Dear Dr. Arzinda,
I am a diabetic for last 6 years. I have seen many ups and downs in my sugar level during this period. I must admit I’m not very compliant with my medication. When my sugar level goes up I start taking medicines, then sugar gets controlled and I stop all medicines, and after 1-2 months I’m back to where I started from. I know this is a wrong attitude but I don’t want to take medicines daily. I’ve seen advertisements of some permanent treatment for diabetes. I want to ask you, is this true that diabetes can be permanently cured?
Dear non compliant diabetic,
You are playing a nasty game with your diabetes, like bouncing the ball up and down. Your attitude towards your disease is very non serious. You need to change your behavior, develop some vital behaviors and set some goals. I assume that you have the same care-free attitude regarding other matters of life, like your business or studies. You take care of your blood sugar at times and at other times you totally ignore it. This creates spikes of highs and lows, which can drive your body system crazy, these ups and downs, are not good, you have to maintain a steady control of diabetes for the normal functioning of all your body systems. If you continue in this manner, I’m afraid you’ll develop irreversible complications of diabetes soon, affecting your kidneys, heart and nervous system.
I admire the fact that you have written a letter here, which shows that you admit that you have been doing wrong and now you want to mend your ways. This is the first step towards achieving your goal. First of all you have to set your priorities….your first priority should always be your health. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s not your fault, but now it has been six years and you should gracefully accept the disease and its challenges. Once you accept it, you’ll easily learn how to manage it without bothering or interfering with your routine. In fact caring for your diabetes will bring more discipline in other aspects of your life that will make you a successful businessman or student and improve your family relationships. You have to develop new behaviors or habits, like checking your blood sugar daily, writing it on a chart, taking medicine as the doctor advised you, maintaining healthy food journal, incorporating exercise in your daily routine, and regular visits to your doctor to keep yourself motivated. It will be helpful if you join a diabetes group, where other patients will keep you motivated towards achieving your goal.
The last part of your question is very important. You have highlighted a social dilemma. These days some quacks are spreading the false propaganda that they have discovered some permanent cure for diabetes. They have lured many innocent patients like you in their web. The problem is lack of education and awareness about the disease. If you know that what the scientific basis of diabetes is, you will know that pancreas cells fail to produce insulin in the body. Research all over the world has developed medicines that act on pancreatic beta cells to produce more insulin, or insulin injections in cases where pancreatic cells are lost. But as soon as you stop your medicine, its effect will be finished. So far no medicine has been discovered that can permanently cure the disease. If someone claims this miracle, then there should be scientific proof and evidence of laboratory testing and approval by a drug regulatory authority before you can try it on yourself. In this era of scientific research, it is sad that innocent people can be fooled so easily. So please don’t try any exotic medicine without scientific proof. Such miracle cures can sometimes lead to long term, serious complications affecting your kidneys and other organs which can be irreversibly damaged.
However you should not lose all hope. Scientific research is going on. Stem cell transplant can offer such technology whereby transplanted cells will start producing insulin in the body and it will alleviate the need for diabetes medicines or insulin injections. You have to keep studying scientific research. Till then follow your doctor’s advice about regular medicines, diet and exercise to keep yourself physically and psychologically healthy.
Dr. Arzinda Fatima.