I have Diabetes. I don’t often tell people that. Not because I am ashamed of it or because I did something wrong with my lifestyle to deserve it. It is more that it is just easier not to tell people. Very few people really understand the disease and, what is worse, very few diabetics understand the disease.
Diabetes has two main forms.
Type 1, which is where the pancreas has pretty much given up the ghost and produces very little to absolutely no insulin; and
Type 2, which is where there is insulin produced but the body struggles to deal with it properly.
Insulin has a few different jobs within the body but its main focus is to help reduce the body’s blood sugar. It does this by helping to transport glucose and other nutrients into the tissues to be stored or used as energy. Without insulin present, or with insulin not being utilised properly, this can leave too much glucose in the bloodstream which can cause a lot of very unwelcome health complications.
High blood glucose is called Hyperglycaemia and if left unchecked can cause problems with your eyes, liver, kidneys and limbs (limbs may need to be amputated) to name but a few things. Low blood sugar, which is called hypoglycaemia, also has its own health implications. This is where the body does not have enough glucose within the blood system.
I have Type 1 diabetes which is an autoimmune disease. Could my love of sweets as a child walking home from school have contributed slightly to me getting the condition? I don’t know. At the age of 11 when I was away with my parents on a family holiday, I started to feel very ill. When we got home I was literally drinking water all day long and urinating what felt like litres constantly throughout the day. I was taken to the doctor’s and the next thing I knew I was being told that I would have to prick my finger God knows how many times a day and inject insulin to keep my self alive. Oh. And by the way, if you don’t keep your sugars under control you can expect to die at a much younger age than someone without diabetes.
Being young and, of course, knowing more than the doctors that were trying to help me, I continued to eat what I wanted, learnt to drink when I was old enough and basically do everything I shouldn’t despite my parents doing everything in their power to help me. When I started to get into training I soon realised that uncontrolled blood sugars were not helping me at all and I started to pay much more attention to what was going on with my diabetic control and the things that were helping me. I started listening and learning from people who had far more knowledge than me – and there are some seriously knowledgeable people out there now – who could teach me what I needed to do.
I now have far more control. I have an average blood glucose level of 5.7 (ideal is 4.7) and feel better than I have ever done. For me becoming diabetic was a tough thing as I had not really done anything to deserve getting the disease. A disease that could have a major bearing on my health and, indeed, life expectancy later on down the line.
It must be devastating for a Type 2 diabetic to know that lifestyle has caused this and that it could have been prevented. A harsh observation, but that is the reality of it. In most cases, lack of exercise and poor nutrition will have had a large impact on people becoming diabetic and facing all the health complications that come with the disease.
I am already working with a few diabetic clients and am looking to help as many diabetics to get fit and healthy as I can. Using the knowledge that I have gained from my own experiences and from learning and continuing to learn from the best people out there, I want to show people how they can turn it around and ward off the health issues to live long and happy lives.
If you have or know anyone who has diabetes who would like to get some help with exercise and nutrition please pass this on to them. Anyone can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.