Type2 gets a shot in the arm with new non-medical support group solution
With more than 2.5 million South Africans diagnosed with adult-onset, Type 2 Diabetes following poor diet and lifestyle choices the route to a population with metabolic syndrome and diabetic complications is a short one.
Keeping blood glucose levels stable and at the healthy 5.5 mark in diabetics is the job of medical professionals who use oral medication and insulin injections to achieve this. More often than not people with Type2 are also obese with little chance to reverse the situation without radical and on-going lifestyle changes.
Former restaurant critic, Brian Berkman, a heavy weight in media circles at 153kg, elected to have weight-loss surgery after failing to manage his diabetes, hypertension and chronic back pain successfully. Thankfully, he says, as a result of a series of happy coincides, his surgery was postponed long enough for him to shed weight on his own.
In 18 months he reduced his heft by 70kg, normalised his blood pressure and, most importantly, his diabetes. His secret was minimising sugar and carbohydrates in his diet.
Now, after a year maintaing a weight of 80kg, he has started a support group for people faced with excess weight and Type2 diabetes. The hour-long sessions give members an opportunity to share their challenges and strategise solutions. Although sessions begin with a weigh-in, the Type2 Revolution group uses the exponential power of group energy to help members stay on track. There’s also a Whats App members group to continue the conversation.
Although the group meets in Kenridge, Durbanville at the practice rooms of Dr Louise Spruyt, who is available to supply medical support where necessary, Berkman hopes to start groups in other areas.
“Sometimes we need to know we are not alone in a situation and speaking to people who have been and are still in a similar situation is sometimes more helpful than speaking to a consultant with book knowledge,” Berkman says.