You’ve been a Diabetic for one year: what happens now?

Well done! You’ve made it through your first year as a Diabetic.

9 months living with Diabetes
It’s hard to believe that one year ago we were talking through the overwhelming experience of your diagnosis, and all the information that probably felt as if it was being dumped onto you at that time.

How do you feel about your first year as a Diabetic?

Thanks to the adjustments you’ve made from both the nine-month mark and actually over the whole of the last year, coupled with the support of your doctor, family, and friends, you’ve transitioned well. Maybe you’re an expert at sticking to your Diabetic diet, or taking your Diabetes medication at the right time, every day. You may even be the go-to person in your family, work or social circle for healthy snack information and ideas.

We believe you have come far enough on your own journey with Diabetes to start lending a helping hand to others who may also have been diagnosed as Diabetic within the past year. Well done, we congratulate you on your progress!

Is it easier to control your blood sugar levels now?

It should be, but not everyone’s the same. It depends on whether you started your treatment plan as soon as you were diagnosed, your Diabetes Type and the changes you’ve had to make and how your support circle functions. But, if you’ve been following our support journey, taking our advice along the way, noticing any deviations and then relying on your support structures, it is probably much easier indeed, to control your blood sugar levels now compared to a year ago.

What’s a Diabetic support circle?

It hasn’t always been easy, but thanks to the support of your family, friends, doctor, and colleagues, you’ve been helped along the way. As a Diabetic, you’ve learnt the importance of being assisted when you need it, and you’ve learnt new ways to keep life fun yet simple as you progress. Your support circle helps you to:

  • Stick to your Diabetic diet: In most instances, your family will also be “eating Diabetic” too, and your friends are slowly becoming experts at catering for you at functions too.
  • Get regular exercise as a Diabetic: Whether it’s a morning walk with the whole family, regular gym sessions, or attending a regular exercise class, you’ve been making good progress with your physical fitness too.
  • Ensure you stay on track: Regular check-ups and health monitoring, conducted in collaboration with your doctor, have helped you stay healthy, and improve your wellbeing, as you progress through life as a Diabetic.

Can you celebrate your one-year-milestone with Diabetes?

We’re not saying you should steer right off course, but we do think that you should acknowledge how far you have come since you were first diagnosed as Diabetic. Plan a little party, or a small celebration, with your family and friends. We recommend making it a full celebration of life as a Diabetic. Here are some ideas:

  • Create a celebration: Grab this Diabetes Recipe Book from Sweetlife for some culinary inspiration.
  • Start a gratitude journal: This is different to the kind of journal you might keep to manage your mental health, in which you vent out negative thoughts and emotions. A gratitude journal is about thriving. It’s a focused exercise in ensuring you stay positive and committed to your Diabetic lifestyle. We love this idea because it helps you reflect on your progress, and motivates you towards the future.

Are you prepared for ‘Diabetic emergencies’?

By now, you know how to keep yourself healthy throughout the day, but the advent of a Diabetic coma can still feel frightening to contemplate. That’s why we recommend setting up a Diabetic emergency plan. This will help to allay some of your fears, and perhaps any fears your family and friends may have.

We believe there are three steps towards creating a Diabetic emergency plan:

Diabetic emergencies: what is a Diabetic coma?

A Diabetic coma can be caused by a number of factors or variables. Skipping medication, consuming too much alcohol, or missing meals can cause a Diabetic coma. Similarly, an illness or infection can cause a Diabetic coma.

A Diabetic coma comes about as a result of severe spikes in your blood sugar level, or extreme dips in your blood sugar level. In short, a Diabetic coma is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

What to do if you’re entering a Diabetic coma:

A Diabetic coma usually moves through a few stages, from you being aware that you’re not feeling well, moving into unconsciousness. Left untreated, a Diabetic coma can be fatal. If you are experiencing any symptoms of extreme blood sugar levels, make sure to let the people around you know, and get to a medical emergency room as quickly as possible.

Should you tell people if you’re at risk of Diabetic comas?

Wearing a bracelet or band that lists your medical condition can be helpful in an emergency situation. Specialised medical bands and bracelets can list all the information people may need if you are not able to communicate in an emergency. Ask your doctor or clinic sister for advice on the best type of bracelet or band for you to utilise, and make sure you keep this information up to date, either online or on the band itself.

Letting your employer, colleagues, friends, and family know what to do, and who to call, is also vitally important before an emergency occurs. Keep a handy list of emergency contact details somewhere easily accessible at home, and in your office. Ultimately, if you do start to experience the first symptoms of a Diabetic coma, you will need the assistance of others to ensure you get the medical attention you need.

If all else fails, make sure this message stands out as the priority: you need to get to a hospital, and quickly.

