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HbA1c. Now What? (Long) Login/Join 
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Picture of fpuhan
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A couple of months ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes as the result of a blood test where my Hemoglobin was shown to have an excess of glucose adhering to it. I think that's the short, inarticulate way of describing it.

The HbA1c test, as it's known, is the definitive marker for a diabetes diagnosis. Anything reading above 6.5 is considered diabetic (5.7 - 6.4 is pre-diabetic, 5.6 and under is non-diabetic). My reading was 13!

I was mildly surprised, because I don't really fit the profile: I'm not overweight (in fact, I could stand to gain a few pounds) and am fairly active, but I admit that over the past couple of years I've become a bit of a sugar addict.

Sugar is found in EVERYTHING. For example, a tablespoon of Heinz's Ketchup contains a teaspoon of sugar! There's so much sugar in the (mostly processed) foods we eat that over 53% of Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. That's an epidemic!

The good news (?) is that type 2 diabetes is mostly a disease of diet/lifestyle. The solution to reversing this condition is pretty simple: stop putting sugar in, and burn the sugar that's already there.

And this is where my rant comes in.

I have been reading and researching diabetes as much as I can, to get a better understanding of this condition that is truly life-threatening, in that it affects so many different parts of the body (eyes, feet, kidneys, heart, brain, etc.). What frosts my cake (if you'll pardon the sugar-laced analogy) is that there are multiple camps that each insist have the "right" solution. The top two are diametrically opposed.

The first camp is the high-fat-low-carbohydrate diet camp, which is "keto" or some form of "paleo" or what I refer to as the "meat eaters." The other camp is the high-carbohydrate-low-fat diet camp, or the "plant eaters."

It's hard to side with one and not feel like you're in a political party proclaiming "we're right and they're wrong." I admit, it's only been a couple of months, but I have tried both. With mixed results.

The good news is that they both agree on what I believe are the core principles of managing diabetes: eliminate sugar (real and "hidden"), processed foods, and "empty" carbohydrates (rice, pasta, white bread, etc.) from your diet. I also have begun to read labels, and if a can or package has more than five ingredients, I don't buy it. If I can't pronounce the ingredients, I shouldn't eat it (carageenan? xanthan gum? partially hydrolyzed? wtf?). Whenever possible, I now cook my own meals.

So now I monitor my blood glucose. I still haven't figured out what works and what doesn't. One day I eat bacon and eggs and steaks and my readings are great. The next day, they're off the chart. Or, I reverse the process and eat fruits, vegetables and plants, and the same thing happens.

All I know so far is that I have lowered my HbA1c from 13 to 6.2 in two months, simply by tossing the "white foods" and sugars. My goal is to get it below that magical 5.7 level, and that's where the conflicting sides make it tough!

Diabetics who read this will/should understand?




Don't believe everything you think.

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Posts: 1673 | Location: Virginia, USA | Registered: December 04, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Good enough is neither
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January 15th, 2016 I was diagnosed diabetic with a 10.7 A1c. In a year, I lost 150lbs and along the way was no longer diabetic, off all meds and have since had an A1c under 5.4. All diet and exercise. If you are serious about your health and disciplined, regression of the disease is very possible. Depends on your age etc, but getting healthy and exercise will definitely improve things. Good luck and take care of yourself.



There are 3 kinds of people, those that understand numbers and those that don't.
 
Posts: 1638 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: November 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Good enough is neither
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Oh and monitoring your blood glucose multiple times daily will also help in understanding how foods affect your blood sugar. That was key for me at first. I got so I could predict my blood sugar after a while.

Sounds like you are doing that, so that is big to your quick success.



There are 3 kinds of people, those that understand numbers and those that don't.
 
Posts: 1638 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: November 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Get your physician to refer you to a dietician that works with diabetics. It is combination of diet and exercise. I have seen people who have been diabetic for over twenty years and have none of the complications because of tight control. Others with poor control have shortened lifespans with disabilities.
Every body is different. Good endocrinologists can be a good referral source for competent dieticians who understand the diabetic patient.
 
Posts: 5855 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go Vols!
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If you are diabetic and on a high carb diet you will have problems. You do not have to do a keto diet either.

