Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Advice for people with diabetes and their families

Thumbnail

Remission

Some people with type 2 diabetes are able to achieve healthy blood sugar levels without needing to take any medication. This is sometimes called reversing diabetes. Here we share their stories, as they recall the life-changing moment their diabetes was put into remission.

""

PaulDiagnosed in August 2018

Going into remission - and staying there

It felt amazing to be told I was in remission. My family were so pleased for me. The nurse said I just need to go back once a year, but I asked if I could go back in three months. I’ve read on forums people talking about remission and someone said, “Even when you’re in remission, psychologically you’re always diabetic,” and I knew what they meant. I feel like I will always be looking over my shoulder. It doesn’t get me down, as you come to terms with it, but it’s always there. 

To begin with, if I went out for coffee and got the little biscuit on the side, I wanted to eat it but knew it was a slippery slope. I’m absolutely determined not to let things slip and go back to how they were. Now that I’ve sustained my lifestyle and it has become second nature, I have the confidence to not be quite so stringent, and have treats occasionally. 

It’s not exactly been a walk in the park but a lot easier than I ever imagined. I do realise that it’s a change for the rest of my life, so I make sure that all my initiatives are realistically sustainable and not too onerous.

Health benefits

My efforts have paid off far beyond what I could have hoped for. Besides being in remission, I no longer need blood pressure medication, my cholesterol is reduced to optimum levels, my back, knee and hip pain has disappeared. I’ve also recently had it confirmed that I no longer have sleep apnoea (stop-start breathing while asleep), so I don’t need to use a CPAP mask – this is life changing in itself. 

 

Read Paul's complete story
""

KieranDiagnosed in 2016 at the age of 36

Life after surgery

Immediately after surgery, my consultant told me to stop taking the metformin medication. I had regular check-ups every six months thereafter with the amazing team at Shrewsbury Hospital. My bariatric dietician has been incredible with the level of support and advice she has offered me. 

Within four months of having the surgery, I had lost a further six stone and now weighed 12 stone. My sleep apnoea had gone and my regular blood tests showed my blood sugar levels (and other factors) had returned to normal, meaning that my diabetes was no longer within the diagnostic levels.

More than two years since the surgery, I am sticking to eating healthy and following the strict guidelines set by the bariatric team. Admittedly, I do have a treat every now and then, but within strict moderation. To my surprise, I am still able to eat many of the foods I enjoyed prior to surgery, though I do avoid junk food and fast food at all costs. Also, I have not had alcohol or fizzy drinks since the operation. 

I recall the reply I gave my consultant at my first post-op check-up when asked how I felt: “Liberated!” I feel so much healthier and I can do so much more than I did before surgery.
 

Read Kieran's complete story
""

Julie TaylorAugust 2019

New energy

I was told I had put my diabetes into remission after about 10 weeks, this was in early December 2019. The NHS dietitian told me when I went to one of the fortnightly meetings and she had double checked with my GP. I was so happy that I started dancing around the room. 

I feel at least 20 years younger, I have so much energy now and I sleep like a log. Previously I used to wake up because I needed to go to the toilet and I was always tired. I used to get exhausted just by climbing the stairs and now I run up them. I’m exercising as well and have started walking and swimming. We were warned in the liquid phase not to do more than gentle walking in case we passed out. 

My weight has gone from 127 kilos to 99.6 kilos and my blood sugars have come down from 51 mmol/mol to 37 mmol/mol. 

But, I never once thought about giving up. I just keep telling myself that it’s a short-term pain and I can get through it.  
 

Read Julie Taylor's complete story

Sean Carter-SelwoodDiagnosed with type 2 during the Covid-19 pandemic

Putting my diabetes into remission

I knew about remission early on and it was definitely on my mind. I’m young and didn’t want to be taking medication for the rest of my life, especially with the possibility of this increasing over the years. The diabetes nurse from my GP practice got in touch and said given how much weight I had lost she thought my HbA1c test needed to be repeated. If my HbA1c was coming down, then I shouldn’t be increasing my metformin dose.

The nurse was hoping for it to be around 55mmol/mol but when she got the results she said, “I could cry, it’s come down to 33. This means you’re in remission.” I was over the moon; I just couldn’t believe it. The nurse explained, “We’ve not contributed to this and metformin can’t make those changes to your blood sugars – this is all down to you.” It felt incredible. 

When I was first diagnosed, I had no idea how much willpower, discipline and dedication it would take to live with, and fight, diabetes. I’ve had a lot of support from my partner, who even followed the diet with me to keep me on track – she’s so proud of what I’ve achieved. At first, because she sees me every day, she didn’t notice how much weight I had lost. Then my clothes started falling off me and one day she said, “You’re wearing a tent.”

I’m in remission now but I am fully aware that I still need to keep an eye on things. The nurse told me to keep up the healthier lifestyle and go back for an annual blood test, which is exactly what I’ll do. For now though, I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved and I’m looking forward to enjoying a healthier future.  

Read Sean Carter-Selwood's complete story

Snita SharmaDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes 10 years ago

Remission

I found out about the Diabetes UK-funded DiRECT trial, which was in its early stages at the time. DiRECT looks at using low-calorie diets for weight loss to help put diabetes in to remission. I wasn’t in the right geographical are to take part in the study, but then I found another very low-calorie diet that I wanted to follow. My GP was concerned that it might not be safe for someone with type 2 diabetes but I told her “I’m going to be 50 soon, if I don’t try, I’ll never know.”

After a couple of weeks, I got the most amazing release of energy. I started running faster, and my swimming and cycling improved too. Mentally, I’d never felt so good. My GP supported me to reduce my medication as I started to lose weight and a blood test shortly before my birthday confirmed that my diabetes was in remission.

Maintenance

The hardest thing was transitioning from a really strict diet to a whole new lifestyle. A dietitian helped me do that, and my older son was a great source of support as well. To begin with I tried a high-protein, low carb diet but then I started researching vegan diets.

I’d become scared of eating fruit, because I considered it high carb. But I got to a stage where I felt my body needed more natural foods. Now, I eat a lot of fruit, salads, vegetables, wholegrains. My favourite dish is probably a lentil curry with rice. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed my diet so much. I feel amazing.

Read Snita Sharma's complete story
Brand Icons/Telephone check - FontAwesome icons/tick icons/uk