers that you need. It's still early for me but, in my experience, it gets easier .. very quickly.

    Managing and controlling your diabetes through diet, testing your BG (Blood Glucose) and whatever exercise suits you, seems to be the best way forward for many people. For me, committing to an LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) lifestyle and testing 3-5 times a day seems to be working and you'll find that there is a wealth of info, relevant advice and positive support about LCHF on the forum ..

    I have tagged @daisy1 for you and I suggest that you read up on the Low Carb Program in the information that she will soon be sending you. You might also find the discussion on the Low Carb Diet forum helpful .. and the following Diet Doctor websites ...
    Low Carb Intro and Information
    Low Carbs in 60 Seconds

    Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you will be prescribed a test meter but it is a top priority that you get yourself one and, for this, the following websites might help:
    https://homehealth-uk.com/product-category/blood-glucose/
    for the SD Codefree meter, which costs £12.98 (you don't pay VAT) or:
    http://spirit-healthcare.co.uk/product/tee2-blood-glucose-meter/
    who distribute the TEE 2 meter, which is free.
    I have both for comparative purposes and I have never found any significant difference between them. Unless you are prescribed test strips by your doctor (unlikely), the costs of testing comes down to the ongoing charges for test strips and lancets. I'm testing 3-5 times a day which works out at around £10 to £12 per month for either of the two packages above but, more importantly, I now know what my BG levels are .. and I can now manage them
    Hope this helps
     
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  3. Art Of Flowers

    Art Of Flowers I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    See http://www.diabetes.co.uk/what-is-hba1c.html

    A HbA1C of 48 is only just into the diabetic range. You can lower your blood sugar by cutting back on the amount of carbohydrates you eat. That means less breakfast cereals, bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. Fruit juice is high in sugar, so is best avoided as are fruit such as bananas and grapes.

    You should find you are less tired and have more energy once you cut back on the carbs. It will also help you lose weight.
     
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  4. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
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    Hi @sparrow61 ,

    Welcome to the forum!

    You definately need a blood test meter to gauge the day to day, meal by meal effects on BS.
    Plenty of experienced folk will help you here with advice, so don't worry. Ask any question you like!
     
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  5. sparrow61

    sparrow61 Prediabetes · Member

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    Wow, thank you so much for your quick response and the information you have given.
    I really appreciate the help. Thank you x
     
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    #5 sparrow61, Jul 2, 2017 at 8:13 AM
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2017
  6. SockFiddler

    SockFiddler Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @sparrow61 and welcome to the forum!

    It sounds like you've been through a hugely awful time without terribly much support from your GP. I'm sorry for this, and for how high and dry they've left you when it comes to a way forward, information, and the tools you need to get in control of your disease.

    I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago, after asking for help for three years. My son (though it's not a child with cancer, and I do appreciate the difference) has been through a rocky year, unable to find a school able to meet his needs - he has autism and complex sensory challenges - has fallen through the cracks several (incredibly stressful) times, and my health has been utterly overlooked while I fought for him. I imagine what I've experienced with Euan is just a fraction of what you've been through, but I don't doubt you forgot to look after yourself in the same way.

    So give yourself a pass.

    Since my diagnosis, I was lucky enough to find this forum, and then smart enough to join (two things you've already done, too!). Reading other people's stories here has helped me hugely, from seeing that the ability to control my disease is entirely within my hands, to giving me more appropriate expectations of the NHS to learning to take a breath to understanding what those pesky HbA1c numbers actually mean:

    http://www.diabetes.co.uk/hba1c-to-blood-sugar-level-converter.html

    I'm going to tag in @Enclave who has info on meters and test strips and discount codes, and @daisy1 who will have lots of lovely advice and links for you to get stuck into.

    In the meantime, take a breath. You're in a good place. Lots of good people here and lots of good information. Whatever you choose your path to be from here on in, it will be your choice and you will have the ability to learn as much or as little as you like from people who are actually managing their T2 in a variety of ways - some of them have even forced their illness into remission.

    There is reason to be hopeful <3
     
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  7. daisy1

    daisy1 Type 2 · Legend
    Retired Moderator

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    @sparrow61

    Hello and welcome to the Forum :) Here is the Basic Information we give to new members and I hope you will find it useful. Ask as many questions as you want and someone will be able to help.


    BASIC INFORMATION FOR NEWLY DIAGNOSED DIABETICS

    Diabetes is the general term to describe people who have blood that is sweeter than normal. A number of different types of diabetes exist.

    A diagnosis of diabetes tends to be a big shock for most of us. It’s far from the end of the world though and on this forum you'll find well over 245,000 people who are demonstrating this.

    On the forum we have found that with the number of new people being diagnosed with diabetes each day, sometimes the NHS is not being able to give all the advice it would perhaps like to deliver - particularly with regards to people with type 2 diabetes.

