A change in diet and meal planning is almost certainly going to be a part of a diabetes treatment plan, as the foods you eat will affect your blood sugar levels. This can affect family meal times since you may have to modify your food choices, eat smaller portions, as well as eat regularly (or smaller, more frequent meals) to avoid dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar.
This can be difficult for the other members of your family to adjust to. This is especially hard if they're accustomed to certain foods that you now need to limit in your diet. Make meal-time an adventure; try out some new tasty diabetic-friendly recipes to try to ease your family into your new way of eating. You can even offer a homemade diabetic-friendly dessert as an incentive for them to try new dishes.
Likewise, it will be hard to adjust to having dinner at a restaurant or attending a party where there are all sorts of tempting treats. It may well be that you need to eat a higher-protein, higher-fiber snack before going to the party so that it's easier for you to resist munching foods you shouldn't. Some restaurants will be accommodating if you ask them to prepare a dish a little differently. If you don't want to ask in front of your dinner companions, call ahead and see if the restaurant can meet your request.
Anyone who doesn't have an established exercise routine will tell you how hard it is to get started. Plus you may have to deal with unsupportive friends or family members who don't understand why you want to exert yourself so much - and let's face it, it's hard to exercise diligently when the rest of your family is parked in front of the TV, relaxing!
But it's important. Start slow. Pick an exercise you can stick with, even if it's just walking for 15 minutes/day. Gradually increase the amount of exercise you get. Exercising at the same time every day makes it easier to get into a routine.
Remember that all types of exercise, for even short durations, is beneficial. Walk, weight-train, dance, roller-blade, go skiing, go swimming, take an aerobics class, join a fun sports league, play tag with the kids or go hiking with the dog -- "exercise" doesn't mean you have to pound away on a treadmill if that's not your thing! Or stock up on a variety of exercise videos. Choose something new and interesting, like yoga, tai chi, dance, or zumba.
Being active is important - choose something you enjoy.
Diabetics often feel very tired, thirsty, and often times get don't a good night's sleep (see more signs of diabetes). This can make it difficult to do things like plan proper meals or stick with your exercise routine.
Another consequence of type 2 diabetes is its affect on a person's sex life. Women with diabetes often have less interest in sex and experience a decrease in vaginal lubrication (which can make intercourse painful). They may also experience recurring yeast infections. Men may experience periods of impotence. These issues can obviously cause frustration in a relationship but they can be alleviated somewhat by medication and over-the-counter products.
Other physical changes can include itchy, dry skin, foot pain, neuropathy or nerve pain, recurring Candida infections, dental problems, and more. More serious health complications can also result from diabetes.
Make sure you're getting regular visits to your doctor to make any necessary adjustments to your diabetes treatment plan. And make sure you follow the plan -- untreated diabetes, or improperly managed diabetes, can lead to additional complications and thus decreased life expectancy.
People with diabetes can do almost any job that someone without diabetes can do (a few rare jobs may be restricted due to the nature of the work involved). However, many diabetics have to give themselves insulin injections. In the workplace this has the potential to be awkward for both you or for your colleagues. Find a discrete way to give yourself the shot, somewhere that you feel comfortable. There's no need to tell everyone that you are diabetic unless you feel you want to... but someone in the workplace should be aware of your condition so that they can get help if needed.
Blood monitoring equipment (glucometer), test strips, medication and insulin all cost money. Getting life insurance may also be more difficult -- and more expensive, if you're able to get it -- for someone with diabetes. Costs of a change in diet and memberships to the gym, or the purchase of exercise equipment, are all things that also need to be considered.
Newly-diagnosed people often wonder, how does diabetes affect a person's lifestyle? As you can see, it's more than just a physical adjustment - it affects every part of your life. If you are having trouble adjusting, or are experiencing depression or unusual mood swings, talk to your doctor. Your doctor -- and dietitians, counsellors, or other specialists -- can help you to adjust to your new life. Diabetes is a manageable condition, and it is well worth the time and effort to discover what will keep you feeling your best.