Hear­ing You Have Di­a­betes

The People's Friend - - Health -

Our Health Writer, Colleen Shan­non, finds out how a di­ag­no­sis af­fects you and who can help.

EV­ERY day some 400 peo­ple in the UK are told that they have di­a­betes. It is a mo­ment that changes your whole life.

Sud­denly, you have to learn all about man­ag­ing a com­plex con­di­tion. It means watch­ing what you eat, check­ing your blood sugar, and pos­si­bly tak­ing daily med­i­ca­tion.

Nine in ten suf­fer­ers have type 2 di­a­betes, which usu­ally ap­pears in mid­dle and older age. It can come as a shock, es­pe­cially if you’re feel­ing fine.

For­tu­nately, no-one has to face a di­ag­no­sis alone. This is what I heard from Emma Elvin, Se­nior Clin­i­cal Ad­vi­sor at Di­a­betes UK.

She told me that peo­ple re­spond to the news in dif­fer­ent ways, but be­ing di­ag­nosed with type 2 di­a­betes can feel dev­as­tat­ing.

Some­times there is the un­cer­tainty of when to start treat­ment; ev­ery­one needs to make life­style changes and you might fear the long-term ef­fects on your health. It can be pretty over­whelm­ing, not only for you but also for your fam­ily and close friends.

Some peo­ple might feel iso­lated or em­bar­rassed about their di­ag­no­sis. So it is im­por­tant to seek emo­tional sup­port from your GP, di­eti­cian, nurse and con­sul­tant physi­cian, who can build your con­fi­dence.

De­spite com­mon per­cep­tions, type 2 di­a­betes is never “mild”. It is a se­ri­ous con­di­tion that can lead to long-term health prob­lems if not man­aged. The good news is, tak­ing some prac­ti­cal steps can go a long way to­wards con­trol­ling di­a­betes.

Fol­low­ing a bal­anced diet, get­ting reg­u­lar ex­er­cise and keep­ing a healthy weight will help you achieve healthy lev­els of choles­terol, blood sugar and blood pres­sure, low­er­ing the risk of long-term com­pli­ca­tions such as dam­age to the eyes, heart, kid­neys and nerves.

Some peo­ple man­age their type 2 di­a­betes with tablets, in­jectable med­i­ca­tion or in­sulin.

Learn­ing about di­a­betes is es­sen­tial. Make sure you know the level of care and the an­nual health checks you should re­ceive from the NHS. Search “15 Health­care Essen­tials” on the Di­a­betes UK web­site at www.di­a­betes.org.uk.

At the time you are di­ag­nosed, you should be of­fered a group ed­u­ca­tion course. Di­a­betes UK also of­fers an on­line Learn­ing Zone which is avail­able through the web­site.

By pro­vid­ing de­tails about your di­a­betes, you can use the Learn­ing Zone to get tai­lored in­for­ma­tion about man­ag­ing your con­di­tion.

For help with ques­tions, you can con­tact the char­ity’s helpline on 0345 123 2399, to speak with their trained coun­sel­lors.

If you are just get­ting used to your new di­ag­no­sis – or even if you are a vet­eran at di­a­betes man­age­ment but feel a bit low or un­sure about some­thing – please don’t hes­i­tate to take ad­van­tage of all the free and con­fi­den­tial help that is on of­fer. ■

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.