Diabetes has become a global epidemic and every 30 seconds, someone’s doctor grimly advises them that they’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It’s a sad fact for many, but for you, it can be the catalyst that results in powerful lifelong changes that actually better your health and eliminate all traces of this scary disease.
For many people, when the diagnosis comes, there’s an instant feeling of fear and panic that sets in. You’re shocked (even if you’re overweight and haven’t taken care of yourself).
It’s one of those feelings where you think, “This couldn’t be happening to me!” But it did happen. Or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who got a warning first – your doctor told you that you’re merely prediabetic.
Either way, it’s a wake up call – and it shouldn’t make you anxious, but aware. Some people immediately turn to the Internet and try to find out as much about the disease as possible.
They picture an endless stream of needles – and most people fear needles, so this adds to the anxiety. You’ll read a lot about dealing with the changes, but the fact that you can prevent or actually reverse diabetes is a foreign concept to many.
Diabetes is a numbers game. Some people live with their diabetes as if it’s something happening to them. They don’t alter bad habits – they simply find solutions to fix insulin levels when they’re off.
You don’t have to live like that. If you want to be free of the diabetes diagnosis once and for all, you need to commit to a plan that allows you to make simple changes that you can handle for a long time.
Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Chances are, your body’s been trying to tell you that you’re not processing insulin that it needs. You just didn’t know it was a sign of disease, so you treated it as if it was normal, when it wasn’t.
One of the signs is that you’re thirstier than you were before. This is a subtle sign that’s easy to overlook because when you feel thirsty, you grab a drink – maybe water, but possibly sugary sodas or other sweet, caffeinated drinks.
You’ll also need to urinate more often. Again, we accept this as part of life, and usually overlook the actual frequency of the runs to the bathroom. You might excuse it as you having a small bladder, without recognizing that your bladder didn’t always act like that.
The problem is, your kidneys are strained because there’s so much extra glucose in your system, so you’re having to get rid of the toxins through urination. That makes you thirstier, so you’re constantly drinking more water.
Blurred vision is a common symptoms. With the world so involved in technology on a regular basis, it’s easy to blame your blurriness on tired eyes, or the strain of the computer.
Fatigue is a symptom that gets overlooked because in this day and age – who isn’t tired? We stay up too late, we run too many errands, we work hard – and being tired just feels normal to us.
Plus, remember that you’ll be waking up to go to the bathroom more often, so you might think it’s just because of that – you haven’t slept well, so you’re tired and irritable. The cycle continues.
Continual hunger paired with weight loss is an odd combination. At first, you might think it sounds great to be able to eat a lot, more often, and yet lose weight. But this is a dangerous sign that your diabetes is wreaking havoc on your body.
The body is breaking down proteins from your muscles to use as fuel because it mistakenly believes it’s in starvation mode. So this type of weight loss, while welcomed in terms of aesthetics, is awful to your health.
You might find it hard to concentrate on anything, or you feel like you have zero interest in what you’re working on. Again, such a subtle symptom that we accept it as something completely normal – but it’s actually your diabetes developing in your body.
There are times when you may feel your limbs tingling. If your hands or feet have a numbing sensation, or you feel like little needles are poking them, it could be a sign of impending nerve damage frequently caused by diabetes.
If you’re constantly complaining that you have a wound that won’t heal quickly, or you get infections more often now – then be aware that diabetes is probably involved, and care of your wounds is even more important now.
When you have cuts and bruises that can’t heal, it’s because the diabetes is causing damage to your blood vessels thanks to the extreme levels of glucose traveling freely throughout your veins.
It’s also possible that you might think you’re always sick with the flu, when in reality, the stomach aches and vomiting is a diabetic symptom that you’re trying to dismiss. Make sure you get tested for the flu whenever you think you have it to make sure.
Sometimes it’s a topical issue that shows you diabetes is developing. Skin irritations such as itchy skin or dryness will be a sign that you need your blood sugar checked. You also might have some darkening patches of skin around your neck or armpits.
If you’re a man or woman, then you might suffer from frequent yeast infections. Diabetes suppresses your immune system, so candida and other fungal infections run rampant.
What feeds them? Sugar, which diabetics have plenty of in their system. The yeast infections aren’t always vaginal. They can happen around a penis, too. Sometimes they occur between your fingers or toes, or under your breasts.
Dry mouth is also a sign of diabetes. Sometimes, it’s a normal occurrence, but when it happens over and over again, paired with extreme thirst and urination – it means you could have diabetes.
Ask someone you trust if your breath smells very sweet. This is a sign of ketosis, which means your kidneys are working overtime to try to break down protein and help your body function better.
Even the speed and depth of your breathing can be a sign of diabetes. When you’re breathing faster, or you have to continually take a deep breath, it could be a sign of diabetic development.
In order to see if these symptoms are normal or a measure of diabetes, you have to get tested by a physician. You want your official diagnosis to come from a professional, not from independent blood tests.
The test isn’t a one time thing. Your doctor will want to re-test you and get a good indicator of whether this was a one time thing or an ongoing disease for you. Sometimes people don’t fast properly and it messes up the results.
You’ll take a fasting glucose test to check your blood sugar after 8 hours of not eating. If it’s 126 mg/dL – and that happens on at least two tests, then it means you’ve been confirmed to have diabetes.
There’s a chance your test will be normal, and that you can address those symptoms above with no worry about diabetes. But you also may be shown to be prediabetic. This means your blood sugar is between 100 and 125 mg/dL. Anything below 100 is a normal diagnosis.
