With diabetes running in the family, Subha Ramiah, a Senior Business Technology Executive at Cigna, always knew he was at risk, but didn’t know how high the risk was and how soon he would get the disease. At age 49, Subha, who lives in the New York City area, hit a rough patch – his father passed away and he started a new job, and life was stressful. It was on World Diabetes Day in November 2013 that he finally went for a diabetes test. He was diagnosed with severe Type II Diabetes.
Immediately, doctors put him on six drugs costing over $600 each month. He was also experiencing early signs of other complications of diabetes such as diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, kidney damage and digestive issues. He also had severe reactions to two of the drugs. That’s when he decided he had to learn and do more about living with diabetes.
Subha extensively researched healthy eating and the lifestyle changes he could make to live with diabetes and rely less on drugs. “The more I read,” he said, “the more I was motivated to take control of my body and prove the ‘status quo’ wrong.” He drastically changed his diet to include more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean proteins. He kept a religious log of everything he ate and planned every meal. He started working out, and dropped more than 20 pounds. His sleep improved. He eliminated the need for most of the drugs he had been prescribed. His Hemoglobin A1C, the universally accepted measure of blood sugar, dropped from an explosive 12 to the perfectly acceptable, normal 5.6, within three months. His blood pressure dropped from 135/95 to 110/75. Subha’s story is absolutely remarkable. He even surprised his doctor and endocrinologist (a diabetician) by proving how a patient and doctor could work together to result in a better care plan. His friends and family members many of whom are doctors watched his amazing healthy journey via his blog. They now believe non communicable diseases (NCD) can be better managed, prevented, and reversed with individual patient education and actions.
“What I have shown is that that lifestyle change and actions can help prevent NCD such as diabetes and its other complications. I am fortunate to be a scientist, a technologist, and a healthcare innovation professional with access to tools and training that allow me to make these changes. I am passionate about showing people how to prevent or reverse diabetes with my personal example, showing them things they have no other way of learning due to their circumstances. Today, when I tell people I am 50 they don’t believe me.” At his 50th birthday last year, he decided to educate others about diabetes as one of his missions in life. He is also helping the efforts of Arogya World’s diabetes prevention initiative by volunteering his time.
Today, Subha shares his story with others, speaking at conferences and at work events about his experience so that he can help others prevent or recover from chronic disease.
“Even if someone gets this information and does only a quarter of it, their chronic condition will naturally heal or reduce without the intervention of drugs, which have side effects and complications. ‘My doctor and medicine will fix me’ is the wrong attitude,” he said. “With education, motivation, tools, determination, and meaningful goals, one can manage, change, and even reverse a chronic condition.”
Watch these two videos, which were an inspiration to Subha.
If you are inspired and want to learn more, follow Subha on Twitter at @ramiah99.