    The role of carbohydrate

    Carbohydrates are a factor in diabetes because they ultimately break down into sugar (glucose) within our blood. We then need enough insulin to either convert the blood sugar into energy for our body, or to store the blood sugar as body fat.

    If the amount of carbohydrate we take in is more than our body’s own (or injected) insulin can cope with, then our blood sugar will rise.

    The bad news

    Research indicates that raised blood sugar levels over a period of years can lead to organ damage, commonly referred to as diabetic complications.

    The good news

    People on the forum here have shown that there is plenty of opportunity to keep blood sugar levels from going too high. It’s a daily task but it’s within our reach and it’s well worth the effort.

    Controlling your carbs

    The info below is primarily aimed at people with type 2 diabetes, however, it may also be of benefit for other types of diabetes as well.

    There are two approaches to controlling your carbs:
    • Reduce your carbohydrate intake
    • Choose ‘better’ carbohydrates
    Reduce your carbohydrates

    A large number of people on this forum have chosen to reduce the amount of carbohydrates they eat as they have found this to be an effective way of improving (lowering) their blood sugar levels.

    The carbohydrates which tend to have the most pronounced effect on blood sugar levels tend to be starchy carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and similar root vegetables, flour based products (pastry, cakes, biscuits, battered food etc) and certain fruits.

    Choosing better carbohydrates

    The low glycaemic index diet is often favoured by healthcare professionals but some people with diabetes find that low GI does not help their blood sugar enough and may wish to cut out these foods altogether.

    Read more on carbohydrates and diabetes.

    Over 145,000 people have taken part in the Low Carb Program - a free 10 week structured education course that is helping people lose weight and reduce medication dependency by explaining the science behind carbs, insulin and GI.

    Eating what works for you

    Different people respond differently to different types of food. What works for one person may not work so well for another. The best way to see which foods are working for you is to test your blood sugar with a glucose meter.

    To be able to see what effect a particular type of food or meal has on your blood sugar is to do a test before the meal and then test after the meal. A test 2 hours after the meal gives a good idea of how your body has reacted to the meal.

    The blood sugar ranges recommended by NICE are as follows:

    Blood glucose ranges for type 2 diabetes
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 8.5 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (adults)
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 9 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (children)
    • Before meals: 4 to 8 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 10 mmol/l
    However, those that are able to, may wish to keep blood sugar levels below the NICE after meal targets.

    Access to blood glucose test strips

    The NICE guidelines suggest that people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should be offered:

    • structured education to every person and/or their carer at and around the time of diagnosis, with annual reinforcement and review
    • self-monitoring of plasma glucose to a person newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes only as an integral part of his or her self-management education

    Therefore both structured education and self-monitoring of blood glucose should be offered to people with type 2 diabetes. Read more on getting access to blood glucose testing supplies.

    You may also be interested to read questions to ask at a diabetic clinic.

    Note: This post has been edited from Sue/Ken's post to include up to date information.

    Take part in Diabetes.co.uk digital education programs and improve your understanding. They're all free.
    • Low Carb Program - it's made front-page news of the New Scientist and The Times. Developed with 20,000 people with type 2 diabetes; 96% of people who take part recommend it... find out why
    • Hypo Program - improve your understanding of hypos. There's a version for people with diabetes, parents/guardians of children with type 1, children
     
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  8. sparrow61

    sparrow61 Prediabetes · Member

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    Thank you for your kind words and support. I have to have my test repeated in 2 weeks, though not sure why because I thought your HbA1c levels stayed the same for 8-12 weeks. I have not been diagnosed as yet but I think 48 is pretty close, so I need to do something about it. I don't think it is so much what I eat, but the fact I do not like eating breakfast (which I have started doing) but the way I eat. I have always eaten when hungry instead of regularly. I know this is probably my downfall but now I am trying to improve my eating habits I seem to feel much worse????
    Sorry to hear about your struggle getting help for Euan, everything is such a fight these days. Our son was in a wheelchair for 5 years from the age of 5 with Perthes disease. We had a struggle getting him support at school, so I can sympathise with you there. At 24 he was diagnosed with the cancer and has dealt with it a lot better than me. It is heart breaking to watch your child suffer, so yes you are right when you say, we tend to put our health on the back burner. I truly hope you get more support for your little boy. I wish you both all the best.
    I am amazed by the response I am getting on here after such a short while and am so grateful for everyone's advice on this. I am going to look at everything you have all advised because without you all, I would not know where to start, Thank you xxxx
     
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    #8 sparrow61, Jul 2, 2017 at 9:52 AM
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2017
  9. SockFiddler

    SockFiddler Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Are you improving your eating habits by trying to remember the wholemeal toast, brown rice, wholemeal pasta? I.e, have you inadvertently increased how many carbs you eat in a day?
     
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  10. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 (in remission!) · Guru

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    @sparrow61

    Hi and welcome,

    For a diagnosis of diabetes the general rule is to have an HbA1c test followed by another a couple of weeks later. The second is simply to confirm the first. That is the only reason. Your GP just wants to make sure and is following the NHS guidelines.

