Don’t Freak Out! 10 Things to Know If You’ve Been Diagnosed with Type 2

1. No, It Probably Isn’t a Mistake

When first diagnosed, many people find it difficult to believe. They think it must be a terrible mistake, believing that perhaps another test is needed or thinking maybe it will just go away. This is a very natural response to the shock of receiving the diagnosis. Unfortunately, it is very likely that your diagnosis is real and diabetes is here to stay. You’re now part of the very large and growing club of people with diabetes – a club, we understand, that you would prefer not to join!

 2. The Good News Is, This Isn’t Your Grandmother’s Diabetes

With 21st century technology and care, we now know you can live a long and healthy life with diabetes. The diagnosis of diabetes is NOT a death sentence. Terrible outcomes, like blindness, amputations and kidney problems, are largely preventable. Thanks to modern medicine, people developing diabetes today have an excellent chance of living long, healthy lives, free from serious complications. With good care and attention, you can be one of those people.

Here are a few things you can do right now to set yourself up for success:

Get on a Diabetes Warranty Program

Just like you take your car in for regular tune-ups, we recommend you include the following as part of your “regular health maintenance” program:

  • Have an A1C test (at least twice a year) to measure your average blood sugar levels over the previous 2-3 months
  • Get a yearly dilated eye exam from an eye specialist who is knowledgeable about diabetic eye disease
  • Get a yearly kidney function test
  • Keep a close eye on your feet, especially if you have neuropathy or a lack of sensation, and have your provider inspect them at least once a year (more if you have neuropathy).
  • Have your blood pressure checked every time you see your provider, and your cholesterol checked annually (more frequently if your levels are high).
  • See your dentist twice per year for regular cleanings and prevent tooth and gum disease by brushing and flossing every day, not just one week before you go to the dentist!

Learn all you can about diabetes…knowledge is power!

Attend one of our in-person conferences (click here for the 2018 schedule!), explore our online video library here, check out our extensive blog archives here or grab a copy of Dr. Edelman’s 5th edition of Taking Control of Your Diabetes by calling our office at 800-998-2693.

3. Diabetes Is Not Your Fault

Don’t blame yourself for developing type 2 diabetes, and don’t let anyone else blame you either. It is not caused by laziness or a lack of will power. Eating sweets didn’t do it. Type 2 diabetes is a genetic disease. And when you have these genes, certain factors – like being overweight – can trigger it. More and more people are becoming heavier and developing type 2 diabetes because most jobs now require little physical activity, life is more stressful, and too many foods tempt us that are high in calories, large in size and much too convenient. Your genes and the environment are the major culprits, but that doesn’t mean you are now helpless to protect your health. So read on!

4. Ignoring It Won’t Make It Disappear

You can’t feel diabetes when it is out of control, so you may think you don’t need to worry about it. But diabetes ignored and left unmanaged can cause damage to your body. Yes, odds are good that you can live a long, healthy life with diabetes, but only if you are working to control it now, not sometime later. So see your doctor regularly, take all of your medications, stay active, and learn more about the foods you eat. For your health, get involved in your own diabetes care.

5. Knowing Your Numbers Should be Your First Step

To manage diabetes, there are so many things you will be advised to do and change. No wonder it can feel so overwhelming. You can’t do everything at once, so where should you start? Begin by making sure the critical diabetes tests are being done and that you, not just your doctor, know the results.

After all, you can’t know what to do differently if you don’t first know how you’re doing. At the very least, find out about your blood pressure, cholesterol and A1c numbers. You need to know what your numbers mean and what you and your doctor can do to get, or keep, those numbers in a safe range.

Check out the videos below for more info:

What Should My Target Blood Pressure Be?

What’s an A1c and Why Is It Important?

What the Heck is a Lipid Panel?

Goals for each test will vary for everyone individually, and will depend on your current health and your health history, so be sure to discuss your results and your personal goals with your healthcare provider.

6. No, You Won’t Be Limited to Eating Nuts, Twigs and Birdseed!

You can still eat your favorite foods, just not all at once. Boring diets are no longer necessary and there is no need to deprive yourself. However, attention to the size of your meals is critical. You will also need to learn more about the contents of the food you typically eat (carbs, fat and calories), which foods you should eat more or less of, and how those foods affect your blood glucose and overall health.

