Friday, January 18, 2008

Diabetes Can Be Beaten

I got a bit of bad news on Wednesday, when I was told I had been diagnosed with diabetes. It wasn't a shock as - using my enormous medical expertise :) - I had already diagnosed myself. For some time I have had an unquenchable thirst and other symptoms. Luckily it is Type 2, so I won't have to inject myself every day.

I went to see my doctor yesterday evening who told me that it "could be a blessing in disguise". I must admit I wondered about her sanity when she said that, but she may be right. To have it diagnosed at my age means I can beat it if I adopt the right diet and exercise routines and get my blood sugar levels down. This will "unfur" arteries and lessen the risk of heart or kidney problems in the future.

So I guess I am going to be harvesting lots of info about diabetes from various websites over the next few weeks and learning from other people about their experiences. My father was diagnosed with it seven years ago and my Godmother (the one who died in November) had it too. She had to inject herself twice a day and had been doing it since the 1960s. I am now going to have to take 10 pills a day for the foreseeable future. Even worse, I won't be able to drink Lemon Lucozade anymore!

I must admit I was rather shocked by the reaction of a couple of people I have told face to face. They seemed to equate it with being told that I had a terminal illness. I don't see it that way at all. I count myself very lucky. I've had 45 years of being totally healthy. In the last few weeks, a good friend of mine has been diagnosed with MS and another friend has been diagnosed with cancer. I'm the lucky one.

I debated whether to share this rather private information with you, my blogreaders, but I've done it because I want to learn from other people's experiences.

89 comments:

johann hari said...

I wish you well, Iain. Hope it doesn't trouble you too much.

Anonymous said...

Iain

There is nothing lucky about type 2 diabetes. Injections of insulin can give Type 1 diabetics much greater and beneficial control over their condition.

Stay positive and disciplined and you will put off the day when you might need to inject insulin as increasing numbers of type 2 diabetics are having to do, but whatever you do, don't fear it.

Welcome to the club and if I can help you with info or overcoming any concerns don't hesitate to contact me.
Adrian Sanders MP
(Type 1 and Chair APPG Diabetes)

Peter Hain's Integrity said...

Sorry to hear about this, but you've obviously got a sound mental attitiude towards it. As you say, it can be beaten, and the things you have to do to beat it are in the main things that everybody ought to be doing anyway.

Chin up, it could just be the making of you!

Dr G said...

Iain
Your doctor was correct - get this right with the lifestyle changes required and you may end up feeling healthier and leaner than now!

Charlotte Corday said...

Thanks for sharing the news with us. I have a personal interest in that both my parents developed diabetes when they were in their
60s and my brother, who is four years younger than me, was diagnosed with it two years ago.

I've had tests and have been told that I have a high blood sugar level and will probably become diabetic at some stage but the more I exercise and the healthier my diet, then the longer I can ward off diabetes.

Can I also add that I am not obese but normal weight and that although obesity is often a factor in acquiring diabetes, genetic factors are important as well? I think that diabetes is often too casually linked with obesity in the press making the public think that it's their fault if someone gets diabetes.

Anyway, good luck, Iain.

Paul Burgin said...

Well I didn't see it as a terminal illness, but I was saddened to read that you have diabeties. A friend of mine had it and it's virulent in my family. One of my concerns is that I might get it later on in life (relatives of mine who were/have been diagnosed were in their fifties/sixties at the time).
I have also known people who lived for a long time with the illness (my paternal gran for one, and she had to inject herself with insulin once a day), and it is manageable provided the person concerned is sensible and that it helps if you have people around you who know something about it.
But from what I have read it seems like you will be fine and know how to look after yourself :)

Warm Regards

Paul

sim-o said...

Unfortunatley, I haven't got anything useful to add to help you beat it, but I wish you the best in trying.

Unsworth said...

I'm sorry to hear this. But you're right, it's not total debilitation. Far too many myths have grown up recently about various medical conditions. Just don't get treated at Maidstone - for anything.

It's probably a blessing in disguise. Drinking Lemon Lucozade is an utterly disgusting habit. Next you'd be drinking Red Bull - and it's all downhill from there, believe me.

judith said...

Dear Iain,

First of all, I wish you well.
Secondly, check up on Diabetes UK, who are the patients' friend and defender.
Thirdly, keep up the diet and look after yourself and you could find yourself gradually diminishing the medication and possibly coming off it altogether, like friends of mine.

Good luck.

Man in a Shed said...

I hope this isn't related to blogging. On my last visit to the GP I've been lined up for similar tests myself - on Monday.