The test can tell your doctor how your blood sugar has been working for the past 2-3 months. So you can’t simply eat right one day and test the next and conceal the fact that you have diabetes. You’ll see real results soon after your blood is drawn and sent to the lab.
Complications of a Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis
It used to be that if you were diagnosed with diabetes decades ago, there wasn’t much hope for a healthy or long life according to the medical community. But that was then. Now, there are so many new advancements to treat – and even reverse – diabetes that you can live normally and have a lengthy lifespan.
But there are complications that come from receiving a type 2 diabetes diagnosis that you do need to be aware of. Some people focus on the immediate complications – and you should.
But you don’t want to forget that diabetes also has long term complications. When you’re first diagnosed, other than experiencing some minor symptoms, you might still feel great.
What you don’t know, though, is that even while you’re feeling great, the organs in your body are under attack. Your heart is struggling with the extra sugar in your bloodstream. Your blood vessels are undergoing changes.
Your nervous system, while seemingly normal, is failing to work the way that it once did. Your eyes are already being affected and so are your kidneys. While it’s true that long term complications take years to develop, by the time they do develop, it’s often too late to do anything to change that.
Long term complications mean that if you go blind from the high blood glucose levels, you can’t fix it. Once you know that you have diabetes, it’s better to go on the offensive. Sure, it might take you a day or even several to come to terms with your diagnosis, but once you do, make the decision that you’re going to do whatever it takes to fight back.
Because your heart and blood vessels are what work to get the blood through your body, these are greatly affected by a diabetes diagnosis. When you’re diagnosed with the disease, the odds are very high that you’ve had it for months or even years.
That means that unbeknownst to you, your heart and blood vessels have been struggling to deal with the risks and complications the disease imposed on them.
The heart complications that you can face include a greater chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
You may have been experiencing chest pain already. The complications to your heart mean that you can have a heart attack or a stroke. A diabetes diagnosis automatically puts you in a higher risk range regardless of your age or weight.
The extra sugar in your bloodstream can cause you to end up with narrowed arteries. Because of the complications you can experience with your heart, this can lead to high blood pressure.
Your heart is having to work harder to get the blood where it needs to go in your body. Due to it having to work harder, the blood pressure becomes raised. When you add in the complications a type 2 diabetes diagnosis causes in the blood vessels, which feed into the heart, this increased the danger factor even more.
The complications from a diabetes diagnosis can continue throughout your body. Nerve damage is common and in a lot of people, has already happened long before you ever reach the doctor.
This form of nerve damage is known as neuropathy. But the good news is that when you get blood glucose levels under control, neuropathy often goes away. It occurs to start with because all of that extra sugar pumping through your bloodstream is damaging the capillaries.
These are blood vessels that connect with your nerves. These small guys are responsible for making sure your nerves are taken care of. When these capillaries are damaged, then the nerves suffer because they’re not getting what they need.
Many diabetics have described the feeling of capillary damage as feeling like fire is coursing through their bloodstream. This burning sensation can occur from your head all the way down to your toes.
A lot of diabetics deal with this issue – not realizing that if they control their blood glucose levels, then this burning sensation goes away and the damage is stopped. The complication of a type 2 diagnosis in this area means that if the higher amounts of sugar are allowed to remain in the bloodstream, the burning sensation escalates until there’s no sensation at all.
You’ll lose the ability to feel anything in the area where the capillary damage was left untreated. This is one of the reasons that some diabetics end up having to have fingers or toes or entire limbs amputated.
That’s usually what people think about when they think about nerve damage – that they’re going to lose a limb. But this loss of nerve sensation goes beyond that. You have nerves in your digestive system that helps you be able to process the foods that you eat.
When your nerves are damaged, it can lead to slow stomach emptying, which can lead to infections in the lining of the stomach. It can also make you feel nauseated or even cause you to vomit after eating.
This kind of nerve damage can lead to a struggle to go to the bathroom with severe bouts of constipation. But on the flip side, it can also cause bouts of diarrhea. The sexual organs can also be affected by this nerve damage complication.
For women, it can mean a loss of sensation in the vagina. For men, it can lead to erectile dysfunction. Some diabetics don’t realize that one of the complications from a type 2 diabetes diagnosis is problems with hearing.
High blood glucose numbers can cause you to experience hearing loss because the auditory nerves can sustain damage. A diabetes complication can also raise your risk of other diseases – especially if you have a family history of that disease.
For example, numerous medical studies have shown that there’s a link between type 2 diabetes and being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. But this risk is only higher in diabetics who don’t keep their blood glucose levels within a healthy range.
Save Your Life with Simple Changes to Your Diet
When you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it doesn’t mean that you have to undertake monumental endeavors in order to ensure that you’re able to have a long and enjoyable life.
What it does mean is that you’re going to have to make some changes. These changes start with your diet. For someone with diabetes, that means changing the way that you think about food.
For many people, food equals happiness. We use it to celebrate, to commiserate and just because there are so many delicious meals and treats available. We fail to see food as fuel so we don’t treat it accordingly.
But one of the most important things you must know when you have diabetes is that everything that you eat has an impact on your blood glucose levels. Whether you eat fattening, sugary foods or you eat nutritional, low calorie foods, they’ll all raise your sugar levels.
But the difference is found in how quickly they raise your sugar and the height to which they’ll raise those numbers. It’s not only glucose levels that can be cause for concern when you have diabetes.
You have a higher risk of other conditions developing. When you make changes to your diet, you can stop these other conditions from happening to you. With diabetes, you want to make sure that you make lifestyle changes that give you the most benefit.
