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28 Years Old 11.1% Hemoglobin A1c
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28 Years Old 11.1% Hemoglobin A1c

Hi everyone. My name is Pete and I'm new to the site/forum. I recently had a company-paid-for wellness screening. They did an array of blood tests and I wasn't too thrilled with the results. The most distressing of the batch was my Hemoglobin A1c...which was 11%...Some background:

I'm 28 years old and have been fairly healthy. My blood pressure has been borderline and in the past year I've lost about 28 pounds and are down to around 264 now. I try to eat fairly well and only really eat out maybe once or twice a week. I don't get too much exercise besides what I do at work, (which involves a lot of walking around but nothing too athletic really). My father is a Type-II diabetic who got his when he was something like 48 years old. Neither my brother, sister or mother have it but I know diabetes runs in my father's side of the family.

Needless to say I'm kind of freaking out a little bit because I really don't want to go down the road of having to take insulin or becoming a full-blown insulin-dependent diabetic. What can i do to lower my A1c levels???
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Avatar_m_tn
To fill in things a little more.. some things in the past year have concerned me a little bit. I find myself having to urinate a little more often than usual (I attributed this really to drinking more at work but it's a quick onset of an urge to go. I have no incontinence issues or anything like that). I've noticed some difficulty in getting and maintaining strong erections as well...these things have led me to thing they must be correlated with my A1c level or my borderline high blood pressure.

So far I've just been focusing on losing weight and planning on stepping up my exercise before deciding to go on meds for any of this.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Pete and welcome. First of all what you should do is take a deep breath. Diabetes is a lot to adjust to, especially when you are so young and don't expect illness. I won't tell you there isn't a lot to learn, there is, but the good news is that once you learn it, diabetes is a very manageable condition. You just have to get into the right habits. First of all, your fear about insulin is way premature. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body produces enough and sometimes even an excessive amount of insulin, but you have insulin resistance so you can't use that insulin too well. While, over time, Type 2's do cease production of insulin and may have to begin taking insulin shots if you work at controlling your diabetes now that could be decades in the future.

So how do you do it? You are on the right track with a plan for weight loss and increased exercise. Simplygetting down to a healthy weight (not saying that is simple to do!) can dramatically lower your blood sugar. You also need to learn about what foods spike your blood sugar and to do that you need to test. There are certainly some foods that are known to be high in carbs that will raise most people's blood sugar (potatos, pasta, cereal, bread, sweets) but it is also individual. Try a particular food and then test two hours later. You want to be under 140. If you are higher than you either can't eat that food or can't eat that portion of that food.

As far as focusing on just diet and exercise before going on meds: Talk to your doctor. An A1C of 11 is extremely high. (A good goal is below 6.5). Start testing to see what your blood sugar is on a regular basis. Any amount of time spent over 140 is what can lead to complications and you have a lot of years ahead of you that you want to be healthy for. Chances are you've been diabetic for awhile and with an A1C like that you've already spent some time way too high. So you want to get it down quickly. My personal advice would be to start on some meds now and get your numbers down. Then in time, with weight loss, exercise and changed eating habits you may get under control and find you can cut down the meds or even go off them. It might depend how low carb you can tolerate. But you do want to get those numbers down out of the stratosphere.
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231441_tn?1333896366
Hi Pete,

Zoela's advice is excellent.  I agree that you want to be getting that HA1C way down (< 6.5 and ideally close to 5) however possible.  If this includes meds, so be it.  With change in weight and excise the need for meds may also reduce over time.

Early days yet.  Don't freak!  Get educated.  It is perfectly possible to get this under control.

Cut the refined sugar viciously.  Particularly soft drinks, breads, cakes, etc. This site has trackers for diabetes and meals.  These can be very useful as you start monitoring and getting control of this.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for the input so far. So far today I've had a bacon/egg/cheese croissant from Dunkin' Donuts this morning (I never eat donuts anymore) and a large iced coffee with Splenda. For lunch I'm trying a cup of yogurt and some cream of mushroom soup. My stomach feels weird today and I feel tired..not sure if my blood sugar is spiking from just what I had this morning or what.