( This, medical people, is why Men don't go to the GP - you walking in with a minor complaint and walk out with a life changing condition ).

My associations are with a more disciplined life style. A friend of mines father, ex tough Yorkshire fireman, lives in the highlands quite successfully with the condition as of course does Steve Redgrave.

Anyway you won't miss the sugar as I'm sure your sweat enough already,( but may get sick of hearing that.)

Duff Man said...

Don't wat 10 Mars Bars a day.

MrChippy said...

Speaking as the father of a son who has had type 1 diabetes since the age of 2, I have always had a ready supply of Lucozade in the fridge for those times when he is feeling unwell and has a very low bloodsugar count.
Fortunately all his prescriptions are free and even has a free flu injection anually.
Unfortunately he is one of those who can 'hypo' without warning, but thank God, he hasn't had one of those for a few months now. With type 2 your body is still producing insulin, albeit at a reduced amount.
Whilst it is a chronic illness, generally you can lead a 'normal' life.
I would advise you to become a member of the Diabetic Associaton.
Gary Mabbutt is diabetic, and like you a West Ham supporter I believe.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to leave this as "anonymous" but you know me and could tell from my IP address who I am.

I was diagnosed with MS last year so I understand exactly what you are going through. There is shock, disbelief, anger, realisation and acceptance. You seem to have gone through (judging by your post) all of those remarkably quickly which is a tribute to your character.

We are all given medical advice - I was told 15 years until a wheelchair (which rather messed up my intended political ambitions!) and you will need pills indefinitely. You were lucky with the early diagnosis, as was I.

The way I look at it - we have both dodged a bullet. We know what is wrong with us and we know how to live with it. We should actually both count ourselves lucky.

My first job was as a researcher in a cancer centre. Imagine all those people out there who just don't know they have something serious until it is too late.

Newmania said...

Adrian Sanders MP

Please never do any work as a Samaritan you`ll have people topping themslves even if they just called the wrong number...

I have no doubt you will cope well Iain .Do you think you can get a disabled car sticker for me ?

qaqwex said...

I have had Type II since 2001. Diet and exercise needs lots of discipline to get good control. I am not perfect by any means but good enough to avoid the worst of the side effects (so far). The only thing I haven't been able to cope with is not going around in bare feet.

Good luck.

Paul Burgin said...

BTW Always make sure you have something to eat whenever you go out, like a geo bar, or ready salted crisps. My late friend Tammy would sometimes forget to eat, or found herself at an inconvenient time to do so and you could tell because her mood would darken for almost no reason, which meant popping into anywhere that served food of any descrption rather quickly.

machiavelli said...

Really sorry to hear about this, Iain, I know from my mother's experience it can be a real burden at times. The medication itself can have some unpleasant and awkward side-effects, so it's not all plain sailing.

The best thing I can suggest from what my mother's been through is to cut out as much as possible all the simple carbs - potatoes, sugar, white bread, pasta... there's alternatives to them all so you needn't miss out.

jane said...

I'm not diabetic but have erratic blood sugar levels, and lots of people in my family are/have been diabetic. You can have sweet things sometimes, just remember to balance them with exercise - if your levels are too high a brisk bike ride or run (or some gardening) is the best way to deal with it - and you'll probably lose weight too. Don't junk the Lucozade, it or Coke are the best instant fix for a hypo, believe me I know. If you are prone to a lie-in on days off, don't do it any more - you need breakfast at regular hours to keep in balance. You'll be fine. You were probably drinking the lemon Lucozade because of the unnatural thirst and your pancreas's plaintive cries for sugar. You'll be fine - but look after your feet. They looked OK when you put a picture of them on here!

Liz said...

Very sorry to hear this, Iain. I have a couple of family members with Type II, and they have both experienced it as an exceptionally irritating inconvenience, but not as a debilitating illness.

I should point out that Hotel Chocolat carry a very nice range of sugar-free posh chocs.

hatfield girl said...

You are required to be slender, eat nothing but good quality food, and never to be stressed.
All good wishes.

Habib Butt said...

Hi Iain

My father was diagnosed with Diabetes type 2, a decade ago, at the age of 43. And it has been a blessing for him, he's never been fitter or healthier as he is now.

The two things he recommends, is healthy eating, and resting, when you're tired.

Thanks for a great blog.

Habib Butt

canvas said...

Iain, wishing you well. You have a good attitude.

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

Bad luck. I have an unquenchable thirst for Guinness, but I suspect that is a differnet ailment.

hypochondriac said...

If you take Metaformin tablets, they can result in severe instances of 'intestinal hurry' - be warned

Benny Austwick said...

