Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today is World Diabetes Awareness Day

To all my friends,

Today (Nov 14th) being World Diabetes Awareness Day,
my thoughts are with you and the challenges we overcome.
I drink a cup of coffee (no sugar please) to you all!
Keep well and keep moving forward...

(click on the image to learn more)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Word in Your Hand"

A diabetes awareness video was the result of the contributions of hundreds of members of, an online social network for people touched by diabetes.

The video pulled from over 120 photos that were submitted between August and November, 2007 by members of for the "Word in Your Hand" project. The original music was written by Albert Chen and the video was edited by Luis Garcia, who originally came up with the idea for the project. was launched by Manny Hernandez in March 2007. The social network has passed 1,300 members from all over the world, with the United States, the UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, India, Belgium and Singapore among the countries represented. All countries were represented in the project.

For more on this Diabetes Awareness Project and to view the video click here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Diabetes

Vineyard, Cape Town supports Diabetics

The Vineyard, Cape Town are planning a free diabetes screening for staff and guests on the 14th November, World Diabetes Day. This establishment should be congratulated for their efforts to raise awareness of diabetes amongst their staff and patrons. For more information contact Mercia Mcshane.

vineyard hotel & spa
t: +27 21 657 4569
f +27 21 657 4577

Monday, November 5, 2007

Breakfast with the Springboks

Breakfast with the Springboks at ICC on Tuesday 6th November. Only 400 tickets in the draw - 2 chances at only R50 per ticket. (Usual price R427)!! This is a wonderful opportunity and we would really appreciate your support. The breakfast starts at 07h30. Draw takes place at Umhlangha (Durban) Peugeot at 15h00 on Monday 5th November @ 15h00. Phone or email me on details on how to get your ticket.
Contact Sue Frye: 031 205 9886/2059680/0842280993:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Desert Dingo Racing conquer the desert and diabetes!

"We're racing in a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle," said Desert Dingo Racing co-owner Mike Aquino. "We'll average about 25 miles an hour if we're lucky."

Aquino, who has Type 2 diabetes, said the team drew its inspiration from the 2005 documentary "Dust to Glory" which chronicled the trophy trucks, dune buggies, motorcycles, pro race teams - and the stock VWs - as they raced the length of the Mexico's Baja California peninsula.

This year's event is expected to include teams from more than a dozen countries and more than 300,000 spectators will line the course. Race Week runs from November 10-16 and coincides with World Diabetes Day on November 14.

For more information on the team, visit
Also visit the International Diabetes Federation for more and to donate.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Health Awareness Day

Sue Frye of the Diabetes Action Group is hosting a health awareness day...
Sue sent in the following information. Your support for this event will be appreciated:

On Sunday 28th October we will be having a Health AWARENESS DAY in celebration of World Diabetes Day. We are very fortunate, through the generosity of a Sponsor to have the use of King’s Park Athletics Stadium, NMR Avenue, DURBAN, from 10h00 to 16h00.
We will have HEALTHY food, HEALTHY bodies and anything pertaining to a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE available. This will include items for sale, including fresh fruit & vegetables, diabetic jams, muesli, dried fruit & nuts, recipe books and many more. There will be other items on display – and for sale- plants, how to grow your own veges, outdoor living equipment, gymnastic and gym displays – speak to a Personal Trainer or a Biokinetist and even pamper yourself with a massage, laser treatment, aromatherapy, reflexology, podiatry, healthy Spar baths, foot mats, exercise equipment and much more. Healthy ideas for lunch boxes – both for the office and school. Retail therapy for all! Healthy food and drink will also be on sale for breakfast, lunch and tea!
For all of you with diabetes, we will have all the latest equipment on display – come and feel, touch, experiment with all the new glucometers, strips and anything relating to your diabetes. Blood glucose, BP. BMI testing will be available. The experts will be available to answer all your questions – the A-Z of diabetes. For the children with Diabetes we will be selling books by Kids & Care. Kids & Care will also be launching a movie on World Diabetes Day on “The life of the rural child with Diabetes”. Some of the cast will be there – come and meet them!!
Diabetes Action Group contact details:
Tel & Fax: 031 205 9886
031 205 9680
Cell: Sue: 084 228 0993
Bill: 082 087 7638

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Diabetics Business Network

I created a group on called Diabetics Business Network. The aim is to share business ideas, information and contacts. I think that this can become an international network of business minded people who can help each other achieve financial success. By the way, have you considered that the care and treatment of diabetes is a multi billion dollar industry and as diabetics we are a captive market. We have no choice but to spend money on all the things we need to stay alive and healthy. If you have any ideas or business contacts you wish to share, let us know.

