Robert G. was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. We asked him a few questions to see how this has affected his life. Robert is 47 years old, married with 2 children ages 17 and 21. He was formerly in the restaurant business but now is a software engineer.
How did you find out you had type 2 diabetes:
Early in January 2003, I noticed an increase in thirst and urination and suspected that I had diabetes. I called my doctor to find out the results of my physical from the year before. I learned that my blood sugar at that appointment was 180. I asked for a follow-up visit. Prior to my appointment, I noticed that I could no longer read things I was able to read 2 months earlier -- my vision had been affected.
The visit confirmed that I had diabetes and that my Hemoglobin A1c was 12.3!
How has diabetes impacted your life?
It has refocused my attention on diet and exercise.
What steps do you currently take to manage your diabetes?
I eat less carbohydrate than before. I have increased my weekly exercise to 5 times per week including swimming, walking and weights. I take a diabetes drug, metformin, each morning. I check my blood sugar at home about 3-4 times per week.
Have you lost weight? Had you tried to lose weight before?
Yes. I have used both diet and exercise to various degrees of success. I have lost 50 pounds since May 2002. I would like to lose another 70 pounds.
I had used both diet and exercise to various degrees of success in the past but I was not consistent.
Have you been able to maintain your motivation and momentum?
Yes, for the most part. But life does seem to get in the way sometimes. Last year my Mom died and this year I've had various work related deadlines and my daughter was applying to college. These things make sticking with the diet and maintaining my exercise schedule more difficult
Did you have to give up any of your favorite foods?
Yes, pretzels, and greatly reduced amounts of pizza, potatoes, and pasta -the 4 P's. Also I've reduced my intake of bread products.
Did you change any other lifestyle aspects? Exercise? Stress?
You bet. I am much more consistent about swimming, weight lifting and walking/running. Plus I've tried new things like yoga and snowshoeing. I also joined the YMCA. I highly recommend it.
Do you feel differently now than when you were initially diagnosed?
Yes, I feel much better. My secret wish is to wind up on the cover of Men's Health magazine as an after picture and success story.
My health is better, I have more energy and I look better.
What would you say to someone who was just diagnosed with diabetes?
Look at it as an opportunity to make your life better. We all go through life saying we should exercise more or wishing our body shape was better or that we if we felt better we could do different activities. Now, here is your opportunity to accomplish that and avoid or reduce all of the side effects associated with diabetes.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Having a nutritionist as a task master and guide definitely helps. Also, if your doctor does not take your diabetes seriously - then get a new doctor.
By the way, my hemoglobin A1c is now 5.3.
Nancy J. Rennert, MD, Chief of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Norwalk Hospital, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Previoulsy reviewed by Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. (5/13/2010)
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