Your first day of living with Diabetes.
Whether you expected it or the news came out of nowhere, your diabetes diagnosis changed your life. If today’s your first day of living with this condition, it may just be the toughest of all.
Whether you expected it or the news came out of nowhere, your Diabetes diagnosis changed your life. If today’s your first day of living with this condition, it may just be the toughest of all. We at AllLife are here to guide you through understanding and managing your Diabetes.
Your doctor, nurse or clinic sister probably gave you so much information all at once. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at this point and perfectly ok to take some time to let everything sink in. Right now, all you need to know is that Diabetes is completely manageable – it’s still possible to live a long happy life.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a health condition which reduces your body’s ability to process sugar. It’s chronic, occurring when your pancreas is unable to produce or impaired in producing insulin, or your body can’t use its existing reserves. Insulin is a hormone, produced by your pancreas, responsible for transforming blood sugar (glucose) into energy. High blood glucose levels, if not treated or managed, lead to a several other health complications.
Diabetes doesn’t ‘happen overnight’
Your mind may gone into a spin in the moment that your doctor, nurse or clinic sister confirmed your Diagnosis. It’s ok if you felt confused, shocked, angry, upset or devastated. Something else which often happens is that people try to go back in their minds, to a specific time or phase in their lives, which they can attribute to this condition.
The challenge with this is that Diabetes doesn’t ‘happen overnight’. It’s gradual and can be related to lifestyle, too. There are three commonly known types of Diabetes, each one with its own specific set of conditions. All of these relate to blood sugar levels. You can be born with Diabetes, have a genetic predisposition or acquire it later on in life.
If you have ever been told that you’re Pre-Diabetic, that was your warning sign and opportunity to turn things around. Although it may now be ‘actual’ Diabetes, you need to remember that this doesn’t stop you from living your best life. You can still regain control and having that mental resilience is equally important for living with Diabetes.
What Type of Diabetes do you have?
When you doctor, nurse or clinic sister told you about your Diabetes, he/she would have mentioned a specific type. This is important to remember because each type requires its own mode of treatment:
- Type 1 (Juvenile Diabetes) occurs when your body is unable to produce insulin. As mentioned earlier, insulin is a hormone which enables your body to process blood sugar or glucose. Type 1 Diabetes is often linked to an underlying health problem or a genetic predisposition or disorder. If you’re diagnosed with Type 1, you’ll need to inject yourself daily and closely monitor your glucose levels.
- Type 2 Diabetes, commonly referred to as a lifestyle disease, is associated with obesity. Because of this, it’s actually preventable. The two most overlooked elements of preventing and managing Type 2 Diabetes are exercise and nutrition. Eat a nutritionally balanced diet, exercise intensely and regularly, and get enough sleep. These three, combined, help your body regulate its circulation and body fat ratio.
- Gestational Diabetes only develops in pregnant women, often ending by the time of birth. During pregnancy, a woman’s body may either struggle or fail to produce and/or process insulin. Women with Gestational Diabetes also run the risk of developing another type later on in life.
Understand more about Diabetes and how to live a happy, healthy life as a Diabetic.
Leave your details below to get more lifestyle tips, updates on medical research, and other resources to help you and your family live a healthy happy life in the presence of Diabetes.
What do you do now?
We understand that the first day is the toughest to endure. You have the diagnosis to process: emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically and socially, too. We’ll talk more about that information after your first week, though.
If you find your mind drifting at work, or your concentration limited, consider asking your doctor, nurse or clinic sister for a medical certificate. You are allowed to take the time you need to attend to your health, and that includes your mental and emotional health too. If you heal by sharing and engaging with others, don’t hesitate to ask for referrals to local support groups. Identify all of the emotions you’re feeling so you can process these effectively. If you have access to a Psychologist, use the opportunity to seek help working through what you may be overwhelmed by.
You can also browse through our dedicated Diabetes website if you feel ready for more information. You’ll find loads of answers to your questions as you browse. Take advantage of these resources and we’ll be here to check up on you at the one week milestone.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018. Prevalence of prediabetes. 19 February. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/prevalence.html [Accessed 15 October 2019].
Hess-Fischl, A. 2019. Prediabetes how to prevent prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes. EndocrineWeb. 9 July. Available at: https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/pre-diabetes/pre-diabetes [Accessed 14 October 2019].
MayoClinic. 2019. Prediabetes. Web page online. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prediabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355278 [Accessed 15 October 2019]
We all have questions.
Below are some of the answers to the most common questions that you need to know.
Which is worse – Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes?
“Worse” is a harsh comparison. The difference between these two types of Diabetes is that Type 1 requires insulin, and it never goes away. Type 2 requires consistent effort and can be managed over your lifetime.
What is the normal HbA1C level?
It is generally accepted that you should maintain HbA1C below 8%. The following guidelines are suggested by the South African Diabetes Association:
- 4 – 6% Non-Diabetic range.
- < 7% Well-controlled Diabetic 7% – 8% Acceptable Diabetic control > 8%
- Poor Diabetic control needs attention.
What is the main cause of Diabetes?
Diabetes (Type 1) is usually a predisposed or genetically inherited condition. Diabetes (Type 2) is caused by lifestyle choices. Gestational Diabetes can be caused by either genetics or lifestyle choices.
What are the first signs of Diabetes?
- Excessive thirst over a prolonged period.
- Increased frequency in the need to urinate.
- Significant weight loss or gain.
- You find yourself fatigued, tired, and irritable, on a regular basis.
- Open or ruptured wounds take a long time to heal.
- Blurred vision.
- Tingling sensations in your hands and feet.
Can you get life insurance if you have Diabetes?
Yes. AllLife can help you get up to R10million life insurance, as either a Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic.
Can I test myself for Diabetes?
Although you can easily test your own blood glucose levels at any time, only your doctor, nurse, or clinic team can confirm a Diabetes diagnosis. This is because a series of specific tests are required for diagnosis.
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