To commemorate this year’s Diabetes Week (Sunday 12 June – Saturday 18 June), we take a look at five Diabetes Forum heroes of 2016 so far.
This year has seen the Diabetes Forum reach 200,000 members with over one million messages posted. It is Europe’s largest community of people with and without diabetes alike, and the success being achieved is nothing short of staggering.
Our Diabetes Forum users have been able to lose weight, improve their HbA1c and even reverse their type 2 diabetes; it was the success that forum users had with a low-carb diet that inspired us to create the Low Carb Program in 2015.
We’ve selected five success stories from forum users this year that have been particularly inspiring, and serve as tremendous examples of overcoming problems that diabetes can cause.
*Editor’s note: This is by no means a “Top five” list and does not attempt to distinguish any significance between our heroes’ achievements.
1. NineToTheSky, reversed type 2 diabetes
Diabetes Forum user NineToTheSky decided to undergo big lifestyle changes seven months ago, and now, aged 64, no longer has type 2 diabetes after managing it for several years.
“Six months ago I was, and had been for many years, obese, dependent on alcohol, suffering from depression, sedentary and had type 2 diabetes. I felt negative and unmotivated. Due to those factors, making any changes was, I thought, nigh on impossible,” she said.
“After Christmas, I went for my quarterly diabetic check up. Much to my amazement, all my measurements, including cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure, are now completely normal. I no longer have diabetes. I didn’t know that this was possible, but the numbers don’t lie. My readings have, since then, either stabilised or even improved.”
2. joules, changed diet and improved maculopathy
Diabetes Forum user joules was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy three years ago, which progressed to maculopathy in 2015. He adopted a gluten-free diet, and was told earlier this year that his eyes are now in excellent condition.
He said: “Seemed that I had high gluten and low oils from various meats that I wasn’t eating. I was just a fish eater and veggie bloke, which I assumed was the healthiest option. [My dietitian] suggested to start eating all meats with an avocado with each meal and various probiotics with fish oil tablets. I also quit wheat and this change in diet began in January this year.
“In March, I went for an eye check and got a letter back saying my eyes are now perfect. So, mission successful. I am continuing with this diet and the suggested natural tablets and am finding that my body is more absorbent with foods the insulin is actually now getting through much better. Since quitting wheat, my blood sugars do not spike, so that’s a worthwhile quit!”
3. Specsquee, reduced HbA1c levels
Specsquee was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February. He also has anemia and an overactive thyroid. His first HbA1c test was 12% (107.7 mmol/mol).
He wrote: “3 months later: My iron and thyroid were brought to normal levels and my HbA1C is 5.8%. Just buckled down and got my condition under controlled. Do not want it to affect my life more than it already has!”
4. 5freebie, reversed type 2 diabetes
At 68, Diabetes Forum user 5freebie was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and was experiencing a decline in her vision. She had osteoporosis, and knew that she would have to focus on managing her diabetes through diet, rather than exercise.
She wrote: “Within three months, my eyesight was improving. Within six months, it was back to normal, which was a huge relief because the ophthalmologist told me it had originally changed by six stages.
“Nine months later I was off gliclazide and now, a year later, my metformin treatment also stopped. I no longer take any medication and have astounded my diabetic nurse who never thought I could bring my levels down so quickly, let alone reverse them to within the lowest levels of normal, mainly by diet alone.”
5. Fragilewend, weight loss
In five months, following a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, Fragilwend has been able to lose three stone by eating more healthily.
“I was diagnosed with type 2 in November. My HbA1c was 118 mmol/mol (12.9%), but a further blood test in February showed it was down to 61 (7.7),” she said.
“Today (March) my HbA1c is 47 (6.5). GP said if this continues I can come off metformin and manage with diet. I only really cut out sugary things still eat carbs but smaller portions. I was 12st 4 now 9st 12 weight loss since November 2015. My GP feels my weight loss is due to changes in my diet and the metformin. Feeling pleased with myself, got diabetes under control so quickly.”
Do you have your own Diabetes Hero of 2016? Has someone particularly inspired you with your own diabetes management? Share your stories in the comments section below, or you can post on our Facebook and Twitter pages.