People have asked us if we have had our two type one diabetic boys take an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to see how well they tolerate it. The idea behind this question is that if they are so stable on the diabetic-alkaline lifestyle, why not test them to see if they have normal blood glucose responses to higher levels of carbohydrates. We do not think that is wise, even after 4 years.
An oral glucose tolerance test is one that can be performed in a doctor’s office or a lab. The person being tested starts the test in a fasting state (having no food or drink except water for at least 10 hours but not greater than 16 hours).
An initial blood sugar is drawn and then the person is given a “glucola” bottle with a high amount of sugar in it (75 grams of glucose or 100 grams for pregnant women). The person then has their blood tested again 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours after drinking the high glucose drink.
In a diabetic, glucose levels rise higher than normal after drinking the glucose drink and come down to normal levels much slower (insulin is either not produced, or it is produced but the cells of the body do not respond to it). A markedly abnormal oral glucose tolerance test is diagnostic of diabetes.
As you can imagine, that much sugar all at once would put a stress on any non-diabetic person’s pancreas. The stress is only multiplied in a person with diabetes. Their endocrine system is already compromised.
While all tests indicate that our boys are within normal ranges of blood glucose (fasting and postprandial) we do not have them do the OGTT with 75 grams of glucose. We do not want to risk putting that much stress on their pancreases. We prefer to give the body as much time as possible to maximize the potential to heal and rebuild before putting such a stress on it.
Our doctor developed a non-standard tolerance test using 15 grams of carbohydrates – a much milder load to put on the pancreas. He then calculates what the normal response should be to such a load. After testing the boys we can measure them against the normal response. The same goal is accomplished without the potential for further damage to the pancreas or microvascular system from an elevated blood glucose level.
Our boys are happy and healthy eating within the diabetic-alkaline lifestyle. The day may come when we will test them with a standard OGTT, but that is not today. We’d rather see much more time pass with stable blood sugars and positive test results before taking this risk – it may be a small risk, but it is a risk we see no good reason to take at this time.