Some people refer to a new eating plan after a diagnosis as a diabetic diet. But the truth of the matter is that your focus shouldn’t be on diabetic eating but rather eating healthy. You can do this by making simple changes to the way that you eat now that can ensure both short term and long term benefits for your body when you’re dealing with diabetes.
Don’t eat anything without thinking about it. Studies have shown that mindless eating is a surefire way to not only eat foods that spike your glucose, but can also make you pack on the pounds.
If you have a food that’s a trigger item for you, make sure you limit having it in your house. Buy it only in portion controlled sizes. Avoid going cold turkey on your favorite carbs.
Sudden deprivation has a tendency to backfire and you’ll end up sabotaging your good intentions. Instead, gradually phase out the amount of high fat, carbohydrate rich foods that you eat.
Opt for low calorie, low carbohydrate food choices whenever you can at home and when eating out. The worst food that can sabotage your glucose levels when you have diabetes are the carbohydrates.
But this depends on the type of carb that it is. There are both simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are more commonly found in the foods that aren’t that good for you. You’ll find carbohydrates in a lot of different foods.
There are carbs that are great to eat when you have diabetes while others aren’t so great for you to consume because of what they do to your glucose level. Foods that are on the list of good carbs are things like a few fruits and vegetables.
Strawberries are low carb as are apricots. Although fruits do contain sugar and are often thought to be a simple carb, the truth is that fruit is packed with fiber. The fiber content in fruit causes your body to break down the sugar in the fruit at a slower pace than it would something like a slice of cake – which is also a simple carb.
Vegetables such as zucchini and cauliflower are also low carb choices. Cauliflower can be made to taste like mash potatoes but without the high carb count. Spaghetti squash is a vegetable that can be used as a replacement for pasta.
So you can have delicious pasta meals using this vegetable and not to have to dread the impact it will make on your blood sugar level. The thing about the way you eat and diabetes is that when you make better choices with the foods on your meal plan, it not only lowers your glucose, but also your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Both of these can be a problem when you have diabetes and are something that eating right can eliminate. In fact, of all of the ways that you have at your disposal to fight back against the condition, eating healthy is the best tool you have to control or even reverse diabetes.
So when you make simple changes to the way that you eat, you can raise the odds in your favor that you’ll live a lot longer. Even with diabetes, if you eat the right foods, you can end up having a longer life span than someone who doesn’t have diabetes, but who makes poor food choices.
Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a shock and it’s highly likely that you’re not going to adjust to the fact that you have this disease overnight. By the same token, you’re not going to change how you see food that quickly, either.
But by focusing on simple, easy changes to your diet, you can prevent your body from having to deal with the more serious complications of diabetes. In many cases, changing the way that you eat can work to keep your glucose levels in a healthy range and you may end up being able to avoid having to go on medication.
One of the keys to success with making simple diet changes with diabetes is watching your portion sizes. It can be too easy to think something’s a single portion when it’s actually two or more – especially if that’s the way that you’ve eaten for years.
When you’re making dietary changes, make sure that you read all of the labels. When you read the labels on some foods, you’ll see that many of them contain double or triple the serving size that you would assume they have.
It might be a bit difficult at first when you start making these changes, but by making them slowly, your body will learn to adjust to eating portion controlled meals and snacks.
Increase Movement to Keep Numbers in Check
There are so many things that can negatively impact your blood glucose numbers. There’s the food that you eat, being ill, experiencing stress and interactions with other medications.
But there is something that can work in your favor to help keep your numbers in check – moving more! When you exercise, regardless of what that movement is, it always works to lower your blood glucose numbers.
The reason that it can do this is because when you’re more active, this increases your body’s insulin sensitivity. When your body’s insulin sensitivity is increased, then your cells can use the insulin.
Being active causes your cells to be able to work in ways that they struggle with when you’re not active. Increased movement causes you to have lower numbers immediately. By remaining active, over time, you’ll notice improvements in the numbers shown on your A1c lab test.
What you do and how long you stay moving will play a part in how low your blood glucose goes. It will also determine how long the lowered glucose will impact you. You can experience the benefit of lowered glucose for as long as a day after you exercise.
The reason this happens goes back again to the insulin sensitivity. The more you move, the better control you end up having. Because exercise does impact your glucose numbers, you’ll need to pay attention to what goes on in your body when you do start moving more.
Before you exercise, make sure you use your meter to test what your numbers are. Then once you’ve completed your exercise, see what the numbers are again. When you do this, it will help you discover which movements have the greatest benefit to your glucose levels.
You’ll also be able to determine which kind of exercise might not be worth the time if you end up only dropping a point or two. For a lot of diabetics, it was inactivity and excess weight gain that led to the diagnosis in the first place.
So you might not be used to exercising much – if at all. It can be a test of your willpower to have to make the decision that you’re going to move more. But just like making simple changes with your diet can reap long term benefits, making slow and simple changes to how active you are can do the same.
You can start off with something that’s easy to do such as walking. Just make the decision that you’re going to change the ratio of inactivity over activity to being that where you’re active more often than you’re not.
You’ll want to work up to being more active if you’re not used to it. Start by walking just ten minutes a day, three times a week. Then gradually increase the three times a week to five times a week.
Once you do that, slowly increase the length of time that you walk until you’re walking at least thirty minutes a day. Once you’re used to getting up and walking, add exercise that can help you tone your muscles and target any areas of your body that you may have excess fat – especially if this is on the abdomen.
