A cautionary tale

Christina Friedlander stopped eating sugar when she was diagnosed with prediabetes and her blood sugar levels returned to normal. Then she went back to eating the way she used to before her diagnosis. 

Guess what happened next? 

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Christina Friedlander went to her GP about three years ago and had a blood test that showed she was prediabetic – she had elevated blood glucose levels but hadn’t yet developed type 2 diabetes. 

The 72-year-old, who lives in Auckland, has a sister with diabetes. Her grandmother had it too, so she has a higher risk of developing type 2 because of her genes. Christina, who admits she has a sweet tooth, was determined to do everything she could to stop herself getting diabetes. 

She cut out most of the sweet things in her diet and went back to the doctor for another test and was delighted to find her blood sugar had returned to the normal range. 

“My doctor told me I was on the right track and not to worry about it any more, just forget about the test. So I did and I went back to my normal diet and then I had another test and it was even higher than before. 

“I was horrified, how could they say it was all right? I have other people in my family with diabetes and I don’t want to get it, I already have high blood pressure and am taking tablets for that, I don’t want any more.” 

Christina was determined to do everything she could to get back on track, so she went back to basics and cut out all added sugar in her diet. She also went online to Diabetes NZ’s website to look for tips on how to eat healthily, and portion control. 

Cutting out sugars saw her weight drop from 69kg to 67kg. Christina also goes to the gym regularly as she wants to keep mobile and keep up her muscle strength. 

Christina says she doesn’t eat any more cakes, biscuits or chocolate. She does eat a lot of fruit and knows she may need to cut down on that too if her blood sugars don’t stabilise soon. 

“I’m going to keep being vigilant. I’m just scared type 2 diabetes will creep up on me without me realising it. I really don’t want that happening.” 

Christine shared her story in the Spring 2018 issue of Diabetes magazine. Subscribe to Diabetes NZ today to receive your copy.

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Jo Chapman