Diabetes Support - Seeing the Doctor about Blood Work

07-21-2012, 06:16 PM
Well, had my first blood work done in ages earlier this week, and was told I'd be contacted to make an appointment if any issues came up.

I got the call. And of course they couldn't tell me anything over the phone, but fortunately I'm able to see the test results online. I'm no doctor myself, but all the numbers appear to be at a normal range aside from my HDL cholesterol (which is a little low) and my fasting blood sugar, which is at 113 (I've been reading it should be under 100). Because of some confusion, I was fasting for more like 17 hours rather than 8 so I'm not sure what difference that might make either way (and I'll be sure to mention that to the doctor when I see her next week).

I'm guessing there are concerns I may be prediabetic. While I've never been diagnosed with any blood sugar issues in the past, it's also been years since I've been tested for anything (no insurance at the time & no money, but no longer an issue). I definitely have a family history, as both of my parents were diagnosed with type 2 in their 50's-60's (I'm 36).

I've consciously been "pretending" to be diabetic with my food choices in the past five months, avoiding sugar and other processed carbs, partly because I know spikes in blood sugar makes me extra hungry and crave sugar, and partly because I know they're simply not good to have in excess, especially when trying to lose weight.

I've definitely had symptoms of diabetes in the past, particularly the extreme thirst, frequent urination, and slow-healing wounds. I've since lost well over 100 pounds by changing my eating habits, but could still stand to lose about 100 more. I no longer have these symptoms and haven't experienced them in years (even during my re-gain of 25 pounds last winter, which I've since re-lost), and typically don't indulge in sweets and simple carbs anymore even when I'm not being health-conscious.

Since I'm still new to all this, I'm wondering if the 113 reading is a major concern at this point or if things may get better if I keep going the right direction with my eating choices and exercise. I realize it's best to talk to my doctor of course, but I was hoping for some insight from those that have already gone through all this. Any advice and related experience would be most appreciated. :^:

07-21-2012, 08:57 PM
I am not diabetic, but I do have insulin resistance and I think if your doctor is anything like mine, they'll want to talk to you.

My doctor wanted to check my blood glucose level in her office when I was there, so I got the pin-prick and if your lab results included an A1C test, then that will show how your blood sugar levels were throughout the last three months. If you did not get an A1C done, then they will probably ask you to get one done so they can see where you are in the range of no diabetes, pre-diabetes, diabetic.

If you have a family history, then chances are, you're going to have to take care of yourself more than others because you are predisposed to it. And yes, all the changes you have made are really really good, but your doctor will have to tell you whether it's enough or whether he/she feels you should be on medication.

What will be clincher will be whether or not you can improve your reading of 113 -- eating healthier and exercising is one way of doing it.

What you have to realize (I am still in the process of figuring it out myself -- I have PCOS with IR) is what works for your body. For example, something I had no idea is that coffee just doesn't work for me. I don't care how many other people (with or without IR) say that they can drink coffee... I can't. It raises my blood sugar.

I did ask my doctor for a blood glucose measuring device so I could keep track. Because I can measure it as much as I can, I've played around with foods and exercise to see how each affect my blood sugar readings. You may want to get one, if the doctor doesn't offer it to you -- if you get a prescription for it, the insurance companies can cover it.

Then, chances are, after having this conversation with you, he'll want to ask you if you are willing to try one of the drugs available that will help you be more sensitive to any insulin you may still be producing -- Metformin is a common one, but there are others. Depending on how far on the scale you are, he'll recommend appropriately.

You may want to figure out if that's what you want to do or if you want to continue with diet and exercise. The only caveat, of course, is that you want to make sure your FBG (or post-meal ones) are going low enough into the "normal" range. The elevated numbers means you're doing damage to your organs, your nerves, and really, your body -- and if left uncontrolled, you can face all those scary side effect of diabetes, beyond just excessive thirst, urination, and slow to heal.

Good luck. I'm in the process of figuring out what works for myself and I see my GP next week who is worried about my elevated A1C -- I was in the normal range and went up to the elevated range because of a stupid nutritionist I went to see who recommended I eat more carbs because I was training. So, my GP is now monitoring me. I also have an appointment with my endo to talk about Metformin, because I think I've reached a plateau in terms of my diet/exercise abilities to lose weight and manage my BGL.

