Category Archives: amputation

Sensible advice for diabetics?

Did you catch the Radio 4 programme about diabetes on Thursday?  It covered 2 ways to reverse diabetes – an uber-low – 600ish – calorie diet, or bariatric surgery.  The problem with the programme was that it covered ONLY these two interventions.

OK, let me start by applauding the scientists that have enabled us to know there is a way to reverse diabetes.  For so long patients have been doomed by doctors and diabetes nurses to a lifelong illness – giving people no hope that anything could be done to change their fate.  I remember 2 well-meaning Diabetes Specialist Nurses explaining to me that once someone is diagnosed with diabetes they will tread an inevitable path to worsening health: to heart disease, reliance on statins as well as diabetic medications; neuropathy, pain, loss of sensation; to amputations; to blindness.

Well thank goodness we now ALL know those nurses were wrong!  And all credit to the scientists that are giving back hope.  Thank you.

BUT…

Always a but!  Is the choice really as stark as an unsustainable starvation diet or radical surgery?

I would venture not!!  Recently other scientists have made the logical common sense link between eating carbohydrates and diabetes.  This has always been the logical common sense basis underpinning RebalanceDiabetes.  But more applause please for the scientists who have now concluded that restricting carbs should be the primary method of dealing with diabetes!

How much difference can straightforward common sense interventions make compared with the novel, but extreme measures discussed on Radio 4 last week? Let John Rendall explain:

Yey for the middle way!

Advertisements

Diabetes is a problem. What’s the solution?

tonightWas it just me, or was anyone else not just a little disappointed by the Tonight program about Diabetes on Thursday?

It had some good points – and nicely got across the rising tide of obesity related Type 2 diabetes in the UK.  It highlighted the good work being done by Diabetes UK to identify people with the disease or courting it by being at risk.  It highlighted the horrible complications such as amputation and loss of limbs.

It did nothing, however, to suggest a realistic solution to the problem.  Sure it featured the good work being undertaken by Newcastle University to show that a restricted 600-800 calorie diet will reverse the symptoms at an early stage following diagnosis.  But there was nothing on offer for the majority of people living with the disease or at risk in terms of good long-term nutritional and lifestyle advice.

And I have to conclude today that that’s because the mainstream medical profession continues to bury it’s head in the sand, along with the food industry and our government, about what really needs to be done.  As we hit the all time record high of 4 million diabetic people in the UK isn’t it time for a sea-change?

What do I mean?

  • Real education about how the body uses food – it’s not OK for a hospital dietician or nurse or doctor to suggest you can continue to eat pretty much as “normal”, as in the case of the recent ex-CE of the NHS.
  • Hard hitting evidence about the consequences of not dramatically changing the way in which we eat.
  • Personal responsibility – because we need to change our eating habits!
  • Corporate responsibility – because the food industry is knowingly feeding you the stuff that will make you fat, sick and tired!
  • Stretch targets for the medical profession – rather than government incentives for the bare minimum as the QOF framework currently provides.

Is it just me?  Let me know!

End days for the NHS?

moneydownthedrainSo last week my blog focused on the financial worries of the NHS, and how that might impact on diabetes care in the UK. Not as a distant concern, but an immediate one – taking into account a key report on the unsustainability of the NHS.

If the imminent collapse of this beloved institution seems overblown and far-fetched, you might be unnerved to find that GPs are considering charging for each visit to their surgeries, as reported by the Telegraph.

I love the quote, “But some leading doctors suggested the measure could put off patients with a genuine need for help, and could “hinder the doctor-patient relationship“.  Well for sure it will change it.  It hopefully means that patients will expect results for their money!  

And where diabetes is concerned it’s about time we expected some results for the £10 billion spent within the NHS every year!  For £10 billion we should be expecting a year-on-year improvement, yet the latest figures from Diabetes UK continue to make the same old gloomy predictions:

A report by charity Diabetes UK, seen by The Daily Mail, says managing the condition already accounts for about 10 per cent of the total NHS budget, with most being spent on complications such as amputations and strokes. Costs will continue to rise over the next 20 years, warns the charity, when diabetes is expected to account for 17 per cent of the NHS budget. Diabetes UK argues that money is often spent badly, with sufferers diagnosed late, meaning they have to spend extra days in hospital running up huge bills for the NHS. Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “The NHS is spending an eye-watering amount on diabetes but the money isn’t being used effectively, which is running up a huge bill for the future“.

In the same report Diabetes UK acknowledge that hope lies in education – yet reports that only 10% patients are being offered that.  And they are unlikely to be offered more care from a devoid financial pot I would suggest!

It just doesn’t pan out does it?  A need for a rise from 10% to 17% of the total NHS budget to be used for diabetes care is hardly likely to happen with the current financial predictions. How can it?

So will you spend your own cash at the GP surgery (on top of the billions in taxes they already receive how can you be sure this won’t be pouring your money down the drain)?  Or are you ready yet to take up access to the means for much better clinical outcomes for yourself and your loved ones?

Ready and willing to help for a fraction of what you might have to spend on existing NHS services – RebalanceDiabetes reporting for duty – click here!

 

The cost of diabetes care, why you should worry and what to do about it

costs of diabetesSo – with refreshing honesty we are finally admitting that the NHS is running out of money and the levels and costs of care are unsustainable.  This isn’t some distant problem – according to a new report it’s due to kick in and become very real from 2015. That’s one year from now.

