Monday, August 11, 2008

Diabetes: A Sobering Thought

My chances of dieing before I am 80 are twice as high as yours, unless like me you have diabetes. Figures released by Diabetes UK show that the disease is responsible for nearly 12 per cent of deaths of 20-79 year olds in this country. The fact that there are half a million people in this country who don't know they have it means this figure is far higher than it need be.

So if you constantly feel tired, often feel very thirsty, sometimes have to pee in the middle of the night, or have a numbness in your legs or feet, go and see a doctor. If you have all those symptoms, or even some of them, you probably have diabetes.

It took me six months to diagnose myself and go to a doctor. Eight months later it's all under control, I've lost a stone and a half and feel healthier than I have done for years.


Unsworth said...

Excellent advice. Well said!

As you rightly indicate, the individual symptoms themselves are relatively minor. Collectively though, they amount to something. Most people would rather not 'trouble' their doctors. I think that's nonsense. After all, isn't that what they are paid (pretty well, these days) to do? There remains a great wall between MDs and the public, partly fostered by those surrounding individual doctors and specialists.

I recently had to do battle with a practice 'Secretary' on behalf of one of my relatives over an entirely trivial matter which she had got badly wrong. She refused to rectify things until I had bounced her a little. Then it became all sweetness and light. The caring profession, eh? Maybe so, but you've got to watch out for the acolytes. Many of them are still living in the 1930s.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian. Yup, I'm about a year ahead of you. At present, I control diabetes with weight loss and exercise. I rarely eat sugary things and have cut down drastically on booze. Type2 diabetes is not a killer if you engage brain. I suppose you stopped smoking as well?

Anonymous said...

So if you constantly feel tired, often feel very thirsty, sometimes have to pee in the middle of the night, or have a numbness in your legs or feet, go and see a doctor. If you have all those symptoms, or even some of them, you probably have diabetes.

You should say POSSIBLY have... pedantic I know, but none the less. Lets hope NICE don't impose a postcode lottery ala Cancer treatments for this disease.

Iain Dale said...

Kevin, I never smoked and I am tee total. My main difficulty has been to give up sweet things, as I have a very sweet tooth!

Anonymous said...


I am ahead of you by at least 12 years and I am 66. A treatment for an unrelated problem went wrong 12 years ago and the result was that the Type-2 diabetic symptoms surfaced and they hit very hard. The NHS considered that I was treatable in my GP surgery which my GP strongly disagreed. My private medical insurance came to my help,and a three day hospitalisation saved me.

Since then I have done quite a bit of research on Type-2 diabetes. I am sorry to say that most GPs are not good in treatmenting diabetes. My suggestion is to consult a good endocrinologist to get a good picture of insulin production by pancreas. The endocrinologist should advise whether insulin injections are essential or whether tablets should be suffice, and what cocktail of tablets are necessary. GPs in my experience are not skilled enough to determine an appropriate treatment regime even though they can diagnose diabetes. Exercise is very essential. I am a vegetarian and it makes my diet both easy and difficult to plan. I ignored the advice of dietician which did not make sense to me.

Finally, there was study carried out on Cinnamon which has the property of lowering blood sugar level. Powdered Cinnamon bark mixed with tea/coffee 2-3 times a day helps to reduce blood sugar level, but it can upset delicate stomach. It is worth trying along with other diabetic medication.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on losing the weight. It takes a lot of self-discipline.

Anonymous said...

Stop being silly Iain.Not need to fill your heed with all that stuff.

Do like they do in Scortland and just have youself a nice tuck-in with a Mars Bar, a giant size pizza and a few pints of glager and all yours worries will disapear and you'll feel strong for when you get into the proper session this evening

Anonymous said...

given new labours need to de-professionalise across the board the secretary will be re-named specialist practitioner and she will go to the nurse consultant super specialist for advice

all the while both will pupport to know far more than they do, mismanage. and then oops patient gets shafted, mess made. and in time honoured tradition "doctor informed" ie. any dirty work to be sorted - buck is passed. and not before damage is done.

why? because new labour says your worth it

why should doctors have a monopoly on practicing medicine - how elitist - the porter has just as much right - he got an nvq in health care and a 6 week presribers course

why should teachers have a monopoly - rise up teaching assistants

why should policeman be allowed to walk a beat - stand tall pco's

to all dimwits everywhere - rise

to all readers - when in hospital always enquire the exact role of thos elooking out for you - and watch out when you get palmed off with a nurse super specialist practitioner

my local hospital let her do my hernia! not even gone to mdical school, no tough surgical membership exams! just so the trust can save a buck. and when it went tits up, i finally got to see a proper surgeon.

despite stereotype if found my surgeon really rather down to earth and it was indeed the nurse with pretensions of greatness

how very new labour - the least able with the biggest egos - reminds me of the labour front bench but also a microcosm of our nu society

Anonymous said...

dear iain
dear iain

losing weight is the key

you reduce your body's resistance to insulin and prolong the period before the pancreas burns out and stops producing its own insulin

this norman, you dunce, is the true indication for starting insulin

many people delude themselves into believing that hospital contain secret forbidden knowledge that gps dont know

the fact is its managed effectively in the community

you can see an endocrine chap - but he'll say the same - best way to prolong time without need for intervention - lose weight - promte insulin senstivity

good luck chief

Anonymous said...

h shipman,

Not all Type-2 diabetics are overweight. What I said is from my experience and what GPs have said. Best for you to find out what endocrinologist does. He/she will not say the same as a GP does. That is what GP and BMA will have us believe. By the way, very few Type-2 diabetics are treated by insulin.