All the best Iain, I hope Adrian Sanders doesn't lure you into depression too.

old and angry said...

Type 2 is reasonably easy to control,good advice given in these comments.
I developed it last year,(i have a yearly company medical, and it just came on quickly)
One good thing, cutting out Sugar has led to me losing some weight,i'm now under 12 stone for the first time in years.
And if you fancy a treat, boots & Thorntons do a range of Diabetic chocolate.

Gary Elsby said...

I don't think you'll be lonely with D2, Iain.

Labour is launching it's 'personal service' in the NHS and my guess a few million will join you very soon.

How many in here have D2 or high/low BP? I guess none of them.

Truth is half of them and will suffer a fate worse than death because of it.

Your eyes fall out and your legs fall off with high BP and you just die with low BP.

Make an appointment with a poor GP and take a blood test and let him pump up your arm. Then see how long you've got left.

Dr. Gary

Kronos said...

Ian,

just to pick up on your point of telling people about your condition. When I told my friends and family I was dying the shock was overwhelming, however, since some fairly nifty surgery and a few year to get better- I still feel the need to remind people all is not lost - that's why a I have a large print of my head (cancer 'n all) as my PC wall paper. My work colleagues just think I'm mad... mmm maybe? Keep smiling I say.

The Grumbler said...

The best of luck with all of it, Iain. Handled correctly, it can't stop you doing anything. My last lady friend was diabetic (type II), and she was fitter, healthier, and harder to tire than me, and I'm not diabetic. My grandmother had type II some years ago, and she, unfortunately, was one of those people who just refused to help herself and gave up on it. She ignored all the advice, and it cost her. But the lesson to be learned is listen to the doctors and the experts, and there's very little you will find to be a problem.

Glyn H said...

Iain;I was diagnosed last September after I had worked it out for myself. My GP prescribed more sex (or as he put it excercise), more steak & chips (ie less fried food) and better quality wine (I think he meant if more expensive I might drink less). He barely mentioned the occasional cigarette which I have been encouraged to smoke ever since an authoritarian government banned.... ). With Metformin, a statin, plus a bike in the back of the car for the odd bit of excercise and an improved diet I lost half a stone in a month and all is well under control. It is not to difficult at all, but eat every four hours, else the Metformin hurries the digestion..as mentioed above.

Good piece in Telegraph today!
Regards

Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't have any bearing on your electoral chances, Iain. Good luck.

ramalamadingdong said...

Along with the diet and exercise try taking up Qi Gong.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

isn't guido insufferable. he managed two words before making a joke about HIMSELF.

Matt Davis said...

Iain, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes 3 years ago with the same instruction to moderate my diet and exercise. It worked and my diabetes has more or less retreated. If an ex fat slob like me can beat it then a man with your willpower and determination (which you must have in spades to continue to support West Ham)certainly can. Good Luck & Best Wishes!

Twig said...

Excercise helps keep the blood sugar levels down. Cut down on the carbs and try a vegetable called chinese bitter melon (Fu Gua), it tastes disgusting but it seems to work.
For sweetening try Stevia, it's available in the USA (sachets or pots).
Finally get yourself an Accu-Chek meter.
You'll be fitter than ever!

Beadiejay said...

I'm sorry about your diagnosis, but like many others have said, if you concentrate on your diet and exercise, you'll keep the diabetes under control.

Unfortunately, I don't take my own advice, and am finding it hard to get back to daily checking of my levels. When I checked my blood glucose levels up to 5 times a day, I had good control. But I got fed up with pricking my fingers, it never seemed to get any easier, and so I stopped my blood checks and as a consequence my diabetes has got out of control. It's only the pills which stop me going sky high. Don't be an idiot like me. Though I'm hopeful that I'll get back to daily checking and watching my diet, when my life gets back on track (after the flood I keep harking on about!! We have to move into rented accommodation in a couple of weeks, so that our house can finally be repaired. That's if we don't flood again this weekend. The stress of all this, and being told last week that my eldest child (almost 13 years old) might have chronic fatigue syndrome, is more than enough to keep me reaching (and eating) for the chocolate! I'm my own worse enemy, it's easy to slip up if you're weak.)

By the way, nothing to do with your blog at all, but would you mind me asking your readers (and maybe you, yourself might know), if there are any forums, message boards, for those who've been flooded. I find it helps me to talk about what I'm going through, but must be boring my non-flooded friends to death, but haven't found any forums doing my own searches. Ta :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear it Iain. It isn't surprising, perhaps you have a genetic reason. People in your profession, normally have poor diets, irregular hours, and do not do enough exercise.

