Help! I’ve Been Diagnosed With Diabetes
Receiving a diagnosis of diabetes can bring up feelings of fear, sadness, and even anger. That’s normal and nothing you should hide. It will also bring up many questions. Knowing you have diabetes will require some lifestyle changes, but rest assured it does not have to be life-changing. No matter what type of diabetes you have, there are many ways to manage it that will allow you to spend your days how you want to.
Because we believe knowledge is power, we’re offering a general overview of the most common types of diabetes so you can better understand what is happening and what taking control of your health will look like. Just remember you are not alone. According to the CDC, just over 1 in 10 people in the United States have diabetes, meaning more than likely a friend, family member, or even the person who lives next door share a diagnosis with you and you may have never known.
The most common types of diabetes are Prediabetes, Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational (we’ll cover other types in an upcoming blog).
Type 1 diabetes affects only 5-10% of those living with diabetes. It was previously known as juvenile diabetes because it often surfaces in children or young adults. Type 1 is caused by an autoimmune reaction where the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are being destroyed by your own body. Without the ability to make insulin, the pancreas cannot do its job of helping blood sugar enter your body’s cells to give you energy. Genetics can play a role in who becomes diabetic, but for Type 1, environmental triggers like viruses can also be the culprit.
Prediabetes is exactly what it says—you’re on your way to Type 2 diabetes unless you take action. Look at it as a wake-up call to start watching your diet, exercising, and, most important, monitor your blood glucose levels. You and your health care management team can devise the most effective plan forward and with some simple lifestyle adjustments, beat back diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form affecting 90-95% of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Unlike Type 1, Type 2 diabetes usually appears later in life in those over the age of 45. In this disease, the pancreas makes too much insulin because the cells of the body have become insulin resistant and don’t absorb blood sugars for energy. In response, the pancreas keeps making more and more insulin thinking the body’s cells will respond. Eventually, the pancreas taps out and your blood sugar rises. Similar to Type 1, Type 2 diabetes can be caused by genetic factors, and even heritage, but being overweight and inactive, and not having a healthy diet also contribute to the disease. While this does mean some of your choices in life may have contributed to your having diabetes, it also means you have the power to reverse the effects and restore your health.
Gestational diabetes is relatively rare and occurs in just 2-10% of women in the U.S. who are pregnant. On a similar path to Type 1, the body becomes unable to make enough insulin, but, in this case, that’s due to the hormonal and weight changes experienced during pregnancy. The body’s cells become insulin resistant. And while every woman develops some insulin resistance during the later term of a pregnancy, women who start off with a greater need for insulin can develop gestational diabetes. Maintaining a healthy diet can help ward off the disease, but the good news is post-pregnancy, diabetes often disappears.
The tricky thing about diabetes is that you can have it for months or even years without knowing. The only sure way to know is to have your blood tested. Your health care provider will do an A1C test to measure blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months and will be able to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. So, if anything seems amiss, get to your doctor and get a blood test.
Guess what? No matter which type of diabetes you have, diet and exercise can help reduce the symptoms and risk. If you couple that with regular blood sugar monitoring and any medication your doctor prescribes, you can lead the life you want. And if you find you need to regularly test your blood, remember Genteel offers a painless solution that won’t leave you with sore fingers and unable to comfortably use your hands. Contact us to find out more.
Look at your diabetes diagnosis as just the first step towards better health. Now that you know what was making you feel so bad, you can start working towards feeling better.