Recently diagnosed with diabetes and feel overwhelmed? It’s an experience we hear about repeatedly in retrospect from clients at our Clinic… There are a number of things you should be doing if you haven’t already started. You are probably getting so much information on how you need to change your lifestyle to a diabetes-friendly lifestyle, that you are feeling drained by all of it. I figured I would touch on the topic of newly diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes for those asking – “what do I do now?”
Type 2 Diabetes is one of the most insidious diseases, since the patient may not be feeling that sick. Because of this, Type 2 Diabetes has one of the highest denial rates of any disease. It’s really important that you take your newly diagnosed condition very seriously, as this disease affects your long term health. Additionally, you would have been diabetic quite a bit before discovery, so you need to not only face reality, but truly address it.
Fear is normal
It is very normal to be scared, sad, or angry when initially diagnosed. But the key is to make yourself deal with this situation; putting off the inevitable is only going to hurt your long term health. The faster you convince yourself of the need to change your lifestyle to a diabetes friendly one, the better off you will be. Follow these steps:
- Read books/magazines
- Do online research
- Quiz your doctor, nurse at Clinic, diabetes educator.
2. Is your Diet right?
Once you brush up on your Type 2 Diabetes knowledge, you would see just how crucial it is to make sure you are eating a diabetes friendly diet. Believe me, this is going to be the hardest part. Who wants to have to think about every piece of food they put in their mouth? Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. So how do you find out what kind of diet is acceptable for you?
The best advice I can give is to see a nutritionist. A person’s recommended calorie intake varies, and it is very important that you find out the correct one for you, to avoid unwanted complications from losing weight too fast. Once you find out what the recommended calorie intake should be, you can go from there.
3. Are you exercising?
Let me just start out by saying – you do not need to spend hours in the gym each day to feel the positive effects of increasing your activity level. 30 minutes per day, 3 times a week is really all you need, then gradually increase to 1 hour, 5 days a week.
Many of us lead sedentary lifestyles and/or are couch potatoes who hate to exercise. Maybe if you know all the benefits those 30 minutes of daily exercise will give you, you would feel a little better about trying. It…
- Lowers your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Uses up extra sugar in your blood and helps your own insulin work better.
- Helps you deal with stress.
- Keeps your body and joints flexible.
- Helps blood flow and tones muscles.
- Makes your heart and bones strong.
- Keeps circulation under control warding off the effects of neuropathy, which impacts foot health in a major way and can lead to amputations.
4. Test your Blood Sugar Daily
Here is one of the real bummers of having Type 2 Diabetes; you really need to check your blood sugar levels daily. Not only should you check the levels, you should make a record of your levels not just as your own guide, but also as a tool that you and your doctor can work with.
Your Diabetes goal is going to be to keep your blood sugar level as close to your target level as possible. This will cut down on the complications you see resulting from your diabetes. You will be able to see how food, exercise, medicine and stress effect your blood sugar levels.
Taking care of your mental well being
At times it is going to be very hard to deal with the fact that you have the disease. It makes life tougher than it already can be sometimes. You can never take a vacation from diabetes and just say “oh well”. Unfortunately it’s one of those diseases that don’t go away.
You are going to need some sort of support. I know, you may not be the type of person that usually talks about their feelings, or even admits that they have any. But guess what – you are going to have some feelings, which sometimes are not going to be happy ones. You need to know ahead of time who you are going to turn to, or what you are going to do to lift your spirits.
Diabetes raises your risk for serious clinical depression. That’s why to me, taking care of yourself mentally is going to be just as important, as making sure you’re eating the right things. I’m not saying you have to run out and get a therapist or anything like that. All I’m saying is that it’s a good idea to have someone to talk to, that you can identify with, and who can empathise with you.
Next week I’ll look at conditions you are susceptible to as a diabetic. On Thursday it’s World Diabetes Day, do your part to improve your health or that of someone else.