Here are a few recipes and resources to explore:

Chef Robert Lewis, the Happy Diabetic Chef

Diabetes Daily

Diabetes Strong

Diabetes Self Management Magazine

Diabetic Foodie

7. Not Taking Your Prescribed Medications Is a Dangerous Thing to Do

From the first day of a diagnosis, most people require medications to keep diabetes in check and maintain good health. Many people worry that taking medications might be bad for their health as well as too costly. Yes, there are diabetes medications that have negative side effects, but these are typically outweighed by the positive benefits to your long-term health. To stay healthy, your goal shouldn’t be to take fewer medications, but to make sure your numbers (A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol) are in a safe range. Talk about the pros and cons of medications with your doctor, and ask about other options, especially if they are too bothersome or expensive. Then you can make an informed decision.

8. Protecting Your Heart Should Be Your First Concern

Heart disease is the major health concern for people with type 2 diabetes. Attention to lowering the risk for heart problems is the main reason why people with diabetes are living longer than ever. According to scientific studies, the most important areas to address, in order of importance, are smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, A1c, and fitness. Talk to your doctor about your risk and what you can do.

9. Focus on Developing a Healthier Lifestyle, Not Weight Loss

Increasing your fitness and choosing healthier foods (for example, more fruits and vegetables, smaller portions, and less saturated fats) will have a bigger impact on your diabetes and heart health than losing weight. This is good news, since weight loss can be frustrating and difficult. Of course, exercising more and making smarter food choices may lead to a lower weight over time. But keep the focus on improving your health, not just improving your weight.

10. Don’t Do Diabetes Alone

Life with diabetes is just easier when you have people in your life cheering you on. Good diabetes care takes attention and effort, and you may at times feel overwhelmed, discouraged, isolated or even burned out. Your motivation can be sapped by the stresses of daily life or even problems with depression, which are common in people with diabetes. To protect yourself, make sure you identify at least one person in your life who will support you and your efforts to manage diabetes. It could be anyone: a family member, good friend, trusted healthcare professional, or support group. Also, find a doctor you really trust, can be honest with, and feel is on your side. Living well with diabetes is always easier when someone you like and respect is cheering for you.

Here are a few ways you can involve people you love, or find new friends in the DOC (diabetes online community) who totally get you:

Finding Support When You Have Diabetes Burnout

The Online Diabetes Community

With all of the information, medications and resources we have today, people with diabetes have an excellent chance of avoiding serious complications and can live a long, healthy, and happy life!

 

From the Behavioral Diabetes Institute and TCOYD

17 Comments
  1. Avatar

    Very educational. Love all the helpful information. Keep up the good work. Thank you for all of your help and support.

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    Looks like a good forum/ site. I need more info on early dawn syndrome.Day numbers are easily manageable, only problem is a.m. numbers.Some Drs. don’t worry about 7.5 for an hr. And a half, others panic. Who can give me some advice.

  3. Both my maternal grandparents where diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and were on Insulin jabs.
    They didn’t have the best of diets which I assumed was the cause of it as they got older. It was a wake up call which made both of them clean up their diets. They are both no longer around but they lived to a ripe old age so it’s definitely a medical condition that can be managed.

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    My husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a few years ago. Some might say that it’s a death sentence but he did a total overhaul of his unhealthy lifestyle after this. Otherwise his heavy drinking and smoking habits would have a much more adverse effect on his health than diabetes.

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    All good things to live by.
    I had an accident last year that was kind of a blessing in disguise. I shattered my ankle during hurricane Irma and was incapacitated for nearly 6 months. I’ve only now begun to exercise again on the elliptical in the mornings.
    In any case, before he accident, my A1C was 10.5, and my last trip to the doctor showed it to be 5.6. (Type 2 but take insulin to control)
    I’ve largely been able to control the blood sugar by changing my diet, from a rather carb rich (Spaghetti Monday’s etc) to making homemade soups high in fiber and vegetables with only a small amount of pasta’s or rice as a complement rather than a staple. I’ve also lost 30lbs eating this way.
    I won’t say it’s not without challenges, especially after getting back to work and having bagels brought in once a week, but by bringing in food and avoiding offerings, I’ve been able to keep the blood sugar in check. So, while I didn’t really believe it before, I now know you can control this disease, and live a healthier life.