Anonymous said...

Its a pity they don't produce dirt cheap home testing kits (or do they?). There's nothing trick about detecting reducing sugars. It would certainly beat tasting your urine for sweetness. (Thought: can you ferment a non-controlled diabetic's urine? Doh! Whitbread have been doing it for years).

Whatever you think of big Pharma, before the large-scale production of insulin a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes translated as 'you will waste away and die in about five years".

Anonymous said...

My husband has been type 2 for more than 15 years, my son a type1 which came on in his early 20s 3 years ago (mid general election campaign, he went from being very healthy one week, to being a death's door 2 weeks later- it moves very quickly does type1)
they are 2 very different
'illnesses' (they would both dispute that term) each has its own problems but many of the same symptoms. Please take Iain's advice & see some one as soon as 'the penny drops' -I hate cliches & this seems riddled with them! sorry.

Anonymous said...

Iain, this is good advice but please don't scare people. I have ALL those symptoms but have been tested several times and do not have diabetes.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you're definitely not alone. I've just been diagnosed with Type 2 and am only starting to come to terms with what it all means in terms of essential lifestyle changes. I smoked, I ate a poor diet, I was overweight, I didn't exercise enough, I spent long hours sitting behind the steering wheel or on a train. If any of your readers recognise these aspects in their own lives then I urge them to see their GP. Diabetes can be managed, but is incurable.

Anonymous said...


Don't be so gloomy in your prognosis. My brother and I are both type 2 diabetic (late forties/early fifties) but fine, so is our mother (has been for years, now in her mid seventies and very healthy), so was her father (dies at the age of 93). None of us are overweight but we all live healthy lives with moderate exercise.

Anonymous said...

I've just been told today that I need blood pressure tablets for life as well as cholesterol tablets. I'm the sole female survivor in my family, my mother and sisters are all dead due to heart trouble, and all of them died young. One at 17. I don't smoke or drink or eat meat, and I'm 13 stone, not bad for my height, since I'm quite tall yet I fear the same path. My friend however puffs fags one after the other drinks quite a bit and her diet is appalling, she is over weight and healthier than I....

Makes you wonder doesn't it?

Tapestry said...

I thought Omega 3 oils were critical. Cod liver oil. Milled linseeds on your breakfast cereal.

DianaClaridge said...

Read some of this with a bit of horror - do not go off on some strange non medical solution! One thing this government has done is make the detection and monitoring of Diabetes a priority - Yes I am amazed too.

So if you have any of the following: real thirst - have to stop and drink water whenever you see a tap, can't see/focus well, want to pee all the time, loosing weight, maybe have a smell of pear drops about you - go and see you doctor who can do an instant blood sugar but much better to have a proper fasting blood test where they can see what your blood sugar has been doing over the recent past.

Then I agree with the above if you are diagnosed as having higher blood sugar go to a diabetic clinic at your local hospital and get the best advice you can as fast as you can but if it is serious you will be in hospital asap anyway.

Type 1 basically means your pancreas is not producing any insulin, with Type 2 you are probably insulin resistant - all can be treated. Quite often it is excess weight that is the problem - but of course it is not that simple

I have been Type 1 for over 40 years - yes I would love not to have to be quite so disciplined but the results are what it is all about - know your own body and that I am afraid is what you have to do but I can guarantee that whenever I see my GP they send me off for expert tests where with others they probably would not bother but it is far cheaper to prevent than treat the problems.

1 Keep an eye on your blood pressure - I am told that keeping it not only low but consistent is good
2 Smocking is a no no - but then it is for your health anyway
3 Understand how sugar and insulin works with you - basically it is a very simple equation - what you eat - carbohydrate - gets used when you exercise otherwise it has to be digested and converted into fat using insulin - if not then it will come straight out through your kidneys and the net effect is something called ketosis which is not nice.
4 Above I said it is a simple equation well it is not simple at all as there are all sorts of other things that effect it - mainly infections or stress as they both make you body do some strain things!

Do learn to live with it - not ignore the condition but be very careful of any advice that comes your way as many people do not know exactly what they are talking about. Very simple things like how to do your own blood test even nurses get the finger pricking wrong (I have just educated the Wellington on the subject as Diabetes is not their subject!) Or even the case of storage of insulin - Diabetes UK gave me the wrong advice!!

New things are happening all the time so keep knowledgeable on the subject and always, always talk to the experts - whether that be the medics or the pharmaceutical companies themselves - as I keep being told they learn from us!!

Anonymous said...

Think you've got problems? Try having an enlarged prostate. Just one pee after another.

Anonymous said...

dear norman

your ignorance is rather something

are those evil gp's out to get you with their billion pound wage

perhaps you should spend less time eating out of the proverbial arse of new labour and consider facts rather than your "insight"

having diabetes doesnt make you an expert

id rather take my chances speaking to a doctor - gp or not - than listen to your paranoid musings

Anonymous said...

normans mother, you have been forgetting to take the tablets!

Anonymous said...

"Iain Dale said...
Kevin, I never smoked and I am tee total. My main difficulty has been to give up sweet things, as I have a very sweet tooth!

August 11, 2008 11:23 AM"

Ian although I predict you will live to a ripe old age sadly I suspect you will die of boredom

Anonymous said...

I had gestational diabetes when pregnant. I had to record what I ate and my blood sugar levels. I noticed when I ate less carbs, blood sugar was low and normal. And green tea (oolong/wulung tea) really helped. Instead of cereals at breakfast I ate just fruit. Thank God 6 wks after birth, it cleared up. Worth trying the green tea and less carbs though.