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ben baruch patient

Meet IDS patient Ben Baruch. 

Since his diagnosis, and after working with IDS, his A1c has gone from 6.6 to 5.8, WITHOUT TAKING INSULIN!

When Ben was a sophomore in high school, he had severe OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) which has become less severe since.  He went to a doctor to test him for autoantibodies that could explain the OCD.  The tests did not find any antibodies related to OCD, but it did show autoantibodies related to type-1 diabetes.  He did not really believe that he could have a chronic illness like diabetes, and even suspected that the doctor was a con-man.

Years passed with blood sugars and A1c’s that were perfectly normal.  At the age of 21, during the summer prior to his senior year of college, Ben went to the hospital to be treated for tick bites from a recent hike. They checked his blood sugar and it was 180 mg/dl. His mom asked for an A1c, and it was 6.6%.  These met the criteria for “stage 2” of type-1 diabetes – multiple antibodies and abnormal glucose, but not high enough to diagnose type-1.

“I’m glad I got the antibody screening,” says Ben.  “Without it, I would not have even been looking for early signs of type-1 diabetes.  It also allowed me to explore studies, trials, and ways in which I could delay or prevent the onset of stage 3 (full) type-1 diabetes.”

benRight away, Ben made changes to his lifestyle.  He started taking a cocktail of vitamins and healthy supplements, ate healthier (cutting back on carbs intake and refined sugars) and added regular exercise. He also received infusions of a new medication called Tzield that helps keep his immune system from attacking his beta cells.  Currently, he is in the process of joining CELLZ-201, a single-patient trial study in which he will receive perinatal umbilical cells meant to be immunomodulatory.

Since his diagnosis, Ben’s A1c has gone from 6.6 to 5.8, WITHOUT TAKING INSULIN.  From his work with Integrated Diabetes Services, he has learned about the glycemic index and what kinds of foods are best for keeping his blood sugar in-range.  He has added regular cardio workouts (running) to his weight-lifting routine, and is about to begin using semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, to help further preserve his beta cell function.  Ben has come to understand the impact stress can have on his glucose levels and has been more focused on stress management.

Through all of his efforts to maintain his beta cell function and reduce his need for insulin, Ben has learned a great deal about what it means to be truly healthy.

“These things I’m doing are things most people should be doing whether they have a health condition that calls for it or not. Most people lack the vitamins and minerals that they need, should practice healthier eating habits, and should try to exercise regularly,” says Ben. “Since my diet and gym schedule changed, I have noticed that my strength has really gone up.  My maximum bench press went up from 155 to 225 pounds in just a few months, which I am really proud of.  There are some foods that I miss and times that I feel as though I may be missing out on some things I used to enjoy with my friends and family, however, it does not affect me too much.”

And what would happen if Ben’s blood sugars start to go up?  “If I developed type 1 diabetes, I would make sure to start taking insulin, both basal and bolus if necessary. But I would maintain my diet and exercise while continuing to take my vitamins and supplements. I would also likely continue taking semaglutide for its other benefits such as its slowing digestion and keeping blood sugars in-range after meals.  I would also keep learning about new management techniques and advancements towards a potential cure.”

“From an emotional standpoint, working with the team at Integrated Diabetes Services has helped to ease my anxiety and prepare me for what I have to do.  It helps to speak to someone who actually has type-1 diabetes because it makes my goals seem less monumental and more real and achievable.  Their human approach takes away the stigma for me and makes it feel manageable. Me and my Integrated Diabetes clinician make a pretty good team.”

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