I was very pleased with the labs of one of my diabetics recently, a 69 year old guy who was seeing another doctor before coming to me. He wasn't paying close attention to diet and was on a couple diabetes pills including metformin. His Hemoglobin A1c, that blood test that roughly correlates to general level of blood sugar (glucose) over the last three months. Lower A1c is better was alarmingly high. Less than 5.5 is considered normal. 5.5-6.4 is pre-diabetes and diabetes is 6.5 and up. The American Diabetes Association thinks < 7 is good enough. It is difficult to get a1c less than 7 safely when using medications. Medications can accidently drop the blood sugar dangerously low on occasions. They permit sugars to run higher to avoid going too low.
Back to my patient: When his initial blood work showed his A1c to be an alarming 10.5 I gave him two options. 1. The usual ADA diet (45-60% carbs) and increase his dosages of pills and maybe add some more pills. Option two: eat less carbs/sugar and eat more wonderfully satisfying fat. Oh, and I would not increase his dosages. He quite wisely chose option 2. Improved diet is the only way to truly treat diabetes, meds just mask the problem.
RESULTS IN THREE MONTHS:
By cutting carbs and increasing healthy fats his A1c dropped from 10.5 (pretty bad) to 6.5 That's almost out of the diabetic range. If sticks with it, he will drop lower. When I called him to tell him the good news he says that he feels great, the food is good and he is not hungry. By not using meds there is no risk of side effects and hypoglycemia; And one more thing, no pharmacy bill. Did I mention diabetes pills are expensive? Insulin is really expensive. I forgot to ask him what happened to his weight. It's probably down. With meds, it usually goes up.
Eric Sodicoff MD
Member: Obesity medince Association