Losing weight around the abdomen can increase your body’s ability to be sensitive to insulin and in conjunction with dieting, it’s the next most important part of controlling your diabetes.
It doesn’t take any special tools or any particular type of exercise. All movement can help you lower glucose levels, lose weight and get healthier. Moving more can lower your odds of developing heart disease.
It can also add years to your life, thanks to the many other benefits it gives. You’ll experience lower blood pressure and better circulation – especially in the lower extremities.
You’ll be able to bring down your cholesterol numbers and eliminate the amount of body fat that you have. Exercising can bring high BMI numbers down into a healthy range, too.
Besides improving how your body is able to use insulin, moving more can tone up your different muscle groups and help your bones to stay healthy. When you exercise, you’ll have more energy, be able to deal with stress better and sleep well at night.
For best results, you’ll want to try to do something active every day. If you’re the type of person who absolutely hates anything that even looks like exercise, then move more toward something that you find fun to do – such as dancing or gardening.
When you’re ready to get started, set a goal that’s easily obtainable. Don’t start out with saying that you’re going to walk ten miles. Focus on a mile, then build up to ten miles if that’s your goal.
Trying to overdo it is a sure way to end up with injuries or burned out. Make sure that you dress comfortably for any activity that you do. You don’t want to chafe or end up with a blister – especially since diabetics often find that wounds heal more slowly.
You can do such activities such as walking the dog. Not only can your furry pet benefit from the fresh air and exercise, but so will you. Studies have shown that people who walk their dogs are in better physical condition than people who don’t.
Do your own lawn maintenance instead of hiring a service. You can pull weeds, edge the lawn and mow the grass. Add extra efforts such as wearing a pedometer around the house and when you go out.
Each day, try to add 100 to 300 steps to your walking count. There are numerous ways to do this such as carrying fewer items when you’re going from room to room so that you have to make more trips.
Park as far as you can from the grocery store, from your office, from the library and from your children’s school when you pick them up. This will add to your walking count.
Skip the elevator and always take the stairs.
Engage in activities that are ones that make you move – such as bowling, tennis, or yoga. If you like to watch television, that’s okay – but get a treadmill and watch television while you walk.
Situations That Warrant Medicated Solutions
Learning that you have diabetes can raise all sorts of questions. You might wonder what the next step is. You might fear that you have to go on medication. The thing about diabetes is that you end up with problems when your glucose levels are too high.
Even short term high readings can cause you some problems. This can cause you to feel sluggish, tired and have headaches. But whether or not you have to go on medication depends solely on the situation that you’re in.
If you have numbers that aren’t consistently high, then your doctor might prescribe lifestyle changes first. He or she might want you to try to lose weight, start an exercise program and follow a low carb diet.
These are all good things that can help you stay off medication – but only if you stick with the lifestyle change. You might be someone who is following a diet and exercise routine to control your blood glucose numbers – and that’s great.
But that doesn’t mean that things won’t crop up that could mean you need to take medication. Sometimes, these things are temporary, which means that you won’t be on the medication long term, but will just have to use it until you get the numbers back down consistently in a healthy range.
Keeping an eye on what your glucose levels are is a huge step in making sure your body stays healthy. So be on the lookout for situations that are known to spike your blood sugar and call for medication solutions.
Although it can be upsetting, when you first discover that you have diabetes, your numbers may be pretty high. Since you probably weren’t even aware that you had the disease, you didn’t know to watch out for high sugar levels.
Usually when people are first diagnosed, these numbers can be really high and are usually over 200. Some people experience first diagnosis numbers in the 300s. Because this level is much too high, your doctor might put you on medication to immediately bring it back down before he even discusses trying to handle your disease with lifestyle changes.
You have to get those numbers down in order to make sure your organs stay healthy. Usually in type 2 diabetes, you’ll be put on an oral medication such as glucophage or the generic version known as Metformin.
If you’ve been experiencing severe symptoms of diabetes, your doctor might skip the oral medications and put you straight on insulin. Even if you do go on insulin right away, this can also be a temporary part of your care.
When the blood glucose levels are within a healthy range, you can often come off the insulin. Other situations that can call for a medicated solution have to do with eating. There are times when – regardless of how well your glucose does normally – it can spike after a meal.
If this spike is considered a number that’s dangerously high, you might have to end up taking fast acting insulin. Sometimes doctors will suggest that patients who plan to enjoy a holiday feast use fast acting insulin to bring the numbers back down quicker than oral medications are able to do.
When you get sick, you’ll want to keep an eye on your levels. Getting sick has a way of raising your blood sugar levels. This happens because when you’re ill, your body triggers a hormone response.
These hormones are supposed to help you fight off whatever is making you sick and they do a good job at that. But one of the side effects of these hormones being released is that it has the ability to also raise your blood sugar.
So being sick can be another situation where you might end up having to take medication or if you’re already on medication, you may end up having to take more of it. If this is the case, when the illness is over, usually the need for the medication is, too.
When life is going smoothly, it’s easy to make sure that you’re taking care to see that your numbers are healthy. But since life never runs on a continually smooth course, you’re going to have times where a crisis will arise – or, the stress will start piling up.
Stress is a big factor in making your glucose levels rise. This has to do with hormones as well. Whenever stress becomes an issue, it stimulates your body to release epinephrine, which is adrenaline.
It also stimulates the release of cortisol. Both of these hormones are responsible for helping your body react when there’s danger. They’re the same hormones that give you that fight or flight reaction to situations.
