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 continued...
Balance your diet. "Yes, when you're diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you need to have a healthy and well-balanced diet," says Rubin. Does that mean you can never have a piece of pizza again? Not necessarily, he explains. The key is balance; if you have a piece of pizza for lunch, balance it out with an extra healthy dinner of chicken and steamed vegetables.
Step on the scale. "The keys to preventing diabetes in the first place and keeping it under control are substantially related to controlling your weight," says Rubin. In the Diabetes Prevention Program study, people at high risk of developing the disease were found to have about a 50% reduction in risk if they lost just 10 pounds.
Exercise, exercise, exercise! "Increase your physical activity as much as you are able," says Breen. "Even small increases in activity can increase your metabolism and help manage your diabetes." Use the tried-and-true rules of taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther out in the parking lot instead of up close, and walking to the corner store instead of driving.
You can't overcommunicate. "You need to talk to your doctor on a regular basis," says White. "If you don't you could be in for a rude shock when you finally do catch up if untreated health problems have gone on for too long."
Regularly schedule trips to the doctor. "You should have a dilated eye exam every 6-12 months by an ophthalmologist," says Breen. Follow that up with a regular foot exam every three months by a medical professional to check for nerve damage, she recommends, as well as regular screenings to monitor your average blood sugar, cholesterol levels and kidney function. Last but not least, visit a cardiologist as necessary.
Be the boss. "Type 2 diabetes is a disease that a person needs to think about and problem-solve on their own on a daily basis," says Rubin. "You make decisions that are vital to your health all day long: 'How much should I eat, should I exercise, should I check my blood sugar?'" Still, while you are the head of your self-care team, he also agrees you can't forget the team of trained health care professionals who play an important role in keeping you healthy.