Monday, October 17, 2011

So this thing about blood sugars

So, I was doing some reading on the A1C test and fasting numbers for people who have issues with their blood sugars and it seems there is more to it than what doctors typically do. Here is info on the test from the Mayo clinic:

First of all, my chart no longer says that I'm diabetic, pre-diabetic or anything. I didn't have two tests that said I had high blood sugars - just one 'officially'. Yet, I know I have issues with my blood sugar. It's only because of what I'm doing with my diet and exercise that I have gotten my blood sugars in a good place. If I were to eat pasta and bread and rice and other simple sugars, my blood sugars would be high and I would be considered diabetic. I'm almost 100% positive of that. But, the doctor says I'm not diabetic. Really?

It used to be that doctors only would give the fasting blood sugars test to check for diabetes. If it was over 100, then they would call for more tests. Then it became more common to give the A1C test that checks for how much sugar has attached to red blood cells over the blood cell's life span of about 3 months. While this is much more accurate than a one time fasting blood sugar value, it seems it's not that accurate either. Why? because people with diabetes have shorter living red blood cells, so they don't typically live to be 3 months (too much sugar bonded to them? Other damage?). People who control their sugars better, having longer living red blood cells, so they might live for 4 months, say, and therefore the red blood cells have a longer time to absorb/stick to sugar molecules. So, someone could have a high A1C, but not have blood sugar issues. This doctor says the only reliable way to be sure is to do daily blood sugar testing after meals.

Check out this link that explains more:

Now, I don't believe everything I read/hear, but it makes sense. An average blood cell lives to be 3 months. But is it the same for everyone? No. How can it be? And, even things like carrying a sickle cell anemia gene can throw off the tests, pregnancy, blood transfusions, anemia, etc.

Also, people can manipulate the tests. If someone has diabetes and they know (like I knew) that I would be getting a blood test every three months, they also know that during that time some/half of their red blood cells would die. So, a person could eat clean for a month of that 3 month window and drastically lower their A1C result. Eat higher sugars for 60 days, eat less sugars for 30 days and there you go, a lower test score which will keep your doctor off your back. But who are you fooling? And why???? It's about your health, right? And not fooling a doctor or test?

Basically, it's another tool to be used, but the best tool is to take blood readings post meals and even this isn't that accurate as the test strips don't have to be that accurate - they could be 20 points off either direction and still be considered accurate enough statistically. But, it's the best affordable way to check.

So, according to everything in my file now. I'm not diabetic. But....I am. I know that if I eat pasta and rice and such - especially without proteins to accompany the meal/snack and if I were to check my blood sugars 1 and 2 hours after eating, my blood sugar levels would be considered too high to be 'normal'. I don't get huge spikes, but I do get over 120 2 hours after a meal and it should be closer to 100 if I 'truly' don't have blood sugar issues. When I eat a meal low in carbs, my 2 hour post meal blood sugar levels are about 80 and below. Obviously, my body can't handle sugars that well.

What this all means is that I know how to control my blood sugar issues, but I do have issues with them. I just caught them early and can control with diet and exercise so that I'm healthy. And, if I had eaten like this all along, I wouldn't have ever known I have issues with blood sugars as no test would have picked it up, but then again, if I had eaten like this all along, I probably wouldn't have become insulin resistant anyway. I did this to myself by being a carb addict.

Can I live like this the rest of my life? Yes I can, but if ever my insulin resistance increases and it would mean giving up fruits and such, I would then look to taking medications to help control my sugars as then it would start getting into missing important nutrients in my diet too if I gave up fruits. Rice, pasta, breads don't give much if any true nutrition. So giving those up is really a non issue.

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 185.6

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