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Type 2 Diabetes: Coping With the News

Learn how to control it, then find a support group.

In Denial continued...

But diabetes does not have to take over your life. With just a few lifestyle changes, it can be controlled, Phillips says. "It doesn't require hours of time every day."

Controlling blood sugar is Priority No. 1: "You have to check your blood sugar before you eat -- four, maybe five times a day. It takes about a minute each time," Phillips explains. "Taking a pill takes no time at all. Even if you need an insulin injection, that's less than a minute or two. You have to think about what you eat, but that will not require hours." Even regular exercise (like walking) takes half an hour maximum, a few days a week.

Ignore at Your Own Risk

Treatments for type 2 diabetes are light-years better than 40 years ago, even 10 years ago. "The medications are better, blood testing meters are better, it's not like it used to be," says Schafer. "I tell people, 'Bad things happen, but they don't have to happen to you.'"

Ignore medical advice -- but at your own peril. "If you don't take care of yourself, you'll be seeing your doctors again in a few years," she says. "You're going to be back with eye problems, kidney problems, burning and tingling of the feet and hands, in pain, suffering, and scared. You need to take care of it now."

If you feel anxious about all this, talk with your social worker, Schafer says. Some patients benefit from seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist. Some take medication for their anxiety and depression. Sometimes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) masquerades as anxiety, so it's important to have the problem addressed.

Also, find a diabetes support group, she suggests. "That's where people find the motivation they need. A support group gives a feeling of hope. People know each other like family. It's a wonderful thing. They get strength, support from each other. They help each other deal with this thing in their lives."

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Reviewed on July 01, 2006

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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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