New to type 2?
Newly diagnosed and feeling overwhelmed? Check out these helpful ideas for learning to manage your diabetes care
Stay positive with these tips
Keep in Mind: You’re Among Millions Today, according to Diabetes Australia, 1.7 million Australians live with diabetes. Around the world, according to the International Diabetes Federation, there are over
427 million adults (20-79 years) with diabetes, with an expected rise to over 600 million by 2045. So you’re not alone! And with millions of people dealing with diabetes and more health experts searching for ways to improve care, it’s constantly in the news. Read reliable sources for accurate, science-based information and be cautious of false promises, quick fixes and magic potions that advertise ‘diabetes cures’.
Celebrate the Robust Amount of Research
Two realities fuel the flames of interest in and funding for diabetes research: the epidemics of obesity and type 2, and the increase in people diagnosed with type 1. For-profit businesses and non-profit diabetes-related associations are working hard to get the latest developments to market. This includes both finding cures in the distant future and zeroing in on new treatments and technologies around the corner. Promising technologies – including making glucose monitoring and tracking easier and quicker and insulindelivery devices simpler to use and carry – are not far off. More new medications to lower and control blood glucose levels and delay the complications of diabetes are being developed than ever before. These new medications are aiming for less-frequent dosing, minimising hypoglycaemia and assisting with weight loss.
Make Small Changes for BIG Rewards
There is no need to hit the pavement running or go on a rigid, unattainable diet to manage your diabetes. Research shows that a key to controlling type 2 diabetes in the early stages is to lose 5-7 per cent of your body weight and keeping those kilos at bay for years to come. In fact, losing just a few kilos, eating healthier and walking a few times a week can cause blood glucose to plummet if you’ve caught type 2 early enough. Losing a few kilos can also lower blood pressure, improve blood lipids (cholesterol), and help a host of other health problems, such as sleep apnoea. Weight loss after years of having type 2 might not be as impactful on your glucose levels, but healthy eating and exercise are always important for your health.
Partner with Your Provider
Diabetes is a 24/7/365 disease that requires continual treatment adjustments over the years.
While you need to stay in the driver’s seat for your day-to-day management, you’ll want a health care provider who will work with you as a partner in your efforts. Your provider should constantly
These new medications are aiming for lessfrequent
strive to help you fine-tune your treatment to achieve your blood glucose, cholesterol and bloodpressure goals. Search out a knowledgeable and up-to-date provider, one who knows and uses new medications, technologies and behaviourchange strategies. Make sure your provider knows the Best Practice Guidelines of Australia and orders the tests and checks that you need to prevent or detect diabetes complications.
Find a Diabetes Educator
Why do you need to work with a diabetes educator? They can help you learn about diabetes and specifically about your diabetes. They can help you set goals for behaviour change, understand the meaning of your blood glucose results and advocate for you with your other providers. Maybe most important of all, your diabetes educator can serve as your cheerleader or shoulder to cry on.
The most common place to find a diabetes educator or a diabetes education program is in hospitalbased programs or in your primary care provider’s practice.
Ask your provider for a referral for diabetes education.
Seek Out Support – Globally & Locally
With millions of people around the globe dealing with diabetes every day, social media and networking among people with diabetes and caregivers (such as parents) has exploded. The virtual arms of a warm and inviting diabetes online community are ready to welcome you. Here are a few options to check out:
Are you on Twitter?
Use the hashtag #dsma and you’ll find yourself engaged with many enthusiastic members of the diabetes online community (#doc).
Not ready to dive into the Twitter chat?
You may just want to read other people’s tweets before writing your own. If so, search on Twitter for the
hashtags #diabetes, #doc, and #dsma. You’ll find plenty of diabetes-related tweets.
Maybe you want to check out a few diabetes blogs or find just one that speaks to your immediate interest, situation, or type of diabetes. They are all different. To get started, check out this month’s blogs on page 11.
Social media not your thing? Ask your diabetes educator if there is a diabetes support group in your area.
Connect with Another
With diabetes being so common, it’s not hard to find other people with the condition. Look for opportunities to connect with those who successfully manage their diabetes, live a similar lifestyle to yours and are willing to share. Ask to chat, go for a walk or meet for coffee. Gather information about how they deal with situations you struggle with every day, or even only once in a while. Get practical tips for your daily to-do list, such as taking medications, checking glucose levels and more. Help someone else who is struggling. Form one or more supportive partnerships. There is strength in numbers!
Take Action to Get More Active
The benefits of being physically active cannot be overemphasised – especially for people newly diagnosed with type 2. Being more active includes getting about 30 minutes of physical activity as many days a week as you can. It also means limiting the amount of time you sit on the sofa or at a desk. Get up and walk around to stretch your legs and get your blood moving.
Moving more offers you all the general benefits of physical activity and being fit, including better sleep, more energy, greater agility and healthier skin. Add these to the exercise benefits for people with type 2: keeping off lost weight, healthier cholesterol and heart, lower blood glucose levels and improved insulin sensitivity that allows your body to make better use of the insulin it continues to make. Suffice it to say, exercise is medicine!
Chart and Check Your Progress
Taking care of diabetes calls for careful charting and tracking. And it takes time and energy to chart what you eat, the medications you take, your glucose results and physical activity. But seeing the fruits of your labour over time can be rewarding and motivating.
Today there is a range of charting tools available to you. They include everything from paper and pencil to mobile and online apps and glucose-monitoring devices that download from your meter or smartphone. You’ll want to track your day-to-day data as well as the results of your quarterly and annual tests and checks. Give yourself a pat on the back for each of your successes!
Heed the Wake-Up Call for Healthy Living
Most people with newly diagnosed type 2 carry around extra weight. And they either have heart disease or are at risk of it, along with other weightrelated health problems. The good news is that the same actions that can lower or control your blood sugar can also help you lose weight, improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and more. Yes, a package deal!
Take a deep breath. Look at your diagnosis of type 2 as a wake-up call. Relish this opportunity to make changes in your lifestyle to improve your health for today and many healthy tomorrows.