Joseph R. Feste, MD, FACOG
When I first started my practice in 1967, I did not think twice about getting diabetes even though I had a strong family history of diabetes. I brought a dozen donuts to my nurses every morning, and of course, I had one or two. I had candy in my desk drawer to take a little bit occasionally. I was not worried too much about diabetes since I thought my health was good and at that time, my body weight seemed fine.
I had diabetes! Then about 15 years ago, on a routine blood test, even though I had no symptoms, up pops a high fasting blood sugar and HgbA1c. The verdict: I had type 2 diabetes.
My physician put me on metformin 1000mg at night. Now I was protected, or so I thought. I had a medication so no problem. Right? Gradually I began to eat carbohydrates like they were going out of style! The result. I gained about 30 pounds which was not good at all. Most of it was fat.
Fear. I knew diabetes was a leading cause of heart disease, blindness, and even contributed to if not caused dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. So, the fear factor finally kicked in and here is what I did. In 2010 I went on the HCG diet and lost 30lbs. in 30 days!! I felt good about that but kept on cheating on my diet.
Old habits. Within three years after losing weight and not being too concerned about my eating habits, I became insulin dependent. Now I was taking insulin daily and sticking my finger four or five times a day. To say it was a hassle is an understatement. I had only myself and my self-denial to blame. Unfortunately, insulin is a fat storage hormone so can contribute to weight gain. I have seen this a lot in my clinic for type 2 diabetes.
Insert a device in my abdomen. So about three years ago my endocrinologist introduced me to the Dexcom 6 which I would insert the device in my abdomen, and it would measure my glucose on my cell phone every five minutes and warn me if it got too high or too low. My HgbA1c (diabetes lab test) began to drop as I could daily see the reasons for it rising - too many carbs and too much sugar.
Finally. Lost weight. I finally figured out that diabetes (and health) is a daily thing, not an occasional diet. So now I am down another fifteen and I at my ideal weight. How? I do intermittent fasting 18 hours a day and monitor my glucose levels very closely. I still take insulin although at a lower dose, metformin, and berberine. Berberine is great for both blood sugar and insulin control. All help me control my blood sugars. I also take testosterone which helps a lot and preserves my lean muscle.
Prevention and What If. I often wonder what if? What if I had paid attention to my condition early on? What if I had monitored my blood sugar and HbA1C from day one with regular lab test? What if I had eaten properly and avoided all that sugar? All that I have been through may have been avoided, at least the insulin, the daily monitoring, the daily concern about my blood sugar levels.
Truth and a Triple Bypass. I do still cheat occasionally with chocolate kisses and pasta. I then must adjust my blood sugars with insulin, something a diabetic really should not do. Also, I had a triple bypass five years ago. Why? Too many carbs for years thinking I was bullet proof. So, I tell my patients now, “do what I say not what I did “
The Answer. What have I learned? So now, at 86 years old, I finally found the answer! We must treat prediabetes as if one has diabetes to help prevent what I went through. If you think you can wait, you are WRONG. Start early and finish strong. You can avoid insulin, daily blood sugar monitoring, always fearing your blood sugar and insulin levels. If you act, you may avoid premature death, heart disease, even blindness and amputation.
Something new and known by only a few. I have had intravenous Exosomes monthly for several months and my c-peptide, a lab test that of the health of the beta cells in my pancreas, had risen from the diabetic level of 0.2 to a normal level of 2.4. This meant that my pancreas was able to produce more insulin on its own. Theoretically, continuing the exosomes monthly for three to six months with intermittent fasting, I should be able to stop my insulin and control my blood sugars by diet alone.
Even Dr. Jason Fung wrote a book on how to cure diabetes all based on intermittent fasting and low carbs, so simple but sometimes so hard to do!
Want help. I would love to help anyone who either has type 2 diabetes, is a prediabetic, or just wants to know where they stand and/or how to prevent diabetes. I have learned a lot.