Diabetic for 21 years, Pakistani banker controls illness following healthy lifestyle
Lately, the 32-year-old successfully battled diabetic retinopathy, a long-term complication of diabetes that affects the eyes
Dubai: A 32-year-old Pakistani banker in Dubai who has been fighting diabetes for about 21 years has now managed to control his blood sugar levels within the normal range by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 11, Imran Rafi Khan has had a tough battle with the condition. “Diabetics has affected almost everybody in my family from my grandfather, father, brother, and me. But unlike others, who have Type 2 diabetes, I was diagnosed with Type 1 when I was barely 11,” said Imran.
It took him more than 21 years to finally bring the condition under control. “It has not been easy for me. I have been through excruciatingly painful experiences,” he added.
Twenty days on the ventilator
At 11, when Rafi was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, his blood sugar levels were between 400-600 mg/dL. “I was kept on the ventilator for twenty days undergoing insulin infusion. It was a tough time. Fortunately, I came out of it stronger and safely,” he maintained.
But life had more in store for him. Discharged from the hospital, Imran used to take about 60 units of insulin at a time twice a day to keep his blood sugar levels under control depriving young Imran of the many joys he could have cherished as a young boy.
Three years ago, Imran started experiencing a blurring of vision. “I already have specs. Initially, it was like, when I woke up, I found everything blurred for some time. I could not see anything near or far from me clearly during the time. Later, I observed that I am finding it difficult to see objects properly while driving,” said Imran.
He then consulted Dr. Boopathy Selvam, specialist ophthalmologist at Aster Hospital, Qusais, who diagnosed Imran with diabetic retinopathy.
According to Dr. Boopathy, Imran’s right eye was more affected compared to his left eye. “We started with intravitreal injection in both eyes. We performed laser surgery in the right eye as well. Gradually we could see the results. So far, we have managed to control the damage with six injections for the right eye and five injections for the left eye. It has been four months since we stopped the injections and Imran is doing perfectly fine,” said the doctor.
Diet and Healthy lifestyle
After 21 years of battling the disease, Imran has now brought diabetes under control by following a strict diet and healthy lifestyle. “I eat everything but very cautiously in lesser quantities. Typically, my day starts by drinking a glass of water with soaked turmeric and black seeds overnight. Then, I go out for a brisk walk for 30 minutes. Back at home, I take my insulin before having my breakfast. I need to feed something at an interval of two-three hours to keep my blood sugar levels under control. In the evening, I go out for a 30 minutes’ walk. Back at home, I take my insulin shot before having my dinner,” explained Imran.
At present, Imran’s blood sugar is between 100-150 mg/dL in the morning and between 120-200 mg/dL in the evening, the threshold he should not go beyond. His HbA1c (average glucose levels for three months) levels are at 8 now, which he aims to bring down to 7 in the coming months.