Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Diabetes: Three Months Later

Three months ago, some of you will recall that I was diagnosed with diabetes. I haven't mentioned it much since but every now and then I get an email from someone asking how it's all going. I had some really good news today. Not sure I have the terminology right but when I was diagnosed my blood-sugar levels were 11.7%. They are now at 6.7%, only 0.3% above the national average. Also, my glucose levels which had been 11-13 are now a constant 4.8-6.5 - exactly where they should be.

I have completely changed my diet and as a result have lost more than a stone and a half. Indeed, I'm lighter now than I have been for at least a decade. And do you know what? I feel fantastic. Changing my diet has been far easier than I thought it would be. But I have managed to stick to it, with only the odd relapse (a whole packet of Cadbury's Shots while at West Ham being the most terrible example). Fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolate have all been banished, and my carbs intake has also been slashed. I'm now eating a lot of fruit and I even eat the odd bit of fish. To be honest I didn;t think I'd have the self discipline to stick to such a diet, but it's now become normal. And I don't even miss Lemon Lucozade anymore!

The only think I haven't done is to start a proper exercise regime, apart from now walking everywhere instead of taking a cab. That's the next part of the programme. I have a bag in my office stuffed full of gym kit (best not to imagine it). The gym at 4 Millbank is only about 50 yards from where I am sitting now. I'd better soon develop the courage to walk through its door!

42 comments:

Broon's Talking Bawgie said...

Congratulations. Every cloud has a silver lining.

This is of course because of the tough decisions that Gordon Broon has taken over the last decade...nae muir boom an' bost...blah blah blah...

Tom FD said...

Congratulations, that's great news.

To continue the user-initiated theme, did you go to the CHG talk yesterday? I've been wondering how it went since you posted about it last week.

Josh said...

Well done, Iain. Although it must be said, if you really drank as much lucozade as you imply, no wonder your pancreas gave you the finger. You do know it's for people who are about to run marathons or trek across the Cairngorms.

Bel said...

Glad to hear that, Iain. All the best. Only a few days ago, I was wondering how you were getting on, as you hadn't mentioned it much.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I'm a Doctor and am hugely impressed with what you have achieved - well done!

If only all patients were as motivated as you...

Labour Gave Me Prostatitis said...

Try Prostatitis.Nothing has worked for me so far.I've read about 'drainage'on support websites but haven't mentioned it to my young Eastern European girlfriend.Maybe if I grin,she'll bare it and we'll go the paleontological route.Lickalotapuss.

Anonymous said...

Well done Iain! I'm a GP and I wish I had more patients as motivated as you - as you've demonstrated, a bit of understanding and determination and you can get your health back, perhaps even better than a non-diabetic.

I'd guess less than 10% of people with your diagnosis achieve the same, and for those who don't, we end up reaching for the prescription pad - but this takes us into cost, side-effects, and essentially disempowering the person from turning themselves around and feeling so much better.

Matt Wardman said...

That's really good news. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

just remember to watch the amount of fruit-sugars you are taking in iain.well done on the weight loss.hopefully you will find that with dietary control and weight loss,your insulin sensitivity will improve and you may be able to bin the meds.moderate exercise will also help with this.good luck!fig.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I tell everyone this as I have learned to enjoy the gym after years of really hating it.

Gym psychology is important. You have to get your head right before getting a gym habit. Once you have decided that you should go, set aside whatever amount of time you can for the gym. Let's say for example one hour on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then make sure that nothing comes in front of it. It is YOUR time for the gym for important reasons.

Even if you don't feel like the gym, go at your designated time - even if you do nothing but mope around and then shower. The gym should be a "habit".

And being an intelligent bloke, some of the things at the gym you will find boring - such as the running machine. My advice is to learn a language via your ipod. Per esempio e possibile imparare Italiano which I am doing. Concentrate on the lesson and 40 minutes on the treadmill will wizz by! Really.

Good luck and I hope to see you in TW's B&Q some day!

James1979 said...

Well done Iain, sounds like you've reacted very positively to the diagnosis.

I visit your blog for the politics, but I do like your more personal items as well.

Just a geeky note as a GP: the percentage you refer to is your HbA1C which measures your blood sugar level over the previous 3 months (the average life of your red blood cells).

James

Johnny Norfolk said...

Very well done Iain, There is far to much sugar in most peoples diets. It turns to fat. this is why you have lost weight. you have helped yourself and should be proud of what you have done. it is an example to us all.

stuart said...

I'm really pleased to hear the good news, Iain. Both my parents have adult-onset diabetes and so I suspect my genes have it in store for me too.

RE the gym, just think... you may overhear dsome more gossip for the blog whilst on the running machine. It could be good for business.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. best to get the condition of the heart up to muster now that your shaggability index is increasing..

Adrian Yalland said...

Well done Iain - you must be feeling fab after losing over a stone and a half.

I wish I could!

Anonymous said...

Well done Ian, excellent news.

Please take a tip from me and become a cyclist too.

Anonymous said...

IMHO stuff the Gym.

Take up walking and cycling in the real world.

It won't cost you much and your gains will be above riches.

Maxwell said...

Best of luck with your new health regime.

But have you tried apple Lucozade? Try it, it'll be the beginning of a relapse.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear Iain. Good luck with the gym!