When you’re dealing with stress, these hormones go into action and push to raise your blood sugar. They push to raise the blood sugar as a way of helping give you energy your body thinks it has to have in order to fight or run.
After the stress is dealt with, your glucose numbers usually go back to the point where they once were. But it’s important that when you do feel stressed, you carefully monitor what your numbers are.
A good rule of thumb to follow is anything that changes your ordinary lifestyle is a sign to check your numbers more frequently. You can be well under control with your glucose numbers using a diet and exercise plan and then all of a sudden start noticing that they’re not doing as well – even though you’re not ill, aren’t dealing with stress, and are still trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
This sudden change can be caused simply by getting older. Sometimes, when you age, what did work for you just stops working as well. If you’re someone who has been using oral medications to treat your diabetes, getting older can mean that your needs have changed and you’ll have to start taking insulin rather than the pills.
The Emotional Impact of a Type 2 Diabetes Condition
Having diabetes can impact you emotionally from the moment that you receive the diagnosis. Any time that we have to step outside of the normal way that we’ve always lived, that can happen.
Some experts liken learning that you have diabetes as having the same emotional punch as going through a divorce or losing a loved one because the five stages of grief are involved.
Most people immediately experience denial when they’re first told that they have the condition. They feel this way – not because they’re burying their head in the sand – but because all of the information about the disease can seem overwhelming.
It’s a lot to take in. You’ll be told about testing tools, how to test, what foods to watch out for, which ones to eat, suggestions for exercise plans, keeping track of your numbers, and doctor visits you need to keep up with.
That’s enough to make even the most level headed person not want to deal with what they’ve just been told. When you’re tossed into an area of life that you don’t have any experience with, it can be easy to get confused about what you should and shouldn’t do with diabetes.
There will be all kinds of helpful advice that might not be so helpful after all and you end up feeling worse. Not knowing exactly what to do and having to learn all of the information at once, can double your feelings of confusion.
Usually when people are confused, they feel out of control. This loss of control is what makes them feel angry. You might be angry that you have a diabetes diagnosis because it wasn’t supposed to happen to you.
You might feel especially angry if the diagnosis seemed to come out of the blue and there’s been no family history of the disease. You can feel anger toward your family genetics, toward yourself or even toward the news of learning you have the disease.
This anger is only a phase and like all of the other emotions within the grieving process, you will eventually work through it. Knowing that you have to make some changes in your life can make you feel sad because you’ll be leaving your comfort zone.
It’s perfectly normal to feel these emotions when newly diagnosed and even for people who’ve lived with diabetes for years. But, watching out for your emotions is a necessary part of dealing with the disease.
When they’re struggling to deal with emotions, people with diabetes might stop caring what they eat and start eating whatever they want regardless of how it impacts their glucose numbers.
They might stop checking their numbers at all because they don’t care if the numbers are high or not. They might quit exercising and stop making sure they get their A1c checked on a regular basis.
They might end up not taking their prescribed medications and not going to the doctor like they should. When this happens, it could be that you’re experiencing frustration in dealing the disease and you’re lamenting what could have been or should have been with your health.
Talking about how you feel with your doctor or with those who support you can help to get you over emotional upheaval about diabetes. Sometimes talking about how you’re feeling can help you be able to make some changes.
It’s always best to talk about what’s going on with you emotionally rather than trying to pretend that you don’t feel the way that you do. If you don’t take care of yourself emotionally, this can lead to feeling anxious or even depressed.
Studies have shown that people who deal with health related anxiety and depression are less likely to take care of themselves physically. Struggling with untreated emotions when you have diabetes can lead to chronic depression easily because there is a link between the disease and depression.
You might experience temporary bouts of depression or you might end up unable to function. People who have diabetes often fear the future. They wonder what’s going to happen to them if their health deteriorates.
They can fret about possible complications such as needing an amputation or losing their eyesight. This can make them irritable and feel isolated if they deal with their fears and emotions alone.
For people who take care of their diabetes, ending up with complications from the disease is no more a risk than someone who doesn’t have the condition. People who have diabetes – especially those who are just learning that they have it – can experience irritation that the disease is interfering with their normal routine.
They don’t want to deal with the disease or the emotions that go hand in hand with having it. A lot of doctors and those who have diabetes put a lot of focus on the physical aspect of the condition without stressing the importance of the emotional side.
But what you need to know is that if you don’t take care of yourself emotionally, it’s going to impact not just the quality of your life but your lifespan as well. Having diabetes can influence your emotions simply because it’s the nature of the disease.
That’s why you want to make sure that you keep your levels as normal as possible. When you experience swings in your sugar levels, this can lead to mood changes. You might feel irritable simply because your sugar is low.
On the flip side, when your sugar gets high, it can cause the body to release hormones that can make you feel depressed. It’s a horrible thing to have to deal with, but it’s not impossible.
Eliminating Stress to Prevent Insulin Issues
It’s well known that when you have to deal with stress, it can lead to physical symptoms. You might feel more tired than usual or start having stomachaches or headaches as a result of the stress.
When you have diabetes, stress has an impact on the way that your body is able to use insulin. Having diabetes means that the cells within your body don’t react the way that they should to the production of hormones.
As a result of this, you lose insulin production. When you throw stress into the mixture, it also adds to the insulin resistance that your body experiences. On top of that, the same reaction to stress that’s causing your cells to not be able to react properly to insulin also makes your blood glucose numbers go higher than they should.
When this happens, you can experience swings in your glucose. Stress makes your body undergo many different changes. Your blood gets pumping because your heart rate increases and you can stay in this state of elevated glucose levels until either the stress is dealt with or you add or increase medication.
