South Bristol man put his diabetes on hold thanks to local support group

February 01 2019
South Bristol man put his diabetes on hold thanks to support

THE FOUNDER of a diabetes support group in south Bristol has put his own Type 2 diabetes in remission, thanks in large part to the help it has offered him.

THE FOUNDER of a diabetes support group in south Bristol has put his own Type 2 diabetes in remission, thanks in large part to the help it has offered him.

When Mike Deane, 75, was diagnosed with the condition 18 years ago, it was a wake-up call. He changed his lifestyle, taking up walking, giving up smoking and eating more healthily. When Diabetes UK and local health professionals called on people in the area to form a support group in 2011, Mike jumped at the chance and became not only a founder member but also its chair.

Now Mike is eager to highlight the benefits of the South Bristol Diabetes UK local group and attract new members.

He said: “Belonging to the group and chairing it for the past seven years has given me great personal satisfaction. I have gained good insights into how to live with diabetes and also to help other people through sharing stories and education. Healthcare professionals often come to our meetings to talk about various aspects of diabetes, such as the latest research or diabetic eye screening.

“Just as important, I have made good friends in the group and we all support each other to manage our diabetes as best we can and help each other through the difficult times. There’s nothing like sharing your tips and experiences when you live with a challenging condition like diabetes.”

Thanks to Mike’s efforts to take control of his Type 2 diabetes and the knowledge and friendship he has found at the South Bristol Diabetes UK group, he has lost more than six stone and his blood glucose levels are now in the normal range. He no longer has to prick his fingers to test his blood sugar or take any medication for diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications, such as sight loss, lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke. While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, people are more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity, and sometimes medication as well.

Mike Deane is one of two men in the group who have succeeded in putting their Type 2 into remission thanks to lifestyle changes.

Gemma Jackson, South West Volunteering and Outreach Manager at Diabetes UK, said: “On average, people with diabetes only spend three hours a year with a healthcare professional. Above and beyond the physical challenges, living with diabetes can be very lonely, confusing and isolating. This makes peer support vital. The fact that two members of the South Bristol group have stopped their Type 2 diabetes in its tracks is testament to the group’s remarkable success in helping its members. We would encourage anyone in the area who is living with diabetes, whether Type 1 or Type 2, to join. Family members, carers, friends and partners are also welcome.”

Members also benefit from the group’s membership of the Bristol Diabetes Support Network, which runs four diabetes support groups at various venues around the city.

To find out more about the Diabetes UK South Bristol group contact Mike Deane on 07494 849739, email michael.deane41@yahoo.co.uk or contact Sandra on 0117 930 9986.