Everyone sneers when they are told the commonsense things, sleep well, eat well, exercise, watch your weight, do not smoke, do not overdo the booze, when they realise the truth its to late.

Daily Referendum said...

I expect we will see your blog photo change every couple of months for the next year. You strike me as a very organised person and I'm sure you will cope quite well. Keep smiling.

Steve

Selbst i(s)st der Hausmann! :-) said...

Learn how to bake proper German sourdough rye bread. Not only does it taste nice, but the rye will go a long way towards helping with your condition. Nowadays bread has a lot of soya flour and also lucerne added to it, because it is a lot cheaper than wheat. That's fine for hogs and cattle, but tastes awful and doesn't have a lot of roughage either.

Have a look here to learn the pukka way of baking:
http://www.der-sauerteig.com/phpBB2/portal.php

Tip for those who live in the UK: I use Dove's Ryeflour and Allison's Premium Very Strong Flour. The latter is the only (almost) decent bread flour you can buy -- most 'bread' flours alas are better for cakes. I like a mixed rye/wheat bread because it has a crunchy crust, but pure rye bread is for the lazy cooks as you don't have to knead it. You don't need a fancy bread baking stone (tho it helps) -- a cheap pizza stone from Amazon (£15) also does the trick nicely. Happy baking und Guten Appetit!

Rye it's effect on diabetes 2 : http://rye.vtt.fi/chapter5c.htm

Laurence Boyce said...

I’m sorry Iain. Take care and may the force be with you.

Anonymous said...

I'd recommend the following book :

Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars

http://www.diabetes-normalsugars.com/

tapestry said...

Arctic Fish Oil costs GBP 20 a bottle. A tablespoonful a day. (fish oils often contain toxic metals. This one does not).

Flax seeds freshly milled on your muesli or yoghurt every day. Masses of Omega 3.

Call Ron at the Breakspear Hospital, Hemel Hempstead for a full dietary consultation. It will sort you out for life.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I work with a type one diabetic, aged 47. He still plays football twice a week, he biked from John O'Groats to Land's end last year and is the fittest person I know, so I don't imagine you will have a problem. As you say, it might be a blessing.

Paddy Briggs said...

Iain

Wishing you all the very best. As others have said having a positive attitude is so much part of the coping. Good luck.

Womble On Tour said...

Please accept the very best of wishes from Womble On Tour-land.

It does remind me of something my brother-in-law said some time ago in similar circumstances...if you must keep going to the doctors, they're bound to find something wrong with you eventually !

Anonymous said...

My mother was diagnosed with Type 2 at a similar age and lived to a ripe old age. Check out Cinammon

S Jamieson said...

In 1962 Dundee FC won the old Scottish Division 1 Championship. The next season, they got to the semi-final of the European Cup. They were a damn good team with players such as Iain Ure and Alan Gilzean. Their "inside right" was an accomplished player called Andy Penman who even then was a dibaetic. He later played for Rangers and led a full athletic life despite his condition.A good example to all sportsmen.

It can be met head on- certain aspects of your life can change but you never know what'll win the Nobel Prize for Medicine this year.

Thinking of you mate

Marcus said...

Sorry hear about it, but like you said, it is a blessing in disguise.

Two members of my family also have Type 2 and are able to control their blood sugar with a good diet and some natural supplements, we buy the blood sugar formula from http://www.vitabase.com/supplements/diabetes/bloodsugar.aspx

Anonymous said...

A number of members of my immediate family have been diagnosed with type II diabetes in the last couple of years and their (understandable) response has been to up the intake of copious quantities of fresh fruit and veg throughout the day and muesli/porridge for breakfast depending on the season. An unfortunate consequence of this has been a noticable increase in loud flatulence at family gatherings - in some cases audible through shut doors. A small price to pay for their continued good health, I suppose....

jailhouselawyer said...

I remember my foster father getting diabetes and he died of a heart attack. He used to smoke at least 40 Woodbines a day. He packed up smoking which probably killed him. As a child he suffered from polio, and as a result one leg was shorter than the other and a slightly twisted foot which caused him to limp. It did not stop him marching into World War 2. I couldn't say for sure whether it was type 1 or 2, but I suspect it was the latter as I read the other day that this tends to develop in later life. I do recall after he died that my foster mother gave me one of his unopened jars of diabetic Strawberry jam, and warned me to spread it thinly. Mother knows best and I ignored this advice, I could have farted for Britain in the Olympics. He kicked the bucket at 67, so he still had a good innings. As you say, it is manageable. Still, it is unwelcome news. What shall I do with these flowers I bought just in case?

