The goal of all Type 11 Diabetics; 7.00 mmol/L as the fasting blood glucose figure in a morning and 7.0 or below for the regular Hba1c test. These represent the goals that most strive for because below them you are close to being 'normal'. Of course if you are one of the 2.6 million Diabetics the NHS alleges to treat you are unlikely to ever be normal per se, but if you can get below both of the figures on a regular basis then you are controlling your condition.
I say condition because it isn't an illness, it isn't infectious or contagious. It is a combination of problems with the basic biochemistry of the human body; the inability to readily store glucose from carbohydrates and protiens; 'insulin resistance' and a deficiency of the pancreas to manufacture insulin. Well, this last is not quite true; in the early stages of NIDDM you make more and more insulin as you become increasingly resistent to its properties. This in turn exhausts the romantically titled 'islets of langerhans', which then lose their capacity to produce sufficient for everyday needs. It can be a downward spiral and it is associated with obesity that is certain. How this comes about, I believe is the important element that is often overlooked.
OK, Diabetics are often overweight or obese, but some are not. However if you have a history of weight gain as you get past forty it is likely you could become Diabetic. Why ? Because I believe it is the early stages of Diabetes, termed 'metabolic resistence' that causes this weight gain. As your weight spirals upwards it becomes increasingly difficult to control even if you eat less and less. This is generally because most of your calorie intake is being stored as fat; you become rapidly hungry post prandial ( medics term for after eating) and the instinct of our brain tells you to eat again. This is due to the high levels (at this stage) of circulating insulin, metabolising the glucose in your blood. As your muscles are resistent by now, the only place to go is the adipose tissue (fat).
As this progresses these cells become laden and other cells, which are marked as preadipose, are 'recruited' for the additional storage required. Once such a cell becomes adipose it is forever; it cannot go back, so it becomes harder and ever harder to lose weight even at calorie intakes of 1500 or less. Yet, because of your overall tiredness, weight gain and reluctance to exercise, you will be universally branded as a 'couch potatoe' or worse. Finally you will be diagnosed as Diabetic, probably after some years on this slope of weight gain and you will be entreated to lose wieght, eat a 'balanced diet' and take exercise. But the diet you will be put on will to all intents and purposes, both exacerbate your problem and make you feel just as tired as before and likely permanently hungry.
As your pancreas is 'knackered' you would think that some effort might be made to 'give it a rest' but no, the drugs usually proffered will generally at first stimulate the poor bloody thing to even greater efforts. These will of course, likely make you gain more weight (metformin may not but that's the only one), as you are still on the slippery slope to Insulin injections, which will make you fat for sure.
Firstly it isn't really your fault you are fat. It is all of our fault in general, the NHS in particular and the food and drinks makers for sure. Your 'balanced diet' will include a high level of carbohydrates; complex or not, these will be rapidly converted to glucose, causing high levels of circulating blood glucose. This is the one thing you are trying to eliminate, as that is what causes the cellular damage symptomatic of your condition. Society needs to get a grip and Diabetics need to take control of their own destiny and that means eliminating the foodstuffs that cause the problem. Base your diet on fats and protiens, including saturated fats and you can achieve control without weight gain, without drugs and certainly without Insulin injections.
Leave out ALL carbonated drinks, especially one's with 'natural sugars', they are the worse. Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup are the sweetening agents in use today that are rapidly metabolised without insulin. Instant fat ! And no, fats don't make you fat, it is biochemically impossible. Fats were the mainstay of the food store of Primitive Man and still are, for the races left on this planet who are still hunter gatherers and they universally do not become Diabetic. That is, unless you start feeding them cornflakes and coke, then they succumb in less than a decade !
Is it not prophetic that as we all become 'five a day' eaters, consumers of grains (cattle food) and eat 1500% more sugar (sucrose) than we did in Victorian times, exercise more (yes we do) and live longer, that we have become significantly less healthy. Those of you, that aren't yet Diabetic, who are over 40 and gaining weight, get a test ! You can take steps now that could prevent it becoming a reality. All of us, need to review our lifestyles, some more than others and don't fret about a little weight. Statistics show that slightly overwieght people are more healthy, resistent to heart disease and stroke and colds and 'flu, than us skinny buggers. But slightly is good, obese is not. Each of us is different, with different metabolisms and our bodies response to inputs is varied. I will not ever condemn anyone who is overweight, nor should society, especially DOCTORS. Some can remain so all of their lives and be perfectly healthy, but if you see in yourself this gradual weight gain, as you age, then check it out !
I will go further into how to live as Diabetic, without drugs, another day. It is possible and the results are rewarding.