You Said I Have What Doc?

Recently I ran into a close friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while at the grocery store and of course, every time he sees me, we somehow end up conversing about health. This encounter, he was telling me about a recent doctor’s visit where he was diagnosed as having prediabetes and at our healthcare center, diabetes and other related chronic conditions are our specialty so of course I was all ears. Here is where I want to speak Christianese and say the Lord directed me to that grocery store particularly for this encounter but that wouldn’t be the truth. I was going to the store because they have the best butter chocolate chip cookies. So, I was really giving into my fleshly desires and my intent for being in the store was one of sin and indulgence and the conversation we had probably did more harm than it did good. I say that because I warned him of all the diabetes complications unmanaged diabetes can bring and if miss diagnosed, he could be placed on the wrong meds, which may lead to those complications.The main difference in a diabetes type diagnosis is how a person visibly presents with symptoms at time of diagnosis. Particularly how they physically present. Gestational diabetes visibly presents as a pregnant woman. Type 2 diabetes presents as visibly overweight/obese person, particularly in the abdominal region. It’s slowly progressive so it’s normally detected during mid to later in life. Depending on race and family history, it can occur earlier in life, but the common theme is overweight/obesity. Type 1 diabetes is what I want to major in.

Type 1 diabetes used to visibly present itself as a younger person mostly and it was named Juvenile diabetes. Rarely would this type of diabetes be diagnosed in someone older. Very little could be done about it to prevent it because it normally occurs in people with a particular genotype. This genotype had to receive some type of trauma normally in the form of a viral infection to bring other agents and antibodies that would then destroy your body’s ability to produce insulin (in short). It was hard to visibly detect even the possibility of its development without extensive testing being done.

Let’s get back to my friend. The way he visibly presented to me at the grocery store is same way he presented to his doctor at the time of his diagnosis I hope, Black/African American and mid-life. 42 to be exact. (I hope he doesn’t read this). Right off top one would think that he was trending toward type 2 diabetes without extensive diagnostic testing. Here is where it may get tricky. He’s not overweight nor does he have a family history of diabetes. He used to be my workout partner for a long time so I would like to think I taught him the right way to workout so he’s physically active. He’s very particular about what he eats in a good way. He tends to lean more towards a Mediterranean Diet, controlling his carb intake while limiting his red meat intake to almost minimal. He doesn’t overeat and as a matter of fact, he may under consume. This would rule out most risk factors of type 2 diabetes. Guess what his doctor’s treatment plan was to avoid disease progression, eat right and exercise…. Doc, he already does that! and he is intentional about doing as to avoid disease onset.

So, if his current lifestyle didn’t prevent his 3-to-six-month blood sugar average from being elevated, he was at a loss as to what to do. Now his stress levels are raised, cortisol levels on tilt mode. I suggested he have a second opinion, which is a nice way of saying find a new doctor. Here are some major reasons why: he has unexplained weight loss, he frequently urinates and his energy levels are always low. He wasn’t intentionally losing weight so his lifestyle didn’t change as it related to his energy expenditure, so he needed to have more extensive testing done to see why his insulin was beginning to malfunction. Science (man’s discovery of God’s creation) has advanced tremendously in understanding type 1 diabetes even down to the point where it can be easily detected earlier and possibly prevented. In his case, what may be occurring is he could be on the cusp of developing a latent onset of type 1 diabetes. This form of Type 1 diabetes occurs in roughly 10-15% of people initially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and later in life as opposed to youth and young adults. The only way for him to know would be to have more comprehensive testing. We all should have more comprehensive diabetes exams not just to avoid errors but also to know our current health info and possible risks. The diabetes burden is ever increasing but it can’t solely be on the healthcare pros to do their part in reducing the burden. We all have to collectively work together to reduce the burden.

I want to thank you for taking your time out today to read and I hope that you always be in good health and remember, You can’t spell Health without HEAL!