General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Just found out I have diabetes Rss Feed  
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2014-10-26 8:20 AM

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Subject: Just found out I have diabetes
I did my first ever HIM race back in September. Had a really rough day out there despite what I thought was some great training for 9 months leading up to the race. Immediately the morning after I started to feel really thirsty. It got to the point where I was drinking upwards of about 250 oz's of any type of liquid that was in front of me. Started having urgent feelings of having to pee. I felt very fatigued all the time. My vision started to get blurry. I had uncontrolled weight loss. I started in December at about 180lbs. Got down to 160lbs for my race which I thought was a perfect race weight for me. When I stepped on my doctors scale 3 days ago I was 143lbs. Scary. I am still researching and my doctor is not sure if I am type 1 or 2 yet. He did say that my A1C was one of the highest he's seen during his practice, it was 13.6. I thought for sure my training and the race had something to do with this, but he assured me it was a complete coincidence that the symptoms started the day after my race.

Just for a little flashback. I had posted on the boards a few days after my race asking about cramping problems during my race. Still to this day I can not be 100% sure about what caused it, but I had extreme cramping in my entire lower body on race day despite setting a very easy pace and using the exact same nutrition plan I had used for months in training. I am curious if anybody with diabetes has ever had really bad cramping issues because of their blood sugar levels???

Also, I am starting to do research now, but anybody with diabetes notice any extreme changes in their training habits or with how you feel during races? Any insight would be greatly appreciated

Edited by spiderjunior 2014-10-26 8:22 AM


2014-10-26 9:17 AM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: Just found out I have diabetes
I'm sorry you are dealing with this-- it's not easy.

The distinction between type 1 and type 2 would seem to be pretty important-- are you taking insulin now? Is your doctor doing more tests? Are you seeing an endocrinologist?

A friend of mine found out she had type 1 diabetes a three years ago. It came on after an illness. She was an avid runner/marathoner and beginner triathlete before then, and her first diabetes doctor told her she'd have to give up training and racing. She quickly found another doctor who supports her lifestyle, but it has taken a lot of careful planning and managing to control her blood sugar levels during training and racing. Take a look at her blog:

http://albertadiabeticgirl.blogspot.ca/

Over the years she has gradually built up her management of her symptoms such that she will be training for her first half-ironman next year.

I don't know enough about diabetes to know whether the symptoms you were having during your race were related, but they definitely could be.
2014-10-26 9:43 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Just found out I have diabetes
Originally posted by spiderjunior

I did my first ever HIM race back in September. Had a really rough day out there despite what I thought was some great training for 9 months leading up to the race. Immediately the morning after I started to feel really thirsty. It got to the point where I was drinking upwards of about 250 oz's of any type of liquid that was in front of me. Started having urgent feelings of having to pee. I felt very fatigued all the time. My vision started to get blurry. I had uncontrolled weight loss. I started in December at about 180lbs. Got down to 160lbs for my race which I thought was a perfect race weight for me. When I stepped on my doctors scale 3 days ago I was 143lbs. Scary. I am still researching and my doctor is not sure if I am type 1 or 2 yet. He did say that my A1C was one of the highest he's seen during his practice, it was 13.6. I thought for sure my training and the race had something to do with this, but he assured me it was a complete coincidence that the symptoms started the day after my race.

Just for a little flashback. I had posted on the boards a few days after my race asking about cramping problems during my race. Still to this day I can not be 100% sure about what caused it, but I had extreme cramping in my entire lower body on race day despite setting a very easy pace and using the exact same nutrition plan I had used for months in training. I am curious if anybody with diabetes has ever had really bad cramping issues because of their blood sugar levels???

Also, I am starting to do research now, but anybody with diabetes notice any extreme changes in their training habits or with how you feel during races? Any insight would be greatly appreciated


Lots to discuss.
I am diabetic. Type 2 but slowly my insulin levels are dropping and eventually I will be on insulin. Time will tell. While they are different root causes, there is a lot of common things between the two, especially around timing of carbs, insulin sensitivity during excercise and stress......

I knew it going into tri so I adjusted everything accordingly. You will see in my race reports that I am very careful on my carb intake

A 13.6 A1C is very high. An A1c is a proxy for your average glucose over a few months. Normal would be low 5, controlled diabetic would be under 7, 13 is very high. I think that's about where I was when diagnosed.

You need to get to the bottom of T1 or T2. Your doctor can order tests to help that.

If it were me, I would get a meter and do a little testing when I wake up, pre-meal, post meal and try and establish a pattern

Feel free to ask questions, PM, whatever you want. Lots of us out there and always willing to help the newbie.

It is not an inhibitor to tri. There are all kinds of tricks to coping with it. Heck, I can draw blood and test while running.

I would put the cramping aside for now until you figure things out. When you pee like you did, you may have been extremely dehydrated. That is part of the weight loss. You may have had extremely high glucose levels if you were taking lots of carbs with no insulin. It can be many things.

Figure out where you stand then figure out the cramping

Edited by marcag 2014-10-26 9:44 AM
2014-10-26 9:45 AM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: Just found out I have diabetes
Yes, you need to find out which one you have - there is a big difference!

It 'sounds' to me like you have type 1, but that should absolutely be verified by your doctor! Type one diabetics pancreas stop making insulin or the levels are severely reduced (due to infection, auto immune disease, or something else), so you cannot absorb the food you eat. Type 2 is where the pancreas is making insulin, but the body for some reason can not use it. Very simplistic but basically the difference between the two.

Type 1 - need to take insulin
type 2 - can take insulin but can also be managed by diet and exercise changes. Many people have also reversed their type 2 diabetes by losing weight, changing diet habits and careful exercising.