I drink no sugar soda, diet for decades. I try not to eat a lot of sugar when I can. I can say in the past month I did have 2 really bad things that I know were horrendously high in sugar, a Sonic icee thing twice on two different occasions. Needless to say i won't be having that anymore.

I've cut out any sweet Starbucks drinks, (tough the gf works there lol) and usually just have a Splenda-added unsweetened passion tea etc.

I'm going to try and plan an appt to my father's diabetic specialist who is really really good. I guess my biggest worries are if there are side effects to the medicines they may recommend etc.
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231441_tn?1333896366
Hi Pete,

you need to get yourself a blood sugar test kit and start monitoring 2 hours after eating so you can see the effects of foods, and which foods you need to avoid or strictly portion control.

Great that you are getting in to see a specialist.

Mostly the side effects of diabetes meds are minimal.  Metformin is usually first line treatment, and have some stomach effects at the beginning, but these normally disappear once your body is used to the drugs.  THe side effects are far less than the complications of high blood sugar - which can kill.

Diet wise, eat heaps of green leafy vegetables.  keep the fruit portions minimal.  I'd be looking up info on low carb diets, which I believe are the way to go with diabetes (not the American Diabetes Association higher carb recommendations).

Let us know how you go.
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Avatar_m_tn
I've been cutting down processed things like rolls, bread etc and trying to stick more to protein, vegetables etc the past few days. I was sick for a few days which made that a little harder but I guess I'll just keep trying to stay away from "pure" sugars until I can see a doctor.
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559053_tn?1274916974
Try to see an diabetes educated nutritional dietitian to educate you about foods to eat and sugars; fructose, liquid, inverted
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Avatar_m_tn
My A1C is 11 and I feel that nothing is wrong with me.
I had an endo, who fired me because I spoke my mind and didn't just jump through all of "his hoops".
This endo put me on Novolog 70/30, I went off of it because I felt "like the scum of the earth" when I had to shoot up.
I told my Primary Care, when she tried putting me back on this junk, that I am not an addict, nor am I a junkie and I don't shoot up.
Why is it that you are on a med that does work...like metformin and then some idiot doctor takes you off of it and tries to make you a junkie by giving you some needle. The excuse for taking away the metformin, is that if they leave you on it, they are committing medical malpractice.
Both the Endo and the Primary Care didn't like the fact that I told them that I saw both of my Maternal Uncles and My Father's  Cousin die shortly after going on the needle and I wasn't going to go out that way.

                                                             Allen  
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1500938_tn?1289265273
Allen,
I am sorry that your hga1c is 11.That means that on average your blood sugar is over 300!!!!Those kinds of sugars wreak havoce on all your body systems.If you are type 2 which I am assuming you are based on your metformin referance do you excercise and eat right?Taking the needle as you put it doesn't make you a junkie.Insulin is the key that the sugar you ingest needs to get tto your cells so they can function.It is NOT  a drug.It may be good idea to take the experts advice (endo) and Shoot up as you call it.
I am type 1 and without my insulin I would die.
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231441_tn?1333896366
Hi,

I seriously think you need to read up on diabetes.  Insulin is the treatment of blood sugars as high as you're having, particularly considering the oral meds haven't worked to bring your sugars back to normal (normal is < 100 fasting and < 120 2 hours after eating).

You may not feel bad now, but I guarantee you that you will have serious complications in the near future.  Without 'the needle' you will die from this and it won't be pretty.

I am sorry there is no gentle way to put this.  Use some of your anger and strength to manage this instead of fighting against doing anything.
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Avatar_m_tn
Why is it always about the meds.  99.9% of type 2 can cure themselves by just eating right.  No need for meds or insulin.  Stay away from rice, pasta, or any carbs and eat grilled chicken breast and salad greens with no dressing.  I can guarantee you blood sugar will stabilize in a month.  

I have type 2 diabetes and my A1c was 11.1.  My doctor wanted to give me meds right away. I said let me try to control this myself first and if it doesn't work I will take the meds.  3 months later my A1c was at 5.4.  I have had diabetes now for almost 13 years.  So no, I am not new....  or borderline diabetic... Just plain diabetic.  If anyone out there is reading this, please know the cure to diabetes is FOOD and Exercise. Life style change.....

