“I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in my early 30s. I come from a family of diabetics; parents, both sets of grandparents and numerous uncles and aunts have all been diagnosed with the condition and yet, I knew very little about it. When I was diagnosed, my sugar levels were over 33 mmol/l and I had no idea it was because of diabetes. I had lost weight suddenly and was drinking a lot of water, but just attributed that to work stress.
Over the years, I have been on number of other pills, most of which, I couldn’t begin to list. I have had quarterly Hba1c tests and kept taking my pills on the assumption that this was how it was going to be for the rest of my life. Pills and blood tests, ad nauseum, with some insulin thrown in for good measure as I got older.
In November of 2018, during a routine appointment at my local surgery, my GP and I got talking about a low carb diet. I had tried a keto diet earlier that year and while it worked wonders for the first month, my weight loss stalled in about 5 weeks and I soon lost interest. When discussing a keto diet my doctor told me about her friend who runs a program for diabetics and that he had had great success with his patients. I subsequently met with Graham who introduced me to ProLongevity and the Freestyle Libre.
It should come as no surprise that diabetes is often called a silent killer. Your sugar levels could be through the roof and you wouldn’t know it. Using the Freestyle, I discovered that my sugar levels were ridiculously high with numbers hitting the mid-20s. I was prescribed additional medication which, while it lowered my sugar down to a more acceptable level, also put me into diabetic ketoacidosis. I was hospitalised and spent the weekend being fed insulin through an IV.
The outcome of the DKA was that I was put on 18 units of insulin and when I asked how long I was expected to be on it, I was told that it was going to be a very long time. The impression I got was that this was going to be for life. I was told to eat small frequent meals, control my diet, lose weight and maybe, just maybe, my insulin dose could be reduced. I was able to come off insulin in three weeks.
I attribute this to two factors: 1. The ProLongevity program. Up until then, I had assumed that diabetes was something that could be controlled with medication but that was it; there was no going back. In the past when I have spoken to GPs about trying to reverse the condition, I have always been met with a sympathetic look and a ‘dream on, not gonna happen’. Graham gave me the confidence to believe that I could. Thanks to his input and advice I know so much more about my condition and actually understand it for the first time! This might not sound like much to most people but for the first time I am empowered to deal with my condition.
The second factor was Freestyle Libre. Anyone who has had to prick their finger to get a blood reading will tell you that it gets tedious to have to do it constantly. Using Freestyle has been a game changer for me. The ability to test my blood sugar constantly has resulted in new level of self-accountability. Knowing that eating the right food can keep my sugars on level and actually see that happen in real time is a great motivator.
It has now been just over two months since I started the ProLongevity; my sugar levels are under 8 mmol/L (it was about 23 mmol/L when I started); my 30 day average reading is 5.8 mmol/L. I have lost nearly 20 pounds in the same period. I follow a very low carb diet and keep my carb under 20 grams and I really enjoy what I eat!
The experience of taking control of my diabetes has highlighted just how important it is to get the right advice. Diet plays such an important role in your well-being. I think if a diabetic patient was told that they could reverse, or at least considerably reduce their medication following a low carb diet, the ball is put firmly in their court. They then have the option to disregard it and carry on with increased medication over time or actually do something with the information. NHS could save so much over the lifetime of a diabetic. I have already saved the NHS the cost of insulin for one person. I don’t know how what that translates to in monetary terms, but given just how many people are diagnosed with the condition and continue being diagnosed, surely, it’s worth a consideration.
And lastly the Freestyle Libre - which can be such a boon to help people combat obesity and diabetes. Currently, it isn’t NHS funded and so the price will be prohibitive for many. Wouldn’t offering a type 2 the chance to use a Freestyle and take control of their condition, thereby saving the NHS millions in escalating drug costs also be worth a consideration?
In the meanwhile, my goal is to get off medication completely and lead a healthier life. I know I’ve got this – I know what to do! ”
— MARKETING PROFESSIONAL, 46