We took two elderly Persian cats to the vet yesterday. It was meant to be one, but the other developed a limp. The adventure began with a taxi ride courtesy of a driver who is allergic to animals. As we ordered the taxi and said there would be a cat involved we were a bit surprised that they sent a driver with an allergy. So off we set, windows open, sincerely hoping that the driver would not develop itchy eczema, uncontrollable sneezleums or even anaphylactic shock. I told him that as Persians didn’t affect my animal allergies he would probably be OK. He told me he would have to sleep tonight with his toes outside the blankets and get cold feet otherwise they would get so itchy they would bleed. My nose started to itch dreadfully. I hadn’t the heart to suggest that it might just be the car air freshener at fault. It was pedal to the metal over the flyover and through the traffic. A race against symptoms. Thought for the day, I really must get my driving licence corrected, have the B’Ed removed, and buy a new car for the cats’ sake if not ours. Anyway we did arrive in one piece and the driver was still alive and symptom free.

Cue arrival at the vets. A longish wait with various sad looking dogs, one of whom could not stand straight and had his head permanently twisted to the side. Eventually we got to see the lovely lady vet rather than the handsome gentleman who appeared to be on dog duty. Cat number one has a nasty ear infection apparently. What we thought was a skin problem is not that simple. She has been scratching her little head raw so we face a week of twice daily ear drops and she has a cone head. She can sleep with it on but walks backwards and has to have it removed for medication and, of course, food. Elizabethan collars were not designed for flat faced Persians. If we hold the bowl for her she can eat, otherwise it’s not possible, so as she often spends the night grazing on kibbles she was very hungry this morning. We are investing in a soft collar as she has to wear it for a week and the looks we get from her would shame even the Marquis de Sade.

CROCI Protective Collar, 9.5 cm, Soft Green

Cat two’s limp is not good either but as he is on steroids for gastritis he was not given a painkiller. Although we witnessed him in a fight with an Amazon box (the box won), our vet seems to think it may be arthritis rather than injury and he is to “be quiet and rest.” He is ignoring doctor’s orders of course and is presently walking around shouting. I told her that the steroids were no longer particularly effective anyway and that perhaps we should wean him off them if he needs pain relief. The Nutri-vit Plus paste we have been giving him for a midday treat seems to be just as effective. She looked at me with big wide eyes and said: “He needs to rest and not play with empty boxes.” My thoughts? “So do we all!”


Time drags by real slow so the song says….

I know this is SO serious and here I am adding more sad text and no pictures. Perhaps I should upload pictures of my rash or my decaying fingernails? What I can’t upload is the smell when it is bad, the headaches before and after eating or the numbness and stiffness in my left hand. I can’t add the mood swings I had before I discovered snacks (instead of meals, not as well as!) and cinnamon.

As a musician I am not sure what scares me more, the loss of sensation leading to permanent motor impairment, the visual disturbances or the tinnitis which is now slowly but surely affecting my hearing. None of these I ever had before the “impaired fasting glycaemia” – which of course is symptom free, according to the NHS and its apologists. I need and deserve none of this – nobody does…

You know, I read somewhere that the fasting test should be done after an 8-10 hour fast, not the 12 hours I was told by the nurse…. my last test was done after 14 hours actually, it was 6.9 and is no longer kept on my record….

Anyway, the promised appointment with an eye specialist has not materialized, instead I had a reminder for my annual check with the nurse! I would change doctors except that it would probably involve another three years of testing and stonewalling. Yesterday I saw my MP in Tescos, we are well acquainted as I used to be a political rival but we get on – she said I looked well, and I resisted the temptation to say I felt like cr*p. Perhaps I should send her a link to this….

