Tag Archives: National Health Service

Diabetes… a modern plague

I woke up this morning to a beautiful day – blue sky and sunshine and warm temperatures.

blue skies

I also woke up to the radio news full of the latest medical opinion saying that Diabetes is causing the National Health Service too much money and that up to 750 people per day in the UK are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.   I would provide a link to the news if I could find one, but I can’t seem to find it on the BBC website.  I find this interesting bearing in mind how often it was on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.  However, moving on to the subject of this blog post.


There is no denying that more people are being diagnosed with this serious condition.  I suspect there are more than the obvious “It’s all about Obesity” issues in play here though.


First, I fear that people believe that diabetes isn’t actually that serious.  Wrong.  It is very serious.  People can die from the complications resulting from diabetes.  You can go blind from diabetic glaucoma.  You can lose a limb from the circulation issues surrounding diabetes.  This is serious stuff people.  Not to mention when you have to inject yourself every time you eat with insulin.  That thought alone makes me shudder.  The fact that some people brush off diabetes as “not that serious” means that when the doctor tells their patient that their blood sugar levels are putting them at risk, people just ignore them and carry on regardless.


Second, I have seen from my own medical appointments that the doctors are reducing the blood sugar threshold’s so that more people are being diagnosed with diabetes because their blood sugar numbers are over the new limits.  I know this because when my Father was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the required number for his blood sugar to be considered under control was 8.  By the time he died, two years ago it was 6.  That is quite a big difference.

from fabulouscampaign.blogspot.com

from fabulouscampaign.blogspot.com

Then we have the lifestyle issues.  Obesity is probably the first target for most people.  You probably all know that I am overweight.  According to the stupid BMI calculations (which are total garbage, but that is another ranty blog post entirely) I am morbidly obese.  The medical establishment therefore tell me I am going to be diabetic and I am going to die early.  I personally think this is a pile of horse hocky.  My weight is higher than I would like it to be, yes, but I am healthy as a horse, I have tonnes of energy and the side of the family I take after are all phenomenally long lived.  I have also been pre-diabetic (you may know it as Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X) for 21 years.  According to the medical textbooks, I should have been diabetic after 7 years.  Well, suck on that Doctors… because I am not.  I am still fine.  Every single fasting glucose test I have ever had comes up with normal numbers.


I personally think that the biggest issue for the upsurge in diabetes is our society’s reliance on convenience foods.  In any convenience food there is a huge amount of hidden fat, sugar and salt.  All three of these ingredients effect your health.  I am lucky; I am a capable cook, but I know a lot of people who simply cannot cook anything.  At all.  They may not even have an oven or a hob, just a microwave.  How on earth can you have a healthy diet when you don’t eat food that you prepare yourself?  It is terrible to think of a generation of children not being able to make scrambled egg on toast.

ggrandmother food

Another problem is the fact that the convenience food is so much less expensive than proper food.  Just go to your local supermarket and do a cost comparison.  It is a frightening concept that junk is cheap and good food is expensive.  I know a lot of people who are suffering from hard economic times and they are trying to find cheaper ways to eat.  Luckily, I have found http://www.mortgagefreeinthree.com, which is an amazing source of fabulous recipes for greatly reduced costs.  www.agirlcalledjack.com is another great resource as well.


As for me, I am going to continue with what I am doing.  I am losing weight (frustratingly slowly) and I am going to continue to keep on the right side of the diabetes diagnosis.  Partly because I want to live a long and healthy life, but mostly to prove the doctors completely and utterly WRONG.



WARNING: Rant about the “War on Obesity”

Great.  More pressure from the Medic’s on obesity. Don’t get me wrong, I know that obesity is a crisis and costs the National Health Service a fortune in treatment.  I also know that being obese is not something to be aimed for.  But I do not think that the latest news is the way forward.

As someone who is classified as morbidly obese from a random calculation using my height and weight (which bears no relation to how healthy I am, and instead just tells the doctor where on a chart I belong), I was horrified to hear this morning on the news that gastric surgeons are now claiming that up to 2 million people might be eligible to have a gastric band fitted in order to lose weight.  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25766253)



You might have picked up that I don’t like the BMI calculation and all the use that has been put to.  I like the idea of major stomach surgery and gastric bands being fitted even less.

I have already mentioned in passing how I am treated at the doctor.  If I go for antibiotics for a chest infection, then I would bet my house that the doctor will ask if I have thought of losing weight.  I have, on occasion, replied with “Why yes.  I have thought of very little else for the last 34 years.  It hasn’t worked out well, has it?!”  I think you can probably tell that there is sarcasm dripping from that statement.  What drives me wild is that if they had cast a glance over my medical records, then they would see the referral to the metabolic expert when I was 18, and the eating disorder diagnosed then, the dietician appointments, and what not.  It is all there.  Written in black and white, or pixelated on the computer screen.



