My current control (for the past 3 months) over diabetes is the best I've seen since diagnosis. As a comparison, my A1c 7 months ago was 8% (recommended for type I is < 7.5%) and 3 weeks ago it was 6.6%.
Obviously everything is connected to everything, but there are still some major parameters affected in this equation. For one - the primal lifestyle, coupled with the salad diet of the 4h body book by Tim Ferris. I haven't lost much weight, but have gained some muscle as a plus. Drinking less, doing more sports and lowering the level of depression have all contributed to that improvement. But the biggest factor of all is the Continuous Glucose Measurement System that comes with the insulin pump. From the stats that I have my average blood glucose measured without and with a CGM sensor is 9.8 and 6.7 respectively. The decrease by 3 units is such a huge improvement, it's almost life-changing...
All for 50€ a sensor (max 6 days lifetime).
Which makes me think - why the doctors were resistant in giving me the pump when I asked for it (and obviously never even suggested it themselves)? The pump has huge advantage over pen-based treatment even without the CGM system. I figure the pump is more costly for the social security as it requires all those extra accessories which are provided for free. It doesn't affect the doctors however. And it's an obvious win-win for patient and social security if the inevitable complications are delayed. The only thing that changes is that patients have to visit the doctors twice a year instead of being completely relegated to the local health center (which means no scheduled appointments or interest in patients of any sort). Are doctors really that overbooked or lazy as to be negative towards the idea of spending an extra 1h per year with a new patient?
As I said - I have to buy my own CGM sensors and they are definitely not the cheapest item in the store, taxed with a 23% VAT like a regular consumer product. If a CGM can make such a massive difference and possibly delay the onset of diabetes complications by as many as tens of years, thus reducing the costs for amputations, hospitalization, early retirement, etc. why wouldn't the government be biased towards providing this "exotic toys" cheaper or for free? One possible explanation is that the authorities are interested more in things such as budget management, than providing better means of treatment. And a healthy individual today costs less than a healthy individual with a CGM system. Never mind the future and its increased costs; those in power will likely be off the scene by then anyway.
So, what can we do right now, besides having enough money? I have so many answers nowadays that each one would require a separate post, but here is a short list on diet and exercise, which converge to one main goal: insulin sensitivity.
- diet promoting maximum insulin sensitivity, including
- a lot of veggies
- lemon, vinegar, carrots all promoting better insulin sensitivity
- a lot of low-cardio sports, such as walking and some small anaerobic exercise such as sprinting
- reduce stress, reduce coffee (cortisol levels affect insulin a lot)
- cut down or eliminate processed foods
This list is a subset of the primal lifestyle ideology. It works for me, as I am sure it would for every other diabetic. I have also eliminated all grains and processed foods containing those from my menu, but I know for a fact that no one would do such a move without enough information.
6.6% A1c might not be that special achievement for some, but I think it's major improvement for me, especially considering the last and previous tests (all above 7,2%). If I get to enjoy few more years trouble-free for the price of having a healthy,delicious diet and doing more sports, thus having more energy -- I'll take that deal any day.