Dealing with stress is going to happen and you’re always going to have things occur that trigger your stress hormones. But the key to preventing insulin issues when this happens is found in eliminating the stress.
There are different avenues that you can take to not only manage the stress, but to change how it affects your glucose levels. Some people focus on using one technique to handle stress while others use a variety of techniques together.
Use whichever stress management coping skills work for you. Some of the top ways that you can get rid of stress is through relaxation and guarding your thoughts. When you allow your thoughts to dwell on stressful things, your body will react and show signs of stress.
Use relaxation activities to stop stress from having an impact on your insulin needs. You can take up yoga or other meditative exercises. Some people have found it helpful when they feel stressed to simply go for a walk. Getting out in the fresh air and walking often works to clear your mind and free your thoughts from stress.
Breathing exercises are also helpful. You can learn how to use deep breathing to inhale and exhale to relieve stress and even to prepare for situations you think might get stressful.
Make sure that you don’t sit around. When you’re under stress, it can be bad to sit around with nothing to occupy your mind. This can allow the mind to focus on the stress and you’ll end up feeling bad physically.
Then the stress will cause your glucose to rise. Try to be as active as possible. Join a walking or exercise club. Get involved in a hobby that requires you to move such as taking up tennis or golfing.
Choose relaxing hobbies that you truly enjoy. Make sure that you have a day just to pamper yourself. If you’re like most people, your days are filled with things to do and you have an ever-growing list of things that you have to finish.
Having things hanging over your head can make you feel stressed. Give yourself a day off where you spend it doing something that you really want to do, not something that you have to do.
Read a book. Take in a movie, go window shopping or go sightseeing. Get involved in relaxation techniques that are known to eliminate stress. These might be ones such as guided imagery.
You can find classes that teach this technique or you can learn to do it in the privacy of your own home. Sometimes we have stress because we simply have too much on our plates.
If you’re like most people, you have certain things that you prefer to do yourself so that you can know that they’re done right. It can be difficult to learn to let go and allow others to help, but by sharing your load with others, you can help alleviate insulin issues.
While you can’t help some of the stress that comes your way, there are some kinds of stress that you can prevent. If you know that an unimportant discussion is going to end in an argument, then don’t take part in the discussion.
Little issues can become big irritations that can lead to stress. Rather than allowing that to happen, don’t handle frustrating things that you don’t have to deal with. This can be something like making sure you don’t interact with that colleague who gets on your nerves or refusing to let yourself be pushed into taking part in activities with others that you don’t really like being involved with.
Choose relaxation over stress. Head to a spa for the weekend and sign up for a massage. Studies have shown that getting a massage is a great way to reduce stress and lower the hormones that can cause your blood glucose numbers to rise.
Make sure that you get plenty of exercise. You’ve probably been told how exercise benefits someone with diabetes. This is true. Getting physical can cause you to lose excess weight, which can make your body become more sensitive to insulin.
It can also help you be able to sleep better at night. It improves your oxygen rate and strengthens your muscles. But on top of that, exercising gets rid of stress by flooding your body with feel good hormones.
So you feel better physically and emotionally. When you get rid of stress, this allows your body to be able to use the insulin in the right way – which will also help you feel better physically and mentally.
Readjusting Your Sleep to Stave Off Type 2 Diabetes
There are plenty of studies that support the idea that certain lifestyle habits can ward off the development of type 2 diabetes. One of these habits is making sure that you get the right amount of sleep.
When you don’t get enough sleep, it can cause metabolic problems. When you make sure that you get plenty of sleep during the week as well as on the weekend, you not only lower your risk of getting diabetes, but you can ward it off completely.
The problem is that most people live such hectic lives that one of the first things they give up in order to get everything done is sleep. Things happen that we don’t plan to happen.
We forget something that’s due the next morning. Or we have to take care of something a child or other family member needs and before we realize it, it’s the wee hours of the morning and we’re still not in bed yet.
You might be fully aware that you need to get more sleep than you do. But life isn’t perfect and we all do whatever it is that we have to do to make sure we get stuff taken care of.
But losing sleep really is one of the worst things that you can do to your body. Whenever sleep is lost, regardless of how fit you are or what your weight is – you can develop prediabetes – the forerunner for diabetes.
Then if you continue to go on with that lack of enough sleep, you’ll end up getting diabetes. That means that even if you don’t have a family history of the disease, you can still end up with it – all because of a lack of sleep.
The first thing that begins to happen when you don’t get enough sleep is that your fatty acid levels rise. At the same time, your cells start balking at the insulin and your body stays in this heightened state of resistance for hours.
This is the first step that leads to insulin resistance. Then, a lack of sleep affects your hormones and you end up getting a surge of cortisol. This hormone is what’s known as the stress hormone.
Sleep deprivation can accumulate and the toll that it takes on your body and your organs will eventually show up in your endocrine system in areas of your pancreas and your cells.
By losing sleep, you cause your cells to become insulin resistant and the sensitivity your body has in using insulin is diminished. Not getting enough sleep limits the way that your body moves glucose out of your bloodstream and studies have shown that when you make up the sleep that you’ve lost, your body is able to handle the glucose.
Most people get six hours of sleep or less every weekday and because they feel okay on that little sleep, especially if it’s a habit they’ve had for years, they continue to do it. They don’t realize that the lack of enough sleep is silently paving the way for diabetes to begin.