In just one year we can expect to begin to see the already struggling NHS really fraying at the seams, and qualities of care beginning to decline.

If the existing standards of care were good that would be a problem.  But the existing standards of care for diabetes are already woeful, so it’s a potentially catastrophic problem!  The National Audit Office acknowledge this is in their 2012 report, stating “The Department of Health has failed to deliver diabetes care to the standard it set out as long ago as 2001. This has resulted in people with diabetes developing avoidable complications, in a high number of preventable deaths and in increased costs for the NHS.”

The NHS already spends 10% of it entire annual budget on diabetes care – that’s billions of pounds every year. And that’s at the current levels of diabetes in the UK.

What then happens when the levels of diabetes rise as predicted: from a current 3 million (ish) people diagnosed today to the 5 million (at least) now being predicted within the next decade?

It’s a gloomy picture.  No money to deliver even the inadequate care we currently offer within the UK, let alone raise standards of care.  It seems inevitable that those who care about their health, who actually value their health, who want to keep their health, will have to face the reality of self-funding.  Because if they don’t then the picture is really bleak.

Because most adults today have grown up used to the idea that healthcare in the UK is free at the point of service (of course the NHS is not “free” it costs billions in taxes) we probably have no real understanding of what that will actually mean to us. A little research shows that the realistic lifetime cost of diabetes care for an individual is about the same as a mortgage. In the US an adult diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes can expect to spend an average of $85,000, and up to $130,000 on diabetes care, according to new figures. About half of that will be spent on perfectly preventable complications, including amputations, heart disease and stroke.

We should worry!  Because, as we know these perfectly preventable complications are already not being prevented in many parts of the UK.  A Diabetes UK report reveals this so-called post code lottery.

The most scandalous thing about this situation is that all it needs is a little education about nutrition and lifestyle to seriously slash these predictions.

Since 2005 NICE have recommended that everyone diagnosed with diabetes should be given access to structured education programmes.  Yet it isn’t happening, as the figures below highlight:

People offered structured education:

  • Newly diagnosed:  2.2% Type 1, 12.0% Type 2
  • All people with diabetes: 1.6% Type 1, 4.5% Type 2

People having attended structured education:

  • Newly diagnosed – 0.6% Type 1, 3.1% Type 2
  • All people with diabetes – 1.0% Type 1, 1.4% Type 2

Even when education is provided it involves just 45 minutes to 2 hours on nutrition and lifestyle – yet that’s the one thing an individual can really do for themselves to make a massive difference to the likely outcomes of their diabetes.

So where’s the good news?

Well here it is:  RebalanceDiabetes provides a comprehensive nutritional and lifestyle education programme – typically 15 hours over 7 sessions – at a fraction of the lifetime cost of diabetes care. It’s simply the most effective nutrition and lifestyle education programme available for those living with diabetes, and is achieving fabulous results in terms of weight management, blood sugar balance, and other relevant health indicators such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels, as well as leaving participants looking and feeling great.   Click here NOW to book your brighter future!

Diabetes the norm but not normal!

diabetes amputationWhen I started my RebalanceDiabetes blog last year, my first post was a video piece in which I asked whether, because diabetes is so common, we trivialise the severity of the disease.  Take a trip back along memory lane for another look: here’s the link!

And here we are several months later, and the media are now exploring the same question.  The Mail states, “Type 2 diabetes is rapidly becoming normalised and many people see it as a mere inconvenience, or even an inevitable part of ageing“.  In the same (slightly bizarre it must be said!) article, Dr. Max Pemberton claims he would rather be diagnosed with HIV than diabetes due to the seriousness of the complications and effects on life expectancy of the latter.

Today the media is full of reports of the high levels of diabetes-related amputations occurring in some parts of the country. Diabetes UK report that over 100 such amputations are being carried out every week – and the rates are rising. Shockingly about 50% of the amputees die within 2 years of the surgery.  Yet an estimated 80% could be avoided with better foot care programs.

The emotional aspects of diabetes are also not being adequately addressed according to a new study – with the acronym DAWN.  People with diabetes are significantly more likely to experience stress, anxiety and even depression.

The failures in diabetes care within the UK are catastrophic – yet still there remains a lack of real nutritional and lifestyle focus within mainstream services.  That’s exactly why RebalanceDiabetes is needed!  Whilst I understand Max Pemberton’s sentiment about HIV vs diabetes wishing for one serious illness over another surely can’t be the way to go? The complications usually associated with diabetes don’t have to be foregone conclusions.  Amputations don’t have to be unavoidable. A 10-year shorter lifespan doesn’t have to be inevitable.

Simon Crack, a solicitor, Type 1 diabetic and recent RebalanceDiabetes graduate, kindly wrote to say he feels that 10 years of his life were wasted before he finally met the programme.  Now he has lost over a stone in weight; his HbA1c is down; his energy and vitality are up; he is off statins and he is taking less fast-acting insulin than ever before because his blood glucose levels are so well balanced on a daily basis.

This is achievable for anyone with diabetes who is prepared to make change.  Get in touch.  Don’t worry that I’m in York if you aren’t – modern technology means we can still work together.  RebalanceDiabetes is totally unique, and you won’t find it anywhere else – at least for now!