A slight public service blog...
Over the last ten weeks as part of my duties as a carer, I have been taking my father in law to more doctor’s appointments than I had planned. And every appointment just about has resulted in more medication for him. My father in law who is 83 now has type 2 diabetes and CHF (congested heart failure). The diabetes was discovered through a routine blood test and the CHF was because I happened to read about side effects of one of the many medications he takes and asked for a review of the medication. The doctor listened to the symptoms, listened to his chest and had a look at his ankles. My father in law had oedema in his ankles. I knew immediately it was different from the oedema I have suffer from in my left arm as the doctor said that it would not be helped by bandaging. Instead he has to take water tablets to remove the excess fluids. At the moment the treatment, including a radical overhaul of his diet (I put my foot done and banned the massive stores of sweets and biscuits that he kept in his room), appears to be working but he will have both conditions for the rest of his life. If this blog serves as a wake up call for one person, then it will have done its job.
Type 2 diabetes and CHF are related. They both are a result of too much visceral fat. Visceral fat is the unseen fat than hangs off the internal organs. With CHF, basically the heart gets weakened and cannot pump as efficiently because it trying to beat against a wall of fat. Diabetic sufferers have so much fat in their liver and pancreas that the body can no longer process sugar properly. Blood sugar levels and a whole host of other nasty conditions can develop. The one which truly frightened my father in law was the possibility of amputation. With high blood sugar and poor circulation to the feet, it is possible to get infections that don’t heal. It is why diabetics should get their toe nails professionally cut. Right now, my father in law is hoping that the change of diet will help decrease the visceral fat and bring everything under control. A short walk has him struggling for breath and exercise, so even moderate exercise is out.
We are doing this gently (ie banning of processed food, increased fresh fruit and veg and severe limitation of refined sugar and trans fats) as I don’t think he would survive the extreme programme advocated by Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University. Professor Taylor’s work has shown in about a third of the cases who have gone on his regime, the type 2 diabetes has reversed and the pancreas has started functioning normally again. This has huge implications as type 2 diabetes was never thought to be reversible. Taylor has also shown that the regime of 800 calories a day for 8 weeks combined with moderate exercise also drains the liver of fat and again this has huge implications for the treatment of non alcoholic fatty liver disease. Until he properly researched it, it was thought that once you suffered from a fatty liver, you were always going to suffer from one. Even the people who did not fully respond had their liver function improved. Michael Moseley has written a book The Blood Sugar Diet which details some of Professor Taylor’s findings and makes them more accessible to the ordinary person.
One of the best ways to discover if you are potentially suffering from too much visceral fat is to measure your waist. Your waist measurement should be no more than half your height. If it is, you might want to take steps to combat it and you certainly consider getting your blood sugar tested. If you have a persistent cough and swollen ankles as well as a waist which is greater than half your height, definitely go and see your doctor as you could have CHF. But the good news is there are simple things you can do about it and now thanks in part to the efforts by people like Roy Taylor, there are ways to fight back.
When not attending doctor’s appointments with her father in law, Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romances for Harlequin Historical. She is currently revising her latest Viking set romance. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on www.michellestyles.co.uk