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How diabetes has changed my life

This month is World Diabetes Awareness Month and to raise awareness Diabetes Gibraltar has submitted this article to the Chronicle. In this article Fred Davies describes the impact of a diabetes diagnosis and how he has been able to overcome it.

by Fred Davies
Diabetes has caused a drastic change in my life.

I was diagnosed in early March but I think I was diabetic for quite a few years. I had had symptoms of dry mouth, constantly urinating, depression, nausea and narcolepsy (sleep disorders) for quite some time. I used to drink vast amount of energy drinks because I was always tired.

It became a vicious circle because energy drinks raised my sugar levels so therefore each day I felt worse than the day before. It took me 3 years to recover from an injury because of my high blood sugar levels and that affected my self-esteem.

My colleagues noticed the symptoms and checked my blood sugar levels which were over 25 mmol/L, the normal range is 4 – 7 mmol/L!

Since I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes I decided to try and improve my health by changing my diet and lifestyle. I decreased my carbohydrate consumption and increased my protein intake. I cooked more often in the oven rather than frying, ate plenty of green vegetables and a wide variety of meat.

I noticed that having long daily walks helped me decrease my blood sugars levels, so I decided to work out more often by mixing calisthenics with weight lifting. Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels in men affects testosterone production (which itself affects muscle density, strength and sexual drive). Low testosterone levels can also cause depression and low self-esteem.

Ever since I started to take care of myself, I feel more energetic and happier. The negative effects I was experiencing are receding but I must keep being disciplined and eating the right foods even though I may be tempted to revert to my unhealthy eating habits.

Although I am Type 2, when I was diagnosed, I was initially put on insulin (which is usually the treatment for Type 1s) because my blood sugar readings were so high.

Now that I am well controlled I am being treated with Metformin tablets, but because I eat very few carbohydrates and exercise a lot, Metformin sometimes makes my blood sugars dip too low (hypoglycemia) and so I occasionally substitute my Metformin with Creatine. The most important thing is to always check your blood sugar to make sure you’re doing the right thing, and to build a good relationship with your Diabetes Nurse.

Looking ahead, I am looking forward to studying about diabetes and nutrition so that one day I can help others who may be experiencing similar issues as me.

I recommend you all to check your blood sugar levels. Especially if you are experiencing any of the symptoms described below.

Common symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes are:
• Urinating often.
• Feeling very thirsty.
• Feeling very hungry—even though you are eating.
• Extreme fatigue.
• Blurry vision.
• Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal.
• Unexplained weight loss
• Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet

Since Fred submitted this article for publication, he has officially reversed his Type 2 diabetes into remission and is now medication free.

Huge congratulations from Diabetes Gibraltar and a massive inspiration for others to know that with hard work and commitment their health can be restored.