Approximately one in 10 Americans have diabetes with about 90-95% of them having type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that is also progressive, but with proper management, you can stop or slow many of the complications related to diabetes. Taking charge of your health will allow you to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it will help prevent life-threatening complications, which can arise from uncontrolled diabetes.
A diabetes diagnosis can be daunting but is very manageable. You may not even have many symptoms; you may be in shock or disbelief; you may question the reality of your situation; or you may be very disheartened. You may also have feelings of anger, sadness, guilt or a sense of loss. This is normal and it’s definitely OK to feel the gamut of emotions. A new diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming, but taking it one day at a time, connecting often with your physician, and educating yourself with diabetes resources can help make this diagnosis manageable.
The Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes Are:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
- Unintended weight loss
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections
- Areas of darkened skin, usually in armpits and neck
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
With type 2 diabetes, your body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin to properly break down the sugar from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar (glucose) in your body, so with diabetes, your body isn’t able to use insulin properly, which causes your body to not be able to maintain proper glucose levels.
STEPS TO BEGIN MANAGING YOUR DIABETES
Learn how to manage your diabetes through healthy living: Weight loss, healthy eating and regular exercise can all help you feel better and reduce the possibility and/or severity complications.
Manage blood sugar levels: Monitoring your blood sugar levels and possibly the use of diabetes medications or insulin therapy will be key factors in managing type 2 diabetes.
Build and maintain a relationship with your health care team: Your physician may suggest you increase your visits with them with your new diagnosis along with seeing other health care professionals (e.g., a certified diabetes educator, nurse, registered dietitian, pharmacist, endocrinologist, podiatrist, etc.).
Get the support you need: Whether you need help beginning your diabetes management or you need help managing your mental wellbeing surrounding your diagnosis, reach out to your physician and ask them to connect you with organizations who can help. Also, ask for support among your family and friends.
Type 2 Diabetes Resources
American Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.org/diabetes/type-2
Diabetes Education Programs: diabetes.org/diabetes/find-a-program
This is the first article in our Living Well With Diabetes series. Stay tuned for future newsletters highlighting the many ways to live well with this diagnosis!
“Type 2 diabetes,” mayoclinic.org, Jan 9. 2019.
“Living with Diabetes,” cdc.gov, June 27, 2019.