News and Notices

Simple health check changes a life

A simple prick of her finger set medical secretary Sue Kysow on a pathway that would dramatically change her life.  
Earlier this year Sue took part in her department’s staff led, ‘biggest loser’ weigh-ins.

“After eight weeks I had successfully managed to lose no weight,” she says. “Although I was delighted I hadn’t gone up.”

When Sue was younger she’d worked as an outdoor pursuits instructor and was fit and active. However, over the past two decades her more sedentary lifestyle had caused the weight to gradually pile on.

In March she noticed the Health, Safety and Wellbeing team were running staff health checks clinics.
“I’d just turned 60 and knew I needed a wake-up call, so I fronted up to the clinic and told them to measure everything – knowing I’d fail.”
Sue knew she was overweight but what she didn’t know was her blood sugar level was high: “It was supposed to be between 4 and 8 and it was 12.”

Sue Kysow sml4

She saw her GP the next day and she sent her for a full HbA1c test which screens for diabetes.  A score of under 40 is normal and between 40 and 50 is pre-diabetic.

Sue scored 70, indicating her blood glucose levels were much too high and she was diabetic. Other than being overweight she had no symptoms.

Her GP started her on medication and scheduled a follow up test in six weeks.
“That night I googled ‘diabetes and diets’ and bought a book called the ‘Eight Week Blood Sugar Diet’ by Drs Clare Bailey,  Sarah Schenker and Micheal Mosley and started following the diet,” Sue says.

The basis of the diet is no sugar, which includes carbohydrates which turn to sugar when digested.

At her six-week follow up test her HbA1c had dropped to 52, six weeks later it was down to 38 or normal.

Sue is now off the medication, has lost 12.6 kilos, taken up squash and is back walking.

She says the key to her success has been planning what she is going to eat during the week so she doesn’t have to think about it at the end of each day, and always bringing her lunch to work.
“Even though I feel great, I know I am never going to be off the diabetic list, but it is totally controlled by diet and exercise,” she says. “It is a permanent lifestyle change for me.”

Sue encourages everyone to get a health check, especially if they know they need a push.
“It was a shock at the time but it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.”

You can read Sue's story and more in the September issue of the Nelson Marlborough Health Connections staff magazine.