David said...

I was recently taught to scuba dive by an incredibly fit and active gentleman a few years older than I am (I am 50). Turns out, much to my surprise, that he is diabetic. So, Iain, my advise is - take up scuba diving!

TonyBird said...

Sorry to hear it, Iain.

I was diagnosed with type 2 in 1999- so here's the benefit (?) of my experience.

1. Diabetes UK are helpful when you are first disgnosed. But their literature is very Janet and John. It's better to get deeper into the subject - buy a medical textbook on the subject, and put a wet towel round you head until you understand it.

2. Diet, weight, and excercise will help in the early stages. But diabetes is progressive, and you will probably need more medication later on (and perhaps insulin too). But DON'T be afraid of this. (BTW, Metformin helps weight loss. But Glimepiride makes you gain weight. Watch this.)

3. Get checked professionally every three months. Then do EXACTLY what the medics tell you.

4. Make sure your numbers are right - HBA1C below 6.5, diastolic below 130, cholesterol below 4, LDL below 2. If necessary take extra medication to make it so.

4. In addition to the three monthly general checks, get your feet and your eyes checked professionally once a year.

All this is very boring, I know.

But the situation is this - if you get on top of diabetes, it's no big deal. If you don't, it will shorten your life expectancy by 10 - 15 years. Not very nice, perhaps - but I didn't make these rules.

Best of luck !

lightwater said...

Iain,
What rotten luck, though perhaps a more svelte you may emerge from having to concentrate on your diet.

Thanks for sharing this with us, we regular readers of your blog have, I'm sure, become inordinately attached to both your high political stuff, as well as what you're up to.

Feel free to tell us more when you need to.

Matt Wardman said...

The way I see it (having been diagnosed as Type I in 2001 at a later age - 34 - than usual) is that you theorically lose some years off your life, but you can get all of it back by how well you manage the condition.

Keeping going and keeping motivated to do the management is the tough bit.

Best of luck.

Anoneumouse said...

Well, on the up side, you wont have to worry about 'presumed consent'

On the down side, your worth f... all dead, so why be a burden on the NHS. Eat drink and be merry

Matt Wardman said...

>And if you fancy a treat, boots & Thorntons do a range of Diabetic chocolate.

I go for a smaller quantity of the good stuff (Lindor etc) instead.

tachybaptus said...

Iain, sorry to hear this: a bloody nuisance.

If you really liked Lemon Lucozade, it suggests to me that you have been affected by the teetotaller's problem that almost all non-alcoholic drinks are heavily sweetened, so that you have become acclimatised to having a sweet tooth. It is possible, indeed not all that difficult, to get out of this box, as I did (not because I have diabetes, but to lose weight and keep it off). If you have been putting sugar or artificial sweetener in tea or coffee, stop. It will taste nasty at first, acceptable quite soon, and agreeable not long after. And with this change will go your demand for sweetness: even tomato ketchup, brown sauce, baked beans etc. will seem cloyingly sweet. You just won't want these things any more.

The only problem is that it puts you in another box: what to have in social situations when others are drinking alcohol. Once you have adjusted your tastes, slimline tonic on ts own becomes acceptable, and the bitterness masks the aftertaste of aspartame and saccharin. The drier kinds of sugar-free fizzy lemonade still taste OK, I get mine from Waitrose (cue jeers). But frankly there isn't much. Hope you like water.

I wouldn't go for stevia, as suggested in an earlier comment, or any of those 'miracle berry' things. They work, but what they do is stimulate your tastebuds so that everything tastes sweet for some time afterwards, with a dreadful effect if the next thing you eat is fish and chips.

Graham said...

Iain
Diabetes has become an industry now, they will stick you on statins etc etc etc as a matter of course. What was your Blood glucose at diagnosis?

ordinary housewife said...

Iain, my aunt lived to be 86 with it and every birthday she used to go out and have a large chocolate eclair to celebrate one more year!
It didn't kill her the family heart condition did but at 86 she said 'who cares' I did it my way.

You can be a leader in demonstrating that it does not ruin your life and you do it your way.

Good luck and keep writing

bill grant said...

read lord ashcrofts dirty politics dirty times www.lordashcroft.com. he is diabetic and hardly a shrinking flower!!!!

K S Rees said...

My sister has type 1 diabetes and lives a normal and healthy life. I hope everything goes well for you Iain, I'm sure you'll manage your condition brilliantly.

A Swansea Blog

steve said...