Maybe you’re at the point where you absolutely can’t add hours to your sleep routine. That’s okay. You don’t have to add hours all at once. When you add just a little bit more time to your sleep schedule, you can lower your odds of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
If you’re someone who routinely sleeps six hours, simply adding a half an hour can significantly lower your chances of getting or reversing the disease. In a study done on adults who didn’t have any problems with the way that their body used insulin, participants were deprived of sleep and then their insulin sensitivity checked.
It was found to be worse after losing sleep – but once the participants were able to get the sleep that their body needed, the insulin sensitivity returned to normal. There has been a lot of advice that spread about that people shouldn’t attempt to catch up on missed sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends.
The advice says that by sleeping more, you throw off your body’s sleep schedule and that you should continue the same sleep habits that you have during the week. But this is bad advice.
It’s actually a good thing to sleep extra on the weekends. By sleeping more hours on the weekend, you allow your body to catch up on the missed sleep and you improve your body’s ability to handle insulin.
This helps you stave off type 2 diabetes. There are some steps that you can take to make sure that you readjust your sleep to prevent diabetes. You have to make getting enough sleep a priority.
If you can’t change the time that you have to get up every morning, you can change the time that you go to bed. It’s tempting to stay up later than we should, especially after a difficult work day, and unwind by watching television.
It’s always best to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Anything less than 6 hours is sleep deprivation. There are different things that you can do to make sure that you get the sleep you need to prevent getting type 2 diabetes.
Besides making sure that you go to bed in plenty of time to get at least 7 hours of sleep, keep your bedroom as a haven for sleep. Don’t use the room for anything that can cause you to feel stressed.
Don’t use your laptop in bed, don’t use your phone to check social media and don’t read, watch or discuss anything that upsets you right before bed. Make sure the temperature in your room is conducive to sleep.
A room that’s too hot or too cold can make getting to sleep and staying asleep more difficult. Be sure that your bed is comfortable and that you have comfortable linens. If you have noisy neighbors or live in an area where noise is a problem, you can get a white noise machine to help drown out the sounds that might keep you from falling asleep.
You can use lined, room darkening curtains to help make sure the lights from outside or the moonlight stays out of your bedroom so that you can sleep. If you’ve been losing sleep, don’t wait another evening to take action so that you can prevent or reverse diabetes.
Tracking Everything to Stay on Track
Diabetes isn’t a get it and forget it disease. You have to pay attention to the disease and what’s going on in your body because of it. That’s the only way that you can control the condition rather than allowing it to control you.
Being informed of what’s going on with diabetes can help not only you, but your doctor as well to make decisions that benefit your health. Sometimes a day can pass before you’ll need to make any changes to your diabetes. Other times, you have to make decisions about changes on an hourly basis depending on what’s being affected.
It’s not easy to make decisions when you don’t have the information that you need. That’s why you have to have a way to track everything. With all the applications and diabetes journals you can find online, there are a lot of easy to use options available to help keep your diabetes on track for better health.
Plus, it helps to have everything you need in place so that keeping up with everything doesn’t feel overwhelming. There are specific things about diabetes that it’s important for you to keep track of even if you don’t record everything.
You’ll want to make sure that you track your blood glucose numbers after you check them. These can fluctuate from day to day and sometimes in as little time as 15 minutes after eating something.
Knowing your blood glucose numbers allows you and your care team to see how well your diabetes is being controlled or what the issues are that are affecting it. You should check your numbers before you eat and after you eat.
Check again right before you head off to bed. Check your levels before you exercise, after taking any new medications, and whenever you feel sick or stressed. After you check them, make a note in your journal where you’re tracking them what’s going on at the time – such as whether it’s a routine check or you’re doing it because you’re not feeling well.
By checking your glucose and tracking it, you’ll be able to see how well your numbers are doing. You’ll also want to track the food that you eat. When you know what you’ve had to eat, you’ll be able to tell how it affected your glucose numbers.
The foods that you eat should be broken down according to meal and by snacks. So you should have a way to log your breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. It can be helpful to have a journal that allows you enough to space to write out the recipes for the meals, but some of the journals don’t have this.
However, you can find some diabetic journals that have spaces on separate pages that allow you to fill in the recipe ingredients. If you’re able to do that, make sure that you break the recipe down by how many carbohydrates as well as how many calories it contained.
There are some diabetic cookbook journals that have recipes included but not the breakdown. If possible, write the information in the margin. One of the things that affects diabetes control is excess weight.
So if you’re on a low carb diet to try and shed some pounds, make sure that you have a way to log the carbs that you’ve eaten throughout the day. You can do this in a carb log book or by using an online or cell phone application.
Many of these carb logs have areas for days, weeks and months so that you can track both short term as well as long term food goals. Keeping a diet log with your carb numbers is good way to track which foods are helping you and which ones are causing problems with your diabetes.
Not only that, but when you’re busy and don’t have time to count carbs, having a record of meals that do list them is a good way to pull together a low carb meal fast. Keeping up with the amount of water that you drink is also essential.
Some diabetic journals and apps have boxes that can be checked indicating water consumption. You can also find ones that will let you keep up with the amount of sleep that you’ve had.
Besides making sure that you keep track of your blood glucose numbers and meals, you’ll want to have a way to track the exercise that you do. The reason for tracking the exercise is because with diabetes, it can sometimes be more difficult to lose weight.
Being resistant to insulin makes it harder, and when you’re able to see progress on paper or in an app, it will help you stay motivated when you don’t feel like anything you’re doing is making a difference.
