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Discussion Starter #1
Hello at all of you,

My name is John and I live in the UK.

Some of you may know me from other diabetes forums. I've only just found this one. I'm amazed as to how many different forums there are. Can anyone tell me why there needs to be so many?

I'm a Type 2 who was diagnosed nearly nine years ago in the very early stages of diabetes (at that time with a fasting blood glucose just over 7 and with a HbA1c still in the 5s). I was given the standard UK advice of "do not test" and "eat plenty of starchy carbohydrate". I'm a good patient and followed that advice!

However, my situation worsened slowly over the next seven years with my HbA1c rising gradually and the health professionals telling me that things were "satisfactory". However, when my HbA1c reached 9.4% my GP prescribed metformin but still told me to follow the same advice of "do not test" and "eat plenty of starchy carbohydrate".

For a while, the metformin seemed to make my levels a little bit better but my HbA1c was soon back to 8.5%. At that stage, my GP doubled the metformin dose but still told me to keep following the "do not test" and "eat plenty of starchy carbohydrate" advice.

At that stage, I decided that it was about time that I found out much more about what was happening and started looking for reading matter on Amazon. Motivated by a book that I read about reversing diabetes written by a US doctor called Dr Neil Barnard, I started my improvement programme by changing my diet and at the same time started calorie counting to lose weight. I also decided to disregard my GP's advice and started testing.

Immediately, my blood glucose levels improved remarkably and have continued to do so - my HbA1c readings over the last twelve months dropping from 8.5 > 6.8 > 5.7 > 5.5 and to 5.3% last time. My regular finger prick tests indicate that my present level is even lower today.

I consider that what I have achieved to have been quite simple and am in the process of questioning at every opportunity the advice that Type 2s are given in the UK - and wherever I can campaigning against the quite appalling advice that is being given.

I never consider that anything is forever and I am anxious to interact with others to learn what is achievable in the long term.

My motivation is to keep as far away as I can from the quite horrible diabetic complications that I am so often told about. At present, after nine years, I have no symptoms or complications whatsoever as far as I am aware.

I look forward to getting to know other members and to reading about their situations and experiences.

Best wishes - John
 

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For a while, the metformin seemed to make my levels a little bit better but my HbA1c was soon back to 8.5%. At that stage, my GP doubled the metformin dose but still told me to keep following the "do not test" and "eat plenty of starchy carbohydrate" advice.

Wow....I'm glad you're continuing to progress in the right direction but this thing with your GP blew me away.

I'm curious to hear the whole scope of the advice you were given, which would solidify my thoughts as to the qualifications of your GP to give any sort of medical advice on diabetes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
For a while, the metformin seemed to make my levels a little bit better but my HbA1c was soon back to 8.5%. At that stage, my GP doubled the metformin dose but still told me to keep following the "do not test" and "eat plenty of starchy carbohydrate" advice.

Wow....I'm glad you're continuing to progress in the right direction but this thing with your GP blew me away.

I'm curious to hear the whole scope of the advice you were given, which would solidify my thoughts as to the qualifications of your GP to give any sort of medical advice on diabetes.
It's quite typical of advice given to diabetics in the UK. I think it's mainly because we have our National Health Service (NHS) and that leads to the health authorities only recommending things that the NHS is willing to fund. Test strips work out expensive so the area health authorities tend to discourage GP's from prescribing them.

Also, the UK health authorities tend to give out advice that everyone should eat what the NHS considers to be a balanced healthy eating diet that they consider ought to be applicable to everyone - e.g. a low saturated fat diet. They try to make that diet fit everyone and aren't willing to make adjustments to cater for people that have specific health problems such as diabetes.

I suppose they have got themselves into a Catch 22 situation.

Please rest assured that my GP is a very good doctor and extremely well qualified. I have only gone to see him for around ten years now - I won't see anyone else. The situation that I described is quite common in the UK.

However, I do seem to have converted my GP because when I saw him recently for my annual medication review he seemed lost for words and simply kept repeating words such as "remarkable", "very surprising" etc. In addition, and without my asking, he provided a prescription for the supply of free test strips - something that he'd absolutely refused to do six months earlier. Moreover, he asked whether he could put my name forward for some review of diabetic pathways scheme that is taking place within the local area health authority.

You also need to be aware that GPs in the UK are General Practitioners and are not specialists in any particular area. However, during our last meeting, my GP did concede to me that if he was a diabetic then he would test.

It's a crazy world!
 

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Hello John, it is good to see you here! I have also wondered why there are so many diabetes support groups. I have joined 12 of them but am posting on only 6 at this time. There are many others that I have not visited.

You have done remarkably well with your diabetes management despite your GP's poor advice. I post some on the UK site and I understand the situation there. Something else I do not understand is why there are so many millions of people in the USA who do not have health insurance and cannot afford doctor bills, medicine, etc. Hundreds of thousands of diabetics cannot afford their insulin and test strips. That is unexcusable! That would not happen in the UK John, so there is definitely a good side to socialized medicine since EVERYONE there gets free treatment and supplies. There are good and bad points to health care in both the UK and in the USA.

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hello John, it is good to see you here! I have also wondered why there are so many diabetes support groups. I have joined 12 of them but am posting on only 6 at this time. There are many others that I have not visited.

You have done remarkably well with your diabetes management despite your GP's poor advice. I post some on the UK site and I understand the situation there. Something else I do not understand is why there are so many millions of people in the USA who do not have health insurance and cannot afford doctor bills, medicine, etc. Hundreds of thousands of diabetics cannot afford their insulin and test strips. That is unexcusable! That would not happen in the UK John, so there is definitely a good side to socialized medicine since EVERYONE there gets free treatment and supplies. There are good and bad points to health care in both the UK and in the USA.

Richard
Hello Richard - it's good to meet up with you again on this different site. US based I'm assuming?

Yes, I fully agree that there as plus and minus points to each system.

However, I always thought that in the UK we were being given the best possible advice regarding our health problems. It has only recently hit me that the GPs are only giving us the advice that the system is willing to fund. In cases such as test strips - where the cost is relatively low and generally affordable - I consider that the GPs ought to be advising testing if that is what they themselves would do. It then becomes a separate issue if the health authorities aren't willing to fund them.

Certainly, I shall be more enquiring as to what my GP would do if he were to be in whatever situation that I might find myself in future.

Best wishes - John
 

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Welcome John. I've found this site useful and I hope you do too. Stay motivated and you will get through anything!

- Mary
 
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