Get yourself on a decent programme at the gym Iain and you'll never feel better. It takes discipline and commitment but the rewards will be clear in no time. Regards, Steve

survivor said...

I wish you well Iain. I had a female doctor when living in TW and she was excellent.

I had a huge number of problems after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I then suffered cardio-myopathy, was told in the Royal Brompton Hospital to make my final arrangements, but was stabilised and then discharged with a 1-year life expectancy--in 1997.

I then awaited a heart transplant which took place in Harefield in Oct 97. They didnt spot in the pre-op tests that I was born with only one kidney and the anti-rejection drugs subsequently destroyed it.

So I went on to dialysis and the NHS formally told me that I could go on to a kidney transplant waiting list. With a chronic shortage of organs and being a bad risk to the NHS, I knew that a second transplant would never take place in the UK.

I came out to France in 2003, persuaded the medics here of my determination to see this through, and was duly transplanted with a kidney in Nice in Aug 2005.

I now live as good a life as is possible under the circumstances, but quite different from that I enjoyed when, as co-founder of City Index, I had been at the cutting edge of market making.

Be strong and you will beat anything in front of you. I found new strength whenever I needed it. And I am the happiest man alive. Promise.

Trefor Jones said...

Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. My brother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old. Ten years+ later he lives a full life, albeit taking care. The best thing that has happened is that its been diagnosed- you can deal with it from there.

Dominate the disease don't let it dominate you.

zeno said...

Small world. I've just (today) been told I've got type 2 diabetes.

Once I got over the shock - I have no symptoms, it was noticed as part of a routine blood test - I was left feeling bloody angry at myself for not taking care of myself.

The good news is that it should be for me controllable by diet, exercise and weight loss. The even better news is that it's not something worse, like pancreatic cancer.

I'm taking as a much-needed kick up the arse to get myself sorted out.

-z-

Daisy said...

Look after yourself Iain.

tapestry said...

Correction - Arctic Cod Liver Oil.

From Nordic Naturals INC.

Inspector Gadget said...

Gosh.... gulp! good luck.

Troll Patrol said...

Johann Hari smoothing your fevered brow - it must be a bit like seeing the nun of death at your bedside.

M. Hristov said...

This is not good news but I think that you are right about it being preferable to MS and cancer.

I live with someone with MS and it is very debilitating because it is completely unpredictable. At times it can immobilise you altogether. It can limit movement and can affect eyesight. It can also cause severe pain. It is also psychologically and physically draining. It is unpredictable and so some people are not badly affected, in the way I have described, whilst others are affected in such a way as to make the illness fatal. Medicine alleviates symptoms in about 1/3rd of the sufferers, it does nothing for another 1/3rd and makes matters worst to the final 1/3rd.

I had a friend who died of cancer because early warning signs were not taken seriously. Not least by his GP.

Diabetes is controllable and a disciplined person like you should have no problem adapting. It is the best of a bad threesome.

My advice to you would be to seek out others with the disease and think of joining a support group. This may sound wildly collectivist but such groups can be very helpful, particularly if they have a link with a local hospital. MS sufferers have some very good groups. We are a clubbable nation and support groups tend to bring out the best in us. You could even find a new channel for your admirable activism.

As regards the post about tonic water, I used to drink a lot of it when visiting Singapore and Malaysia. This is because it has quinine in it and that is an anti-malarial. I got very keen on G+T and also on tonic water on its own. It weaned me off whisky.

Remember not to become depressed. That is what causes us the most pain, in the long run.

Diablo said...

Iain

You've been getting some excellent support and advice on this so I can't add much.

I was diagnosed with Type 2 about 10 years ago when I was in my late forties. My experience is that the main things are to get your weight under control, take the tablets - Metformin can mean you go to the loo a lot more often (remember to turn off your mic!) - and walk everywhere or at least avoid sitting on your arse for too long. It will be too sore anyway most of the time!

Make sure your blood pressure is well-controlled - take aspirin too. Get your eyes checked by your local retinopathy service (you should have one) and ensure that your doctor/podiatrist checks your feet.

Apart from all that just eat sensibly and regularly - the frequency depends on you. You'll know if your not well because you'll feel tired. Get some sleep or at least put your feet up (literally).

Oh, and drink lots of water too - not fizzy drinks - and be prepared to pee a lot.

Don't get too carried away with checking your blood sugar levels - except in the early days maybe - as the Hb1Ac test carried out by your doctor will give you a better indication of your control than daily tests.

My mother has been diabetic for over thirty years and is about to celebrate her 91st birthday. A wonder of modern science!

Go for it!

David W said...

