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Type 2 diabetes proved a wake-up call for Jon

Jon put his tiredness down to stress. He's since lost four stone and no longer taking medication for his diabetes.

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In 2013, I was filling out my passport application ahead of a trip to Japan and I realised that, try as I might, I couldn't see the form properly.

Deteriorating eyesight

In hindsight, I'd been suffering from the effects of the onset of diabetes for some time. My eyesight had been deteriorating for about four years, and I constantly felt lethargic and had developed tingling in my hands.

I'd been a competitive runner in my youth and had even set a few club records, but over the years my weight had crept up to around 18 stone. My work, social activities and my volunteering all meant that I'd let my health take a back seat, and I put my tiredness down to the stresses of everyday life.

I'd moved from the West Country to London in 1989 to further my career. I experimented with a number of different jobs and took up drama lessons, which meant I had a very full life, but I wasn't taking care of myself like I had in the past.

Prediabetes

Twelve years' ago I thought I had stress. I didn't realise I was suffering from prediabetes, but my eyesight was becoming blurry, I needed to urinate all the time and I'd fall asleep at any opportunity.

It was when I was planning my trip to Japan to visit an ex-girlfriend I realised the toll my lifestyle had taken on me. After seeing current photos, she encouraged me to see my doctor when she saw how heavy I'd become.

A blood test at my GP revealed I had extremely high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, which needed immediate treatment. I was prescribed metformin and given a lot of literature about the condition, which I found terrifying. Reading it convinced me I'd need to take increasing amounts of medication until I was insulin-dependent, and would be vulnerable to amputation, as well as limiting my life expectancy. It was devastating.

Diabetes UK Helpline 

I rang Diabetes UK Helpline and spoke to someone who gave me a much-needed sense of clarity.

"They reassured me there were millions of people with diabetes who were living full, active, healthy lives."

Realising I had to address my weight, I started swimming every day and walking as much as possible. I also did some research into the benefits of managing diabetes with low-carb diets and began to drastically limit my carb intake. Within two months, I'd lost nearly 4st, my sugars had gone back to pre-diabetes levels and I was able to gradually stop taking metformin.

I've met people with such positive attitudes, who appear to get more out of  life now than they did in the immediate years prior to diagnosis.

Diabetes is always there in the background, and it's something I'll have to consider for the rest of my life, but it's given me the push I needed to start prioritising my health. Being diagnosed was a much-needed wake-up call.

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