The 67 year old retired medical secretary was diagnosed with the condition over ten years ago and prescribed the diabetes medication, Metformin. Karen says she took the tablets but ignored the health advice for many years and continued to eat all of the wrong things.
However, in spring 2018, having reached 18 stone, she decided her increasing weight was not only having an adverse effect on her health and wellbeing but impacting on everyday tasks.
She decided to act: “I joined a local weight-loss group and managed to lose four stone in a year.”
Karen says that by adopting sensible eating habits which include choosing foods that are lower in fat and sugar has helped transform her life. She says an NHS-funded educational seminar at her local hospital in Hythe, Hampshire was a big impetus which reignited her desire to be rid of Type 2 diabetes.
Karen told us: “If I’m honest, at the seminar I “learned” all the obvious things that I knew I should have been doing but had steadfastly refused to include in my daily routine regarding food shopping and dietary control. I definitely learned that if I carried on the way I had been in the past, I would be inviting all sorts of adverse health risks as well as a return of weight gain.”
According to Karen, her GP practice has been very supportive and her Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Anne-Marie, an absolute gem. They are always there when she needs them.
Karen said: “I have been seeing Anne-Marie on an annual basis. Although it has been confirmed that I have achieved remission on my Type 2 diabetes, my annual review is currently ongoing at Anne-Marie’s suggestion – presumably to check that I remain in remission!
“Anne-Marie has always been emphatic about diet, weight control and attention to foot care. She has applauded the fact that I see my chiropodist frequently and has never made me feel a failure, always simply encouraging me to do what I knew were the sensible things to help with my diabetes.
“I believe my remission has been due to the faith that Anne-Marie had in me to get to grips (finally) with Type 2 diabetes and my dawning realisation, during and following the seminar, that I could reinforce my efforts to lose weight and eat sensibly.”
The NHS Long Term Plan has made a commitment to a range of services for those at risk of Type 2 diabetes and living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It recognises that access to diabetes professionals is crucial for optimum treatment and care. As part of this, NHS England is working hard to improve outcomes for those with all forms of diabetes in an evidence-based and sustainable way and £80 million has already been invested in a number of key priority areas including expanding patient access to Diabetes Specialist Nurses in a bid to help them better manage their condition, like Karen.
Karen’s husband John has joined her on the diet and has lost two stone. As a result both have had to buy new clothes. Karen says she is aiming to lose another three stone: “Nobody can frog march you into a supermarket to buy healthy foods, but I now go by the rule, ‘everything in moderation’. I feel so much better.”