Type 1 Keto

My Retinopathy Has Gone

My retinopathy has gone. For now, at least. And that will do because it proves that this is not just a damage limitation exercise, but a strategy for remission. I was so pleased to find that my retinopathy has disappeared. It first appeared four years ago after 20 years of Type 1. My control until then had never been great, in the 55-65mmol/mol range. (7.2-8.1%). That level of control lasted for the first 17 years after diagnosis. Then it went up to 70mmol/mol (8.6%) for the next three. That was due to circumstances in my life that meant I was not giving any sort of priority to diabetes. I was, I am not proud to tell you, merely ensuring that I was keeping in a broad band around the safe zone. A standard high carb up and down alpine looking trace. I had always relied on physical fitness to keep me out of trouble. After all, Type 1 is meant to be a damage limitation exercise. So, it was a jolt just after a three thousand mile cycle ride just a few months before, to find myself in this situation. Of course, 20 years is a bit of a milestone in Type 1. I was getting some palpitations, dizziness on standing, joint pains, and brain fog, so I knew things were deteriorating. I decided then to put into action a keto diet that I had read about a year before. Being of the NHS mindset, I put Richard Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution back on the shelf, as an interesting but an anecdotal and radical book. It seemed okay in theory, but he was the only one doing it. It was only after doing further research that I came across Ellen Davis and Keith Runyan’s keto book that I started to take notice. Two medical doctors, one a kidney specialist, were both doing well. There must be something in it. So, for four years, I have been on keto with normal control. I have felt the benefit of a simple dietary change. My HbA1c has never been above 43mmol/mol (6.1%) during that time. The more I have read, the more I realise that I am restoring the metabolism to as near to normal as I can. If I had a pure metabolic illness like Type 2 diabetes, then I reckon that I would have regained normal function. But with Type 1 and having to inject insulin, I can only approximate to normal. But I have approached near-normal. I know it and can feel it in the vitality I now have. I got a glimpse of hope two years ago when my retinopathy had regressed. Last year all of the old lesions had gone, but a new lesion appeared. Annoying and slightly worrying that I had something new. This year I was given the all-clear. Ah, it was minimal in any case, you may say. We know that these lesions come and go all of the time. I know that. In previous jobs in the NHS, I spent a year in the diabetes eye department. But, while I have indeed seen lesions go, they have always been replaced by others. In this case, they have gone with no new ones appearing. That tells me that the process has definitely at least slowed down, if not stopped altogether. Think of it as a pan of water boiling. When it boils, there are bubbles, and they come and go as long as the heat is applied. Once you turn the heat down, the bubbles stop. I think that I have turned the heat down. I have stopped the process. Creating normal or near-normal metabolic conditions creates space for the body to heal. A study in Japan of three kidney transplants from diabetic donors to non-diabetic recipients showed that proven microscopic disease in the donor, reverted to normal in the non-diabetic recipient after just a year, again proven microscopically. So, it can be done. Diseased tissue does have the ability to repair. It is not a first. There are reports of retinopathy resolution in type 2 diabetes all the time. Since putting this on Twitter, I have heard of fellow low carb Type 1’s who are reversing their retinopathy. It is excellent news because it means that Type 1 is not just a slow decline to the end, but there is hope that Type 1 can have the chance of at least some control. And personally, it’s the hope that keeps me going. I’ve seen the future alternative