Does it HAVE to be degenerative?

Early in my diagnosis, when I was freaking out and worrying about the future, my doctor told me that the deterioration and complications that kill many diabetics are a result of prolonged exposure to high BG levels, and that with tight control and close monitoring (adjusting my diet, exercise & meds as necessary) I should be able to avoid that, and that if I do that, there’s no reason to think I can’t live as long and healthy a life as a non-diabetic. My doctor is a diabetes specialist whose clinic has won awards for diabetes care, and he’s also my brother. I trust him.

Other people (mostly older T2s) have told me that’s not necessarily true, that diabetes is degenerative no matter what you do, medications stop working after a few years, eventually every T2 ends up on insulin and then probably dialysis, if they don’t die of a heart attack first.

I feel more inclined to believe my brother, but my older T2 friends are kind of scaring me. I don’t want to give up on taking care of myself, but I don’t want to have my head in the sand, either.

What do you guys think? Those of you who’ve been living with T2 for awhile, what’s your experience been?

Maybe 20 years ago what they were telling you might be true. From what my Dr. and diabetic educators tell me, and from sharing with others on this site, and other sites, I really don’t think that T2 is an automatic sentence to the degenerative effects of dialysis, heart attacks, and other side effects that are prevalent in patients that do not tightly control their disease. I was initially put on insulin and after about 9 months was able to get off of it and take 2 pills a day now. My next goal is to get off of the pills. That may be a ways down the road, but with tight control, weight loss, and exercise, and with God’s help, I believe I will eventually accomplish it.

It is good you are scared. By being scared, you will pay attention to diet and monitor your BS. If you can’t control it with diet then you will be willing to use pills then insulin if necesary. By paying attention, you have a better chance to control your new hobby and that will help you live a normal life complication free.

i have to agree with Big Al. your brother is correct. don’t forget that most of those T2’s are not as educated. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can, and you will find that your brother is the one who is correct.

I know how people’s advice can be scary, but if you stop to think: you are comparing “other people” to your brother, who is an award-winning diabetes specialist. Thinkly clearly about it–who should you trust? Another thought: tell him about the comments people have made and ask how you should handle this or what he might say in return.

I believe with tight control most people will avoid all or most complications. To be honest, even if there was a slim chance of avoiding complications through tight control, I would take those chances.

I feel people are far more educated about their condition these days. It seems past generations were more likely to take what their doctor told them as gold and not question it. At least I have seen that with my grandmother and father. These days with the internet and medical breakthroughs, things have changed for the better. If it weren’t for the internet, I wouldn’t have tight control of my T2. My doctor told me nothing more than I was a diabetic, needed to lose weight and I should see him in three months for another test. Thanks to the wonderful people from the diabetes forums, I was given the advice of cutting out carbs and getting a meter to test myself frequently. That has led to a 20 lb loss and near normal glucose numbers.

I believe that our generation can make it better for future generations as well.