Anonymous said...

I watched you on the Andrew Marr show. You looked slimmer and very fit. Stick with it as it's imperative for you. Good on you for such an achievement! It's always hard to change a diet; always hard to give up the treats we come to love.

70%+ coco plain choc ain't too bad if you need a fix (lower carb). Better a taste for that than Cadbury's regular, especially if stuffed with some fondant or other.

Look after yourself Iain. You do sterling work and I enjoy your blog. (It's also my main source of politial news.)

Anonymous said...

good news iain, stick with the healthy living and you won't regret it.

Adrian said...

Excellent! Meanwhile I chomped my way through almost a whole bag of wine gums on the way home today - god knows I need to change my diet before my doctor gives me some bad news.

As far as exercise is concerned, I'm back doing the orienteering, but I might also try this: http://www.britmilfit.com/

Newmania said...

Glad to hear that Iain. I did wonder

John M Ward said...

Good news, and I'm really pleased for you. I have never had a car, so walking has been a big part of my life, and it is a very good form of exercise in itself.

I don't think I could face a gym myself, so the best of luck with that!

Dr Blue said...

You need to distinguish HbA1c which gives an integrated average of blood sugar levels over about the 6 weeks prior to the sample from the blood sugar reading at a single point in time. The HBA1c is the key marker of diabetes control, and the lower it is and the longer it stays so low the better.

Your HbA1c readings are excellent. Well done. To get from 11.7% to 6.7% in 3 months is good going. Few patients are willing to make the changes needed to achieve this.

wrinkled weasel said...

A good result. Congratulations.

Vicky Ford said...

Well done Iain (though I have never considered you overweight) I know many people who have struggled to get control with diabetes - you are doing a good thing by letting others know.

javelin said...

Well done - you can throw away your elasticated trousers now.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Iain I've beem similarly diagnosed so it is nice to hear it can that all the things you mentioned can be helpful.

Steve_Roberts said...

Well done, Iain, I took up with no-sugar, low-carb a few years ago and have never looked back.

Anonymous said...

I can recommend Benecol to help with your colesterol. In particular I find my diabetic diet easier to bear when I'm having Benecol cream cheese spread and smoked salmon sandwiches with a glass of decent red wine. You have to look after your heart...
It's worth remebering that plain chocolate is quite healthy - it's the milk fats and sugars that are to be avoided.
Oh, and I recommend buying a bread maker too, home made granary bread is good (I use 50/50 granary and brown flour actually) and helps with the low G.I. diet. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Impressive stuff, if only more patients heeded their doctors' advice. Though (yes, here we go, another medic telling you what to do!) exercise would also really help prevent it from worsening and ameliorate many of the potential complications of diabetes.

permex said...

Good news & well done. Though you may merrily gloss over the hardship of a complete change in lifestyle...anyone who has done it knows that it's pretty horrendous.

Anonymous said...

You'll never be nut eater Dale

Fat git, gerroff your arse and down the pub , quick.

rob's uncle said...

I'm pleased to learn that yr change of diet is working for you; I recommend that you get as much exercise as you can, as this is the best remedy, and you get as much of it as you can by walking and running and cycling in the open air and keep out of the gym.

This will be much better for your mood/morale etc. particularly as the years go by and the other users of the gym get younger [unless you get yrself elected/ennobled and get to use the Palace of W's gym].

If you stick at it, you will live to a ripe old age untroubled by yr D. Every day, you should give thanks for the good old NHS! [which is in danger of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in the same boat as you]

lettersfromatory said...

Hat-tip to Mr Dale, well done.

Oscar Miller said...

Congratulations Iain - impressive stuff. You've motivated me to try harder now. Simple common sense about good diet and exercise is what works for people - not the endless hectoring and impenetrable and contradictory studies we're bombarded with. Anyway - very well done.

Mike Rouse said...

Tremendous news!! I thought you looked a lot thinner on Andrew Marr on Sunday! Well done you...

Now, if only I could follow suit...

machiavelli said...

Congratulations! that's no mean feat in such a short time. Many diabetics struggle to make any meaningful change to their levels.

Bet you feel like you have loads more energy now

Chad said...

Seek out the kettlebells Mr D. Excellent full workout in a fraction of the time.

(obviously don't do it without seeking medical advice first!)

a doctor writes said...

Look Iain, its great that you have got your type 2 diabetes under control but a lot of the anxiety that readers will feel about it is because they will confuse it with type 1 diabetes. Type 2 is of course potentially deadly in the way that a high cholesterol level is. It will shorten your life in the long run if you dont change your diet.

People with type 1 (a much more serious disease that usually starts in childhood but frequently afflicts adults in later life) have to self inject themselves 4 times a day with insulin. They also suffer the imminent risk of death from hypoglycemia if their blood sugar level suddenly drops for some reason. A real problem if they are travelling on a plane for instance and cant get to a hospital quickly.

I know people with the adult onset of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The latter group sits around in the morning talking about the joys of sugarless porridge and the former group have to start sticking needles in themselves.

So all I ask is be accurate and describe what you have as type 2 diabetes and consider yourself lucky that the cure has actually improved your good feeling of health as a consequence of being diagnosed at this early stage.

Anthony Barnett said...

Is it Three Months! Well done but will I recognise you..
Anthony