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Ask Dr. Gott 7/10
Treat diabetes without meds if you can
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: My doctor told me I have diabetes. My choice was to control it by dieting, and my doctor set me up to see a dietician. I followed the diet and later asked my doctor for a prescription for a glucose meter so I could monitor my levels. She refused. I asked her again later, leaving her a message, and she never called me back.
    Is it standard for a doctor to refuse a prescription for a meter to activate insurance coverage when controlling diabetes by dieting?
    DEAR READER: It is true that glucose meters help people check their blood-sugar levels at home or in locations outside a doctor's office or laboratory. As a general rule, levels stay within normal limits throughout the day, and are lowest in the morning and higher after meals. Diabetics or people on special diets controlled through medication in tablet form generally monitor their readings once or twice a week, either before meals or about one and a half hours after eating. Not all diabetics need to perform regular blood glucose checks. However, insulin-dependent diabetics require tighter control and often need to test their glucose levels several times a day.
    If I can read between the lines, I conclude your sugar level was minimally high when your doctor checked it. She must believe your diabetes can be controlled by diet, without medication and without outside monitoring. This is a favorable option that I definitely endorse, since all drugs have side effects.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Living with Diabetes Mellitus."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: For some time, my family and I have been troubled with eating in restaurants, only to end up — sometimes within minutes — with explosive diarrhea. We've gone to a well-known chain and to fine establishments. We've had the same meals, different meals, and one, if not all of us, gets ill every time. My wife and daughter recently had identical meals in a classy Italian restaurant, and my daughter got sick immediately, while my wife was just queasy. Generally, after the first attack, things settle down and we simply feel poor but get over it in a few hours. Do you have any ideas, and are other people having the same problem?
    DEAR READER: I have two trains of thought. The first is that you could be suffering from food poisoning, but this is unlikely because several of you visit a variety of restaurants and don't get ill every time.
    In all likelihood, your family is accustomed to certain foods at home that are seasoned with certain spices. When you visit restaurants, you are exposed to a variety of foods and additives that make everything taste wonderful, but to which your digestive systems are unaccustomed. You might try blander dishes, avoiding rich sauces and desserts when dining out. You may also want to avoid restaurant salads because most restaurants wash their lettuce in a sulfite solution that can cause immediate, sometimes uncontrollable, diarrhea in people sensitive to it.
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