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Are You in Diabetes Denial?

Denying you have type 2 diabetes won't make it go away. Here's how to accept your diagnosis, manage your disease, and get on with your life.

Tackling Type 2 Diabetes

"Once you recognize that you have a problem that can be managed, you're off to a good start," says Breen.

What's next? Well, if you've been living with symptoms that you suspect might be linked to diabetes, your next stop should be the office of your health care provider.

"Because the symptoms of diabetes can go unnoticed -- or ignored -- it's important that people have regular checkups, which include measuring blood sugar levels to screen for diabetes," says Rubin.

Armed with the news that you have type 2 diabetes, it's time to start managing your health. Here are practical tips to getting over your fear of your newly diagnosed disease:

Make it a group effort. "Use your family for support when you're first diagnosed," says Rubin. "Help them understand what diabetes is about and what changes you need to make -- together -- so you can manage the disease."

Moderation is key. "Moderation in all things is one of the rules I live by," says White, who is living well with type 2 diabetes after 20 years. Instead of asking for a 16-ounce steak at dinner or a pound of macaroni and wolfing it down in 15 minutes, get a smaller portion and make it last at least a half-hour. Turn dinner into an experience, he suggests.

Treat yourself to a healthy snack. Instead of three huge meals throughout the day, which means peaks and valleys for blood sugar levels, White follows an easy and healthy schedule to keep steady all day long: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and then a light snack before bed. What's important when you're making food choices, he says, is to keep it lean and nutritious. Have a half a turkey sandwich on wheat bread for a snack in the afternoon, or an apple before bed.

Watch what you eat. "When I was first diagnosed, I was eating peanut butter cups by the handful," says White. Now, knowing the health consequences of sugar-loading, he might have one sweet snack but certainly not a handful, and he balances his treats with a smart diet throughout the rest of the day.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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