A diabetes diagnosis can be a lot to process. But take heart — you’re not alone. More than three million Americans are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes each year. And, there’s a team of expert caregivers by your side to help you take a whole-health approach to managing your condition. To start, we’d like to empower you with some important things to know about diabetes.
The first step in taking control of your diabetes is learning what exactly diabetes is and how to manage it. After all, diabetes is common term, but many people are not sure what it truly means.
In fact, there are several different forms of diabetes, with type 2 diabetes being the most common. Type 2 diabetes means your body is resisting the insulin it’s making. And, since insulin has the important job of regulating your blood sugar (glucose) level, your body’s resistance to it is problematic.
If your condition isn’t well controlled, your muscles, fat, and liver can’t absorb the glucose from the bloodstream they need to function properly. Your body also works harder than necessary to make insulin to help restore your body to no avail — your body can’t keep up with the demand and your glucose levels become too high.
Because of this, you might experience these symptoms of type 2 diabetes:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
It’s important to recognize these signs and get treatment for diabetes because chronic high blood sugar can cause serious health issues, including:
- Heart attack
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Vision issues
How Your Care Team Cares for You
Diabetes is a serious chronic health condition. Fortunately, it can be effectively managed so you can enjoy what brings you joy in life – like your time with family, friends and favorite activities.
Your health care team will work closely with you to develop a plan that helps you understand your diagnosis and manage your condition. Our team works closely across disciplines to make sure you get all of your questions answered and have access to the resources and support you want and need.
Your care team may include:
- Your primary care doctor
- A nurse dedicated to helping answer your questions, coordinate care and connect you with resources
- A diabetes educator to provide education, training and support to help you manage your diagnosis
- A dietician to help you develop healthy eating habits that manage your blood sugar levels
- A pharmacist to answer questions about medication
Living With Diabetes and a Healthy Outlook
Managing diabetes calls for a healthy outlook on life – one that positively centers your wellness around your body, mind and spirit. Your care team will work closely with you to educate and support you as you begin your journey to making healthy changes that improve your whole health.
Focusing on Nutrition to Thrive
There’s no way getting around it – a diabetes diagnosis calls for changes to what you eat and drink every day. A registered dietician or your health care provider will discuss any suggested modifications to your diet, which can include:
- A plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, non-fat dairy, healthy fats, lean meats, or meat substitutes like beans and legumes
- Creating a better variety of the types of food you eat so you don’t eat too much of one food
- Eating regularly, including at meal and designated snack times
- Moderating how much you eat, and trying not too eat too much
- Spacing meals throughout the day
Get Moving for Whole Health With Diabetes
Regular exercise is an important part of managing your blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor about creating an exercise plan with goals that are safe for you. Physical activity can include:
- Aerobic activity that gets your heart pumping
- Regular stretching to help you stay flexible
- Staying active throughout the day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away, or standing up and walking around at least once an hour
- Strength training with weights or resistance bands
Tip the Scale Toward Better Health
Your doctor may recommend weight loss to help you better manage your diabetes. A healthy diet and regular physical activity can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight can help improve blood glucose levels, along with cholesterol and blood pressure – all things that promote whole health your whole life through. Your doctor and care team will work with you to help you reach your goal safely.
Monitor Your Levels
Checking blood glucose levels at home is an important step in understanding and managing your diabetes. Your doctor will discuss whether an at-home blood glucose meter is right for you, and when and how often to check glucose levels. Your blood sugar levels can help up make better choices on how medicine, food and activity can keep your glucose levels within a healthy range.
Be Mindful of Your Medications
If your doctor prescribes medicine to help manage your diabetes, it’s important to follow all instructions and take exactly as directed. Medicine can help control glucose levels and reduce the risk of short and long-term complications from levels getting dangerously high or low. If you have concerns about your medication, bring them up to your doctor so that he or she can ease your mind.
A True Partnership for Whole Health With Diabetes
Whatever your diagnosis and treatment plan include, AdventHealth is here to help you live your best life. Contact us today if you have any questions or concerns about your diabetes diagnosis or that of a loved one.