Hi, all. I'm new to diabetes and hoping to get a little feedback about my situation. I've been really impressed with the quality of the discussions on these forums and I'd welcome any opinions. I'll try to make my life story as brief as possible. :)
I'm 37 years old, I'm generally healthy, and not overweight (5'7" and about 120 lbs). I've had trouble with blood sugar lows since my early 20's. I've mentioned that to several doctors over the years and they always just said I had a lazy liver that was slow to release glucagon. (I've documented lows as low as 38 with a blood glucose monitor. I feel terrible when it happens: shaky, sweaty, nauseous, unable to think. It's scary.) My lows were always a couple of hours after eating a very carby meal, although I didn't realize this until a couple of years ago when my husband started eating paleo. I saw how good he was feeling on the paleo diet and decided to try it to, just for general good health. I felt great (after the initial adjustment to not eating grains, which was hard for me) and I no longer had low blood sugar episodes! I've done paleo more or less strictly since then, with a couple of short periods of returning to eating grains. (Short-lived periods because grains just make me feel bad, especially wheat.)
Just prior to starting the paleo diet my oncologist (I'm a Hodgkin's disease survivor) ran an a1c test on me and I was at 5.7. I didn't know about this until a year and a half later when I saw it on a lab printout. That seemed a little high to me and he had run the a1c because my blood glucose had been high at the previous appointment.
The reason I knew what an a1c is is because my dad was diagnosed with autoimmune diabetes about 7 years ago, in his late 50's. He had a rapid onset, with his blood sugar reading 800+ at his first check, followed by about a year of insulin therapy (including a pump). He also lost about 50 lbs (he had been overweight), starting running and exercising, and radically overhauled his diet. He is a model diabetes patient now and was actually able to stop using insulin and is now controlling his BG with just diet and exercise. (My understanding is that this is very unusual for a type 1). (He tested positive for the GAD autoantibodies, so he is indeed a type 1. Or could he be considered LADA? I'm unsure.)
In May I was visiting my parents and my Dad ran a post-prandial BG check on me just for kicks. I had just eaten a fairly low-carb meal but my reading was 163, which seemed a bit high. I've been checking my BG since then and have found the following:
My fasting BG is good, averaging 91. (Highest was 109.)
My post-prandial numbers tend to be 160+ if I eat anything even carby like a sandwich or some popcorn.
I've had two readings over 200. I once had a hamburger, a few fries, and half a cookie and then got a reading of 223. Another time I had a lot of sweet dessert and got 252. Both times I felt terrible, with my heart racing and some nausea.
If I eat paleo (low-carb) then my numbers are good.
I had a follow-up a1c done in April and it was 5.3, which was good. I realize that these numbers might not seem "bad" (certainly the a1c is very good) but I'm worried about my post-prandial numbers being higher than "normal" and trending upwards in recent years. I should note that I tested very close to or right at the limit for gestational diabetes in my first two pregnancies. (I have 3 children.)
I saw my primary care doctor this week and he gave me a referral to an endo, which I'm glad about. I was disappointed to hear him talk about "autoimmune type 2 diabetes" (which doesn't exist, right??) and suggest that I might have some insulin resistance going on and then, in the same breath, talk about my beta cells dying. (Is it just me or is he confusing/mixing type 1 and type 2?)
Whew. If you read all that I am incredibly grateful! I just didn't want to leave out anything that might be relevant. I think I might have slow-onset type 1. Or LADA, which I am a little confused about. I'm hoping to find out more from the endo but I think it's going to be a long time before they can fit me into their appointment schedule.