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.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Does being Diabetic change your identity?

One year ago, when you got the news that you were Diabetic, it may have seemed like it impacted your identity for sure. But now, being a year into this journey, you’re realising that you can still be the same person and manage Diabetes effectively. You’ve had time to explore all the elements of your life that you feel have been impacted by your diagnosis and you’ve had time to match some support structures to those.

Diabetes is something you have, but it doesn’t have to define you or confine you to a limited way of living.

What are the costs associated with being Diabetic?

We did discuss this at your nine-month milestone, but now’s when it really counts. As you face the rest of your life with your Diabetic health status, your financial needs are undoubtedly going to be different from the life you lived prior to this past year. You might believe that having an emergency plan closes the chapter on your lifelong Diabetes preparedness, but it’s not that simple.

There’s a whole future ahead of you, and ensuring that your family is taken care of, regardless of emergencies, forms a big part of that. A lot depends on where you are right now: your relationship status; your family plans and the legacy you want to leave behind when the inevitable ultimately happens. What do you want to be remembered for?

How to build a financial legacy as a Diabetic:

The world hardly ever remembers what you have; it remembers what you give or have given. Example: nobody reveres Nelson Mandela for the kind of car he owned while he was President of South Africa – almost everybody reveres him because of his role in the evolution of democratic South Africa. Think about the doors of opportunity you would like to leave ajar for the people who depend on you now, or the people who will grow to do so during the course of your life.

What kind of financial products work best for Diabetics?

Diabetics have specific needs, but your individual context will also inform what’s going to work best for you. What we at AllLife offer to Diabetic men and women is the chance to leave up to R10million to the people who depend on you, after the event of your death. This can be done by getting Diabetic life cover with us, and the money that your loved ones will get can be used to pay for all kinds of things:

  • Housing costs like bonds, rent, rates, levies and utilities
  • Education costs like tuition, varsity, stationery, equipment and uniforms
  • Transport costs such as car payments, insurance, maintenance and repairs
  • Other kinds of insurance commitments, like home insurance

Does AllLife offer Diabetic insurance?

Yes, we help Diabetic men and women get up to R10million life cover. Your cover is valid from the very first day you pay your first premium, right up until the event of your death (provided that all premiums are paid on time). There is also optional Disability cover, through which you can choose to receive up to 75% of your policy value paid to you in the event that you are rendered physically and/or mentally impaired and unable to work thereafter.

What else does AllLife offer Diabetics?

We also have a 24hr Health Helpline for those really dark moments when our clients just need a shoulder to lean on, and we remind our clients about their routine blood tests. There’s our dedicated Diabetes website, being updated regularly with information about Diabetes, research on the condition and advice for managing it or supporting someone whom you care about, through his/her own journey as a Diabetic. There’s also our Facebook page where we share similar advice and information, as well as direct updates from health-related organisations and authorities on Diabetes.

Sources:

Bass, K., 2018. Diabetic Coma: Recovery And Causes. [online] MedicalNewsToday. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311193.php [Accessed 30 October 2020].

Cleveland Clinic. 2017. Diabetic Coma. [online] Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16628-diabetic-coma [Accessed 30 October 2020].

Mayo Clinic. n.d. Diabetic Coma – Symptoms And Causes. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-coma/symptoms-causes/syc-20371475 [Accessed 30 October 2020].

Mayoclinic.org. n.d. Type 2 Diabetes – Diagnosis And Treatment – Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351199 [Accessed 30 October 2020].

Neithercott, T., 2012. Your Blueprint For A Diabetes Treatment Plan. [online] Diabetes Forecast. Available at: http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2012/apr/your-blueprint-for-a-diabetes-treatment-plan.html [Accessed 30 October 2020].

Roland, J., 2018. Diabetic Coma: Recovery, Prevention, And More. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetic-coma-recovery [Accessed 30 October 2020].

Sweet Life. 2019. Free Diabetes Guidebook. [online] Available at: https://sweetlife.org.za/free-diabetes-guidebook/ [Accessed 30 October 2020].

WebMD. 2019. Understanding Diagnosis And Treatment Of Diabetes. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/understanding-diabetes-detection-treatment#1 [Accessed 30 October 2020].

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.

Related articles

9 months living with Diabetes

Do you feel different after nine months with Diabetes?

As time goes by, it surprises you to reflect on just how long you’ve been living with Diabetes.

Testing and monitoring your blood sugar levels.

Getting tested for, monitoring and managing Diabetes

Getting tested for Diabetes is a process.

Four simple tips to help you cope with anxiety as a Diabetic.

Coping with anxiety as a Diabetic.

Anxiety can exhibit itself in many symptoms.