As I mentioned in a previous post I was diagnosed back in August 2011 with diabetes, or diabetes mellitus to give it its full medical name.
The typical profile of a Type 2 diabetic is of a middle-aged person, obese, a heavy drinker and smoker with an unhealthy diet and an aversion to physical exercise.
There was a time when I would have ticked most of these boxes, but over the last couple of years I have reduced my alcohol intake by around 90%, lost weight to the point where my Body Mass Index (BMI) records me as being only marginally overweight, and adopted a low-fat and low-sugar vegetarian diet. I have never smoked. I have always been physically active, frequently walking ten miles or more at a time and thinking nothing of working on my feet for 15 or 16 hours in a day, sometimes without a break. Without wishing to be boastful delivering a thousand leaflets in one session is a task by which I am still undaunted as I enter my second half-century.
And yet, in spite of all these "improvements" to my lifestyle, my blood sugar has increased rapidly. As Forrest Gump might have put it, sh*t happens.
Fellow diabetics, of which I seem to know a surprising number, advise me that my doctor should have placed me on Metformin as soon as I was diagnosed. Instead, he decided to try to reduce my blood sugar level naturally, through diet, before committing me to medication. Only at my second check-up, some four months down the line, did the relief doctor prescribe me the required drugs, advising me as he did that by allowing me to suffer for four months (three between official check-ups followed by another month to fix an appointment through the almost pathologically unhelpful receptionist) before placing me on the necessary medication my own doctor had been "following government guidelines".
One needs to ponder the logic of this in order to fully understand what is going on here. The diet through which it was intended I would reduce my blood sugar level "naturally" was essentially the same one I had been following as I became diabetic. What possible reason could my doctor have had for thinking that by continuing with the same diet the increase in my blood sugar level would suddenly reverse?
There are currently around 2.8 million diagnosed diabetics in the UK, with anything up to 1 million others still unaware that they have the condition. Multiply that number by four months and the saving that the government is making by delaying treatment becomes very substantial indeed. Yes, I understand the argument that strokes, heart attacks, eye surgery and amputations would cost the health service considerably more than a few boxes of tablets, but bearing in mind the fact that diabetes is a long-term, degenerative disease there is every reason to believe the government sees its policy as a way of making a substantial saving.
People who are diagnosed with diabetes yet whose existing lifestyles are reasonably healthy should insist upon immediate treatment.