THE RELUCTANT RUNNER: The threat of diabetes in a decade

Keren Miller
Keren Miller

It seems many things which terrify me begin with a ‘d’.

Dentists, driving, death...and you can add diabetes to that list after I met Keren Miller, who works as a diabetes specialist dietician.

Following on from Harry the Health Trainers’ revelation that I have a four per cent chance of a heart attack in the next 10 years, Keren has similarly startling news about what could lie in wait in a decade’s time.

In the condition I was in at the start of this project, diabetes is more likely than not.

She told me: “You are 37 – if you added a a few years on to that, the risk would get higher.

“You were inactive, you’re a male which makes you a higher-risk, you’re nearing 40 and there is a possible family history. Your BMI was 30, which adds to the risk.

“If you weren’t doing this lifestyle change, you could easily have been diagnosed in 10 years time.

“You might still be diagnosed in 30 years time, but it is not inevitable.”

There is some slightly cheerier news. I have not seen Keren since we met at the Bridlington Tennis Club dinner in November.

Already she can see a difference in my appearance after five weeks of dieting, although the ‘10 years younger’ comment was definitely an exaggeration!

It seems I am on the right track, and even losing 10 per cent of my original body weight will reduce my risk.

Keren explained all about how diabetes is affected by the level of glucose in your bloodstream and the danger of too much carbohydrate in my diet.

Diabetes sounds disastrous.

“The complication can cause damage to the back of your eyes and you can lose your eyesight. Your kidneys don’t work as well and you could end up needing dialysis.

“You can also damage your nerve endings and infections are rife because the bugs love to feed on the excess glucose.

“If you were diagnosed at 47, you could have 40 or 50 years to live with it. That will mean more regular check-ups with your GP.”

It all sounds terrfiying and knowing I can do something to reverse the risk makes me more determined.