Steve* is 47. He is married with 2 kids, has a career in information technology and recently was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
An avid rugby union player in his youth, Steve loves the outdoors and camping with his family and friends. When he was in his early 30s, he was told during a medical check-up that he had potential longer-term health problems that he should be aware of. Within 10 years, he was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. He went to see a dietitian and was confident that he could manage his blood sugar (glucose) levels with a balanced diet and by using a blood glucose reader. However, sticking to a healthy eating plan was a challenge. His exercise regime was also hampered by an autoimmune condition and a lower back injury.
The lockdowns implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic also restricted his ability to exercise.
Steve was experiencing symptoms such as shakes and nerve sensations in his feet before he was diagnosed, but his general practitioner (GP) said that his 3-month average blood glucose level (his HBA1c) was within the target range. He sought a second opinion. This GP arranged an oral glucose tolerance test, which confirmed a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Steve currently manages his diabetes with the use of medication (metformin) which initially brought on symptoms of nausea and vomiting, but this subsided after his GP reassessed the dosage. Steve also feels he could be more consistent with a healthier eating plan.
Despite a family history of type 2 diabetes, Steve feels he has probably not taken his diagnosis seriously. He says, ‘lack of knowledge is not the issue for me’, and although he realises lifestyle change is important, he finds it hard to be consistent with new exercise and diet routines. ‘Getting sick or the holiday season can be a distraction for healthier lifestyle routines,’ he says. His advice to others who are concerned about type 2 diabetes:
‘Don’t hesitate to get a second professional opinion on your results. Listen to medical advice, see a dietitian and do a GP plan … talk with other people who have type 2 diabetes and … do not delay in getting medical treatment’.
This case study is based on an interview with a person who is living with type 2 diabetes. This personal account is not necessarily representative of the circumstances of other people with type 2 diabetes or the challenges they may face, but it is our hope that it will give readers a greater awareness and understanding of the diversity of people’s experiences with diabetes.
The information provided does not contain medical advice – consult a qualified healthcare professional for guidance relating to your personal medical needs.
*Names and identifying characteristics have been changed. Images are not representative of individuals in the story.