avoiding diabetes

Feeling Cheated

This post will probably sound rambling, and angry, and hurt and…the list goes on and on. So, forewarning.

Recently I went to the doctor because I was having dizzy spells that were becoming increasingly worrisome. I thought high blood pressure, inner ear infection, brain tumor, low blood sugar, dehydration, side effects of my acne medication…I had been taking sudafed on and off for months because I kept having issues with my ears feeling like there was liquid it in them (popping, crackling, etc). He did a bunch of tests, examined me, came up with nothing conclusive. He did a test where he took my blood pressure with me in different positions (laying down, sitting, standing). Thankfully my blood pressure was almost back to normal. (A few months ago it was super high when I went to the doctor.)

My doctor had me get an EKG to check my heart and then ordered a bunch of blood work. The results came back and I was pretty surprised by the results. I have to get my blood tested twice a year to check my kidney functions/potassium levels due to the acne medication I take. That test was ok. The platelet count reflected that there was some inflammation in my body or I was fighting off an infection (yay) but I don’t feel like I’m sick or anything.

The test also said I was anemic. I was anemic as a teenager and when I was a vegetarian. I’m really surprised that I’m anemic again considering the fact that I eat meat now and I have a pretty healthy/balanced diet with lots of veggies. My iron levels were 82 and I guess the normal range is 50-212, my saturation was 22% with a range of 20-50%. Eeek that’s a little low. Ok I can fix that. Iron supplements it is.

The glucose levels should be 70-200 mg/dL and I’m at 85. I guess that’s ok? He then said: 

“Your hemoglobin A1c is normal at 5.6, but this is very close to prediabetic range. An A1c between 5.7 and 6.4 indicates pre-diabetes, while an A1c equal to or greater than 6.5 would indicate diabetes. This makes it even more important for you to find ways to get active and moving again. Eating a healthier diet and trying to lose 5-10% of your current body weight over the next year or two would also help drastically reduce your risk of developing diabetes in the future.”

Um, what?!

My heart fell when I read that. Then I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I was hurt, I was scared, I was angry. Mostly angry. I felt cheated. The wake-up call I had 8 years ago that scared me straight was that I was pre-diabetic. Those words had terrified me beyond belief. I didn’t want diabetes. I didn’t want to have to test my blood all the time and take insulin pills or injections. It scared me enough that I realized it was time to lose the weight.

I worked SO HARD to lose over 100 pounds and I successfully lowered my blood pressure and avoided diabetes. I’ve kept my weight off for 6 years now and I exercise 5 days a week. I’m very active, I eat healthy, I count my calories, I log my food. So HOW is this happening again???

“For people without diabetes, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c test is between 4% and 5.6%. Hemoglobin A1c levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate increased risk of diabetes, and levels of 6.5% or higher indicate diabetes. (source)”

So I am just at the border. I don’t know what my levels were 8 years ago when I was scared straight so I don’t have anything to compare this to.  The article goes on to say this:

“Patients with diseases affecting hemoglobin such as anemia may get abnormal results with this test. Other abnormalities that can affect the results of the hemoglobin A1c include supplements such as vitamins C and E and high cholesterol levels. Kidney disease and liver disease may also affect the result of the hemoglobin A1c test.”

I emailed my doctor to find out what was going on, why this was happening, and what I could do. I told him everything I’m currently doing and since I am ALREADY very active and eating right, what ELSE could I do? Seeing that above fact about things that can effect levels made me feel a little bit better I guess. If I was anemic, maybe that was effecting the test? I don’t have kidney disease but my acne medication can effect my kidneys…so maybe that is contributing to something? These were questions that I had and wanted answers to. Unfortunately I think the only real answer is to check my blood again in a few months after taking an iron supplement to see if things have changed.

Diabetes wordcloud

I’m not naive and thinking that just because I’m skinnier doesn’t mean I can’t get diabetes. I know that thin people can have it too. Sometimes it’s just genetic. My grandfather was diabetic. It could just be my family history. But I tell you, it’s a difficult pill to swallow to think that after all that work I did to lose the weight and how hard I’ve worked to keep it off…it could all be for naught. How could that be??

A friend of mine who is diabetic said I shouldn’t be worried. My levels weren’t alarming and the blood test wasn’t a fasting blood test. So perhaps she is right and it’s just a fluke. I decided to consciously cut out processed sugars the best I can, take iron, and ask my doc to do a fasting blood test to see what it says.

Anyways, I don’t have much else to share other than I feel stressed and unhappy about all of this. Time will tell. Perhaps this stress will be for nothing…