Local celebrates diabetes remission

Narre Warren North resident Michelle Gunaratnam is celebrating remission from her type 2 diabetes. Picture: Ken Ng

A frontline worker at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic successfully overcame a serious complex medical condition that could have eventually killed her.

Narre Warren North resident Michelle Gunaratnam is now celebrating remission from her type 2 diabetes.

Clinically supervised low-carb eating, individualised support, exercise and refraining from overeating helped Michelle lose at least 27 kilos within four months.

Michelle stayed motivated despite Melbourne’s 267 days in lockdown.

Diversa Health co-founder Rob Szabo said Michelle’s improvement defied a broader Ipsos survey trend showing more than 33 per cent of Australians gained weight during the pandemic.

“Locked down Australians often suffer from various isolation-related mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, frustration and a lack of motivation,” he said.

“When people experience these emotions for extended periods, overindulging in comfort food and drinks becomes more tempting – this is how many people gain weight.”

Diversa’s multidisciplinary team revealed Michelle’s HbA1c test, which measures the average blood sugar level over three months, was originally 6.8 per cent millimoles per litre of blood (mmol/L) back in May 2021. This exceeded Diabetes Australia’s 6.5 per cent minimum benchmark for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

However, Michelle’s September result decreased to just 5.3 per cent mmol/L, indicating she had successfully entered remission.

Michelle said her hectic lifestyle and binge-eating habits at the end of busy days were contributing factors to her developing type 2 diabetes.

“Before becoming a Diversa Health member, I used to work very long hours and suffered from an eating disorder,” she recalled.

The 34-year-old’s increased body mass further strained her chronic leg pain, which significantly affected her mobility.

“This led to knee pain and that made me feel older than I am,” she said.

Diversa Health, Australia’s first remote care, subscription service focused specifically on diabetes reversal, stepped-in to help as an extension of Michelle’s existing general practice team.

She also regularly attended cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, which helped her better understand the psychological reasons behind comfort eating.

“A lot of my challenges were at the start, especially in trying to figure out how to eat healthy,” Michelle said.

“I was still addicted to the carbs and it took a lot to move away from that.”

“A week into my new lifestyle, I checked my hips and measured them – I had lost seven centimetres in one week,” she added.

“I remember measuring myself again and again. Surely, I had not measured this correctly but I did – it is totally worth going down this road.”

Michelle believes she would not have put her diabetes in remission without the support of Diversa experts Mr Szabo and dietitian Camilla Dahl.