The majority of type 1 diabetics are diagnosed as children. However, adult onset is growing.
The opposite is true of type 2 diabetes. More and more children are being diagnosed with the condition, which Is being linked with the growing obesity epidemic.
For many, they are diagnosed as young adults or well into adulthood, and that day still plagues their memories.
It’s a big shock as we come to terms with a new reality - a new normal.
When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the doctor looked me straight in the eye and said “It’s ok, diabetics now live full lives. You’ll live like a normal person and grow old like everybody else“.
I had not prompted this comment, she just felt obliged to part these words of wisdom on me. I was 32 at the time, and knew nothing of diabetes or it’s impact on my life. Very soon though, I would learn that I would need to change my lifestyle a great deal.
Therefore, due to how this disease is managed by the patient, if there’s one thing that rings true upon initial diabetes diagnosis, its this;
Only YOU are responsible for your life. Your health, and your happiness.
We are responsible for administering our medicine ourselves each day. A medicine that could kill us.
Why is it important to state this fact?
Well, my doctor who spoke to me at my diagnosis gave me the impression that I could live ‘like a normal person’, and the reality is that if I want to live to a ripe old age and lessen my chances of complications, I cannot.
I can’t just pop down to a fast food restaurant for a meal without a worry. I can’t go out clubbing and drink my own body weight in beer. I can’t attend a kids birthday party and eat an entire cake.
But why do I want to do these things knowing this isn’t normal. It’s damaging my body and everybody else’s?
I can do a lot, almost anything, but being negligent with my heath is no longer an option.
I have to make substantial changes to my diet. I must include exercise in my life and I need to be diligent in my pursuit of optimal health. This is not easy.
So, you’ve just been diagnosed and there’s more information thrown at you than you can comprehend. Life seems overwhelming and you’ve no idea how you’ll make it through the next few months, let alone years or decades.
It’s ok. We all feel the same way when diagnosed. But by following some simple steps, you can seriously lessen the stress and also help your body out in the process.
Ironically, by implementing a strict routine now, you’re actually decreasing stress and creating an environment where you’re in control. Knowing that you have given yourself the best chance of living a healthy, complication free life is liberating and empowering.
When you’re initially diagnosed, there is a possibility that you’ll still be in the honeymoon phase. A period where your body still produces some insulin, resulting in less injectable insulin being required. Your blood sugars should also be easier to manage as food has less of an impact.
You have more control than you think.
You can help lessen the stress on your pancreas, and preserve beta cell function during this period. This can prolong the honeymoon phase substantially or even indefinitely.
How do you help your pancreas?
Remove high-carb foods immediately. You’ll lessen the risk of getting high and low blood sugars, as you’ll require less insulin when eating. Stay away from any confectionary (sweets, chocolate, cake etc), grain products (cereal, rice, bread, pizza), starchy vegetables like potatoes, and fruit.
Exercise will make you more sensitive to insulin, meaning you‘ll need less and will also help your body process food better. Your metabolism increases and your muscles utilise the glucose in your bloodstream to provide energy and repair. All this results in more stable and lower blood sugars.
Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acid supplements. There are studies that have shown taking vitamin d and Omega-3 fatty acid can prolong the honeymoon phase and can also help keep blood sugars balanced. Vit D and Omega-3 are known for their anti-inflammatory properties so even if you’re sceptical, they‘re natural and not doing your body any harm.
Get to know Insulin.
This might sound obvious, but understanding how insulin affects your blood sugars is vital. This will take some time as you test and test again.
Don’t stop testing, as you’ll keep learning what foods, exercise and stressors impact your blood sugars. You may be told that you don’t want to test your blood sugars more than 4 to 8 times per day. This is because we don’t want to get ‘burnt out‘. But the reality is (in my humble opinion), you need to test more frequently at the beginning because you simply don’t know what impacts your blood sugars and to what extent.
I checked my blood sugars on average 30 times per day for 3 years as I needed to understand all the factors affecting me. This has dropped now but naturally, not through fear of the unknown.
Create a new normal.
No-one wants be told they have a chronic disease, but there are millions that fall prey to this reality. We’re actually incredibly lucky to still be alive and have the capacity to manage our condition.
We now have amazing technology that can assist us to get even better blood sugars, but be cautious and don’t think you can eat and drink what you want and just let the tech do the thinking for you.
Work closely with your medical team and challenge them whenever you feel necessary. Diabetes is different for everyone to some degree, and you may find something doesn’t work for you that does for others.
Create a new routine and eat right. Exercise and educate yourself on your condition. This will empower you and lessen the stress from all that diabetes has to throw at you.
Thanks for reading
Believe the hypo