Avoid as much sugar as possible. Keep carbs low. The only variable is some carbs spike your blood sugar while others raise it slower. The hardest part is keeping meals reasonably sized because you will probably feel hungry a lot.

Keep healthier snacks around. Almonds, many cheeses, sugar free jello or pudding, sugar free fudge pops, some super low carb protein powders taste like chocolate milk. Lots of options for when the munchies hit.

Avoid fast food like the plague.
 
Posts: 15486 | Location: SE Michigan | Registered: February 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ZSMICHAEL:
Get your physician to refer you to a dietician that works with diabetics. It is combination of diet and exercise. I have seen people who have been diabetic for over twenty years and have none of the complications because of tight control. Others with poor control have shortened lifespans with disabilities.
Every body is different. Good endocrinologists can be a good referral source for competent dieticians who understand the diabetic patient.


I have met with a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a dietician. Thursday I have an appointment with an endocrinologist. I have signed up with an online coaching program that has a structure for adapting to (and reversing) the disease.

As a nine-time marathoner, and whose body mass index is in the low-normal range, weight loss is not part of my plan or goals. I've managed to halve my estimated HBA1c in two months by doing away with all processed foods and sugars. My goal is to get completely off meds and be deemed free of the disease. Thanks for your support.




Don't believe everything you think.

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Posts: 1673 | Location: Virginia, USA | Registered: December 04, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There is a bit out there on whey protein a half hour before a meal slowing digestion and keeping the increase after a meal lower. I’m pretty curious about this as I like the stuff. That Optimum Nutrition Gold Whey is very low carb and might help with regular exercise.

If your A1c dropped that much in 2 months you may already be doing what is required to be at the goal you want. There’s some debate on how far back a1c goes. If you are at 6 from 13 in 2 months, your next test may be an even bigger surprise.
 
Posts: 15486 | Location: SE Michigan | Registered: February 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Oz_Shadow:
There is a bit out there on whey protein a half hour before a meal slowing digestion and keeping the increase after a meal lower. I’m pretty curious about this as I like the stuff. That Optimum Nutrition Gold Whey is very low carb and might help with regular exercise.

If your A1c dropped that much in 2 months you may already be doing what is required to be at the goal you want. There’s some debate on how far back a1c goes. If you are at 6 from 13 in 2 months, your next test may be an even bigger surprise.


Thanks, Oz. My goal is to have my doctor tell me at my next check up, "That's remarkable!"

Looking back, I think I was tending towards pre-diabetes a few years ago, but my running kept it in check. Then, I tore my meniscus and became a lot more sedentary. Add to that a liking for ice cream and (since my wife died), "easy" foods, like pasta, Chinese carry-out and pizza, the ignition was lit.

Now, I'm in reverse mode. I've cut out all the "easy" foods, do much of my own cooking, and check my blood glucose every day. Even though I rarely experience any side affects, I do on occasion get light-headed, or blurry vision.

I don't want to join the fanatics. I believe it's possible to eat a balanced diet that includes bacon and eggs, as well as fruits and vegetables. All in moderation, and with care to its preparation. Reading labels has really helped me decide what to put in my refrigerator (and body)!




Don't believe everything you think.

NRA Benefactor/Patriot Member
 
Posts: 1673 | Location: Virginia, USA | Registered: December 04, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I work quite a bit with folks in your position. First off, type II diabetes doesn't really have a body type. We expect for a type II diabetic to be obese, but metabolic syndrome can hit someone who looks otherwise healthy just as easily as someone who looks obese.

Secondly, I think you're expecting results too quickly. Variations in glucose levels from day to day are fairly normal, what we're interested in is the long term trend of your A1C - which appears to be headed downward.

Last, I do quite a bit of work with diet and diet modification. I've been doing this for quite a while and the conclusion I've come to is: there is no one diet that is suitable for everyone. I have patients using paleo/keto with excellent results, I also have patients who are hardcode vegan/vegetarian and get excellent results. My wife and I have tried the vegetarian route and it didn't work for either one of us.

You have to do your own homework and find a diet/lifestyle that works for you. It sounds like you're already down that road. Getting rid of processed foods, added sugars and low GI foods is probably 90% of the journey.


