diabetes diagnosis, you probably have lots of questions. Type 2 diabetes is a manageable condition but will require lifestyle changes in order to control blood sugar levels and keep them within a target range set by your doctor.
Is it possible that my blood test was wrong?
If you only had a single blood test that indicated that you are diabetic, ask to have another one done to confirm it. There are several types of tests available, but the fasting blood glucose test is the most commonly used to diagnose diabetes.
Denial is common -- it's tough to be told that you have diabetes. Denial is also normal. Doctors have heard many people say, "It must be a mistake." However, denying the disease will only harm you in the long run since it may cause you to avoid taking care of yourself. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, not the serious kind. Do I have to treat it?
Yes. All forms of diabetes are serious. Untreated diabetes can lead to a host of other nasty complications like stroke, kidney disease, and heart disease. The good news is that some people's bodies respond very well to lifestyle changes (dietary changes and exercise) - thus medication it not always necessary.
Am I going to have to take insulin shots?
That depends. Some people with Type 2 diabetes can manage their blood glucose through lifestyle changes: dietary changes, regular exercise, and weight loss. Others will need to take either oral diabetes medications or insulin. Your doctor will determine what's needed for your individual situation.
Does that mean I can't eat bread, pasta, or other carbohydrates anymore?
You can still eat carbs. All types of foods are part of a healthy diet. In fact, a healthy " diabetic diet" isn't all that different from a healthy diet for someone without diabetes. You will need to learn to manage the foods you eat, including carbohydrates, to help keep your blood sugar within a normal or near-normal range. Portion control is also important, if you either need to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight. A dietitian can help you create an eating plan that suits you. It will take adjustment if you aren't accustomed to eating this way, or on a specific schedule.
Can I still go out to eat?
Yes, although you will need to be more careful of what you order. Portion control will also be something to think about when eating out - portions in restaurants are often very large. You may need to split your meal into two portions, one of which you can enjoy in the restaurant, and the other portion to enjoy later. Ask your dietitian to help you figure out what to do when eating in a restaurant.
Is treatment going to be expensive?
Test supplies, insulin, and medications are ongoing costs. Insurance may pay for part of what you need. See Diabetes & Life Insurance for more information. Budgeting for visits to a dietitian is also a good idea as he or she can help you tremendously with dietary changes. And because exercise is a part of treatment, you may want to factor in the cost of good shoes (for walking), other home exercise equipment or a gym membership.
Do I have to prick my finger and test my blood?
Regular blood glucose monitoring is essential to make sure your diabetes is well-controlled. However, you don't necessarily have to use your finger as the test site. Many types of blood glucose monitors are available and some offer alternate test sites such as a thigh. Ask your doctor if they have any demo monitors so that you can see how they each work.
Read more about the facts and myths surrounding type 2 diabetes. A diabetes diagnosis will require lifestyle changes. It's up to each of us to take control of our health, despite how difficult it can be to make those adjustments, especially when we're first starting out. However, people with well-managed diabetes can and do lead long and normal lives.