What is HBA1c?

To acheive the best control one has to test the blood glucose levels almost daily. For insulin dependent diabetics testing is done 3 or 4 times a day...sometimes more tests per day are needed. However, these blood tests (finger pricks) do not tell the full story. They are like taking a photograph and only provide information for that moment. Our blood glucose varies all the time and is influenced by our diet, activity levels and even our emotions. Three years ago my HBA1c was measure at 15. A year ago it was 11. And my most recent test measured 9.4
The goal is to bring it to 6. I am told that if this can be achieved then the onset of diabetic complications can be delayed even further.
Below are two links with more detailed information on the HBA1c test:

"In the blood stream are the red blood cells, which are made of a molecule, haemoglobin. Glucose sticks to the haemoglobin to make a 'glycosylated haemoglobin' molecule, called haemoglobin A1C or HbA1C. The more glucose in the blood, the more haemoglobin A1C or HbA1C will be present in the blood.

Red cells live for 8 -12 weeks before they are replaced. By measuring the HbA1C it can tell you how high your blood glucose has been on average over the last 8-12 weeks. A normal non-diabetic HbA1C is 3.5-5.5%. In diabetes about 6.5% is good.
The HbA1C test is currently one of the best ways to..."
Read more at this link

"In the normal 120-day life span of the red blood cell, glucose molecules join hemoglobin, forming glycated hemoglobin. In individuals with poorly controlled diabetes, increases in the quantities of these glycated hemoglobins are noted."
Read more...Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Insulin Pump Therapy

I found out only about a month ago that the pump was available in South Africa. I have had Type 1 for over 22 years and I wish I had known about the pump sooner. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to get one just yet. My medical aid wont cover the cost of the pump or the monthly consumables. Very few South Africans can afford the pump because it is so expensive. From all that I have read I believe that my HBA1c will definitely improve once I am on the pump. Does anybody have any ideas on how we can get the pumps inexpensively? There are two companies that offer the pump in SA, Medtronics and Roche.
Are there any other companies out there to enter the SA market and maybe push prices down?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Unite for Diabetes Campaign

Every ten seconds a person dies of diabetes related causes. Within the same ten seconds two people will develop the disease. Each year this adds up to three million deaths and more than six million new cases of diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation is uniting the world to stop this silent killer. The ambition is clear. To ask the United Nations to pass a resolution on diabetes before the 14th of November. World Diabetes Awareness Day.
Watch the video below to learn more...

Read the Resolution here
The official website for the campaign is here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Food Labels - proposed changes

The South African Government has proposed changes to food labels in South Africa. The government has asked for comments and submissions from the citizens of the country. The media release from the government states the following:

"The regulations deal specifically with health and nutrition claims with the aim of ensuring more honest and responsible food labels and marketing practices. They are intended to promote consumer education by either highlighting particular nutritional content of food in a responsible manner or by indicating the role of a particular food or food component or nutrients in the maintenance of health. The criteria for all categories of nutrition claims (nutrient content, glycaemic index and comparative claims) and health claims (function, enhanced function, reduction of disease risk, probiotics, prebiotics and slimming claims), level the playing field for all food manufacturers and ensure the quality and reliability of information that is intended for consumers."

We wish to find out how the proposed legislation will affect those of us that need nutritional information eg carbohydrate content to plan our meals etc...To view the full government document click on the link below. Leave your comments on this blog and I will send it to the Department of Health.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Coping with Diabetes 1

Having the right attitude in life is very important for everybody. And apart from the medication, what diabetics need most is encouragement and optimism.
When I was diagnosed 22 years ago, I adopted a positive attitude from the very beginning. One of the things that helped me develop a positive attitude was learning that there were many successful individuals who had diabetes.
Thomas Edison, Mary Tyler Moore, Nikita Kruschchev and painter Paul Cezanne were all high achieving individuals who had diabetes. Today and throughout history, many diabetics have reached fame, even in demanding careers.