Jeff Rippey
 
Posts: 14 | Location: CO | Registered: September 17, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
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quote:
Originally posted by fpuhan:
... but I admit that over the past couple of years I've become a bit of a sugar addict.

Likely the root cause of your problem. Coupled, perhaps, with a slowing metabolism?

quote:
Originally posted by fpuhan:
Sugar is found in EVERYTHING. For example, a tablespoon of Heinz's Ketchup contains a teaspoon of sugar! There's so much sugar in the (mostly processed) foods we eat that over 53% of Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. That's an epidemic!

Then don't eat that stuff?

We eat very little processed foods of any type. You mentioned tomato ketchup. A bottle of tomato ketchup lasts us probably a year or more. We drink almost no soda pop. No breakfast cereals. In fact: None of the Usual Suspects.

quote:
Originally posted by fpuhan:
The first camp is the high-fat-low-carbohydrate diet camp, which is "keto" or some form of "paleo" or what I refer to as the "meat eaters." The other camp is the high-carbohydrate-low-fat diet camp, or the "plant eaters."

The answer, IMHO, is: Neither.

Eat a balanced diet as low in processed/simple carbs as possible. Exercise regularly. Be sure to get around 7-1/2 hours of sleep each evening. Eliminate stress to the extent possible.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
The dominant media is no more "mainstream" than leftists are liberals.
 
Posts: 15963 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I thought this rant was going to be about the how, for well over that last 100 years and definitely since Eisenhower's heart attack in '55, the government and every food interest in corn, wheat, and soy, has been selling the message that fat is bad. Eek

I do believe I was similar to you, thin on the outside and fat on the inside (TOFI). My fasting glucose was approaching 100 and i needed my inhaler more. Watched Rhonda Patrick on Joe Rogan and it started to make sense. Inflammation, that's it. And Insulin.

Almost 3 year on and I breath more deeply than I have in 40 years. When you read than we do not have a dietary requirement for carbohydrates and that's what you are being sold, one gets a little peeved.
 
Posts: 2345 | Registered: May 30, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by fpuhan:
quote:
Originally posted by Oz_Shadow:
There is a bit out there on whey protein a half hour before a meal slowing digestion and keeping the increase after a meal lower. I’m pretty curious about this as I like the stuff. That Optimum Nutrition Gold Whey is very low carb and might help with regular exercise.

If your A1c dropped that much in 2 months you may already be doing what is required to be at the goal you want. There’s some debate on how far back a1c goes. If you are at 6 from 13 in 2 months, your next test may be an even bigger surprise.


Thanks, Oz. My goal is to have my doctor tell me at my next check up, "That's remarkable!"

Looking back, I think I was tending towards pre-diabetes a few years ago, but my running kept it in check. Then, I tore my meniscus and became a lot more sedentary. Add to that a liking for ice cream and (since my wife died), "easy" foods, like pasta, Chinese carry-out and pizza, the ignition was lit.

Now, I'm in reverse mode. I've cut out all the "easy" foods, do much of my own cooking, and check my blood glucose every day. Even though I rarely experience any side affects, I do on occasion get light-headed, or blurry vision.

I don't want to join the fanatics. I believe it's possible to eat a balanced diet that includes bacon and eggs, as well as fruits and vegetables. All in moderation, and with care to its preparation. Reading labels has really helped me decide what to put in my refrigerator (and body)!


My sister has been a specialty rep for a pharm. company and diabetes meds. Some people, regardless of diet and exercise will need meds to keep their blood/sugar in check as their body is simply no longer producing enough insulin.

That being said, for many it is diet. Both diets can be good for lowering blood sugar...….Paleo or High carb/low protein. It depends on the person and type of carbs......meaning all whole grains and in moderation as they take a lot more for the body to digest. Generally cutting out as many carbs as possible and switching the carbs you do eat to whole grains, along with exercising (cardio) generally nets the best results. And yes, many things you wouldn't expect to have lots of sugar in them, do.
 
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In my case, Simvastatin was the culprit. If you are taking Statins, try stopping for a while & see if that helps.