07-21-2012, 10:44 PM
Thank you for all the insight, Rana. :) I've already made the appointment to see my doctor next week so we'll see what happens from there. I just wanted to have some idea on what to expect so I can mentally prepare myself for whatever lies ahead.

I'm really hoping that I'll be able to control any issues with diet and exercise alone (I'm fully committed at this point to live a healthier lifestyle) but realize it may not be enough. I've never been under 220 as an adult (although I'm hoping for it by the end of the year!) so I've been overweight for a very, very long time. I wish I had gone years ago when I was most in need of help, but it was a difficult time both financially and emotionally; I seriously don't know how I managed to dig myself out of that without professional help.

I'm hoping it's a good sign that my old symptoms have been gone for ages and that I'm currently losing at a steady rate (type 2 makes weight loss extra difficult, right?). I haven't felt this good in years, so receiving this news now is a little jarring. :(

07-22-2012, 10:13 AM
I don't know if IR/PCOS/diabetes necessarily make weight loss extra difficult.

I used to be in the camp where I would unequivocally say that it was true, it WAS more difficult.

I think, as I go through this process myself and read and test stuff out on me, I think the answer is not so much that it is harder, as much as it requires finding out what works for you body -- once you have that, then you can lose weight steadily.

The problem, I think, is that a lot of people have problems not only finding the diet plan, but also finding out what else caused their weight gain -- aside from IR/diabetes and not eating well or exercising. Then it becomes a psychological question, an environmental question, a family question, and so on and so forth, and all that stuff has to get worked on too.

So, it's really good news you've been losing steadily -- that's great news, actually! My father has type 2, he treats it with diet/exercise and he was also able to lose weight really easily when he radically changed his diet. So, now he just manages it with that -- exercise and diet, no medications or anything like that.

07-22-2012, 01:33 PM
Thanks again, I'm feeling a little better about everything. :hug: I'm averaging a pound and a quarter loss per week, which has been pretty steady since March. I'm ecstatic with that, and since my weight's been recorded at each of my three main medical visits in the past few months she can see my progress for herself (I had gastritis near the beginning of my weight loss efforts and have been having issues with my eyes more recently). I'm hoping it's a good sign that I was told at last the last visit that my eyes appear to have no damage that might be related to diabetic issues.

I don't mind tweaking as I go but I really hope that what I'm doing now keeps working. I'm all set to show the doctor exactly how I've been eating in the past few months and that I'm well established into this commitment to my health. I struggled in making this work last year, but I think it had more to do with my anxieties than anything else. Now that I'm on the road to conquering my anxieties (which have been extremely severe) I feel like I can work through anything. :)

07-22-2012, 01:52 PM
Having fasted for more than 8 hours (especially such a long time like 17 hours can actually make your blood sugar higher than normal. I am curious to know what your A1C is.

07-22-2012, 02:43 PM
Luba, that's something I've been wondering about as well since it's something my MIL mentioned, so thanks for bringing that up. :) I'm pretty annoyed that there was confusion and miscommunication about the fasting, which I assumed was a 12 hour deal when they didn't specify otherwise. I also assumed it would happen closer to noon, not nearly 5 pm! I'm not used to being sent all over the place for this or that when my old doctor did practically everything in his own office, including the blood work.

And thanks to both of you, I know now to ask about the A1C when I go in on Wednesday. It hasn't been easy dealing with a new doctor in a new system, but it's a relief I won't feel like I'll be going in completely at a loss for what's going on. :^:

07-22-2012, 02:51 PM
Make sure the doc is aware the fasting was for so loooong. I also wonder if you have had a recent oral glucose tolerance test.

Unfortunately when it comes to diabetes - its not just about weight loss. It can be a game changer but not always. It depends on a variety of things .... especially on how well the prancreas is functioning.

07-22-2012, 02:54 PM
Gotta say though you look great! You should be very proud of the changes you have made! If you were my client you would be a poster child and be mentioned to others who are struggling to lose weight or make changes.

