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Going it alone on remission but supporting others along the way

Graham Baker, 78, from Wickford Essex has lived with type 2 diabetes since 2000 but has been in remission for two years, and he is now supporting others in their diabetes journeys. 

Graham said that when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes he had no apparent symptoms, but type 2 diabetes was identified during a medical examination for the Railway Track Access Safety Certification when he worked as training consultant. For a long time, he managed his type 2 diabetes through diet and metformin.

Graham has achieved remission through diet: He said:

“I am very pleased, my weight has stabilised, and I know what works for me, especially when eating out. I can eat well, but the only certain foods.

"Remission was something I wanted to achieve from my first diagnosis, but I was told: 'Sorry you are now a diabetic, it is not curable, you need to learn to live with it'. After that I heard about NHS programmes for type 2 remission but decided to try it alone, perhaps wrongly but it worked.”

Graham feels that it’s important people living with diabetes know that remission is possible and that they can take action. He supports others through a Diabetes UK online peer group and knows everyone’s journey is different.

“At the start of my journey into remission I used a Libre CGM. It was very informative. Getting almost instant feedback on blood glucose readings was most useful. I would recommend anyone newly diagnosed with type 2 to use one, as it easily shows what foods to avoid or reduce.

"As well as the benefits of exercise. There needs to be much more awareness about the long-term health issues caused by type 2 diabetes and that a healthy lifestyle is required earlier in life, to avoid complications at a later age.”

The strongest evidence we have at the moment suggests that type 2 diabetes is mainly put into remission by weight loss. Remission is more likely if you lose weight as soon as possible after your diabetes diagnosis. However, we do know of people who have put their diabetes into remission decades after diagnosis like Graham.

We have funded research into remission, through the DiRECT Study. Its latest findings show weight loss can put type 2 diabetes into remission for five years.

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