It's a Type 2 Life
It's a Type 2 Life

San Francisco Bay Area resident Patrick Totty writes about his experiences living with type 2 diabetes

See all posts »

Life is Good at 6.5 %

TEXT SIZE: A A A

I just got back my latest A1c results and I’m a happy man.

In early June my A1c was fluctuating between 9% and 10% (210 to 240 mg/dL), high enough that my doctor said it was time to start on insulin.

I decided then and there to make one last effort to control my blood sugar levels by watching my carbs and ratcheting up my level of exercise.

Losing weight and giving my body fewer carbohydrates to struggle with might lower my insulin resistance. This would let me avoid starting on a therapy that I had always considered a dreaded end point for the disease.

(I want to be careful about my tone here: I later took a class to learn how to shoot myself with insulin and realized that it was hardly a thing to dread. If and when it comes time to go on insulin therapy full-tilt, I’ll be the last person to say “Not for me.”)

My latest result was 6.5%, a figure that would drive a non-diabetic from the room screaming. For an old-hand type 2 like me, it was pretty damned good.

Or maybe the better expression is “good enough.” A 6.5% A1c translates to a blood glucose level of 140 mg/dL, which is the level that the American Diabetes Association says is what most diabetics should aim for. It’s not perfect, but is indicative of the disease under reasonable control.

I have another supporting argument: As an Older American, I consider a 6.5% A1c about as much as can be expected from the likes of me. There is some evidence—not so persuasive to me, but worth considering—that the attempt to achieve too tight a control over blood glucose levels can backfire by increasing the risk of heart attack.

That doesn’t mean that I’m going to give up on trying to drive my figure down to 6% or even lower. I’m going to continue restricting my carb intake and taking brisk daily walks. I’d like to lose another 10 pounds in addition to the 25 I’ve lost over the past few months.

But there are limits to anybody’s “I Can Do It All by Myself” approach to type 2. Dealing with it is like being the tamer who knows how to work a cage full of lions in a circus act. You can be savvy and good with lashing the whip and barking commands, but eventually your arm strength and voice are going to weaken and the big cats aren’t going to be so impressed.

So, I’m going to enjoy the fruits of my labor, the 2.5% drop in my A1c, for as long as I can. But I’ll keep in mind that my progress is much like my one-time boyish good looks: It eventually will fade.    

  • 1

Tags: Hope , Insights

Was this article helpful? Yes No

Recommended for You

  • Goodbye, Farewell, Adieu

    By: Patrick Totty
    Nov 15, 2012

    This is my last Healthline blog. When I started blogging here in April, I had serious concerns about posting twice a week. There’s only so much you can say about type 2, I thought. But several months and 60-odd blog entries later, it turns...

    Read more »

  • Small A1c Drop, Big Life Expectancy Gain

    By: Patrick Totty
    Nov 01, 2012

    While controversy swirls around what A1c percentage is ideal for type 2s, no one denies that lower is better. Currently, the recommended A1c target is 6.5%, equivalent to a daily average of140 mg/dL. For older people who’ve been diagnosed for...

    Read more »

  • Life in the State of Nanny

    By: Patrick Totty
    Oct 25, 2012

    William Barrett was a Columbia University professor who wasn’t a particularly gifted writer but was a fine thinker. He wrote a book, The Illusion of Technique, which described what happens when people outsmart themselves by substituting appearan...

    Read more »

  • A Diabetic Doctor's Take on Carb Cravings

    By: Patrick Totty
    Oct 15, 2012

    I’ve mentioned Dr. Richard Bernstein here before. Bernstein is the 78-year-old Long Island-based doctor who for years has been a thorn in the side of the American Diabetes Association. That’s because of his advocacy of a low-carb approach to bo...

    Read more »

Advertisement

About the Author

Bay Area resident Patrick Totty was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in July, 2003.

Recent Blog Posts

Advertisement
Advertisement