If You’ve Just Been Diagnosed With Diabetes Can Be A Huge Shock And You Might Be Finding It Difficult To Come To Terms With Its Important To Know That Whatever Youre Feeling Is Completely Normal And You Are Not Alone
Whether you have just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, or whether youve lived with diabetes for a long time, you may need support for your emotional wellbeing. Perhaps you feel stressed, depressed, or burnt out. The people around you can feel all of this too.
In the weeks and months after youve been diagnosed with diabetes, you and the people close to you will have lots of questions about your condition and what this will mean for your future.
With so much to think about and so many changes to make, you may feel like you’re not coping with diabetes and need some support.
Diabetes And Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease includes blood vessel disease, heart attack and stroke. It’s the leading cause of death in Australia.
The risk of cardiovascular disease is greater for people with diabetes, who often have increased cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Smoking, having a family history of cardiovascular disease and being inactive also increase your risk.To reduce your risk and pick up any problems early:
- Have your blood pressure checked at least every six months, or more often if you have high blood pressure or are taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
- Have your HbA1c checked at least every year, or three- to six-monthly if recommended.
- Have your cholesterol checked at least every year. Further pathology tests such as an electrocardiogram or exercise stress test may also be recommended by your doctor.
What Insulin Medications Are Approved To Treat Diabetes
There are many types of insulins for diabetes. If you need insulin, you healthcare team will discuss the different types and if they are to be combined with oral medications. To follow is a brief review of insulin types.
- Rapid-acting insulins: These insulins are taken 15 minutes before meals, they peak at one hour and work for another two to four hours. Examples include insulin glulisine , insulin lispro and insulin aspart .
- Short-acting insulins: These insulins take about 30 minutes to reach your bloodstream, reach their peak effects in two to three hours and last for three to six hours. An example is insulin regular .
- Intermediate-acting insulins: These insulins reach your bloodstream in two to four hours, peak in four to 12 hours and work for up to 18 hours. An example in NPH.
- Long-acting insulins: These insulins work to keep your blood sugar stable all day. Usually, these insulins last for about 18 hours. Examples include insulin glargine , insulin detemir and insulin degludec .
There are insulins that are a combination of different insulins. There are also insulins that are combined with a GLP-1 receptor agonist medication .
You May Like: Is Raisin Bran Cereal Good For Diabetics
What Is Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Nonketotic Syndrome
Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome develops more slowly than diabetic ketoacidosis. It occurs in patients with Type 2 diabetes, especially the elderly and usually occurs when patients are ill or stressed.If you have HHNS, you blood glucose level is typically greater than 600 mg/dL. Symptoms include frequent urination, drowsiness, lack of energy and dehydration. HHNS is not associated with ketones in the blood. It can cause coma or death. Youll need to be treated in the hospital.
Who Gets Diabetes What Are The Risk Factors
Factors that increase your risk differ depending on the type of diabetes you ultimately develop.
Risk factors for Type 1 diabetes include:
- Having a family history of Type 1 diabetes.
- Injury to the pancreas .
- Presence of autoantibodies .
- Physical stress .
- Exposure to illnesses caused by viruses.
Risk factors for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes include:
- Family history of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
- Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American race or Pacific Islander.
- Being overweight.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
- Family history of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
- Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian-American.
- Being overweight before your pregnancy.
- Being over 25 years of age.
Don’t Miss: Gastric Bypass Surgery And Diabetes
What Does Undiagnosed Diabetes Feel Like
I remember feeling really tired and sleepy, but I didnt think anything of it as I was trying to juggle work and caring for my three children. When I got diagnosed, it made me think about my mum and her health. I thought she might have had diabetes too. She always used to feel tired and she had a boil on her leg that never seemed to heal. Read Saritas story in full.
Is Hyperglycaemia Serious
The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible. But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you’re likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point.
It’s important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
Occasional mild episodes aren’t usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own. However, hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.
Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as:
- diabetic ketoacidosis a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes
- hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes
Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
If you experience hyperglycaemia regularly, speak to your doctor or diabetes care team. You may need to change your treatment or lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
Read Also: 1000 Calorie Diabetic Diet Plan
How Is Diabetes Treated
Diabetes can be treated in several ways. Diet, physical activity, and careful monitoring are important if you have diabetes, no matter which type of diabetes you have.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin for the rest of your life. Thats because your pancreas doesnt produce the insulin your body needs.