So, the hospital blood tests appear to have been lost or ignored, the optician’s letter also appears to have been ignored, the reminder letter from the practice manager is what we call “defensive medicine” in the UK. My father says “change your doctor before they kill you” but as it is the practice and the rules failing me, not the poor doctor, I can’t even complain to the GMC! I get the feeling that if I make a fuss I will be offered HRT or prozac – or perhaps diazepam – what I need is proper assessment in hospital and metformin. How they can justify ignoring a properly ordered hospital blood test and request one exactly the same two weeks later is beyond belief! I am thinking of refusing unless they also do an A1C – but they won’t, because I am not diabetic!

This is the reality of preventative medicine in the UK. Grim, target ridden, number bound, short termist and financially stupid! However in two months I get to see a neurologist, perhaps that will achieve something….The people making policy do not have the wit to see the tax they could lose if people like me are too ill to work far outweighs the cost of free dental treatment and prescriptions until retirement!

^ _ ^
(o o)
( ___ )/)
(,,) (,,)

Copy and paste Persian cat into signature to help it gain world domination!

Diabetes, Myths, Medicine and Management

I know how important the St Vincent Declaration is and wish it would be applied! Too many people are ignorant of the real causes of Type 2 and Type 1 diabetes and prefer to perpetuate myths about sufferers. It is time the blame culture in medicine was recognised for the damaging set of myths it is and that doctors focused on treatment in the early stages instead of hiding behind government publicised blame myths and a few arbitrary figures. The necessity of treatment is decided only by numbers on a scale and symptoms are ignored. It is time for an end to inaction and patient suffering!

The St Vincent Declaration

The St Vincent Declaration is a promise to sufferers that they will receive the best available medical care to avoid the worst complications of untreated diabetes which include blindness, kidney failure and gangrene…. Although the St Vincent Declaration is conveniently forgotten about and hardly ever applied, it is available to download and read. Be informed of this when you speak to your doctor! You deserve the best treatment, the treatment you would expect for any illness, not being put off and put off indefinitely until your illness becomes life threatening!

What is Insulin?

Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that breaks down glucose. It does this so the glucose can enter the cell and be converted into energy by the mitochondria. If you are insulin resistant the cells react slowly and this slows the rate of glucose use. The glucose level in the blood increases leading to pre diabetes. The free glucose in the blood goes to the liver where it is turned to lipids and it is stored as fat in the body. The pancreas struggles to make more insulin and this insulin in the blood stream stimulates the liver to produce more lipids and cholesterol – a viscious circle which makes you more prone to arterial disease and heart attacks.

Dangerous Myths About Diabetes

1. Pre diabetes is a condition with no physical symptoms

2. Diabetes and pre-diabetes are caused by sedentary lifestyle, obesity, insulin resistance, smoking, too many cakes and sweets, alcoholic abuse and an unhealthy lifestyle

3. Standard blood and urine tests are effective in diagnosis and prevention

4. Insulin resistance is reversible simply by losing weight and living a more active, healthy lifestyle.

5. Pre diabetes symptoms are due to obesity.

If the definition of obesity also includes a range between 20 pounds underweight and 20 pounds overweight perhaps…..

6. “A marked weight loss is observed in spite of an increase in appetite for the reason that the body cannot utilize the food, specifically the carbohydrates, into energy and fat, so it cannot be stored and you lose weight.”

This myth is only true once the pancreas has completely failed as in Type 1!

7. ” resistance to insulin and being overweight, which can be corrected by changing to a balanced regular exercise a nutritious diet and support to encourage healthier lifestyle changes”.

When the patient has already made those changes this is very unhelpful advice and support indeed!

8. Being overweight is the main cause of insulin resistance which causes the development of diabetes.

Overweight? How overweight? 1 pound? 1 stone, 2 stones, 10 kilos, 100 kilos? No, diabetes is a condition that is predominantly hereditary. Thin people may also develop it if they have a genetic predisposition. Some people can be morbidly overweight, yet still not develop the condition because good genes protect them!.

9. “Other conditions and symptoms like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels that may arise because of pre diabetes should …… be treated with medications until weight is controlled and lowered to normal levels. As soon as the diet affects insulin production into normal, cholesterol and blood pressure will also normalize.”

