“I was shocked to discover I am pre-diabetic, because I am so young.”
As Gulshan is under 40, she did not expect that she could be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. However, after an ambulance call out to her house, paramedics identified that her blood sugar was very high, and was not coming down, despite her not having eaten for several hours. Following this, her GP became concerned and referred her onto the Living Well Taking Control Programme.
Gulshan was very shocked when she discovered she was in the pre-diabetic range. Although her BMI is very high, she did not understand how she could be pre-diabetic when she was so young. She said she “wasn’t with it” when she received the diagnosis but she knew she “had to do something about it”. Gulshan described feeling weak, dizzy and down prior to her diagnosis but she never suspected that high blood sugar could be the cause. She called her diagnosis a “wake-up call”.
Gulshan attended a 6-week pre-diabetes course with Living Well Taking Control facilitator Georgeona. The course is a behaviour change programme that aims to support people to reduce their blood sugar levels and prevent Type 2 diabetes. It consists of weekly group education sessions about diet and exercise and how these can effect diabetes development. The idea is that participants make small but significant behaviour changes that will have a positive impact on their health. Participants are encouraged to set weekly ‘SMART’ goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed).
Gulshan found the course to be very informative and the facilitator to be very helpful. She said that she now understands more about diabetes and its complications and she has learned some useful tips about portion sizes, diet and exercise, which she is using to make healthier lifestyle choices.
The course has made Gulshan more aware and alert about her health. She recalled feeling unmotivated prior to attending the course but she now says she wants to help herself as much as she can. She has made considerable changes to her diet and lifestyle and has started to walk regularly. She is also looking for a gym to join and aims to go 4 times a week. She said that the course has helped her to establish a healthier lifestyle and more routine around eating and exercise.
Gulshan has already made great progress but she is determined to keep going and lose more weight. She has managed to reduce her blood sugar level from 43mmol/L to 42mmol/L, which means she is almost back to a normal level. She said that this was very difficult as she used to eat sweets every day but she no longer feels that she needs sweets and she is motivated to continue to reduce her blood sugar level and improve her health.