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Metformin seems to make my glucose levels higher
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atm057 posted:
Hi All;
I got diagnosed with Type 2 about 2 years ago. I started exercising more (though was never a couch potato), cut out a lot of carbs, went from 185 to 150 lbs. over the next year and have stayed at 150 (I'm 5'8"). I run 5 miles 3 times/week, and work out with free weights 2-3 times/week. I also often take a vigorous walk after dinner.

My H1c was 6.3 or so at first, and slowly edged up to about 7, around 6 mos. ago. My doc put me on Metformin - 500mg/day. For about the first week, I noticed my morning measurement was down - around 100, when it had been typically more like 115-120. But then my levels went back up, and seem to be climbing all the time since then. Now a morning measurement of 150 is not unusual. I just had blood work done, and my H1c is now 8.1. I can't help wonder if Metformin is actually making my glucose levels worse.

I have a doc. appt. this week, we'll discuss this.

Has anyone found Metformin to be not helpful or even make things worse?

--Alex
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auriga1 responded:
Alex, I don't take metformin but would like to ask if you know how many carbs you eat a day. Approximately?

Your A1C is running high. If you can, write down exactly everything you put in your mouth every day for a week; how many carbs are in each and everything you ingest. Even tastes of things. Take your BS two hours after breakfast one day. Then the next day, two hours after lunch, then the next after dinner.

Some of us are extremely carb sensitive. Nearly every carb can raise our blood sugar.

See if you can start today with the journaling since you have a doc appt this week.

I know many folks who have said metformin has helped with their management of diabetes.

Just maybe you need to watch your carbs more. If that doesn't help, maybe your doc will add another med to your regimen. I really don't know, since each and every one of us is so different in how we manage our diabetes.
 
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mhall6252 responded:
It seems you are doing all the right things. Has the doctor tested your insulin levels? Maybe you're not making enough. I would certainly be thinking along those lines if I were you.

Michelle
 
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atm057 replied to auriga1's response:
I'm not sure, I never counted carbs exactly, but I stopped drinking OJ and bananas, eat low-sugar cereal with berries, eat salad for lunch every day (with beans, olives, chic peas, etc).

I eat small portions of starch at night, often brown rice, rarely potatoes. I have one drink and sometimes 1 glass of wine 3 or 4 nights a week. I eat pizza about once a week, and a small dessert maybe once/week.


I don't think I've changed my diet in over a year or more, and my weight hasn't changed at all. But maybe you're right, and I need to cut out alcohol and pizza.
 
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DavidHueben responded:
Alex:

Just a few points:

1. For the record, I do take Metformin...500mg per day at dinner time.

2. It typically takes a few weeks before a person sees the therapeutic effect of the Metformin. You cannot draw any conclusions after a week or so.

3. I seriously doubt that the Metformin would raise your blood glucose levels and associated A1C results.

4. When I began my nominal dosage of Metformin, it lowered my average fasting glucose level about 9%...from about 99 to 90.

5. Some people (and I am not saying this about you) tend to be a little lax about their dietary habits when they begin taking medications for diabetes. I would do as Auriga suggested and closely monitor your food intake, count the number of grams of carbohydrates for every meal, and journal the results.

6. It may be that you need an adjustment in your Metformin dosage and/or a secondary medication. That is not uncommon.

I hope this helps a little.

David
Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. - General George Patton Jr
 