07-22-2012, 06:58 PM
Thank you very much, Luba! :) I'm making a list to take with me of things I'd like to discuss with the doctor, and the A1C test and the fact that I had fasted so long are at the very top of it. I'll bring up a oral glucose tolerance test as well since I haven't had any that I know of.

I do realize it's not about just weight loss, but I'm hoping all my efforts are paying off as much as possible. ;) I'm not frightened of being diagnosed with diabetes, but I obviously can't say it's something I'd ever look forward to. We'll see how my next appointment goes and what I'll need to do next. In the meantime, I plan to keep taking care of myself as much as possible.

And thanks for the comment about the changes I've made. They're not always easy, but with the way I've been feeling lately it's all been very worth it. :)

07-22-2012, 07:39 PM
Hi Elladorine,
I really am impressed with your changes.

I'm a diabetes nurse educator by trade - and yet I have recently diagnosed myself with having pre-diabetes. I'm disappointed with myself...cause its not much of surprise - both my parents had Type 2, I'm caring an extra 30-40 lbs of fat - especially around my middle. I did start walking approx 2 years ago to try to get rid of it... my legs look a lot better - but the belly is still there... thus I've started IP and have made a comittment to stay with it for at least 15 weeks - (105 days) to get rid of the belly fat (and back fat....ick..).

Good Luck at your doctors' appointment.

07-22-2012, 09:53 PM
Thanks again, Luba. :hug: I think it's just an easy trap to fall into, no matter how much we know already about nutrition, fitness, and family history. I guess because there's such a difference between knowing and actually doing. I'm an apple, and my mother was too. I worry about the size of stomach and how it impacts my health (the rest of me is small in comparison).

I'll update once I've gone to my visit and know more. :) I wish you luck too!

07-25-2012, 04:41 PM
I think the postings so far have been really good and helpful. I would echo to you, do not be afraid of taking medication.
It is VERY likely things will get better as you lose more weight, but some medications, like metformin, can help prevent the bad effects of diabetes, and you may be able to go off meds later if you lose more weight. If not, its not bad. While I am pre-diabetic as well, and am slowly losing weight, I have no intentions of going off the metformin later, as I am almost sure to become diabetic later in life with my family and health history.
So please don't think negatively about medication, it can help in a variety of ways.
good luck, and great work with the weight loss

07-26-2012, 12:31 AM
Thanks, Fatmad! :)

My doctor didn't seem very concerned, told me to keep up the good work with my healthier lifestyle, and come back in three months to see if my numbers change for the better. Whew!

07-26-2012, 02:10 AM
So I'm curious - did the doc say what your A1c is?

Glad to hear everything's OK:)

07-26-2012, 11:23 AM
Did you know what your glucose was before losing weight? I wonder if it was much higher. I went from 111 last year to 72 this year after about 50lbs.

I would definitely have your levels checked after a couple of months or so, especially after losing more weight. When I saw that 111 I got scared, just like you are now. Don't worry, it's just borderline, and if you keep up with your healthy choices, I bet it finally goes down.

07-26-2012, 03:41 PM
Thanks guys! I asked about the A1C and she told me I'd need to be tested again for it, I guess since they weren't initially concerned about my glucose levels. I'll be scheduling another blood test for November as requested by the doctor.

I don't know my previous numbers at all, but I definitely had suspicious symptoms between my highest weight of 360 on down to about when I hit 260-270 (once again, I had no insurance and little money throughout most of that era of my life, so I didn't visit the doctor outside absolute emergencies). I haven't experienced those symptoms for about 3 years now (about when I first gave up regular soda this time around), and have made excellent progress with my health since March when I decided I really needed to buckle down again and take better care of myself.

I imagine my numbers were pretty bad at my highest, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I just know that I was absolutely miserable. I had horrible mood swings, overactive bladder (remember the "gotta go" commercials?), was always dying of thirst, and would often get sores/cuts that took ages to heal. Plus there was a lot going on in my personal life that invaded every little aspect of day-to-day living. My asthma was also pretty bad back then, and I had trouble even standing for any length of time since my legs ached horribly, I imagine from all the excess weight I was carrying.

I occasionally wonder how badly I damaged my body back then, but there's no use worrying about that now. All I can do is move forward in the best way I know how, and hope that I can continue to heal my body.