Saturday, August 06, 2016


Blood pressure: 120/90
Heart rate: 75
Weight: 119 kg
Blood sugar: 144
Urine glucose: find out Monday
HbA1c: find out Monday (they took a syringe-sized blood sample)
Vertigo: find out more on Monday


Blood pressure is written as a fraction of systolic over diastolic pressure, with diastolic being the more important number.* "Classic" BP is 120/80; my 90 can be seen either as the very, very high end of normal or as pre-hypertensive. From personal experience, I know that a heart rate of 75 is a vast improvement over the 90-ish it had been in May, when I started exercising in earnest. According to the UK charts here, a blood-sugar reading of 144, post-prandial, indicates a pre-diabetic level, which means I'm probably going to be prescribed several sorts of meds come Monday. These numbers are still somewhat high despite all the exercise I've been doing, and given my age, a little medicinal help is called for.

The HbA1c number, representing glycated hemoglobin (i.e., hemoglobin with glucose attached to it), is normally represented either as a fraction of millimoles-per-mole (mmol/mol) or as a percentage version of that fraction. The reading is considered bad (i.e., full-blown diabetic) if it's around 9.0, the doc says; it's good if it's around 6.0, but for me, in my condition, he says, the number we're looking for is around 7.0; we can shoot for 6.0 later. For the moment, the doc is recommending that I (1) continue the cardio, especially the staircase-walking; (2) drink a lot of water (which I do when I'm at the office); and (3) eat lots of leafy greens and crucifers, along with small amounts of fish and chicken—pretty typical low-carb-diet advice.

My goal will obviously be to reach a stage where I'll be free of the anticipated meds, but that's going to require a herculean effort of will on my part, mainly because old habits die hard. I have a very sweet tooth, work at a sedentary job when I'm not out on the walking path, and like to eat large portions—often of bad-for-you food. I have no illusions that some major lifestyle changes are in the works, and I'm not looking forward to those, but if it's a choice between being inconvenienced or being dead, then I think the choice is obvious.

Personal comment:

Had the doc checked me in May, I'm pretty sure he'd have said I was a raging diabetic whose heart and brain were both on the verge of exploding. Since May, I've gotten serious about exercise, have re-lost a small chunk of weight (about one stone, to use the British term—I'd say another five to go), have gotten my resting heart rate down, and have barely begun to slim down—to the point where I have to think about punching more holes in my big leather belt.

I'm able to walk up 78 floors in my building with minimal rest between rounds of climbing. When not tackling indoor stairs, I walk 16-19 miles in a day, tackling 33 outdoor staircases along the way. Much of what I'm doing is the right thing to do; it's the eating that's killing me, and it may even be linked to my vertigo. We'll know more on Monday.

*Systolic pressure represents blood pressure when the heart's left ventricle is at maximum contraction; diastolic pressure—the denominator of the fraction—is measured during the "slack" moment between heartbeats.

1 comment:

TheBigHenry said...


I am not an MD (although I am a Doctor -- of Science) so do as your own doctor advises. But I am a Type II diabetic, having been diagnosed about ten years ago. From my own experience, the key number for you is your A1C reading. It is a blood sugar average indicator over a period of about a month. If that number comes back below 6.0, you are not yet a diabetic. If it is 6.0 or higher, you are, albeit if it is below 7.0, you probably don't need to take any meds for it, but you would be well advised to eliminate your sugar intake and reduce your intake of carbs.

My own A1C was 6.1 when I was first diagnosed. Last time my doc had it checked it was 6.5. I have never had to take any meds for it (yet, and, hopefully, will continue not needing to); but I had eliminated added sugars from my diet and limited the intake of natural sugars, such as in most fruits. I have also adhered to a regular exercise routine (though nowhere near the rigorous one you have been doing).

Best wishes,