Depending on which you have...
You can most definitely resume training, but it will take some time determining when/how much insulin you need, esp during long training days, how your body reacts to certain types of foods, lots of testing etc.

Find a good Diabetic educator - they are WAY better than a doctor to help you in managing it. If you find one that tells you to stop training, find another one. My mom was one for years and always encouraged all her diabetics to exercise and worked with some avid runners.

It will take work on your part, and some time to get used to injections/timing etc but I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to continue Tris once you get things figured out!

Good luck!
2014-10-26 1:16 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Just found out I have diabetes
Originally posted by marcag


You need to get to the bottom of T1 or T2. Your doctor can order tests to help that.

If it were me, I would get a meter and do a little testing when I wake up, pre-meal, post meal and try and establish a pattern

Feel free to ask questions, PM, whatever you want. Lots of us out there and always willing to help the newbie.

It is not an inhibitor to tri. There are all kinds of tricks to coping with it. Heck, I can draw blood and test while running.

Figure out where you stand then figure out the cramping


Thanks for the feedback from everyone so far. My doctor said he will know if its T1 or T2 the next time I stop in which is shortly. I have already gotten a machine to test myself. Been doing it for 3 mornings now. I have called one of the local hospitals that every raves about their Diabetic classes and I hope to get a lot of answers from my training classes there. Also, the cramping issue in my race, that is really the least of my worries, it was just a thought in my mind. As far as TRI. I really want to continue, and actually I think it might be one of the things that made me realize how bad of shape i was getting into. I felt absolutely amazing leading up to my HIM. About two weeks after it I was feeling pretty weak and tired but thought it was maybe from lack of training. I did 4 days of training, each maybe worse than the next. Finally I realized on my 2nd attempt at running again, I got about 1.5 miles into a run and just had no energy left. I know that my cardio could not have dropped off that much in 2 weeks. I appreciate the responses and I have been doing research already.
2014-10-26 2:13 PM
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Subject: RE: Just found out I have diabetes
Originally posted by spiderjunior
About two weeks after it I was feeling pretty weak and tired but thought it was maybe from lack of training. .


For 2 to 3 weeks after a HIM my glucose levels are abnormally high. This is pretty normal for me. Your body is releasing a bunch of hormones during the recovery weeks and they can jack up your glucose levels.

The A1C test shows that there was high glucose levels pre-race since that number is an average of a few months.

When learning about my level, I found the best time to test is
When you wake up
2 hours after breakfast
Just before Lunch
2 hours after lunch
Just before Dinner
2 hours after Dinner.

THis will give you an idea of how you react to food and how you react at different times of the day.





Edited by marcag 2014-10-26 2:24 PM


2014-10-26 3:18 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Just found out I have diabetes
Hey welcome to the diabetes club!

No worries. Just another hurdle in your road to whatever you want to do. My guess, you are type 1 given the description you described. Type 2s usually gain weight upon diagnosis. Type 1s generally lose it just like you described. I was really excited about my weight loss of about 40 pounds in 2 months until I realized I had Type 1 diabetes. Doh!

Lots of diabetic athletes out there. Type 1 Ironmen. Type 1 cycling teams getting close to competing in the Tour de France. Type 1 climbers. Type 1 marathoners and ultra runners. You get the idea. Lots of Type 1s (and 2s if that is your diagnosis in the end) doing whatever they want. You just need to learn how your body works and make it work for you.

Here are a couple of resources:

1 - Check out Sheri Colberg's Book - The Diabetic Athlete Handbook. Most of us consider this the Bible for diabetic athletes.

http://www.amazon.com/Diabetic-Athletes-Handbook-Sheri-Colberg-eboo...

2 - Find a great endocrinologist in your area. Ask other athletic diabetics you can find. There are great docs and then there are great docs for athletes. Many docs that treat diabetics honestly don't know much of diabetic athletes.

3 - Which leads me to finding some online support. You are here in the BT forums, so I'm assuming you know how to get around online. Check out some of these FaceBook groups to find other diabetics that are active. These are some of the best sources of help in my opinion.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Type1DiabeticAthletes/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/447399848610702/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/267519913316645/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/272629492793474/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/29238335797/

I know this is a lot of information, but to be honest it is just the tip of the iceberg. You'll start learning about insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, MDI, and DKA just to name a few things. (Feel free to start googling them if you are an overachiever.)

It is a great time to be a diabetic. We have so many tools at our disposal. We have so much knowledge. We have community online with each other. Just another hurdle in the road. No big deal.

Feel free to ask any questions here or through PM. I'd be happy to share any information I can with you.

2014-10-26 6:36 PM
in reply to: brrit

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Subject: RE: Just found out I have diabetes
So sorry about your diagnosis. It's overwhelming and it takes time to absorb and deal with all of it. My 14 year old son has had type 1 since he was 9 months old and I was diagnosed over 7 years ago as an adult at age 30 also with type 1. (And it does sound like classic and acute type 1 symptoms.) My son has already run 3 half marathons and I've done a couple of marathons myself. I'm happy to answer any questions you have.
2014-10-27 8:05 AM
in reply to: BrendaK

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Subject: RE: Just found out I have diabetes
Thanks again for all the info. Brrit, that's a ton of stuff for you to have taken the time to supply to me. I appreciate it a ton. I love researching stuff, so I will be going thru everything you gave me and will continue to learn as much as I can. I know for sure that I want to continue to be active. For now I think I am going to take some extra time off from training until I get my energy back. Still feel very tired and weak daily.

Also, the best thing you could ever have is support of your spouse / family. My wife has been amazing. It really makes a huge difference
2014-10-27 9:37 AM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: Just found out I have diabetes
You bet, spiderjunior.

And, you are totally right about having a supportive wife. That is really important. Glad to hear that you have that in your tool box as well.
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