Good luck Iain. Think of yourself as having 'a condition' because that is undoubtedly the best way to address it. Do not allow yourself or others to describe diabetes as 'a disease'.

Not this time said...

I've got type 2 as well (I'm beginning to think everybody in the world does). All I would add is 'ignore the cretin who told you to cut out simple carbs.' You should eat bread, potaotoes or pasta A LOT, as your diet sheet will - I hope - tell you. I lost a stone by cutting out sugar in tea and coffee, swimming when I can (I live on a remote island) and walking to work when I can ( a remote island with lots of intersting weather.) It's the other stone that's proving impossible to shift!

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

diagnosed with diabetes

My constant fear, even more than cancer. My thoughts go out to you.

Anonymous said...

Bad luck Iain.

On a positive note, I used to know a woman about your age who had to keep injecting herself because of diabetes. She wasn't slender but still appealing and a good lay. So it's not the end of the world.

All the best.

conspirator said...

You have been monstered by Guido. Again.

Jo Anglezarke said...

My boyfriend at uni had diabetes - it doesn't comletely overtake your life but you do need to be careful and wise up on exercise, fruit, veg, etc, etc.

So just take care...:@))

javelin said...

Diabetes is about not getting the sugar out of you blood and into your (muscle) cells. The insides of cells are designed to handle sugar (for energy), but sugar outside the cells damages the membranes - causing oxidative stress, leading to upregulation of the low inflammatory pathways, and subsequent upregulated repair pathways. When stem cells come into replace the damaged cells they find an environment that is still being damaged - and make the decision to become scar tissue. The stems cells have evolved to think you are really damaged because its a few weeks since the original damage and there is still damage going on. (A bit like Guido's liver).

The tables will help the sugar into cell and stop them running out of energy, but the long term damage will happen unless you kep your diet under control.

Take the tablets and take the exercise - this isn't the whole story because you will still be very, slowly accumulating some scar tissue in your heart and other organs. So it's important to eat antioxidant type foods (and possibly herbs) to keep the oxidative stress, free radicals and inflammation pathways from causing the stem cells from becoming fibrotic (scar) cells. Hope I didn't get too technical.

Mike Rouse said...

I look forward to you sharing some of your diet tips!

Peter Wynne Davies said...

This happened to me ten yaesr ago. You will be surprised to discover how many others now belong to this club.

Diabetes affects us all in different ways and is one of the few illnesses where you, rather than a doctor, will manage the treatment. So do join Diabetes UK as they will provide answers that many GPs cannot.

You will discover how many state restrictions will now apply to you. You have to tell the DVLA but they are generally helpful. You wont now be able to a taxi driver or do other jobs, but life is now less problematic than a few years ago.

The tablets had no effect on me and my blood sugar levels. If that happens, demand to be put on insulin treatment. That will be specific to your needs, rather than tablets which are an imprecise solution.

Find out what the NHS can do for you - they won't neceassarily tell you.

This is not the end of the world! You will feel better and regular medical checks are key to management of this disease.

Do read what you can about diabetes on the web. You will be surprised to learn how much remains to be known about it.

And ask other people with diabetes about their experiences; that will be very informative and we all will help.

Barry Groves said...

Hello Iain

Although Type-2 diabetes is a serious disease, and must be taken seriously, it is very easy to cure and to prevent.

The cause of type-2 diabetes, and the reason it is rising so dramatically today is our so-called "healthy", carbohydrate-based diet. The fact is that ONLY carbohydrtates raise blood glucose levels.

Cut your carb intake and increase dietary animal fats to compensate, and you will no longer be diabetic. It really is as simple as that.

Don't believe me? Try an experiment if you have a blood glucose meter. Have 3 eggs scrambled in butter for breakfast tomorrow. That, plus an unsweetened drink, is all. Two hours later measure your glucose. You will find it is normal.

The next day, do the same experiment, only eating cereals or toast and marmalade for breakfast instead. Measure again and compare with the previous results.

Now make your own - informed - decision on which gives the better glucose control.

The fact is that "the establishment" are giving you completely the wrong advice.

For more detailed information see my diabetes website.

Best wishes

Barry Groves, PhD
Author: Natural Health and Weight Loss
Co-producer: Be Slim Without Dieting (Video / DVD)
http://www.second-opinions.co.uk
http://www.diabetes-diet.org
http://www.cholesterol-and-health.org.uk

Anonymous said...

i hope you will find this helpful / encouraging. My partner was diagnosed with type II diabetes 2 years ago. Same symptoms, sudden weight loss, always thirsty. Everyone kept saying how sorry they were, I kept saying "it's not cancer". You seem to have adopted a positive attitude, work hard at keeping it.

