Peter Zangerle – lockdown has helped improve my management of diabetes

With no stressful job to go to and more time to exercise, Peter Zangerle tells us how lockdown has helped him manage his Type 2 diabetes.  

Peter Zangerle (70) lives in Sea Point, Cape Town. He is married and has an adult daughter. He has Type 2 diabetes.


After a medical check-up in 2013, due to Peter feeling constantly tired, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at the age of 63. The doctor prescribed Janumet, Januvia, Metformin 500 and Forxiga.

Weighing 125kg, Peter lost 14kg due to the Forxiga which reduces blood glucose levels by helping the kidneys to excrete it, and supports weight loss. “But, I had to stop the medication as I formed skin rashes,” Peter explains. In 2016, he started using a Byetta injection.

Life as a tour guide

Being a tour guide for over 20 years, Peter says it has been impossible to manage his diabetes well. Firstly, he sits most of the day and then to top that, his finds his job stressful and he says he has always been a ‘stress eater’. “I get little sleep and the irregular eating times don’t help,” he adds.

The biggest positive of lockdown is that Peter has been able to walk every day for 30 minutes. “Without a job to go to every day, I have no stress, and I have time to walk. I eat properly and regularly, so much so that my Hba1C level is 6,5%. It has never been so low in the last two years; while I was working, it was 9,5%! The best thing is I feel wonderful!”

Knowledge is power

Currently, Peter uses Metformin 1000 XR, Jalra 50 and Ryzodeg 30/70 insulin. He says he started to gain weight again once he started Ryzodeg in November last year.

“Until January 2019, I managed my diabetes relatively well but afterwards it went bad. I didn’t get the right support from my doctor. I didn’t get any information about diabetes, when to measure my blood glucose, or any explanations as to what causes spikes. He also did not consider my extreme stress situation and the influence of my tour guide job. So, I studied diabetes through reading the websites of Mayo Clinic and Diabetes South Africa. I installed various apps, such mySugr app and a calorie and carb counter, and changed my diet to low carb and avoided anything with a high sugar content. Within two weeks, I was doing better. I also now test three times daily.”

Thankfully, Peter had an open conversation with his endocrinologist and Peter explained the support he needed and all was sorted out. “He had a more scientific approach and sadly no human approach. I need a doctor to work with me due to my working schedule. His nurse convinced me that he isn’t a ‘people person’. But, fortunately, his approach changed. Plus, to get a new doctor, I had to wait seven months.”

Time for retirement

Peter’s winter menu consists of vegetables, soups, fish, and meat once a week. With the added support of his family, he says he gets through the temptations of winter comfort food.

As for work, he says there will be no work until the middle of next year but is at peace that he needs to retire.


Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Feel free to email Laurelle on [email protected]

LIKE THIS? ------------------------------------------------

SUBSCRIBE to our FREE Diabetes Focus Newsletter.