    Skipping breakfast is very acceptable. Many of us do it. I just have a coffee with double cream and that sees me through till lunch time. There is also nothing much wrong in only eating when hungry. It isn't when you eat that matters, it is what you eat. Carbs are the culprits in raising blood sugar levels, so you need to be careful how may of these you eat and in what quantities. Your own blood glucose meter will guide you with this. (If you test before you eat and again 2 hours after first bite you can see what that meal has done to your levels)

    Your HbA1c of 48 is only just over the threshold so you have every chance of reducing this.
    Under 42 is non-diabetic
    42 to 47 is pre-diabetic
    48 and above is diabetic..
     
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  11. sparrow61

    sparrow61 Prediabetes · Member

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  12. sparrow61

    sparrow61 Prediabetes · Member

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    Thank you for your info. I am hoping that at this level, I wont have to take metformin because I have heard it can have nasty side effects.
    Do you know where I can get a list of low carb foods from? I know it is common sense to cut rubbish out of your diet but I am a big fruit eater. I know it is best to avoid grapes and bananas but I love cherries, kiwis, blueberries etc. And I am not sure how to work out the carb numbers i.e if it says 11.8g of carbs of which 1.7g are sugars, is this bad for you?
     
  13. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Master

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    In simple terms its not good..
    I try and go for foods that are 5g of carbs per 100g or fewer. The of which sugars number is irrelevant for us. All carbs turn to sugar once ingested.
    Fruit especially very sweet tropical is best avoided. Berries are far better but again in moderation.
    The simplest intro to low carb is here

    https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb

    along with some great recipes and a ton of info.. all for free.. even more if you subscribe but for starters the free stuff is brilliant.
     
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  14. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 (in remission!) · Expert

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    Eating low carb has brought my blood glucose levels down from what my doctor said were very bad to not even pre diabetic in 6 months, so I can only emphasise that cutting out high carb foods really works wonders.
    It does have the side effect of weightloss for many people - but it is your blood glucose levels which are the problem.
    I feel 20 years younger too.
    Why people in healthcare seem to fixate on weight rather than wellbeing I do not know - eating carbs and running about like crazy to burn off the resultant spike in blood glucose is just madness, but that is their therapy in most cases.
     
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  15. sparrow61

    sparrow61 Prediabetes · Member

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  16. sparrow61

    sparrow61 Prediabetes · Member

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  17. sparrow61

    sparrow61 Prediabetes · Member

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    Thank you for that info. Diet doctor looks a great place to start and actually advises which foods to avoid. That is a great help. Much appreciated.
     
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  18. Mark_1

    Mark_1 · Well-Known Member

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    With a figure of 48 two weeks of low carb could get you down to 47 or less i.e. Back in the pre range. I would look to do this because psychologically it would give me a boost it could then become a way of life for you.
     
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  19. SockFiddler

    SockFiddler Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    (Ironically) I'd already adopted a low-fat diet the week before my diagnosis where I identified the junk and **** I was eating and aimed to replace it: I accidentally adopted a low-carb diet. I cut out potatoes (chips, wedges, jacket spuds with loads of **** on them) pasta (cheese, butter blah blah) and bread (overloaded marmite and cheese sarnies etc) and saw a dramatic change in my health and my BG readings and lost weight in just 10 days (it's nice to amaze your GP).

    When I threw out the fat, I threw out the carbs. Then I found this forum and realised that, actually, the fat isn't the issue so I'm starting to add that back in while keeping the carbs out. It seems terrifying, I know - and drastic! But the changes you'll notice in your health will be immediate and hugely confidence-building. And you're not tied to anything; if it doesn't work for you, there's a hundred different things to try.

    Metformin comes in lots of different forms. It's a very old drug so the patent has run out and, consequently, there's lots of different companies now doing lots of different things (with different names) with it. You might be one of the lucky ones who doesn't react adversely to it - ultimately meds can be helpful, even at the start of your journey while you come to grips with things. Having said that, there are lots and lots of people here who control their T2 with diet alone, who are med-free and have pushed their illness into remission.

    Fingers crossed you'll be one of those, too. You've got a good chance just by being here and asking questions.

    Much love to you and yours <3
     
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  20. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 (in remission!) · Guru

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    It is unlikely you will be given Metformin, but if it is suggested you can always ask for 3 months on diet only. This seems to be the way GPs are going at the moment. My HbA1c was 53 and Metformin was never mentioned. It isn't a miracle drug and helps only to a limited extent. It is mainly an appetite suppressant.

    Sadly, we have to be very careful with fruit, but berries are good (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries) in moderation - not a whole punnet at a time! If you get a meter you will see which ones are OK for you. They are best eaten with either cream or full fat yogurt as part of a meal rather than in-between snacks.
     
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