Following the diagnosis I lost around 30 kilograms

Photo of man on the beach
PantherMedia / Fabrice Michaudeau

Conrad, 56 years old

“I haven’t had to miss out on anything in life as a result of having diabetes.”

I suppose I have always been aware that I could get diabetes because both of my parents had type 2 diabetes.

Ten years ago, when I was 46 years old, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. At the time I weighed about 20 kilograms more than I do today. Following the I lost around 30 kilograms under medical supervision. After that my blood sugar levels returned to normal.

I was suddenly feeling thirsty at night

Around three or four years ago I suddenly started feeling thirsty and drinking a lot at night, a common symptom of diabetes. I approached my doctor and a blood test revealed that my blood sugar levels were too high. We agreed that I should see a diabetologist to have a closer look at my sugar levels.

During my consultation with the diabetologist we discussed the option of injecting insulin. In the following three to six months we tried out various combinations to find the best approach for me. I have two different pens because I use two different types of insulin. Not everyone has to though.

I calculate the amount I need to inject based on what I plan to eat. I find this approach very easy and am happy with it.

At first I had to force myself to prick and inject myself. But I got used to it after a few days. I found it easy to get to grips with. It isn’t as bad as people think.

It isn’t as if I weigh the potatoes or other food I eat accurately, right down to the gram. Over time I have developed a feel for how many carbohydrate units certain amounts of potatoes or other foods contain. It’s quite easy to calculate the amount of carbohydrates. It’s just a matter of using conversion factors and adding it all up throughout the day. In my opinion it isn’t a problem. The calculations just have to become second nature to you.

My blood sugar levels have never been extreme. I only rarely have low blood sugar. The most difficult thing, I find, is getting the dose right at night. Blood sugar always drops to low levels at some point during the night. You have to be able to dose the long-acting insulin accordingly. The best way to find your optimal dose is by checking your blood sugar every now and again at night. And I always have a sugar cube or something like that nearby, just in case.

At first, shortly after the was made, I had to get used to the idea that I was dependent on medication. It took me quite some time.

My family supported me

Having the right social environment and a supportive family was very important to me, especially considering the changes I had to make to my diet.

Joining a self-help group and speaking to others with type 2 diabetes, some with considerable experience, also helped me a lot. Especially during the first three to six months, when I was still coming to terms with the news. I found it important to talk to others in a similar situation and not have the feeling that I had to deal with it alone.

I get on very well with my diabetologist. Our appointments, which now take place roughly every three months, generally tend to be talks about how I have responded to treatment so far and possible future options. I always ask the doctor questions if I am unsure about anything. But that is probably down to my general way of life and thinking.

Check-ups: Not a hassle, but for my own good

If you have a condition like diabetes, you obviously have to go for regular check-ups. That’s something I accept. You have to have your feet, eyes and kidneys checked. But I don’t see it as a hassle – it’s for my own good. I am aware that I could develop problems with my eyes, feet or kidneys if I’m not careful. I go for check-ups because I want to do something for myself and my health.

In terms of my career, I don’t feel that my diabetes has limited me at all. I work freelance and don’t have a nine-to-five job but it works out well anyway. Whether you see things positively or not no doubt depends on your view of life. Years ago, when I was still working for a big company, my employer didn’t consider my illness to be a problem either and I didn’t feel restricted in any way. But I do sometimes worry about it affecting my work.

I haven’t had to miss out on anything in life as a result of having diabetes. I do have to be a bit more conscious of what I eat though. If I fancy chocolate or ice cream, I allow myself to eat some. I just don’t eat a lot of it. I don’t feel like I have to go without anything. I pay a bit more attention to my body and how it reacts now. But I wouldn’t say that the illness has had a negative impact on my life.

Acknowledgment

Our real-life stories summarize interviews with people who are affected by the medical condition. Our interview partners

have given us permission to publish their stories. We would like to express our sincere thanks to them.

The real-life stories give an insight into how other people cope and live with a medical condition. Their opinions and comments are not recommendations by IQWiG.

Please note: The names of our interview partners have been changed to protect their identity. The photos are of models.

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Please note that we do not provide individual advice on matters of health. You can read about where to find help and support in Germany in our information “How can I find self-help groups and information centers?

Updated on October 22, 2020
Next planned update: 2023

Authors/Publishers:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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