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Avatar_m_tn
Allan13  you have some anger issues if you think taking a hormone that the body needs to work proper is being a junkie.

Thanks, I am not a junkie I am a diabetic that need insulin because my pancreas burned out.

Kulitko  
there is no cure for diabetes.... there is a lifetime of control .dont confuse good control with a cure.

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Business_woman2
I've been following Atkins for some time now.  Many folks say that by following Atkins their diabetes is controlled.  You can learn so much about the foods you are permitted to eat by going to virtually any lo carb web site.  In a nutshell, my food consists of huge salads with cucumbers, green and colored peppers, green onions, celery, eggs or chicken, and caesar dressing.  Meat, cheeses, and berries are almost always permitted.  You absolutely learn how to love most vegetable...no potatoes though!  The side effect of this in addition to controlling blood sugar and LEARNING about blood sugar spikes is nice consistent weight loss.  And, there is quite a dramatic weight loss the first few weeks.  You basically eliminate sugar on this too.  Good Luck
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Avatar_m_tn
Actually it is a cure.  If you live your entire life eating right and making sure you Blood sugar level it correct, you will not see any side affects of the diabetes.  Hence your cured......


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Panda
When I was diagnosed as Type 2 diabetic in October of 2009, I walked into my doctor's office with a ravenous thirst I can't even begin to explain, and I was urinating every 20 minutes.  I had been borderline for years, but I knew what was going on.  I just didn't want to admit it.  I thought, hey, I'll take some meds and I'll be fine.  My sugar was 577!!  The med assistant couldn't figure out why I wasn't in a coma!!  My A1c was 11.7!!  

PetiePal PLEASE do what your doctors are telling you to do.  Anyone who says they can cure diabetes  like your's in a month with diet and exercise is lying.  They can't.  I walked out of my doctors office with regular insulin, which works for 24 hours.  I had to take my blood sugar when I woke up and before every meal.  I my BG was too high, I took fast acting insulin, which works immediately, with a pen, before my meal.  I took Metformin before every meal.  Then I also took Amaryl, a drug which jolts your pancreas into working again.  Apparently, mine wasn't producing insulin any longer, though it was capable of doing so.  Now that it does, I have insulin resistance again.

It took me a few years, but I've lost 70 pounds, and I'm off insulin.  I went off the Amaryl in about 6 months.  I made me really sick for the first 2 weeks, just like the Metformin did.  The Amaryl made me dizzy and queasy - the Metformin gave me loose stools.  I don't care.  I'm alive and no longer insulin dependent.  My A1C's are down in the 6 range.  I look better, I feel better, and I haven't lost any major senses or my arms or legs.  I cut all sugar and went on the ADA diet immediately.  I weighed everything, I had horrible withdrawal headaches from caffeine withdrawal.  DO IT ANYWAY - IT IS WORTH IT!!  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for your input. I was diagnosed with Type 2, high blood pressure and high cholesterol about two years ago. After being in denial that my health was in trouble, I finally went to see my doctor. My A1c was 11%, and it is taking me some time to get my levels down. That's why I joined this site because now I realize that I am not alone. I am still learning what works for me and vice versa. It is my biggest fear that if I do not take control, I will be insulin dependent. I am thinking about trying the Atkins Diet hoping that this will benefit me. Right now, my A1c is at 8% and I need for it to be at least 6.5% on my next doctor's visit.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for your input. I was diagnosed with Type 2, high blood pressure and high cholesterol about two years ago. After being in denial that my health was in trouble, I finally went to see my doctor. My A1c was 11%, and it is taking me some time to get my levels down. That's why I joined this site because now I realize that I am not alone. I am still learning what works for me and vice versa. It is my biggest fear that if I do not take control, I will be insulin dependent. I am thinking about trying the Atkins Diet hoping that this will benefit me. Right now, my A1c is at 8% and I need for it to be at least 6.5% on my next doctor's visit.
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