"Getting" diabetes ( albeit the Number Two kind) was a terrible blow for me. Not only did I get to take on a range of yucky symptoms with potentially bad endings but the diagnosis was a big shock to my psyche.
Since I already had chronic ill health what I didn't need in life was another layer of malady.
But three years on, after due attention to tweaking my diet and lifestyle I can confidently say that I've 'dealt' with it.
While I wish it would go away and never come back -- that's not gonna happen. It's in the fam gene pool, unfortunately, and I did well to starve it off or as long as I did.
I coulda done better if I knew what I now know.
But then, that's life, right?
Hindsight is a brutal bugger. Always right but never around when you need it most.
The good news is that I've just cut my diabetes meds in half. I do that and my blood sugar readings are still at fours and fives. That's sorta 'normal'...remarkably normal.
I've been able to do that because...well that's the inspiring part:
- Because I tweaked my exercise regime to improve my insulin sensitivity. In that regard I dips my lid to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and lifting weights. I do, however, do a lot of exercise.
- Because I embraced a low carbohydrate diet -- and more recently with greater success -- a Low Carbohydrate High Fat (LCHF) diet. Diabetics have to obsess about what they put in their mouths and in my case I'm eating low on the carb hierarchy:maybe 50-70 grams/day -- usually under 100 grams each day.
To do all this I more or less ignored my doctors. Not that they were telling me wrong but that they are constrained by a certain old school and very generic point of view. (Diabetic diets is still a hot potato issue).
I still have a problem with blood pressure which is a diabetic's dead hand but if I can get that down further I'm sweet.
Elevated BP is a family curse -- but , of course, as chance would have it, not from the side that passes on the diabetes!
Just on the doctor thing...Before I became a client at a local indigenous health centre (and I'm not indigenous but they let me attend as a Migloo) local GPs treated my worsening blood sugar picture almost with fatalistic disdain.
"You're pre-diabetic (6-7 mmol/L), Mr Riley. (How about that...) Ok -- piss off."
Among Murris and Torress Strait Islanders, diabetes is a plague so the centre is geared to actively intervene and diagnose. Every visit included blood pressure and blood sugar monitoring.
I owe so much of my better health today to the team there...even if I do now customise my treatment regime.
I try to tell people -- if you are on a short list for diabetes (ie: you're over weight, sedentary and/or have a family history of diabetes) do stuff now so that you hold off crossing the nasty blood sugar threshold. If your blood sugar is OK, work to keep it that way. If it's 'pre-diabetic' work even harder.
If it is not being tested (and you are over 50) -- demand that it should be at every opportunity.
You don't want diabetes...at all. It's a bummer all round.
That you could prevent it -- or at least slow its onset -- has to be a wonderful option.
In my case, a range of symptoms kicked in and the friggin quacks never thought of seriously monitoring my blood sugar levels...and when they rose: "Umph!"
That's "general practice" for you in the context of massive increases in the incidence of diabetes across all local populations.
4% of Australians have diabetes. That's around 898,000 people.
This rate has risen from 1.5% in 1989.
So now I'm diabetes paranoid. People tell me stries about their bood picture with s casual indifference( over 12 mmol/L for one family member) and I think: what the f...! Do they realize how much damage is happening to their body every time they put food in their mouths? We're talking major health complications and a greatly shortened life span.
Diabetes is a real nasty. If you are on the short list for it there is one absolute necessity you have to do: Test. Test. Test.
Without pricking your finger and monitoring your own blood picture with blood glucose test strips you'll remain pig ignorant of what's a'happening. Occasional doctors visits won't suffice. What you eat has to be ruled by the droplets of blood on your finger tips.
There is no other option.
Following a diet -- any 'prescribed' diet -- blind to your blood picture needs the feedback that can only be delivered in mmol/L.
That's the irony: diabetes is the most democratic of diseases. Only you have the power to treat it.