Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Meds. What I'm no longer taking and what I may still need.

As you all know, I got here - to this stage of my life where I am fed up with the status quo and overmedicating of America - because I was administered 4 more prescriptions to cure what ended up being food sensitivities or allergies (not sure about allergy I haven't been formally tested yet!).  What I was on then:

systemic oral steroid (methylprednisone)
inhaled steroid (pulmicort)
nasal steroid (nasonex)
anti-leukotriene (singulair)
antihistamine (allegra)
metformin (glucophage)
levothyroxine (synthroid)
lots of anti-inflammatory for aches, pains, general malaise

What's I'm on now:

*cricket cricket*

That's it.  I stopped the inhaled and snorted steroids because I didn't feel that I needed them and thankfully, I can still breathe.  Aside from a slight episode of coughs now and again which are totally doable, I am OK.

Was it eliminating gluten?  Was it getting rid of all of the carpet in my house and having new installed?  Was it eliminating processed foods?

I dunno.  But it's good.

What is metformin and do I still need it?

Wikipedia says that metformin works by suppressing glucose production in the liver.

I have hyperinsulinemia.  That means I have unexplained overproduction of insulin.  My endocrinologist said it could be due to lifestyle, stress, thyroid or other.  So do I have high insulin because of high blood sugars?  Actually, not according to the tests I've taken.  My blood sugar is OK.  My HbA1C (an "average" of blood sugar over 3 mos) is good.  So I don't have high sugar -  I just have high insulin.  This is odd to me, and I cannot figure out what it means or how it happened.

The NIDDK (national institute on diabetes and digestive and kidney diseases) says the following:

Metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of any three of the following conditions:
  • waist measurement of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women
  • triglyceride levels of 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or above, or taking medication for elevated triglyceride levels
  • HDL, or "good," cholesterol level below 40 mg/dL for men and below 50 mg/dL for women, or taking medication for low HDL levels
  • blood pressure levels of 130/85 or above, or taking medication for elevated blood pressure levels
  • fasting blood glucose levels of 100 mg/dL or above, or taking medication for elevated blood glucose levels

Here are my stats as of my FIRST blood test that led to the hyperinsulinemia diagnosis:

Insulin:  17 (normal is below 17 so I was technically borderline there)

ComponentYour ValueStandard RangeUnits
CHOLESTEROL1510 - 200mg/dL
HDL3835 - 85mg/dL
LDL CHOL (CALCULATED)1000 - 100mg/dL
VLDL135 - 40mg/dL
TRIGLYCERIDE630 - 150mg/dL
CHOL/HDL RATIO4.00.0 - 4.4

See I told you I had low cholesterol!  BUT:  The important part here is that my "good" cholesterol (HDL) is at the lowest end of the range and my "bad" cholesterol is at the highest of normal.  That makes my ratio of total cholesterol to good cholesterol high (4.0).  So really, I'm not in as good shape as I thought.  One good thing is that my triglycerides and VLDL are low.  Both are in the lower half of the range which indicates that I have made lifestyle changes.  Overweight people who are sedentary and eat over 50% of their daily calories in carbohydrates tend to have high triglycerides and VLDL.

Taking metformin and changing my diet reduced my insulin to 9.  HUGE difference, but truly?  I am not sure if it was metformin or diet change.  I still ate too many processed foods (looking back) during that time but I cut out sugar and carbs to a "low" level.  I reallllllly made an effort to stop all white flour and limit processed stuff.

Despite being BAD at taking the metformin for the next 3 mos - it doesn't make me feel well so I tend to go off and on it a lot - my insulin held steady at 10.  Once the allergy and asthma debacle began, I stopped taking it all together and haven't since the end of May.

Do I have metabolic syndrome?
Big waist?  CHECK
triglycerides over 150?  NO
HDL below 50?  CHECK
Blood pressure over 130/80?  NO - my BP has always been 120 or lower
fasting glucose over 100?  NO - it's always been under 100 .. near 100 but not 100 or over.

According to the guidelines that I have to have THREE things to be diagnosed, I am not metabolic disorder. WHAT AM I???

Do I need the metformin?  Am I not even a pre-diabetic or hyperinsulinemia patient?  Am I just borderline and I could get better w/diet and exercise?

I DON'T KNOW.  And I'm the worst person to experiment on - results from studies on myself make no sense and are just frustrating.

So that's where I am with medications.  I started the metformin again last night because no matter what I think about it, its supposed to help with weight loss and at the end of the day I need to get this chub off so i can stop worrying about my insulin, cholesterol, etc.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. You dropped a lot of meds! That's awesome.

    I think what you are is a work in progress. You're moving from hyperinsulinmia to "normal". That's my take on this.

    Here is my question... how long are you giving yourself to respond to the Met or the lack of Met? Don't dump the experiment after a couple weeks because you haven't seen results. Meds AND lifestyle changes take time. If you're going back on the metformin then give yourself a good 3 months and check back. If you're going off of it, do the same.