If you have type 2 diabetes, it may be possible to control your diabetes with lifestyle changes, such as diet, weight loss, and exercise. You may also need to take oral or injectable medications, including insulin or metformin, to manage your blood sugar levels.
If you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, youll need to carefully track your diet to prevent your blood sugar levels from getting too high. This generally means watching your carbohydrate intake as well as limiting over-processed, low fiber foods, such as:
- sugary sodas
- fruit-flavored yogurt
- flavored coffee drinks
Your doctor will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan to help you control your blood sugar levels.
When To See A Doctor
Visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes, which include:
- weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
- itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
- cuts or wounds that heal slowly
- blurred vision
Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days.
Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the early symptoms tend to be general.
Read Also: Is Chocolate Milk Good For Diabetics
Risk Factors For Prediabetes
Sometimes the symptoms of prediabetes can go away if you take better care of your health, but they can come back if you fall back into an unhealthy lifestyle.
Its important to be aware of prediabetes, especially if youre over 45 years of age. Youre also at risk for developing prediabetes if you have any of these medical issues:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Unusual fatigue
- Wounds that wont heal fast
A blood test can tell you if you have prediabetes. There are several different types and they are the same tests that diagnose Type 2 diabetes. Talk with your primary care provider to see if they think you need one of these tests.
What Causes Low Blood Glucose
- Symptoms occur when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia.
- In most cases, low blood glucose results from overtreatment: Either taking too much diabetes medication or not eating enough food. Higher doses of medicine than the person actually requires can also lead to hypoglycemia.
- People who aim for too-low values on their A1C test tend to experience more frequent drops in blood glucose.
- Vigorous exercise doesn’t just burn calories, it also burns blood glucose! Hypoglycemia can occur unless blood glucose levels are carefully monitored during and after exercise.
- Not eating on a regular basis can deprive the body of glucose and make it difficult to prevent hypoglycemia. Eat balanced meals throughout the day and always keep a snack on hand.
Recommended Reading: What Is In Insulin Shots
Book A Doctors Appointment
In the first instance, you should make an appointment with your local doctor as soon as possible. It is important that you tell him exactly what has been happening so that he can come to a conclusion as to what he needs to do to help you. If they suspect that you have diabetes, they will want to do a series of tests to make sure.
What Happens In Your Body
With diabetes, eating too much sugar can cause more than just the jittery feelings of a sugar high. It can cause several other symptomsand it’s important to understand what you’re feeling, and to understand what is happening in your body.
After consuming an excess amount of sugar, you might enter a state of hyperglycemia. Hyper means high or above, and glycemia refers to the amount of glucose in the blood. Being in a state of hyperglycemia cause a few different things to happen. A common symptom people with diabetes experience is intense thirstthey feel like they can’t get enough to drink. This is called polydipsia. Paired with polydipsia, you may also experience polyuriathe frequent need to urinate. These are both tell-tale signs that your blood sugar is high. Further, you may experience headache, blurred vision, and possible feelings of fatigue.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, I recommend checking your blood glucose. If you monitor your blood sugar , your blood sugar will likely be above 180 mg/dL after a sugar binge. This value can be different for different people and it’s important to talk to your doctor or endocrinologist about your unique blood sugar targets.
Recommended Reading: Diabetes And High Eye Pressure
Lifestyle Changes For Diabetes
Wear a medical ID tag
It is a good idea to wear a MedicAlert bracelet or tag that says you have diabetes. This will make others aware of your condition in case you have a severe hypoglycemic attack and are not able to make yourself understood, or if you are in an accident and need emergency medical care. Identifying yourself as having diabetes is important because hypoglycemic attacks can be mistaken for drunkenness, and victims often aren’t able to care for themselves. Without prompt treatment, hypoglycemia can result in a coma or seizures. And, because your body is under increased stress when you are ill or injured, your blood sugar levels will need to be checked by the medical personnel who give you emergency care.
Take care of your teeth
Be sure to take good care of your teeth and floss regularly. Diabetes can worsen gum disease.
If you’re stressed, you may exercise less, drink more, and not watch your diabetes as closely.
Stress can also raise your blood sugar and make you less sensitive to insulin. When you’re stressed, your body adopts a “fight or flight” response. That means it will make sure you have enoughsugar and fat available for energy.
Studies of people with type 1 diabetes found blood sugar levels go up for most people under mental stress and down for others. If you have type 2 diabetes and you’re feeling pressure, your glucose will go up.