Not only bad grammar, but also untrue! Blood pressure caused or aggravated by insulin resistance and hormone imbalance is often entrenched by the time insulin resistance is discovered. Unless the patient is actually morbidly obese through overeating, these changes will not reduce the need for a lifetime of medication!

10. One size fits all. Lose weight, exercise and give up unhealthy habits and you will either cure yourself of or prevent diabetes.

Indicative only of prejudice in a zero tolerance climate! This takes no account of individual weight differences let alone differences in the ability to tolerate high blood glucose levels!

Symptoms of “Pre-Diabetes”

Diabetes is a condition that can easily be lived with if caught and treated early and correctly. Prejudice and ignorance prevents this.

It is time for a change!

So you too were told there is no such thing as pre-diabetic symptoms?

Think again! This is the most deadly myth of all!

Yes, they DO occur – and with frightening reality too!!!

If you have what doctors call “impaired fasting glycaemia” (blood glucose level is 6-7 after a complete 12 hour+ fast) you will most likely simply be monitored through annual or six-monthly tests until the number 7 is reached at which point you become diabetic, as if by magic. Then, if lucky, you will be referred to a hospital specialist for more thorough diagnosis and treatment. Before you reach that point, you will be advised to change your lifestyle and any symptoms will go untreated as treatment will be deemed unnecessary as you are not diabetic. Protestations that you have already changed your lifestyle will not be heard or believed!

However, the symptoms of pre-diabetes are real and frightening. They are caused by under diagnosis of diabetes based on number indexes only and perpetrated by the myth that Type 2 diabetes is the patient’s fault and completely reversible. In the UK, diabetics receive free medical treatment for life. Am I cynical because I believe early diabetics are kept untreated to avoid costing the NHS money? It is a viscious and false economy! The consequence of serious untreated illness makes a mockery of prevention. The symptoms can and do poison the lives of sufferers and their families and also undermine earning (and tax!) potential!

If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below and your vision is blurred at times, please visit your optician and ask for diabetic screening. The first damage is often caused to the eye and you could be well on the way to blindness due to AMD, cataract or diabetic retinopathy before your diabetes is treated! A good eye examination will show up any changes due to elevated blood sugar and you will be referred to a proper specialist at the hospital. This is how my father was diagnosed with diabetes.

A Personal Viewpoint

After three years of unmitigated frustration, endless ineffective tests with borderline results, constant exhortations to give up foods I haven’t eaten for years anyway and take exercise I am already taking; add to this suspicious looks from work colleagues when headaches or visual disturbances cause time off …. etc …. etc… it is now happening for me too…. A kindly locum doctor recommended the optician as without evidence he could not (was not allowed to?) offer any treatment for my other symptoms!

Early Diabetes Symptoms

1. Polyuria, or increase in urination, the body is trying to flush out the excessive glucose in its cells with water.

2. An increased feeling of thirst is due to dehydration caused by polyuria

3. Tiredness occurs because glucose is not being utilized by the cells, this is not normal tiredness and can be accompanied by mood swings and fiery temper.

4. A feeling of being ill headaches, nausea or dizziness may occur due to decrease in energy production by the cells.

5. Blurred vision occurs when high glucose levels cause water to deform the lens of the eye making vision unfocused.

6. Thrush is caused by the drying up of skin due to increased blood sugar.

7. Insulin resistance causes cardiovascular disorders and polycystic ovarian syndrome, a disorder that may lead to infertility.

8. Related to 6, skin rashes and fungal infections may also occur on scalp and nails posing as psoriasis.

9. Decreased sensation, numbness, pins and needles in extremities. Can eventially lead to gangrene if untreated!

10. Pain in region of pancreas, a dull ache obviously indicates all is not well!

First published by myself on the link below, where a copy of the St Vincent Declaration is available via hyperlink….