Diabetes can take its toll depending on ethnicity – this is John Bertoli’s story - Diabetes WA
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John Bertoli, 53 from Perth was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last year but felt he would have had better results at prevention if he was warned about being pre-diabetic two years ago.

John said his family GP that he saw for many years told him his blood sugar levels were starting to get high and advised to lose some weight and prescribed him blood pressure medication to cope with the increased blood pressure.

“I remember him telling me this two years ago that I had to lose weight, but he never used the term pre-diabetes or even diabetes, just that my blood sugars were high,” John said.

“Thinking back now, I wish that GP would’ve referred me to someone to help me manage my high blood sugars for prevention.”

When diagnosed, John was told by his current GP that he ‘copped’ two of the worst genes for developing diabetes being Italian on his father’s side and Aboriginal on his mother’s side. Research highlights that people from Italian and/or Aboriginal backgrounds are very high-risk of developing diabetes.

John is now being mindful of his stress levels, eating healthily and general well-being given that comorbid conditions are common in John’s family. His grandfather on his mum’s side died unexpectedly at 54 years from a heart attack. His mum’s brother passed away at 53 years of age. His father died 7 years ago from a heart attack playing golf at 76 years old.

“I am on a care management plan and getting consults from a team, a diabetes educator, a podiatrist and an eye doctor,” John shared.

“I have lost 12 kilos and dropped down to one Metformin tablet a day, but sometimes I struggle with food, I love chocolate and hot bread, and it’s winter now….that’s when I get the most tempted with indulgent food.”

John said his battle is mostly a mental one, but his family gives him the motivation he needs to get back on the bandwagon when he falls off.

His brother-in-law reminds him of what diabetes can do to a person if it’s not managed.

“I have seen my brother-in-law’s struggles with diabetes, but he is a fighter despite the problems he has gone through with his diabetes.”

“When you have diabetes, you have to face the fact that it’s a chronic illness and if it’s not managed, the end game isn’t good at all, you don’t want to have to deal with that,” John said.

To learn about our Let’s Prevent program or culturally secure DESY program (Diabetes Education and Self-Management Yarning) contact us on 1300 001 880 for more information.

To join the fight against diabetes visit https://www.diabeteswa.com.au/join-the-fight/

Do you want to share your diabetes or pre-diabetes story? Contact media@diabeteswa.com.au

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