Stamford man to launch diabetes help group
Stamford's Harrish Bisnauthsing is a man on a mission - to set-up a support group for people living with diabetes.
This year marks the 26th anniversary that Harrish, 74, was diagnosed with the condition, and he is keen to show just how effectively diabetes can be managed and controlled.
He said: "I was first diagnosed as being pre-diabetic in 1992 when I was 52. It came totally out of the blue. i was suffering with a cold and went to see my doctor. I was given a course of anti-biotics and was asked to give a urine sample.
"My doctor was concerned and asked me to provide another sample, and it indicated that I was pre-diabetic. Back then there was a lack of information about diabetes all I was told was to avoid carbohydrates, starch and red meat."
Harrish went back to his GP six moths later, and his blood sugar levels were still out.
He said: "I was still showing an excess of sugar, so I really cut down on carbohydrates, but it made little difference."
A year after his initial diagnosis, Harrish was given Metaformin, the first-line medication for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, in an attempt to reduce the excess sugar in bis blood.
As the years went by, the medication dosage increased and Harrish continued to make subtle changes to his diet in a bid to control the disease.
He said: "I tried really hard to better manage what I was eating. I switched from white bread to brown, but what I wasn't told is that diabetes is a progressive disease, and it got worse."
After being prescribed Glicazide alongside the Metaformin he was still taking, Harrish made a concerted effort to change his life.
He said: "I made a real effort to adjust my life to better cope with diabetes and the effects of the tablets I was prescribed. Metaformins can cause either constipation or diarrhoea, so I made the decision to eat a lot of low glycemic foods."
However, despite these steps his condition continued to worsen and in 2014 he was told he was insulin resistant.
Harrish said: "This was the moment I realised I had to do more.
"I have always been pretty food aware but now I try and keep my diet varied but healthy. For example, breakfast is now either a drink made from kiwi fruits, kale, orange, ground ginger and mint, or chic seeds with almond milk, ground ginger, frozen fruits, vanilla and cinnamon. And if I don't have a shake I'll have scrambled eggs, black pepper, tomatoes, spinach, tumeric, or cumin.
"There really is so much you can do. And it's not expensive either. it's just about using fresh ingredients and trying to eat healthily. I know I can make a fresh and healthy meal for the same cost as a ready meal.
"But it's not just about diet, it's all about being active. I try and walk for two miles every day, and I also regularly train with free weights."
Harrish is now on a crusade to help others with diabetes and raise awareness about the condition, and just how much sufferers can help themselves.
He said: "I'd urge everyone over 50 to get themselves checked for diabetes. I've been living with it for 26 years now and it's a really manageable disease if you commit to eating sensibly and healthily.
"I'm keen to set-up a group in Stamford where people can meet and share their experiences of living with diabetes. It's all about swapping tips, advice and showing that it doesn't have to have a detrimental effect on your life."
Anyone interested in joining the group and sharing their experiences should call Harrish on 01780 756000.