Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sorting Through The Diabetes Maze

Yesterday I happened to stop by a Borders book store to browse.   Just after I arrived a woman and her friend came in and headed over to the diet and nutrition section of the store.   I heard a store associate ask the ladies if they needed any help.   The woman said "my husband was just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I have no idea what to do."  I listened from afar as the lady explained that her husbands doctor had just started him on Metformin but that the doctor had not given them any information on what else to do.  She continued to tell the associate that her husband had seen a nutritionist for the first time and they were given no information on what he should be eating or how many carbs he should eat per meal.   She said that they had no idea where to start and that the doctor and the "Diabetes class" was no help at all.

Well, I couldn't help myself, so, of course I went right over and offered my assistance.  She asked me if I had Diabetes and I said "yes".   I gave her the website address for which was the greatest help for me as I was beginning my search for answers.  I also gave her the names of the books that helped me and told her about s few of the supplements that her husband could try.

I relate this story for a couple of reasons.   First,  I was amazed that this couple was left with so little help by their doctor and their Diabetes educator.   I can't say that this is the norm but this lady and her husband were left truly in the dark about doing anything for Diabetes other than taking a pill and using a meter a few times a week.   The second thing that surprised me was that her husbands fasting glucose levels were around 135 mg/dl and he was already on medication.   He had not even gotten his A1c test results back yet!  (A1c gives the average glucose levels over about 120 days time)

Okay, now I'll admit, I'm not a doctor and I'm not going to say that I know more than the man's doctor but it just seems to me that perhaps some other strategies might have been tried or suggested and he could've at least waited for the A1c test results to come back before starting meds.  Perhaps, as in my own case, the patient would have rather tried to adjust their diet and lifestyle first.   Maybe they don't want to try that but at the very least  I believe that the question should be asked!   From speaking to the woman she made it clear that she and her husband were very committed to making diet and lifestyle changes.  They just weren't getting any help to make those changes.

I am thankful for my doctor.  She did suggest that I try to make some lifestyle changes first.    After three months she evaluated my progress and was clearly very happy with how far I had come in getting my numbers down.    We did talk about medication.   She made it clear that it was an option for me but we decided to go for another 3 months and see where things would be.   My doctor made it clear that the lifestyle and diet changes were for the best for my heath over all and not just because I had Diabetes.   Three more weeks until my next evaluation.   I am hopeful that my A1c will again be lower.

I've had some ups and some downs, literally with my blood sugar numbers.   I've had success's and failures.   I'm still confused at times about what affects my numbers but I'm still determined to get control of this thing.

I would certainly like to see more doctors lean towards prevention and nutrition than pushing pills.   I don't know that it is all their fault though either.  We have all been taught to take a pill for everything.   Maybe doctors just feel that patients really are just looking for the "quick fix", the "band aid solution" to everything.   I just know that I personally would like to see some changes.