Thursday, 31 May 2012

My Diabetes Check-up

This time last year I had a very big shock. Whilst pregnant with my 4th child I developed Gestational Diabetes. I'd always passed the Glucose Tolerance Test with the other 3, including DD1 who was 10lb 14oz at birth, and with no history of diabetes in my family I assumed I would pass again. I didn't, I had developed GD and spent the rest of my pregnancy on insulin injections.

After her birth in January 2010 the GD disappeared, but unfortunately I didn't take the warning serious and carried on eating whatever I liked. 

Then, in May 2011, after a routine check-up because the optician told me he had found signs of high blood pressure behind my eyes at my eye appointment, my doctor confirmed my GD had returned in the form of Type-2 diabetes (this means that my body does create insulin, but not enough or it doesn't work properly. Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas doesn't create any insulin for any reason and has nothing to do with your weight, lifestyle or eating habits!)

It did came as a shock to me as there is no family history of diabetes in my family. In fact I don't know anyone in my family who has had either type-1 or type-2 diabetes. Yet the signs were there... My BMI is too high, I'm overweight, I've had GD and I have high blood pressure (as well as a family history of heart attacks and heart disease).

The full risks of developing diabetes are;

  • A close member of your family has type-2 diabetes (parent, brother or sister)
  • You're overweight or if your waist is 31.5in or over over for women, 35in or over for Asian men and 37in or over for white and black men.
  • You have high blood pressure or you've had a heart attack or a stroke
  • You're a women with polycystic ovary syndrome and you're overweight
  • You've been told you have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glycaemia
  • You're a woman and you've had gestational diabetes
  • You have severe mental health problems
When I first saw my doctor she told me straight, if I didn't deal with my diabetes NOW I wouldn't live to reach my 50th birthday, and being told that at 34 is quite a shock! I WANT to live and see my children grow up, get married and have children of their own. I don't want to leave them motherless at a young age!

The biggest shock of all was that it wasn't just sugar that affects my blood sugar levels. I remember thinking I don't eat that much sugar, I don't add it to my tea or cereal and I drink diet coke... but it's not that kind of sugar that makes dealing with diabetes so hard... it's the hidden sugar in food as well as carbohydrates such as in bread, potatoes and pasta, because all carbohydrates break down into glucose or sugar.

At first I did really well and started bringing my blood sugar levels down and losing weight, but then Christmas hit and I struggled. My biggest problem is I am a comfort eater and if I feel sad, depressed, lonely, hurt, bored etc I will reach for something to eat, something like chocolate. Slowly my blood glucose levels crept up and so did my weight and it was hard to get back into a routine, especially as I love food so much.

I realised I was going the wrong way to deal with diabetes, so I decided to join Slimming World to help me lose weight and I also bought myself a bike and a brilliant bike seat for the baby (more on that to come) as we're lucky to live somewhere which has fantastic cycling routes, even if its just a mile bike ride to the end of the prom!

When I went to see my doctor yesterday for my routine diabetes check-up, she was about to tell me off because my blood glucose levels have climbed a lot higher than they were last time I saw her, but when she heard that I'd lose half a stone through Slimming World and also bought a bike and started exercising more she was willing to let me off as I was trying to make an improvement. She did however raise me from 1 500mg Metformin tablet a day to 2, but she explained that most people are on 3 Metformin so I was still doing well. 

So now I have to work hard and make sure that next time I see her, my glucose and my weight are lower than they are now!!!

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