It really all does boil down to diet and exercise, and getting to grips with what works for you and what doesn;t. I've even taught myself to like brown rice! It's really not that bad.

He does have his ups and downs, and be warned low blood sugar really does impact upon your mood. Your blood sugar will have been too high for quite some time, bringing it down again might cause some filthy moods, so just warn those close to you!

I actually think it may have been a blessing in disguise, he is now fitter and healthier than he has been in the last 15 years, we eat healthier food so I'm thinner, takeaways have become a very rare treat (not every Saturday night as they were) so we're better off (or would be if Gordon wasn't nicking it all).

But it is important to look after yourself carefully. The extremities are first to be affected, so mind you get regular pedicures, they're not just for women and are very relaxing. Keep regular appointments with the optician, it can affect the eyes. And as for the medication - it may seem like a lot, but regard it as no more of a drag than having to bung your contact lenses in (if you wear them). Aint that much fun but has to be done every day if you want to lead a normal life.

Good luck.

Shades said...

Iain, I was diagnosed last year and it was a relief as it is hereditary in our family and I was expecting it in due course. It explained a lot of things over the last couple of years, especially a serious case of CBA (can't be arsed) where I was just too tired and weary to be bothered about anything much. I'm now back in rude health, motivated, enjoying my work, losing weight and full of the joys of spring. Then I went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid... breaking my leg in a freak accident!

I'd suggest Diabetes UK is well worth it to grasp the reality of this rather nasty disease. Beware their TeleChuggers though, they are rather pushy about trying to get you to lob them extra cash. (I'd rather raise it than just hand it over, much more satisfying).

If you only buy one book, get Diabetes for Dummies (UK Edition)

Also, don't get hung up on testing- it may not be necessary and can be counter-productive. Your Doc is more interested in the HbA1c which averages the previous three months.

Rachel said...

I wish you all the very best for your continuing good health Iain - I know that you've lost weight in the past through sheer discipline and I am sure you'll use the same admirable attitude to manage the diabetes going forward.

I gave up sugar, alcohol and most carbs ( apart from carbs in green veg & salad) for a few months last year and after 4 days I felt excellent - really bouncing with energy. I hope that you soon find yourself feeling better as the steps taken to manage diabetes can end up making you feel miles better than do you did before the diagnosis!

All the best

Rach x

* and you've just inspired me to go for a run*

JonnyB said...

Emerging from occasional lurkdom to agree with many of the other commenters: I have a family member with diabetes. As he's hit other later-in-life health problems he's found himself really well placed to deal with them, his diabetes having made him keep to a healthier diet than many of his peers.

Good luck.

Chris & Glynis Abbott said...

I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes about eight years ago and at first made a real effort to keep off sweet things and lost a bit of weight, though I did not increase the amount of exercise.

The pills have increased over the years and I have found it harder to keep off sweet stuff. The real problem I find with it is a lack of energy.

Over the past couple of weeks, having found that blood sugar levels and blood pressure has been steadily rising, resulting in yet another pill to take, I am making a determined effort again and have already lost two or three pounds.

I have done it all wrong, so my advice is to follow the advice the doctor gave to the letter.

Regards

Chris Abbott

Christine Michael said...

Iain, your diagnosis has brought you another regular (from now on) reader, and I'm sure you've been very heartened by all the comments you've received. To declare my interest, I'm the editor of a new magazine launching at the end of May for people with type 2 or those who are at risk of it. It's called Sweet and is lifestyle rather than medical – taking the same positive, practical approach that many of your comments have shown. I'll send you a copy, and very best wishes!

Iain Dale said...

Christine, I too am launching a new magazine in May - a political one. I look forward to seeing yours. Let me know if I can help in any way.

Nadi said...

Hi, I just landed on your blog while researching for diabetes information for an ebook im ghost-writing.

Firstly, I wish you good health. Secondly, I want you to consider reading books in the line of quantum healing (deepak chopra) and similar. Believe that illnesses are not in the body, they are in the mind too. I know people who came out of rare types of cancers for which UK hospitals didnt have cure, but who prayed and meditated and who BELIEVED that they will get cured.

Sometimes, stress and anxities accumulate over a long time and then manifest through body in the form of various diseases. (obviously the biological symptoms appear too) but with the power of your subconscious mind, commitment and determination, you can control and get over any condition. It's all about a psychological paradigm change!!!!!!

Other books I recommend are - power of your subconscious mind (joseph murphy) the monk who sold his ferrari (robin sharma)

I wish you all the best!