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After learning that you have diabetes, your whole world might pause for a moment. What does this mean for my health? My lifestyle?
It’s true: diabetes will require some life changes but take heart and feel empowered that you can transform your whole health — and life— for the better. We know that change is never easy, so our expert team at the AdventHealth Diabetes Institute can help you take charge with a supportive personalized plan of action.
To get started, here are some important things to know about diabetes.
Over three million Americans are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes each year. If you’ve just received a diagnosis, you’re certainly not alone. Many people just like you are learning how to live with this manageable disease.
While there are several different forms of diabetes, type 2 diabetes is the most common. With type 2 diabetes, your body resists the insulin it’s making. And, since insulin regulates your blood sugar (glucose) level, your body’s resistance to it creates problems with metabolizing sugar.
If diabetes isn’t well controlled, your body can’t absorb the glucose from the bloodstream and your muscles, organs and even brain might not function optimally. Your body also works harder than necessary to make insulin to help restore your sugar levels, but your body can’t keep up with the demand and your blood glucose raises too high.
Because of this, you might experience these symptoms:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
It’s important to recognize these signs and get treatment for diabetes because having high blood sugar over a long period of time can cause serious health issues in the future, such as:
- Heart attack
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Vision issues
How Your Diabetes Care Team Cares for You
Diabetes is a serious chronic health condition, but fortunately, it can be effectively managed.
Your health care team will work with you to personalize a plan that helps you understand how to manage your condition.
Our team coordinates with many different specialties to make sure your care is well-coordinated. From cooking classes to one-on-one diabetes counseling, you’ll have resources and support to be successful.
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 – one that positively centers your wellness around your body, mind and spirit. Your care team will nurture all aspects of your whole health as you begin your journey to making healthy changes.
One way to keep your spirits high is to have a support person by your side. At the AdventHealth Diabetes Institute, our certified diabetes educators and one-on-one diabetes counselors do just that. They can help you achieve your goals by offering the knowledge and tools you need to adjust to your new lifestyle with more comfort and confidence.
Focusing on Nutrition to Thrive
A diabetes diagnosis calls for changes to what you eat and drink every day. A registered dietician or your health care provider will discuss your current diet and any recommended modifications, 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 foods in your diet
- Eating regularly, including at meals and designated snack times
- Moderating food portions
- Spacing smaller meals throughout the day
Live an Active Life 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 manage your diabetes. A healthy weight can help improve blood glucose levels, along with lower cholesterol and blood pressure – all things that help manage diabetes. Your doctor and care team will help you design a program that will allow you to 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 your care team assess and adjust your medicine, diet and activity plan.
Be Mindful of Your Medications
If your doctor prescribes medicine to help manage your diabetes, follow all instructions and take them exactly as directed. Medicine can help control glucose levels and reduce the risk of short and long-term complications from blood sugar levels getting dangerously high or low. If you have concerns about your medication, bring them up to your doctor or pharmacist so they 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 feel empowered to change your life and thrive with diabetes. Here’s how to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your diabetes diagnosis or that of a loved one.