One doctor asked if I wanted to be considered for bariatric surgery.  I left him in no doubt that I would NEVER have a gastric band fitted.  If my weight was all about how much I ate and how I eat the wrong things, then I would do it.  But it isn’t.  I can prove what I eat; I can prove that I do not eat a high fat, high calorie diet.  I can prove that I am active.  But the medical profession doesn’t believe me.  In fact, one doctor actually said, to my face “Well you are still fat, so you must be lying”.

EXCUSE ME?  Who the HELL are you to tell me that I am lying to you and to myself about how much I eat?  Who are YOU to impugn my good name and call me a liar?  I don’t care how many qualifications anyone has, but NO ONE calls me a liar.  I once provided them with a detailed food diary, and exercise diary and they still didn’t believe me.

So needless to say, I will NOT be accepting any offer of bariatric surgery, even if I will be the last fat person in the UK.  I would even decline a hypnotherapy gastric band.



I am going to lose this weight the old fashioned way.  One pound at a time.  Exercising to tighten up my wobbly bits and to make myself feel better.  Eating healthy, home cooked food with the occasional indulgence has got to be better than undergoing major surgery.  That smacks of a quick fix to a slow problem.



Surveillance instead of treatment for Low and Intermediate risk Prostate Cancer

As I woke up this morning , I heard on the radio that the National Health Service (I am based in the UK) has suggested that patients suffering from Low and Intermediate risk Prostate Cancer should merely be watched and observed rather than actively treated for the disease. (See this link for more details http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/prostate-cancer-surveillance-instead-treatment-2999412)

from the guardian

from the guardian

My ears pricked up at this. Surely, I thought, it would be better to treat the disease rather than just watch it from afar. So, I did some research.

Prostate Cancer can be very slow growing, and patients within the low and intermediate risk groups will be the patients where this is the case. From my reading, it appears that there are many men who are never even diagnosed with prostate cancer and it is only discovered when they die. The article I read says that patients would be “monitored with blood tests, biopsies and physical checks to see how the cancer is developing.”

Anything is better than invasive surgery and all the potential issues that could cause. Although it would be nice to think that they have the best interests of the patients at heart, my cynical side does rather suspect it is due to surgical interventions being so expensive to the National Health Service.

How can Herbalism help in these sorts of cases?

Herbal remedies do not cure diseases or illnesses, and I would suggest you be cautious of any which claim such things. Herbal remedies instead support and bolster the natural healing power of each body. The body is an amazing machine, and each and every one of us has the power to heal ourselves. The Chinese call this healing energy Chi, and I am sure other cultures have other names for it, but the essence is that the body WANTS to be well. To achieve that wellness the body needs to be in balance. Anything which is out of balance will cause illness.

I want to be clear that I am not suggesting that herbal remedies can cure cancer. I honestly don’t believe they can, but what they can do is help, encourage, and promote better function of the body, in this case, the prostate.

The prostate is a walnut sized gland in the male body which provides a vital part of the seminal fluid that carries sperm. This gland is located just below a man’s bladder. If the gland is enlarged it can cause problems because it presses on the urethra causing difficulties with urination and weakening the bladder.

Some symptoms of prostate problems include difficulty in urinating, frequent urination (especially at night), difficulty starting urination, a burning sensation when urinating or pain behind the scrotum. If ejaculation is painful, that might be another symptom of prostate problems, and if you have any of these symptoms, then please go and get yourself checked out. Early diagnosis of any problem has got to be better than sticking your head in the sand and ignoring it.

from Cancer Research UK

from Cancer Research UK

What does nature offer?

Eat some pumpkin seeds. They are best if you eat them plain, and have diuretic properties and plenty of zinc which helps repair and build the immune system. You could also try the pumpkin seeds as a tea. Crush a handful of fresh seeds and place in bottom of 1 pint jar, fill with boiling water and allow it to cool to room temperature before you strain it and drink that 1 pint per day. I am afraid, I have not tried this, so I do not know how it tastes!

pumpkin seeds

You are what you eat, and a good diet is very important for maintaining health. You should try and get 2 servings of fish high in Omega-3 oils like tuna, mackerel or salmon.  If you don’t like fish, then you could try more soy products. Soy contains phyto-oestrogens which are thought to help reduce testosterone production, which is believed to aggravate prostate cancer growth. And while we are on the diet, eat more tomatoes. They are PACKED with lycopene, an antioxidant which is already known to fight cancer.

There is a supplement which has been shown to work as well, or better, than prescription drugs in improving urinary flow, which is saw palmetto. It apparently works by altering hormone levels,thus reducing prostate enlargement.

In addition, drink 8 glasses of water a day, limit the intake of fatty foods and red meats, and watch your alcohol intake, especially if you like to drink beer. Apparently beer raises prolactin levels in the body and high levels of prolactin can lead to prostate enlargement.

At the risk of repeating myself, if you see ANY of the symptoms described here, please get to your doctor and get yourself checked. Early diagnosis is very, very important. If you wish to have preventative measures, then change your diet, drink a lot of water and reduce the amount of beer you drink.

If it helps your health, it has got to be worth it right?

Have you ever changed your diet to improve a health condition? Did it work for you? Let me know!