Tracking your weight is important with diabetes – not just because of wanting to lose any extra weight you might be carrying. Gaining weight suddenly or losing it suddenly can both be an indicator that something could be going on with your diabetes.
When we don’t track things, we don’t always realize that there’s an issue. You can also track the medications that you take, how often you take them, and the amounts that you take them in.
This way, you have a handy record to take with you to all of your appointments. This is especially helpful if you’re seeing a new doctor. Make sure you track your doctor’s appointments and any pertinent lab results that resulted from those visits – such as what your A1c level was, what your cholesterol count is, what your blood pressure was and so on.
This information will help give you an overview of how your diabetes is affecting your overall health. You can track appointments with your eye doctor, your podiatrist and your endocrinologist along with the different information you gained from each visit.
This way, you’ll have a way for each doctor to know what the other one is doing so that they can all work in sync. You can also use tracking tools to keep up with the goals that you have concerning your diabetes. Most of these tools have spaces to write down thoughts, motivations, and tidbits of support that help you to stay focused.
Alternative Health to Prevent or Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
Millions of people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The most often prescribed treatment for type 2 diabetes is to lose weight, exercise and eat a healthy diet. This advice is sometimes given along with a prescription for either oral medication or insulin, depending on how high the blood sugar levels were when the diagnosis was made.
Getting a diagnosis like this sends some people into a tailspin and they believe that there’s nothing they can do. They believe this because of the faulty idea that once someone has diabetes, it’s forever – and this isn’t true.
You can prevent or even reverse type 2 diabetes, but you can’t do it unless you take action. There are many alternative health solutions that can lead you away from diabetes and toward great health.
You don’t have to end up stuck on medications or being forced to live with diabetes. These solutions can range from things such as following a low carb or other diabetic targeted diet, getting plenty of exercise and getting biofeedback.
One of the solutions known to be effective is found in the form of vitamins and minerals and taking the right ones can prevent diabetes and reverse it as well. When you take vitamins and minerals that are known to help diabetes, they work by bringing down the blood glucose numbers as well as helping your body to be able to use the insulin that is produced.
To be healthy, your body has to have specific vitamins and minerals every day. People with diabetes don’t often get these in enough strength to help the body function in a way that prevents diabetes – which is why taking them in pill form can make a difference.
You should make sure that you’re getting enough Vitamin C. This vitamin works in the body to make the cells more sensitive to insulin. Since diabetes can cause the cells to become insulin resistant, the vitamin works with those cells to make them sensitive to insulin.
Making sure that you get all the B vitamins that your body needs is imperative. Studies show that most diabetics lack enough of these vitamins to support the needs of their body.
When you take the B vitamins, they work to help your body handle glucose. It enables your body to be able to stop letting glucose build up in the bloodstream. On top of that, the vitamins also help to bring down high glucose numbers.
Some people think that all they have to do to get all the vitamins and minerals that they need is to just eat a healthy diet, but that’s not the case. That’s why many diabetics who follow a healthy eating plan still struggle with their glucose level.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting chromium. This is a trace mineral that exists in some foods. However, you can’t get enough of it in foods to really make a difference with diabetes.
But this mineral is what works to help the body be able to properly process the carbohydrates that you eat. By working to help process them, it enables the body to retain its insulin sensitivity.
Chromium does react with some medications so make sure that you know if that’s going to happen with anything that you take. If you’re looking to prevent diabetes, you’ll want to make sure you get enough magnesium.
A study showed that taking this mineral lowered the odds of getting type 2 diabetes regardless of the person’s history. In people who were at greater risk due to obesity, magnesium was shown to still be a preventative.
If you want to fight off diabetes, you might want to take alpha-lipoic acid supplements. Not only can this antioxidant fight dementia, and neuropathy but it works to end insulin resistance, which is the beginning stages for developing diabetes.
When you have a diet that consists of foods rich in omega 3 or you take supplements, this can also help prevent or reverse diabetes. Omega 3 fights against insulin resistance – but it also helps with common emotions associated with a diabetes diagnosis.
It’s known to help people who struggle with diabetes associated depression. Using things such as ginseng, basil, cayenne and coenzyme Q10 have also been notable for helping to prevent diabetes.
Other alternative health solutions include staving off diabetes by preventing things known to cause diabetes – such as eliminating food cravings. These solutions are things such as meditation or using techniques like EFT.
Because having to deal with long term stress can make the body raise glucose levels, this can lead to a diabetes diagnosis. You can prevent and reverse a diabetes diagnosis by engaging in biofeedback.
Using this solution helps people learn how to relax and reduce or eliminate the way that stress affects them. Using guided imagery is another alternative health solution to handle diabetes.
By using this technique, users focus on calming images. By using positive over negative to relax and calm the mind and emotions, people can prevent diabetes. Some people choose to use acupuncture as a way of helping to reverse diabetes.
This practice involves inserting long, thin needles into specific areas of the body. The purpose of this practice is to target the body’s energy flow and help the body become balanced again.
The use of aromatherapy with essential oils has been known to prevent and reverse high blood glucose numbers often associated with diabetes. Coriander helps to stimulate insulin production while cinnamon helps to lower blood glucose.
For preventing diabetes, you can look to nature’s harvest. Some fruits have been known to keep the disease at bay. A study conducted by Harvard University researchers showed that blueberries were found to prevent diabetes while cantaloupes raised the risk of getting it.
A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to devastate you. Allow yourself to go through the common emotions associated with the diagnosis, and then take a very proactive approach to putting the brakes on this disease and changing course.