What Dr. Luke has to say about Diabetes


Today Dr. Luke will talk to us about Diabetes a disease, which increasingly affects people in China. To start with Dr. Luke will tell a story about a friend who had diabetes.

Zhang Ting was a 51-year-old man who was a businessman who owned his own business.  He worked many long hours at his work and had little time to exercise. Plus over the past ten years he had also started to smoke due to the stress of his work.  He had over the past several months begin to feel increasingly tired. He thought most of his fatigue was related to his working such long hours. His wife had commented that she also thought he was sleeping more than normal.

Two months ago Zhang Ting noticed that he was increasingly tired but also noticed that he was increasingly thirsty and hungry. Also that he was urinating more than normal. He did not know what to do. His wife suggested that he go and see a doctor at the hospital, which he decided to do.

Upon arriving at the hospital the doctor did a history of his story and then a physical exam.  Then he did some blood work. After all of this blood work was back the doctor told Zhang Ting that he probably had diabetes mellitus. He knew this because of the history, physical exam and blood work. However, it was the high blood sugar from the blood work, which was the most important. The doctor suggested that Zhang Ting come back in the morning for a fasting blood sugar, which Zhang Ting did. This blood sugar test was also slightly elevated. The doctor told Zhang Ting that they should have a second confirmation test next week, which was also fasting, that is not eating anything except water for 12 hours before the blood sugar test is drawn.

Zhang Ting again did that and the resulting blood sugar was also a little bit elevated as well. The doctor told Zhang Ting that the two fasting elevated blood sugars certainly indicated that he did have Diabetes Mellitus.  However, the doctor told Zhang Ting that at this point he did not have to take medicines for his Diabetes. This was good news to Zhang Ting but he was concerned about the effects Diabetes would have on his health.

The doctor then told Zhang Ting that he should get a special urine test to see if he had protein or blood in his urine. Also he should have his blood cholesterol checked.  Finally he needed an eye test to see if he had any effects of Diabetes on his eyes as this can happen.

The doctor told Zhang Ting that after all of these tests were completed then he should return to see him and they would decide on a treatment plan. All of this sounded good to Zhang Ting.

As Zhang Ting left the hospital he still had some concerns about the effects of Diabetes on his health.  He had heard many bad stories of patients who had bad health problems from Diabetes, even some who had died.  Later in the day he ran into a friend who told him that he had just been diagnosed with Diabetes and he was concerned about this. Zhang Ting’s friend was a doctor as well. He told Zhang Ting that the most important thing was to carefully listen to what the doctor had to say.  Most people have trouble with their diabetes because they do not following their doctor’s advice.

Zhang Ting’s doctor friend also told him that he was likely to have trouble with being angry for a period of time. The reason is that Diabetes is a chronic disease, which at present has no cure. Possibly in the future there will be a cure but not for now. As a result people have to adjust their thinking that this is a disease they must live with till they die. Second, patients must also see doctors often which can causes them to spend much more money than the normal person. All of these things can cause a lot of anger over time.

Zhang Ting’s doctor friend told him though that there is a person he believes can help him more than any doctor. He cannot only help him with his Diabetes but also he can help him to deal with the emotional challenges he will face. Further he can give all of Zhang Ting’s life purpose and meaning at this point in his life and also later in life and even after he dies. Zhang Ting found this all very interesting and wanted to know more.

His friend took out a Bible and showed him a place which said, ‘O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.  O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit (Psalms 30.2,3)’ Even in our hurting God is merciful towards us.  He comforts us even in our weaknesses. Zhang Ting’s friend turned to another place in the Bible, which said, ‘praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those sin any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God (II Corinthians 1.3-4).’  God will provide us comfort Zhang Ting’s friend said. However, it is important that we know God to be able to have this comfort. It would be like receiving comfort for a total stranger.  That would seem strange.

Zhang Ting asked his friend how he could come to know God.  His friend responded that we come to know him through his Son Jesus Christ. His friend turned to another place in the Bible which said, ‘for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believed him would not perish but have eternal life (John 3.16).’  God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ. If we believe in Jesus God will give us life now and forever more, that is eternal life.

Zhang Ting’s friend turned to another place in the Bible which was a quote from Jesus which said, ‘I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man (John 5.24-27).’  This means, Zhang Ting’s friend said, that God has life, which he gives to his Son Jesus and Jesus gives that life to us. The key is hearing and believing what Jesus says.