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phototaker responded:
Hi Alex,
There can be so many things involved. First of all, congratulations in bringing your weight down to 150, and the excellent exercise you're doing.
I'm not on medicine, and am trying to do this with cutting down my carbs and exercise alone. It's really difficult. My morning numbers are more like yours, except never going over 130. My A1C is 5.9. I found when I exercise heavily, like with zumba, for a solid hour, I feel more hungry. I'm now trying to have some sort of a protein/carb snack before my workout. Check with Flutetooter. She has a routine where I "think" I remember her saying she has some protein within the first half hour after her workouts, like string cheese or a piece of chicken. She'll explain more.
I suggest you test your blood sugars two hours after you eat for a while, to see how you're doing. You "may" need some sort of a snack at night, around 9:30, so your body doesn't go low during the night, and cause those high numbers from your liver kicking in. Try it a few nights and see if that 150 fasting comes down. As David says, it takes a little while for the Metformin to kick in.
An A1C of 8.1 is not good. Pizza is out for me, as well as sweet fruits like bananas and pineapple(although I can have a few slices if I eat things to balance this off, like some protein, salads, a few other carbs. Having "tastes" of a dessert with a couple friends is a better idea than having the whole dessert.
I kept away from desserts for the first three years and ate a small apple and nuts. Now, once in a while, I'll have tastes of the low carb cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, splitting it three ways. They usually give you a small piece.
It's all about experimenting with your own body...what works for you! Everyone here is different and reacts differently. If you must get pizza, they have these Lean Cuisine ones, but they're still full of carbs. You can try to make your own with a thin crust. I see some smaller size frozen ones now have that really thin crust, but again...full of carbs, and not enough protein for me. Once in a while, I'll eat one of those with a salad for dinner. It's not the best choice, but being too strict all the time gets old fast. I know I have to live this way the rest of my life.
Good luck in working this out.
 
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flutetooter responded:
Hi, atm057 and welcome to our information sharing web site. An A1c of 8.1 represents an approximate 3 month average of all your blood sugars -- those you take on your meter, and all the other minutes of every day of every week when you are not testing. Your A1c corresponds to an average blood sugar of 186. This means that for every minute you are at your fasting level of 150, there is another minute when you are at 222!. This is, of course, a simplification, but you can see that you are up in a range much above normal, and doing much damage already to you heart, brain, gut, nerves, and blood vessels.

Now is the time to start logging everything you put into your mouth before the next doctor's appointment to see how many GRAMS of carbohydrates you are eating. On labels, count the total carbohydrates for the size of portion you are eating. This includes the sugars, fiber and other carbs. which are part of the total listed. Just write down the total grams and note the portion size. If the portion size is listed as 1/2 cup, and you eat 1 cup, you have to multiply the total carbs listed by 2.

Medicines will help, of course, but studies have shown that for type 2s, diet and exercise are three times as effective as meds. Even when you take meds, they cannot do what they are supposed to do to help without you helping out by doing your part.

It sounds like you are doing great with your weight and exercise program. I know that a walk after dinner really helps me keep my morning numbers down, especially if I don't eat after that except for a TINY snack of 2 Wheat Thins with cheese at bedtime. Some of us, and this may include you, are VERY susceptible to the effects of any carbs on our blood sugar. Writing down exactly what you eat and how much, will help your doctor fine tune your meds. Diabetes can be a progressive disease, and often the old tired pancreas starts not producing enough insulin in any case. Your information on foods will help immensely with your diagnosis.

Good luck with your doctor's appointment and keep us posted. We will learn from you also!
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
 
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auriga1 replied to atm057's response:
Atm, it might be wise to invest in a carb counter. There are several books out there and online resources. My dietician recommened "The Calorie King." It's a book that lists calories, carbs and fats in all the foods, drinks, etc. that we put into our mouths.

Have you seen a dietician? My diabetes was way out of control with numbers in the 400's. I am extremely insulin resistant. Cannot eat carbs without my BS going up. Everything we eat has carbs in it, except for your proteins and fats. That includes your fruits and veggies.

In order to keep your blood sugar in line toward normal (70-100) you need to count carbs. For example, my dietician recommended 35-45 grams per meal. I strive more toward 35 or less. I use two insulins, so the less carbs I eat, the less insulin I use. Some diabetics eat more carbs, some less.

Find the amount of carbs on that wine you drink. Beer and wine have carbs in them. Hard liquor does not. Pizza dough is loaded with carbs. One example, Papa John's slice of sausage pizza (ONE slice) has 38 grams of carbs. If one is really hungry, they are not eating one slice of pizza. For me, that one slice would be nearly max for my carb intake at that particular meal.

