Daily diet of beer, pork pies and pasties led to diabetes drama
A DAILY diet of ten pints of beer, four bottles of energy drink, pastries and ready-meals nearly lost this grandfather his life.
When Peter Wilson collapsed at home and was rushed to hospital, his blood sugar reading was nearly ten times higher than the average person.
He spent 15 days in an induced coma – missing Christmas and New Year's Eve – and tells his story as new figures released by Diabetes UK show that three million people in the UK now have the condition, creating a huge burden on the NHS.
Most cases are Type 2 diabetes, caused by the UK's ageing population and rapidly rising number of overweight and obese people.
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Peter, 65, of Cleethorpes, is lucky to be alive, but now understands why his health deteriorated the way it did. For around 20 years, he worked in the brewery industry selling beer to venues across Lincolnshire – a career that led him down a slippery slope, and he admits he would drink about ten pints of beer most days.
He said: "It came with the job really. I would stop and buy people a drink and they would do the same back.
"Over time, I did pile on weight, which is where my unhealthy lifestyle began.
"I spent another 15 years in the licensing trade running pubs myself. I did not drink as much, but my diet was bad.
"I normally finished work at 1am so I was never up in time to eat breakfast. Instead, I would have a few cups of black coffee in the morning.
"My first bite to eat would be around 3pm and consisted of savoury foods, such as a sausage roll or a pork pie.
"My only main meal of the day would be around 6pm, consisting of a pasta ready meal heated in the microwave."
Mr Wilson also loved energy drinks and sugary lemon or orange squash – he admits he drank around four 350ml bottles of energy drink a day.
On the night he collapsed at home, medics recorded his sugar levels at 78 – a healthy sugar level reading is between 4 and 8.
He was admitted to Grimsby's Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital where he was put into an induced coma on Monday, December 17, to reduce his blood sugar levels. His kidneys failed, and he was on dialysis while in the coma. He came round on New Year's Day.
He said: "My family were told twice to prepare for the worst, I never realised how serious my health had become.
"I never really thought about diabetes and I just carried on doing what I enjoyed.
"I feel lucky to be alive, but I hope others will realise to alter their diet and lifestyle before it's too late."
Mr Wilson has radically changed his diet and refers to a food chart for meals, supplied by diabetes specialist nurses.
He visits a diabetes nurse monthly for a check-up and relies on tablets to control his condition.
MEDICAL experts say there are many “misconceptions” about diabetes being a “mild condition”.
Caroline Andrews, a specialist diabetes nurse, is now urging people to be more aware of the signs and symptoms in order to look after their health.
Her warning follows Peter Wilson sharing his story on the front page of today’s Grimsby Telegraph.
As reported, the 65-year-old of Cleethorpes, used to live off beer, energy drinks, savory snacks and ready meals, until his body could take no more and his high blood sugar levels caused him to collapse.
He has since been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes but admits he never realised the condition could be so bad.
He said: “I am the type of person who thinks nothing serious will happen to me.
“Looking back, I am not shocked to now have diabetes and, after speaking to a nurse specialist at Grimsby’s Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital (DPOW), the signs were already showing.
“I eventually became constantly thirsty and in the night I would get up for the toilet.”
Caroline said: “The main symptoms to look out for if you are worried about diabetes include:
Going to the toilet all the time – especially at night
Recurring infections such as thrush
“If diabetes is not properly controlled then you are at a higher risk of developing complications with your heart, kidneys, feet and eyes.
“What makes diabetes so serious is that the condition can affect other parts of the body.
“Many adults, usually those with Type 2, have had diabetes for several years before their symptoms are recognised.”
Mr Wilson is now on tablets to control his condition.
Caroline said: “People can help themselves and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by maintaining healthy body weight, increasing activity levels, adopting a healthy lifestyle, reducing fat, sugar and salt intake and increasing your consumption of fibre.
“People with diabetes must also ensure they have annual reviews by their GP or at the hospital and they must have an annual eye and foot screening.
“If you have one or more of the symptoms, or think you may be at risk then contact your GP, as a simple blood test will be able to determine whether you have diabetes or not.”
THE stark reality of years of fast food, snacks, fizzy drinks and beer hit home with an almighty bang to a very unhealthy Peter Wilson.
Fortunately, Peter did live to tell his tale – if could easily have been a very different story.
Now we hope that others will read about Peter’s experience – and really digest what he is saying.
For there are millions of people out there like Peter, who need to wake up and change their appalling diets before it is too late.
When Peter fell desperately ill he had blood sugar levels of 78 – such a high reading would mean severe consequences for anyone and he is extremely lucky to have escaped and been given a second chance.
Others would not be here – it is as simple as that.
The health problems that we now see across Britain are a reflection of the modern lifestyle of take-aways, TVs and modern technology – and there is no easy way to change that!
Follow the editor on Twitter @michellelalor