As Crohn’s suffers, patients, the lucky few (or is it really that few), or however we choose to label ourselves, life has certainly drawn us a short stick. I have to admit, the rapid weight loss can be a great way to get back into the pieces of your wardrobe that you have hidden in the back depths of your closet but even that, is short lived after a few weeks of Prednisone munchies. The truth of the matter is that we cherish good quality toilet paper and always know where the closest washroom is. We have Crohn’s for life – isn’t that enough for one person to have to deal with? The trouble is, unfortunately not!
Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes
If you do a quick Google search on “Crohn’s and type 2 diabetes” about 1,150,000 results are found. Comparatively, a search for Chicken Gumbo soup stirs up about 257,000. With numbers like these, maybe an association between Type 2 Diabetes and crohn’s Disease is not that uncommon after all. For many of you who have read my history please bare with me – I promise I will be brief. I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2005. I would not say that my disease ever went into remission but for awhile I did live drug free. Late last fall I started to experience persistent chest pains. Like most guys, stubborn as we are , I kept putting it off. I suppose I am still gun-shy from years of Doctors telling me that my digestive issues were “all in my head”, and to try to get another bizarre diagnosis or feel like I am wasting a doctors time is not my favourite past time. By late November, the pains had increased to a state that on my way home one evening I made a detour to the local emergency department. 12 hours later I was sent home with a “clean bill of health” (with the pains persisting). A few hours later the emergency department called, noting that further review of my blood work showed blood sugar levels were elevated (11.9) and to follow with my family doctor. The question that went through my head at the time was simply, “Was being in the emergency department, enough to get everyone’s heard pumping, and adrenaline flowing. No wonder my sugars where high!”
Like a good patient, over the next few weeks I met with my family doctor going over the various test results – it was confirmed, “Delayed Fasting Glucose” or “Prediabetes”. What is prediabetes? Well the Public Health Agency of Canada describes prediabetes as:
Pre-diabetes means that your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but lower than if you have type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes is also called impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose.
If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, then you have an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Over the coming months my fasting glucose levels (collected after an 8 to 10 hour fast) were bouncing all around the board – 6.8, 9.1 – needless to say, enough was enough. It looked like, pre-diabetics education and a few lifestyle changes were in order. I certainly have to commend the South Lake Regional Health Centre on an excellent diabetes education, support program and staffing. Although I must admit, the cohort in the pre-diabetes class was a little skewed towards the retired. Regardless, the day long course I attended in late January provided an overview of “Diabetes” and more importantly how to not to be one of the 4 out of 10 people in the class whose disease would progress to Type 2 Diabetes. Exercise, diet, portion size, managed carbohydrate intake was to become my new norm, and fibre became my next best friend. Ok – lets put on the breaks a little – did he just say fibre? Sounds easy enough! However, when we had a little training session in the class on how to your a glucomoter, I know I was in trouble – at the end of the training the nurse did a little roll-call on what our blood-sugar levels were – 4.5, 5, 6.5 – I don’t recall anyone being above 7.0 – that was until they came to me – 9.9 (anything under 10.0 two hours after a meal is considered normal). Only thing the diabetes education nurse emphasized in the class was that if through good diet, and exercised, It could take years for someone to progress from prediabetes to diabetes – in my case, the years were more like months as you can see in the chart.
As of March 18th, 2010, I was officially diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.