It's O.K. to eat these things once in awhile for some people, but your BS is responding to these foods by going up.

I know I'm sounding somewhat like a harpy, but you might need to rethink your diet. See if you can talk to a dietician. You are doing wonderfully with your exercise routine.

I want to reiterate (and Flutetooter did, too) journal what you are eating by counting those carbs. It will give you a very clear picture of what is going on. Your doctor, too, will get a clearer picture. You may not need to change/add medication if you can stabilize things with some dietary changes. It takes a some doing and more thinking when it comes to planning meals, but we have all had to do this.

It's more carb counting, than calorie counting when it comes to diabetes. I understand the weight thing. When diagnosed, I had no weight to lose. It certainly was baffling to my doctors and me, but here I was, an uncontrolled diabetic.

Let us know how you fare with your doctor's appointment. We all keep each other on track here for health benefits.
 
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Peter_V replied to auriga1's response:
FWIW if you have a "Smart" phone, there are tons of apps out there that will handle the carb counting for you.

I picked up one for my droid that uses the camera as a bar code reader. All you do is scan the bar code (if available) for the food and it automatically recognizes it and tells you it's nutritional information (Carbs, fat, protein, etc.)
 
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Fred1234567 responded:
Well go figure...walked into the docs told me i had DB.. had 7.5 levels... ate what i liked ...drank what i liked... then went took all the advice change my diet dramatically and was put on MET...three months in levels were 8.2 ...ok let it ride... 7 months in levels 8.5.

felt fine before i started taking this and only got found out on a regular checkup. now get shakes and all the systems of low BS some times of the day.
 
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anon615 replied to Fred1234567's response:
Someone can answer this. I thought that doctors started you on a low dose of Metformin to see if you can tolerate it. I thought the therapeutic dose of Met was at least 1500.

Also, you know I am going to say to eliminate all meats, poultry, fish and dairy, eggs, sugars, oils and other fats and processed food. Eat brown rice and potatoes and sweet potatoes and corn and oatmeal and vegetables and fruits and beans. This is basically a McDougall, Esselstyn, Barnard, Ornish, Fuhrman type of plant based diet.

dolores
 
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flutetooter replied to Fred1234567's response:
Fred, the original post was from two years ago. I suggest you start a new one and more people will answer. Some diabetics use carb counting to limit their carbs. The other reply to your post prefers the Vegan or vegetarian approach. Others use the ADA "exchanges" which allow a looser glucose control and higher numbers, and others just eat whatever they want and let the doctor raise their meds to try to control the rising sugars.

I recently read two ideas which may help. 1. A person's loss of weight may not lower their numbers if they don't lower their number of grams of carbs per pound of weight at the same time. In other words, as you lose weight, you have to eat even less carbs than before. 2. Diabetes doesn't always come on slowly. Usually there is a big jump in glucose numbers (fasting and A1c) over a three year period. You may be in that jump and will need more meds or even insulin to cover the carbs you eat. Please let us know about the diet you are on now so that we may answer more fully.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
 
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akosuayeboah responded:
have been on metformin for a week n don,t like it. it seems to raise my sugar levels my daily testing was in the 100s but now almost 150s
 
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painter777 responded:
I have the same issue. I am in Canada so my readings are metric but my sugars have increased substatially. I forgot my metformin last night and had great sugar this am! I was suspicious of the Metformin and now I am pretty sure it is causing my problems.
 
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atm057 replied to painter777's response:
Hi Akasuayeboah, Painter,

For me I think it turned out to be Simvistatin that was causing the bump in glucose levels that I was seeing. I had started on Simvistatin at about the same time as Metformin. The FDA issued a warning on Simvistatin a few years ago that it can cause elevated glucose levels in some people, and it was doing that for me. I got off the simvistatin and had a clear reduction in levels. I'm still on Metformin.
cheers
atm


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