I often hear people refer to Type 1 Diabetes as “the really bad diabetes” because people have to take insulin.
However, did you know that with Type 2 diabetes blood sugars start to go higher than normal up to 10 years before you are diagnosed?
This means that for up to 10 years blood sugars higher than normal can start to do damage to the body and by the time someone is diagnosed they can already have permanent damage to nerves and blood vessels. So the reality is that one type of diabetes is not worse than the other but rather the key to avoiding debilitating effects of diabetes is to stay in control no matter what type you have.
With Type 2 diabetes, the earlier you are diagnosed, the easier it is to control and reverse. Since most people do not have any symptoms, even when blood sugars are in 200s, the only way to know if it is high is to do the blood testing.
I challenge you to change the way you think about diabetes and change the way you take care of your health.
Know Your Risk: Take the ADA Risk Test
Risk Factors include inactivity, extra body weight particularly around the waistline, family history of diabetes or personal history of gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure.
If you want to stay off diabetes medication you need to take charge early – not wait until it takes control of your life.
Know Your Numbers: Don’t depend on your doctor or clinic to keep track for you.
Do you really expect one doctor to keep track of hundreds of patients? Even with electronic medical records your elevated blood sugar level may get overlooked. Ultimately it is your responsibility to take care of your diabetes. Know your A1c, and if you have diabetes get a monitor and learn what the numbers mean. Always get a copy of your lab results and keep it in a file.
Know the Symptoms: Remember that by the time you feel symptoms blood sugars have usually been high for a while.
Blurry vision, thirst, frequent urination, hunger, numbness or tingling in hands or toes, fatigue, or sores that don’t heal can all be symptoms of high blood sugars. If you have any of these symptoms see your doctor.
Know the Power of Nutrition: Don’t underestimate how what you eat and how much you eat affects your blood sugar.
Nutrition therapy is EXTREMELY underutilized in getting you well and keeping you well.
If you learn about diabetes early, nutrition can keep you off medication in 2 ways: weight management and healing nutrients. See a registered dietitian to get recommendations on food changes you could make. Learn how to shop, cook and eat healthier.
Know Your Medications: Ask your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator about the medications you are on.
Keep a list of your medications with you. Learn what each medication is for, what the side effects are and potential interactions with foods, other medications or alcohol.
This is a lot like knowing your numbers. Take time to look over your medications with your pharmacist or doctor. Tell them if you are having trouble with cost, side effects or symptoms you think might be related to a medication.
Know the Power of Muscles: Move More!
Do you know what insulin resistance is? That is the biggest problem with Type 2 diabetes. Your body is making insulin but not using it very well. Guess what moving your muscles does? Lowers blood sugar and helps insulin work better. Exercise is your medicine for insulin resistance. Move Your Muscles More!
I have listed a lot of things you should know but this one is very important. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. You can’t change eating and exercise habits overnight. Get a team of experts on your side so you can go to them with questions. Know when you need help and support and don’t be afraid to ask family or friends for support.
Please let me know what diabetes questions you have by commenting or by contacting me.