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Posts: 3654 | Location: Nashville, Tennessee | Registered: December 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Go to local library and look for a book on Diabetes written by Joel Fuhrman MD.

Has a list of foods you can and cannot eat, along with food portion control.


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"I spent most of my money on Motorcycles, Women and Booze. The rest I wasted."
 
Posts: 6701 | Location: Arizona | Registered: August 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When they figure it out in space perhaps they will share with us mere earthlings. (From today's Cygnus-11 launch named SS Roger Chaffee.)

Included in the payload is 3500 lbs of science experiments and equipment to study how to stay healthy in deep space.

Some arterial "stiffening" has been observed from inhabitants. In my opinion, nitric oxide may be affected in microgravity. Nerd alert over Big Grin.



explained a few minutes before launch.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: SigSentry,
 
Posts: 2345 | Registered: May 30, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The HbA1c test, as it's known, is the definitive marker for a diabetes diagnosis. Anything reading above 6.5 is considered diabetic (5.7 - 6.4 is pre-diabetic, 5.6 and under is non-diabetic). My reading was 13!



I have been diabetic for years. My doc says A1C should be 7.0 or lower. Mine runs around 7.1-7.2, but that was before I lost some weight and did a diet thanks to my house doctor (aka wife). Did a blood test a few days ago, before coffee or food, and it was at 88.

No idea what all she has me taking but there are about a dozen pills, capsules as my breakfast.

Blood pressure dropped substantially as well.

AIR, last BP reading was 124/77.


Elk

There has never been an occasion where a people gave up their weapons in the interest of peace that didn't end in their massacre. (Louis L'Amour)

"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. "
-Thomas Jefferson

"America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." Alexis de Tocqueville

FBHO!!!



The Idaho Elk Hunter
 
Posts: 24487 | Location: Virginia | Registered: December 16, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Spread the Disease
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You'll get much better as time progresses and you get a better feel for your body. I'm Type 1, so I have it easier in some ways, not so much in others.


________________________________________

-- Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. --
 
Posts: 14846 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: October 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Elk Hunter:
Blood pressure dropped substantially as well.

AIR, last BP reading was 124/77.


Which would have been (still is) a very good BP reading, but is now classified as "elevated". One extra sip of coffee will put you over 80 and you'll have Stage 1 Hypertension. Ridiculous, but that's the new guideline. Lower the threshold enough and everyone will be buying meds. WooHoo!!
 
Posts: 8011 | Location: The Red part of Minnesota | Registered: October 06, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Too old to run,
too mean to quit!
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quote:
Originally posted by MNSIG:
quote:
Originally posted by Elk Hunter:
Blood pressure dropped substantially as well.

AIR, last BP reading was 124/77.


Which would have been (still is) a very good BP reading, but is now classified as "elevated". One extra sip of coffee will put you over 80 and you'll have Stage 1 Hypertension. Ridiculous, but that's the new guideline. Lower the threshold enough and everyone will be buying meds. WooHoo!!


My daughter spent a lot of time doing research on medications having me and her husband with medical issues. What dropped my blood pressure was consumption of "Mucuna extract" and green tea capsules. My blood pressure was never really that high, but taking these 2 naturals has it well under control.

Now,if I could eliminate other stress in my life things would be REALLY looking up.


Elk

There has never been an occasion where a people gave up their weapons in the interest of peace that didn't end in their massacre. (Louis L'Amour)

"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. "
-Thomas Jefferson

"America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." Alexis de Tocqueville

FBHO!!!



The Idaho Elk Hunter
 
Posts: 24487 | Location: Virginia | Registered: December 16, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
We gonna get some
oojima in this house!
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A ketogenic diet will reverse T2 beetus in almost all cases. T2 is a disease of diet. You can slightly reduce carbs and slightly reduce the diabetes. Or you can cut carbs to 20-50 grams a day and completely eliminate the diabetes. Metabolically, there is not much difference in a banana, piece of bread, and a cookie.

Intermittent fasting also keeps insulin low for the better part of the day. The combination of the two will completely fix T2 diabetes. Had a long talk with my doctor about this in case you question my opinion.


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TCB all the time...
 
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