Cut back on alcohol
What Are The Recommended Targets For Blood Glucose Levels
Many people with diabetes aim to keep their blood glucose at these normal levels:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL
- About 2 hours after a meal starts: less than 180 mg/dL
Talk with your health care team about the best target range for you. Be sure to tell your health care professional if your glucose levels often go above or below your target range.
You May Like: Can Diet And Exercise Cure Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes And Healthy Eating
If you have diabetes its important to include a wide variety of nutritious and healthy foods in your diet, and to avoid snacking on sugary foods.
Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group be sure to include foods high in fibre and low in fat and reduce your salt intake. Its helpful to consult with a dietitian to review your current eating plan and provide a guide about food choices and food quantities.
No Symptoms Be Alarmed
Surprisingly, the most dangerous episodes of hypoglycemia occur with little or no warning. When low blood glucose occurs on a regular basis, the body can become used to the warning signs and the person may stop noticing symptoms. This is a particularly dangerous condition known as hypoglycemic unawareness. People with this condition might not realize they have low blood glucose until it’s dangerously low seizures and coma are sometimes the first indication of a problem. The good news is that this condition can often be reversed allowing people to once again notice the signs of low blood glucose if hypoglycemia is avoided for a few weeks through careful monitoring of blood glucose.
Also Check: Where Do You Take Insulin Shots
Treating An Overdose Of Long
If you have given too high a dose of long-acting insulin, this could affect you for up to 24 hours.
How you prevent a hypo will depend on how big the overdose was. If the overdose was large, such as a double dose, take carbohydrate to raise your sugar levels and call your health team or out-of-hours service for advice.
If the overdose was smaller, such as up to 5 units too much, take more carbohydrate than usual and aim to keep your sugar levels higher than normal over the next 24 hours to prevent a hypo occurring.
Test regularly through the day and at any time you think you may feel hypo
Take plenty of carbohydrate before sleeping. It is better to wake up with higher sugar levels than risking a hypo overnight. Dont risk going low. If you cannot be certain that hypos will be avoided, call your health team or out-of-hours service.
Read Also: Diabetes How To Control Blood Sugar
Support For Family And Carers
Most things are easier to face with help from friends and family. But diabetes can put a strain on relationships. It can help to listen to, and communicate with, everyone in the family including children.
Sometimes it can be hard supporting a person with diabetes, even if its your partner, child or close family member. You could be worried about them or trying hard to encourage them to make lifestyle changes.
You may need support for your emotions as well. Remember, all of Diabetes UKs support services are also there for you.
If you are working you may need time off to support someone with diabetes. Find out your employers policy on care leave. Talk to your manager about the condition and how youre helping, so they understand how important it is. Discuss options for flexible working if you need to give long-term support.
Also Check: I Am Type 2 Diabetes
If You Ignore The Signs Of Diabetes
Its hard to ignore the signs of type 1 diabetes because symptoms can often appear quite quickly. But leaving it untreated can lead to serious health problems, including diabetic ketoacidosis, which can result in a potentially fatal coma.
Although the majority of people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in childhood and early adulthood, the symptoms are the same at any age. Adults with type 1 diabetes may not recognise their diabetes symptoms as quickly as children, which could mean their diagnosis and treatment may be delayed.
Type 2 diabetes can be easier to miss as it develops more slowly, especially in the early stages when it can be harder to spot the symptoms. But untreated diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Being diagnosed early and managing your blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications. Use our Know Your Risk tool to check your risk of type 2 diabetes.
How Is Diabetes Diagnosed
Many people get tested for diabetes because they develop symptoms that are potential early warning signs.
For example, people with type 1 diabetes may experience unintentional weight loss or develop flu-like symptoms. People with type 2 diabetes may experience extreme thirst or frequent urination.
You may experience one or more of the warning signs associated with diabetes. If you do, its important to contact your doctor for an appointment.
You may also discover a diabetes diagnosis after visiting your doctor for another condition or for routine blood work.
If you make an appointment with your doctor due to diabetes warning signs, they will want to know:
- your symptoms
Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and will likely run some blood tests.
There are several tests that can diagnose diabetes. These include:
- A1C: This test shows what your blood glucose level has averaged for the last 2 or 3 months. This does not require you to fast or drink anything.
- Fasting plasma glucose : You will need to fast for at least 8 hours before this test is done.
- Oral glucose tolerance : This test takes 2 to 3 hours. Your blood glucose levels are tested initially and then repeated at intervals for 2 hours after youve consumed a specific sweet drink.
- Random plasma glucose test: You can have this test done any time and do not need to be fasting.
Recommended Reading: When Are You Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes