What seemed like a life full of helplessness, soon transformed into a journey built on determination, hope and positive outlook towards healthy living. Read to know how.
For many being diagnosed with diabetes, a chronic illness that impacts over 100 million Indians, is a stressful ordeal. The thought of turning one’s life upside down by making carb counts, finger pricks, injections, numerous pills and insulin, a part of their daily routine, is alarming and scary.
“When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was devastated and shattered. I thought my life would now be entirely dependent on medicines. I was feeling frustrated and helpless. Other doctors told me that later in life I might develop complications related to eyes, heart, kidney and limbs. Never knew that diabetes is so dangerous and life threatening,” says 41-year-old Saeeba Khan, adding how she didn’t want the diagnosis to define her life but wasn’t sure how.
Like her countless patients across India struggle to find a sustainable way to overcome diabetes without putting a full-stop on their lives. An arduous journey of daily struggles, living with diabetes can be overwhelming especially when the potential complications are life-threatening.
But, there’s a way to take back control through diabetes remission. And with new research surfacing around diabetes, experts across the globe are now dedicated to help patients walk the path of diabetes remission.
Saeeba and Muthukumar Vemban are two among the many individuals who managed to successfully overcome their diabetes through a unique diabetes remission program by Practo, called Practo Transform. Harnessing the remarkable resources and support provided by the program, they overcame numerous challenges and eventually triumphantly took control of their diabetes.
What seemed like a life full of helplessness, soon transformed into a journey built on determination, hope and positive outlook towards healthy living. “Today my life has changed in more ways than I can imagine and it has been immensely rewarding,” says 53-year-old Muthukumar, who had been living with diabetes for almost a decade before joining the program.
Your Life is in Your Control
Get your diabetes in remission with Practo Transform.
If there’s a problem, then there’s a solution as well
Getting to know that you have diabetes can be a hard pill to swallow for many, as it was for both Muthukumar and Saeeba. With limited awareness around diabetes, many still struggle to understand the gravity around the condition which often causes delay in treatment.
While for Saeeba the diagnosis was enveloped in anxiety and helplessness, for Muthukumar, it was more of a wake-up call from his usual sedentary life. He knew that things could no longer go the usual way, but wasn’t sure how best to make the change.
And that is where the experts stepped in.
According to Dr Hema Venkataraman, “The diagnosis of diabetes can bring varying emotions ranging from shame, guilt, fear, and more commonly denial. The recent landmark discovery of diabetes remission i.e bringing sugars in the normal range without medications, brings “hope” to millions of people with diabetes across India and the world, says Dr Hema,(MBBS, MD, MRCP, FRCP,CCT, PhD): consultant endocrinologist at the NHS, UK and Medical Lead, Practo Transform with 22+ years of experience.
After being diagnosed with diabetes in September 2022 Saeeba soon came across the Practo Transform program from the Practo application and joined one of its initial batches of beneficiaries. Developed by medical experts from the NHS, UK, using evidence from the landmark DIRECT trial adapted to the Indian population, the personalised diabetes program provided a holistic guidance and support system through its team of dieticians, doctors and fitness professionals.
“At first, I was sceptical about the benefits. I wasn’t even sure whether diabetes remission is real or just a marketing myth. But, soon all my doubts vanished, when I started losing weight and saw a drop in my HbA1c levels. My sleep quality improved, my face started looking younger and I was elated to see my cloth size reduce. I had made the best decision by joining here,” adds Saeeba, who had started the program with an HbA1c level of 6.8 and has now brought it down to 4.8. She moved from the diabetes state to a HbA1c in the enviable completely normal zone
It’s not easy but worth it
Muthukumar had been living with Type 2 diabetes for more than a decade since 2012 and had undergone the usual route with diabetes medication. His work required him to travel frequently, making a consistent commitment to diet and exercise extremely difficult. With a suboptimal HbA1c of 7.8 and a weight of 78 kgs, he knew he had to shake things up, if he wanted to live a better life.
“I didn’t know much about diabetes remission but when my nephew told me about Practo’s new program on it and that it had the potential for amazing results, I was on-board. I wanted to try this out and to my pleasant surprise, the results were amazing!” says Muthukumar, who was one of the first participants of the program.
While joining the program is the first step, being consistent, although challenging, is the key to its success.
Talking about some of his challenges, he adds, “I realised that to continue, I would have to unlearn a lot of habits and adopt good ones. That was the hard part. While I had a somewhat okay routine– waking up early in the morning and eating all my meals on time— it was watching what I ate, which was hard. For instance, my after meal snack is sometimes bigger than the meal itself and I enjoyed it. But, I had to cut that down and instead adopt a t-shaped diet that was heavy on green vegetables, fruits and nutrients, balanced with my regular meals. However, the hardest part was to control my nemesis- chocolate! I would eat a paper if it had chocolate written on it and I knew it was wrong. But what’s refreshing is that I was told to limit it and not entirely give it up, by the dieticians. They also educated me on alternative ways to control my sweet tooth.”
According to him, one of the most rewarding aspects of the program was the support he received from the team of dieticians, especially during his work trips. “When you are travelling, it’s difficult to maintain a homemade diet and during work trips I would easily rebound while eating out. But the program helped break that pattern with the help of the dieticians who guided me in eating healthy while eating out,” he adds.
Saeeba had similar challenges initially, but the end goal made it all worth it! “Initially, it was difficult to be consistent, especially while travelling. It’s not a fad diet you are following for a limited time period. It is a holistic and wholesome lifestyle you are adopting and so that can be challenging. But, then it’s important to stay put and follow through and make it habitual. It’s about being mindful about what you eat. And, the best part is, I didn’t have to switch from being a non-vegetarian to vegetarian. I could eat my usual food but make thoughtful and wise alterations in how I eat it,” she shares.
Exercise also played a crucial role in the program and with the help of fitness experts, both Muthukumar and Saeeba lost a lot of weight. While Saeeba went from 68.2 kgs to 57 kgs after, Muthukumar lost 13 kgs following the program.
“Previously, on doctor’s orders I would go for walks but it would only amount to a lazy leisurely walk that I felt compelled to do. But the experts in the program motivated me to challenge myself and go beyond my comfort zone. I started small, like climbing up a few floors every day and going for a run in the morning. It started with struggling to climb just 2 floors, and then in just 3 weeks, I was able to climb from 4 floors to 8 floors in a stretch. Small wins like this motivated me to keep going on. While of course, it’s not easy, but totally worth it!” adds Muthukumar.
Both Saeeba and Muthukumar, are two of the 250+ patients with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, who have now been able to substantially reduce or stop their medicines and lead a lifestyle which has no room for unhealthy temptations but only space to grow and embrace a healthy and whole life.
“Diabetes remission empowered me to take back control of my life and I hope that more people with diabetes can enjoy this second chance in life” adds Muthukumar.
Your Life is in Your Control
Get your diabetes in remission with Practo Transform.
What is Practo Transform
‘Transform’, Practo’s recently launched 6-month diabetes remission program, aims to bridge this gap in delivering quality diabetes remission care. It focuses on helping type 2 diabetes patients reduce their reliance on medication and achieve diabetes remission through healthy eating and activity. It combines technology with a multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach with a focus on sustained habit and behaviour change.
It’s a patient-centric model offers multiple benefits, including:
- 100% digital delivery via WhatsApp, video, and audio calls
- High touch point service – a daily doctor and dietician input
- Daily customised fitness and yoga sessions at different time schedules to suit busy working professionals
- Daily live feedback from a dietician for all meals
- Regular doctor follow-up of glucose patterns
- A personal mentor
- All disciplines on one platform – multidisciplinary team care
Early results of Practo Transform show over 250+ patients with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes reduced their diabetes burden with reduced or no medications. With an average age of 44, an HbA1c level of 8.4levels, and an average duration of diabetes of over 6 years, the results showcased:
- >88% reduced or stopped medications over the course of 6 months
- On average, patients experienced a 1.7-point reduction in HbA1c levels (8.4 to 6.6)
- On average, weight loss of 7.2kgs in a 6-month duration.