Diabetes is a diabolical disease and I know first-hand because my father was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 24. Now in his 70’s, he is suffering some of the worst diabetes can dish out.
Back in the late 1960’s he was a very active man and while he liked a beer or three, he wasn’t overweight, but Type 1 diabetes still struck.
No one knows why you get Type 1 so you can’t prevent it. The pancreas stops producing enough insulin to control blood sugar levels and suddenly you are looking at a lifetime of medication. You try to strictly control blood sugar levels to minimise the damage to your body’s systems, but it still gets you.
My amazing mum was very supportive and closely monitored and prepared every meal and blood glucose reading for nearly 50 years, while dad religiously injected himself over 52,000 times.
Despite all the care and the medication, he still lost most of his toes to amputation rendering him immobile.
He is in a home now, so he watches a lot of TV, but his sight continues to decline thanks to diabetes and his hearing is not great so who knows how much longer he can enjoy that.
It is not what he or mum had in mind when they reached retirement and I can’t describe to you how much it breaks my heart.
There are over 422 million people with diabetes today and like my dad, 10% of them suffer with Type 1.
The rest suffer from Type 2, where the body no longer effectively uses the insulin it produces to control blood sugar levels. The causes of type 2 are known, it is preventable and, in many cases, reversible.
I can only imagine what my poor dad would say to a 24 or even a 44-year-old with type 2 diabetes.
He was a pharmacist so he understood the disease very well and he might just explain that the symptoms and damage of diabetes are the same long term regardless of if you are Type 1 or Type 2.
He would tell them he is batting well above average on the life expectancy of a diabetic and that they were now 3 times more likely to suffer heart attack or stroke, the two leading causes of death globally.
He might detail how he lost his first toe and that once you stop feeling your feet, it is so easy to cut yourself, get an infection and not even know it until gangrene sets in.
He would cover why reduced blood flow can lead to erectile dysfunction. Then there is the increased chance of blindness because of the accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina and that diabetes also leads to possible kidney failure.
I think he would talk most about his quality of life though. How he was an avid golfer who wanted to improve his handicap once he finished working. How he has missed so many events and moments with his grand kids because he is wheelchair bound. How all the things he loved have now lost their shine and he is just existing in a single bed in a nursing home.
I think he would tell a person with Type 2 diabetes to wake the hell up and do something about it.
What I can tell you, as a man on a mission to eradicate Type 2 diabetes, is that men are more likely to suffer from the disease than women and that one of the risk factors is being overweight or obese and storing fat in the abdomen.
In other words, having a belly.
And you can fix that by changing your diet.
I understand it is hard to do something now to prevent something that may only affect you in the future. The future seems so far away, but it is not far away for my dad, it is his present and he deserves better and so do you.
We offer a three-week program to help you get rid of the belly fat, avoid Type 2 diabetes and future proof your health, so if you have insulin resistance or pre-diabetes or a big belly I really encourage you to join: www.beyondyourbelly.com