Diabetes is a life-changing diagnosis, and if you make the right changes, it’s one that can lead to a healthier life. Each year an estimated 1.5 million people receive a diabetes diagnosis. While it may feel overwhelming and even scary at first, you should know that with the support of health care professionals, you can manage your diabetes and live a full, healthy life.
If you’re newly diagnosed, here are five of the most common ways patients' lives change after a diabetes diagnosis.
You learn about diabetes
Many patients are unaware of the inner workings of diabetes until they receive a diabetes diagnosis. Gaining knowledge of the condition is the first step to successful management. When you visit us at Westmed Family Healthcare, our board-certified family physicians and skilled staff answer your questions and provide guidance in understanding diabetes.
Under normal circumstances, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels. In most patients with Type 2 diabetes, blood sugar remains high because the body’s cells don’t respond as well as they should to insulin.
As a result, the pancreas produces more insulin to compensate for the body’s lack of response. Over time, the pancreas may lose its ability to keep up with such high demand for insulin, resulting in a lack of insulin.
You think about food differently
A diabetes diagnosis often leads to a shift in the way you think about food. The primary way to manage Type 2 diabetes (the most common type) is through diet and lifestyle changes. As physicians, we explain to patients the importance of dietary changes to help keep blood sugar within a target range.
In the past you may have eaten a bowl of ice cream without giving it a second thought. After a diabetes diagnosis, you’re likely to stop and think about how that ice cream influences your blood sugar and whether having it fits within your wellness goals.
Thinking of food as fuel and considering how each food or meal will impact your blood sugar is a healthy approach to managing diabetes.
You adopt a healthier lifestyle
Patients newly diagnosed with diabetes learn the importance adopting a healthier lifestyle has on living well with diabetes. Things like drinking too much alcohol and smoking make it harder to control blood sugar even when you’re taking other steps.
People diagnosed with diabetes are more likely to quit smoking and cut back on alcohol intake than people who do not have diabetes. Adopting other healthy habits, such as exercising more, eating more vegetables, and limiting intake of processed sugar go a long way in helping keep your blood sugar levels in check.
You think about your weight
Roughly 90% of people with diabetes are overweight, and carrying excess weight is a major risk factor for developing diabetes. After receiving a diabetes diagnosis, we encourage you to take steps to lose weight if you’re overweight or obese.
Losing even a modest amount of weight has a potent impact on blood sugar control and other health parameters, such as your blood pressure.
Your health improves
Most of our patients think it’s all downhill once they receive a diabetes diagnosis. In fact, as long as you make your health a priority, receive expert medical guidance and take the steps necessary to keep your blood sugar within a target range, your health will improve.
Many patients are unaware of the impact high blood sugar has on health. It can make you feel tired, moody, unmotivated, and even have a negative affect on your productivity and sexual wellness.
High blood sugar can make it harder to become pregnant, reduce your sex drive, promote weight gain, and increase your risk for depression and anxiety. It can also reduce the amount of restful sleep you get at night. High blood sugar and sleep disturbance often go hand in hand.
Most patients are surprised at how much better they feel after making health-promoting changes to manage their blood sugar. Don’t let a diabetes diagnosis get you down. You have the control to turn things around, and we’re here to help.
To learn more, schedule a well visit with our providers at WestMed Family Healthcare by calling our Westminster, Colorado, office, or use our online tool to request an appointment.