Tony’s story: Understanding diabetes helped me control it
Real Stories Tony Hatcher, 61, a patient transport driver from Erith in Kent, believes that understanding his diabetes helped him control it.
“I was a prime candidate to develop Type 2 diabetes as not only did my grandmother have it, and unfortunately lost her leg due to complications caused by the condition, but my father also developed it at the age of 70.
“My GP regularly checked me for diabetes because of my family history but when one of the blood tests came back showing a high blood glucose level it was almost like being hit in the face. I had to pinch myself to make sure I’d heard properly.
“Even though I had expected to develop the condition one day, it was still a shock to be diagnosed at the age of 47 as I’d had none of the obvious symptoms like weight loss or thirst. I also ate healthily and I was reasonably fit.
“I used to coach rugby for a local team in Hampshire and I walked my dogs for a couple of hours a day. I definitely didn’t conform to the common misconception that you have to be overweight and eat a bad diet to develop Type 2 diabetes.
“Finding out about my diabetes helped me to understand what is happening to my body and the ways I can manage it.
It was a shock to be diagnosed at the age of 47 as I’d had none of the obvious symptoms like weight loss or thirst
“It made me re-evaluate a few bad habits and pinpointed small changes I could make that would improve my health, like the need to test my blood glucose levels regularly when I’m ill.
“I try and eat lots of fruit to make up my five-a-day and I used to eat three pieces in one go but I found out that I would reduce the risk of having blood glucose levels that are too high if I ate them at intervals throughout the day. Little changes like that can make a big difference in the long run.
“The more you know about the condition, the more you can work with it. My diabetes is not going to rule my life any more than it needs to.”