Thomas Edison

Paul Cezanne

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Living with diabetes: Daily Routine

One of the main issues with living with diabetes is understanding that there is no cure but only treatment. When insulin was first discovered in the 1920's it was thought that this was a cure. Sadly it turned out to be merely a way to treat diabetes. The daily routine that faces diabetics can be daunting and we have to always be planning ahead. I actually cannot remember a day for the past 22 years when I did not have to think about my insulin injections, blood glucose testing and my diet.
But we have to continue with our lives and not allow the routine to become an obstacle. When I was initially diagnosed I had to explain to friends what diabetes was. And it was difficult for many of them to understand it. Until one day I thought of a simple analogy: A person without diabetes is actually driving an automatic car, while having diabetes is like driving a manual car with the clutch and gear shift. We have to do a bit more work to keep ourselves moving forward.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My Long Absence explained

Well, it has been a few months since I made an entry into this web magazine. My delay actually started in March this year and ever since I have been occupied with a number of things. One morning in late March I was about to drive off to work when I looked up and realised that I could not see. Yes my eyes were filling up with blood... you can imagine the scare I got.
Diabetic Retinopathy is what it is called. This is supposed to be the leading cause of blindness in adults.

Well, since then I have had laser surgery in both eyes to stop the bleeding. But all this time I have had to continue working. Unfortunately , diabetic retinopathy is a progressive condition and I have to deal with the prospect of blindness. This is not an easy task when you have a young family and still a lot of things to do for them. Ever since I was diagnosed as diabetic since the age of 18, I always knew that I will be facing diabetic complications.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing my experiences relating to this condition. Interestingly it took me three days to see an an eye specialist to help me because my regular eye specialist was away on a conference. Thankfully the support of my wife and family have helped to keep me sane.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What is Diabetes?

These are the textbook definitions. Send in a comment on what diabetes means to you and how it has affected your life...

Type 1
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is characterized by loss of the insulin-producing beta cells of the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas. Sensitivity and responsiveness to insulin are usually normal, especially in the early stages. This type of diabetes can affect children or adults, but is termed "juvenile diabetes" because it represents a majority of cases of diabetes affecting children and young adults. Insulin injections or "shots" are required as in most cases the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas stop producing this hormone.

Type 2
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is due to a combination of defective insulin secretion and defective responsiveness to insulin (often termed reduced insulin sensitivity). In early stages the predominant abnormality is reduced insulin sensitivity, characterized by elevated levels of insulin in the blood.

Gestational Diabetes
Onset generally at pregnancy and symptoms are shortlived. Sugar levels often return to normal after pregnancy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Aims and Objectives

This blog is my attempt to accomplish the following goals:

To Educate and inform
To Engage in Advocacy for issues that affect diabetics – legal, financial, etc …
To Establish a network for diabetics
To Establish a Diabetes Information Centre

I have often heard that the treatment of diabetes is a team effort that includes the patient, doctor, dietitians and related service providers. But my experience has been to the contrary. I had to personally seek out help and advice. Doctors do not provide a complete service and those doctors who specialise in treating diabetics are very expensive and sometimes inaccessible. My goal is to encourage diabetics to take "control" of their future. Everyday we are engaged in a battle to control our sugar levels. So lets take control of our lives as well!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Welcome to Diabetic Life South Africa!

This month, February 2007, will be 21 years that I have been a Type 1 Diabetic. Yes for the past 21 years I have been taking insulin shots 4 times a day and coping well with this disease. I feel that it is about time that I shared my trials and tribulations with the rest of the world. It is widely known that there is no cure for Diabetes, only treatment. They say that education is the key to living with Diabetes. It is my hope to create a network of Diabetics who are thriving in spite of the difficulties we face on a daily basis. There are many people who are doing great work for diabetics. But I believe that we (Diabetics) should take "control" of our own future. We should be directly involved in helping ourselves and helping our fellow diabetics who are afflicted by this disease. So keep in touch and look out for news and information. In the meantime send me your comments and watch this space...