How my grandfather controlled his diabetes
On 12th May 2002, my grandfather was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He was a happily married teacher and didn’t have many symptoms. He was just tired. Otherwise, he felt fine; happy and healthy.
He hadn’t even gone to the doctor to test for diabetes. He’d gone for a routine check-up for his heart. That check-up had uncovered he had type 2 diabetes (as well as 5 blockages; 3 in the major arteries and 2 in the minor)
My grandfather wasn’t surprised by the diabetes diagnosis - Diabetes runs in our family, and both my great-grandfather and great-grandmother had it. So he simply got to work and started figuring out how to treat it.
First stop - Diabetes forums
Without delay, my grandfather went online and found diabetes forums. He read through the information on these forums for hours and gathered information.
Armed with a greater understanding of his disease, he decided on a very low-carb, high-fat diet and bought a blood glucose meter (which quickly became his best friend).
Putting it into action
My grandfather ate no more than 35 grams of carbs per day and logged everything he ate (later in life, he used an app on his phone to calculate nutritional information).
He also checked his blood sugar level before and after every meal.
Within 1 week, my grandfather’s blood sugar level was excellent.
Going back to the doctor
With his blood sugar at a normal level, my grandfather went back to the doctor. The doctor said he only needed to test his blood sugar once a week and to eat starchy carbs with every meal.
My grandfather ignored this advice – It was the total opposite of what the other diabetics on the diabetes forums had recommended.
Instead, he listened to the advice from his fellow diabetics and followed the diets they said worked for them.
Getting a long-term health check
A little over 3 months later, my grandfather went to the hospital to take another blood test – This test would measure his HbA1c (this shows your average blood sugar level over a few months)
His HbA1c result was 5.5% – Totally normal!
The doctor was amazed. He’d never had a patient with results so good in such a short time.
My grandfather also had his cholesterol checked, and found it had gone from 4.5 to 3.5, which was a little low (it should be between 3.9-5.5). He started taking daily multivitamins, cinnamon and bitter gourd pills as he found these helped and kept his blood sugar level stable. Following these remedies, his cholesterol usually balanced out in the 4.8-5.5 range.
My grandfather’s rules for controlling diabetes
Here are the rules my grandfather made that helped him control his diabetes. He followed them from day 1 and advised other diabetics to do the same.
- Get a great blood glucose meter – He had a FreeStyle Lite meter, which he found small and reliable.
- Exercise - He went to the gym at least twice a week and did a low-impact workout for at least an hour.
- Follow a healthy diet, including only whole foods, fresh veggies, healthy fats (such as olive, sunflower and canola oils), almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sardines, tuna and chickpea flour (besan or gram flour) – He preferred a nutritious diet, loved fish, and really enjoyed ladyfingers (okra or bhindi).
- Cook yourself – He found that not only did he enjoy eating healthy food, but he also liked to make it. Cooking filled him with positive energy.
- Drink water instead of sugary beverages – Drinking water helped manage his blood sugar and insulin levels and reduced the risk of his diabetes returning.
I wanted to share my grandfather’s story because it shows that it’s possible to control your blood sugar level and live a healthy life. I hope my grandfather’s story encourages people to monitor their heart health, especially diabetics – Diabetics are at higher risk of developing heart disease.
My grandfather wasn’t aware he was at greater risk until he was diagnosed with heart disease and diabetes.
But he proved you can manage both if you do your research, make plans to address them, and stay focused.
Looking for more stories like this?
Sana is a caregiver for her 75-year-old mother-in-law, who struggles with diet and exercise. But together, they've made a diabetes management plan that works.
Ikram is a type 2 diabetic. Suffering from frequent urination, weight loss and kidney problems, he turned his diabetes around by cultivating a kitchen garden.
Amna had tingling in her hands. She went to see her doctor and was diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy. That's when she learned she was a type 2 diabetic.