Zhang Ting thought about all of these things and was very interested in what his friend had to say. Zhang Ting told his friend they would get back together the next week and discuss all of these things about Jesus.

Zhang Ting returned to the doctor the next week. During that visit the doctor told Zhang Ting about his test results. He told him that most of the tests looked good. His eye test and cholesterol both looked good. Of importance was that at this time he did not need to go on a medicine for controlling his blood sugar. The blood sugar should be able to be controlled with exercise and diet. The doctor told Zhang Ting that it was important that he exercise 30 minutes a day. Ideally this should be swimming, running or biking. However, if he could not do this then he should try exercise by walking 30 minutes a day. However, the key was exercising every day. 

Second was diet. It was important that he get onto a better diet. He should loose about 10kg of weight and get to a normal body weight. He should try and loose 2-3 kg a month.  The doctor went onto tell Zhang Ting that he should he smaller amounts and eat less fat and more protein and starches.  He should also try to eat a bedtime snack and try and not eat between meals. The doctor told him that this would be hard but he needed to do this to control his blood sugar and also to loose weight. The loosing of weight would also control his blood sugar better.

The doctor told Zhang Ting there was very good reason to control his blood sugar to normal. Most importantly was the fact that if he did that he could lower the chances of having eye and kidney problems by up to 40%.  That was a huge change and very important over the course of his life. Zhang Ting thought that this was certainly an important statistic to keep in mind.

The doctor also told Zhang Ting that it was important to examine his blood sugar every day at least once to make sure the level was ok. The doctor gave him a prescription to go to the local pharmacy to buy a blood sugar machine.

The doctor also told Zhang Ting something he already knew about, that’s right, he should stop smoking. Patients with Diabetes and smoke have a very high rate of heart problems.

 Zhang Ting’s doctor told him that it was important that everyday he examine the bottom of his feet and the insides of his shoes before putting on his shoes. The reason was that he should see if there were small stones or other things in his shoes, which could cause ulcers on his feet.  Zhang Ting took notes on how to do all of these things.

Finally, the doctor told Zhang Ting that he should return every 3 months to be evaluated for his diabetes. Zhang Ting felt that he was off to a good start and was encouraged that the diabetes could be controlled without medicines but with exercising and watching his diet and loosing weight.

Zhang Ting went back and talked with his doctor friend about what his doctor had said about the diabetes and his friend fully agreed. He agreed that diet and exercise were very important to controlling his diabetes.

They started talking more about the person of Jesus Christ.  Zhang Ting asked his friend how he could have new life in Christ. His friend turned to another place in the Bible, which said. ‘I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10.10).’ God’s purpose in sending Jesus Christ was for us to have new life in Jesus Christ both now and forevermore.

However, we only have this new life when we realize and then admit to God that we have sinned before and to him. The Bible says, ‘But now a righteousness from God, apart from the Law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement (that is as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking a away sin), through faith in his blood.   He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sons committed beforehand unpunished-he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus (Romans 3.21-26).’ All of this means, Zhang Ting’s friend said, ‘God is right, we are wrong. We deserve to be punished for this wrong or sin. Jesus took this sin on himself so we would not have to bear this sin and thus we are declared right before God only if we believe in Jesus and what he did for us.

Zhang Ting wanted to believe this. How could he believe all of this? His friend said he needs to believe this following place from the which Bible which says, ‘that if you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved (Romans 10.9).’ If we believe Jesus is Lord because he did for our sins and then we believe that after Jesus died he was buried and three days rose from the grave to show victory over sin and death, if we believe all of this we will be saved from our sins to have a new life in Jesus Christ now and forever.

Zhang Ting’s friend asked him to pray the following prayer and also believe it to ask Jesus into his life, ‘Dear Jesus I know that I have done wrong and am a sinner. I know that I need you as my savior. I believe that you died on the cross for my sin and that after you were buried three days later you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my life now to save me from my sins. I also thank you for providing this salvation. Amen.’

Zhang Ting prayed this and had a new life in Jesus Christ. This new life gave him not only a new purpose but also better control over his fears of diabetes.

You too can have this new life in Jesus Christ if you will pray the same prayer and mean it as Zhang Ting did.