We’ve actually covered quite a bit of ground with this article in spite of just having made it through looking at just the first couple of paragraphs in it. In the last part, we finished talking about Dr. Hite’s 5 M’s of managing your own diabetes, so I thought I should look to give you my top 5, although I’m not too concerned about them starting with a single letter.
Instead of monitor I do like another M word which is similar, and that’s measure. So this means you do some measuring, your blood sugar, your weight, and it’s important to strive for a healthy weight with type 2 diabetes, as well as having a number of things measured by your doctor.
Aside from the normal tests, it’s a great idea to have your insulin levels tested, at the very least your fasting insulin and preferably 2 hours after a meal as well. It’s typical that they want to measure your blood sugar at both these times, you fast, go to the lab the next morning, get your fasting level tested, go eat, and then come back two hours later and they will measure your blood sugar again.
So it’s pretty easy and convenient to do an insulin test at the same time, the problem you will likely run into is that your doctor will probably not have the slightest idea why your insulin levels would matter, sad to say. They may tell you it’s not clinically significant, which means not significant to their practice, and the only thing that this test would mean to them is if you were insulin deficient they could perhaps diagnose you as a type 1 or a type 1.5 which are both characterized by insulin deficiency.
If that’s indeed the case well this is very good stuff to know, but it’s far more likely that you are a type 2 that has an excess of insulin, and your doctor very likely won’t understand why this even matters, but this is in fact critical information, it’s just that their understanding of diabetes is so minimal that they don’t have a clue here as to why.
Good luck trying to educate them though, but there is one thing you can try, and that’s to tell them that what you want here is to see how insulin resistant you are, and that’s actually true here. To measure insulin resistance you only need to know two things, what your blood sugar is at any given time together with what your insulin levels are at the same time.
If he or she wonders why this would matter, you can say, well isn’t type 2 diabetes a disease of insulin resistance? So this would be good to know for me to measure my progress with the disease, would it not? That may ring a bell with them, maybe hearken them back to the couple of hours of diabetes education they got in medical school, where it surely was mentioned that type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, and therefore, why not measure this?
Then you can plug these numbers into what’s called a HOMA calculator which will calculate your insulin sensitivity and your degree of insulin resistance. It also purports to calculate your beta cell function and does so in a sense, function may not be the right term though as beta cells downregulate for their own protection, they tend to turn down their function on purpose, and for all practical purposes if your insulin levels are over healthy levels you need not be concerned about how extreme the oversecretion is, and it’s preferable that it be as close to normal as possible actually.
Depending on your own situation, there may be a number of other tests you could ask for, type 2 diabetics have a high rate of thyroid hormone dysfunction, which isn’t the same thing as a thyroid dysfunction, and in many cases the thyroid may be working perfectly but there are issues with its being converted as well as delivered to cells in its active form free T3 in appropriate amounts.
So what you need here isn’t just a TSH which measures thyroid function itself, you need to ask for a full thyroid panel. Before you do though, there’s a simple test you can do at home which is surprisingly accurate at diagnosing thyroid hormone dysfunction, where you take your oral temperature immediately upon rising, and if it’s 97.5 or below for three consecutive days, you have thyroid hormone issues, and this is actually an even better test than the lab ones, since it measures your metabolism directly.
Men, particularly more mature ones, may want to get their testosterone tested, and low testosterone contributes quite a bit to diabetes actually, although this isn’t that well known, but a lot of stuff about diabetes isn’t. Anything that leads to the possibility of prescribing something does tend to appeal to MDs, this is a big part of their training, to look for ways to prescribe more actually.
Testing for inflammation is also a good idea, something we typically have too much of, you want to ask for a high sensitivity CRP, and they usually love this one since a high CRP is indicative of a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Since our insulin levels tend to be high, and insulin is pro inflammatory in excess, this is an important test actually, although what you do about this is another story, but another reason why you want your insulin levels tested.
There’s more to consider here of course, an RBC magnesium test would also be high on my list, if you can get it that is, this one you may have some trouble getting because your physician may think that the standard magnesium in the blood test is sufficient, but it is not, and it’s not the levels in your blood that matters, it’s the levels in your cells, which is what the RBC magnesium test measures.
That’s some of the general ones worth considering in addition to the usual metabolic ones they give you, and these tests do provide some useful information, even when they show normal results. Ideally though you have a doctor who is open minded and inquisitive enough to order these tests, although you may have to see a naturopath who can get at least some of these tests ordered for you, or even order them on your own through an online lab, using blood spots instead of a blood draw if necessary, so that you can administer the test to yourself.
So we’ve got our first M picked out, measure, including both measuring some things yourself, like your blood sugar, your weight, your rising temperature, and your blood pressure as well, and high insulin by the way causes high blood pressure, and this can be another way that you can measure your progress with normalizing your insulin levels.
My systolic used to consistently run in the 130’s and sometimes go up to the 140’s, borderline high we could call it, I consistently run between 115 and 120 these days, with my diastolic in the high 60’s to low 70’s, perfect blood pressure, and my heart rate averages around 60 now, perfect as well, all just from seeking healthier insulin levels.
Actually this is just one of several nasty things that overconsuming carbs does to you, raising your blood pressure directly, by way of promoting excess insulin secretion, and I should say that cutting the carbs from the excessive level just about everyone consumes to a more moderate level is all that it took for this, and the reason is that a high carb diet ends up having us secrete too much insulin, and this is the main reason why this is a healthier approach for diabetics, as well as non diabetics for that matter.
We’ll move forward to talking about my other 4 basics in Part 8.