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      Way to go, John! Thank you for your comment and congratulations on the A1c and all the positive changes you are making!

    • do you have to eat alot less in amounts of foods,,,my daughter was diagnosed with type 2 and she says she is always hungary,, i am trying to find out info about what you can eat, how much and also get some recipes

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        Hi Christine,
        We have a lot of great recipes on our blog and there are lots of wonderful food bloggers out there, but you and your daughter may want to visit with a dietitian for recommendations and advice specifically suited to her needs.

  6. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 3 years back. The main concern found was unhealthy lifestyle. I took great care after as I left drinking and smoking habits.

    Thanks for sharing such an inspirational post.

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    This was very helpful. I just got diagnosed last week and I was devastated at first. However I’m so glad I was able to find out why I had not been feeling well in the last few months. I am starting to realize that this is a lifetime journey towards being healthy. I know that not all days will be good days, but I think I’m the long run I will be more healthier. My husband already had diabetes so that helped me deal with the diagnosis. I believe when we work together we both can defeat this disease, instead of letting it defeat us.

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    I was diagnosed with type 2 a month ago. The doctor told me she was shocked, and I was also. Told my family we were going to be making a lot of changes, and with their support we have all been eating healthy, working out and losing some weight. I have a husband with type 1 and have always been aware of counting his carbs and not having sugar around, but kids and I would have ice cream when he wasn’t home, or eat fast food that no one should eat. Now I worry for our kids, having 2 parents with diabetes. I did feel like this diagnoses was my fault. No history of diabetes in my family. At age 46 I have some belly fat, but didn’t worry I was at risk for diabetes ever. Now my motto is nothing tastes better than healthy feels! I have more energy, as we all do. Support is very important. Friends have let me down and even family saying it’s probably a mistake or they can’t eat with me anymore. Yes, I have drastically changed my ways. I want to be around for my kids for a long time. Make your home a safe place, food wise. Cleaning out pantry and fridge, only bring in healthy options. Great low carb, sugar free items- but read labels. Veggies and lean meats. I am never hungry. Cutting out bad food initially wasn’t too hard- fear motivates you rapidly. But now not even craving bad stuff happily. Taking meds, testing blood, drinking water, and sleeping enough. It isn’t anything too difficult we just have to do it. The numbers on the glucose monitor and scale are motivational. So many great recipes online. My son who is 17 said he loves trying all the new foods! I see this lifestyle change as positive for my family. For anyone newly diagnosed you are not alone, and you can make good choices and take control of your health! My daughter and husband have people at work offering them sweets regularly. I say tell them keep it away from me!! We live in a society with garbage food everywhere. So many type 2 diabetics. We have power to change things, by not spending our money on junk/fast food. Rice, potatoes, pasta and bread aren’t your friends either. I did find whole wheat flax seed tortillas at Sam’s Club that have only 4 net carbs! I am cooking all our meals, packing lunches. Amazing what a month can do. Wish I’d gone for a checkup before being diagnosed, caught it at prediabetic. Can’t change that now. Keep at it, everyone. Take care of you and your families.

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      Very well said, Sharon! Thank you so much for sharing your story and for all of your great suggestions on what has worked well for you and your family!

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        I have no medical insurance now. Back in February of this year my old Dr told me I was prediabetic. I’m afraid to say I’m sure I have it now. My feet hurt and just not feeling well. So when is it too late to go to the Dr? I’m worried. I probably need medicine right away. I’ve already started to eat healthier and now doing portion control

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          I also can’t afford blood test and care for it. Any suggestions?

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          Hi Kim,

          First of all, good for you for taking some positive steps for your health! If you would like to check to see how your blood sugar is doing, you can purchase an inexpensive glucose meter from Walmart and test your blood sugar before and after eating. As far as medical treatment, you may want to check with your local government agency to inquire about free clinics in your area. You can also check with the ADA (diabetes.org) to see if they have a local chapter near you and can offer additional resources.

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    HELPFULL WE ARE SO GREATFULL,IT WAS NOT EASY FOR MY SISTER TO ADMIT BUT THIS INFORMATION REALY HELP ME TO MAKE HER UNDERSTAND

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