When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you may feel a variety of emotions. Perhaps you are relieved at finally being given a diagnosis to explain your symptoms or you may feel shock and disbelief. These feelings are completely normal when you are diagnosed with a chronic disease.
The important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are many people who can help you understand and manage your condition and live life to the fullest without compromising the things that are important to you and your family.
Many people find when they start managing their diabetes they often feel better than they have for years. This is because managing diabetes is really about improving your health – and everyone should do this!
How is your diabetes managed?
You may feel well and not notice any symptoms of high glucose levels, but it is very important that blood glucose levels are well managed. The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep your blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. You should be aiming for a blood glucose level between 3.5 - 8 mmol/L.
The main treatment for type 2 diabetes is healthy eating and regular physical activity. This may be all that is required at first.
Your diabetes will be monitored and assessed by your doctor. If healthy eating and exercise don’t maintain your blood glucose levels in the target range, you may be prescribed tablets to treat your diabetes and possibly insulin. For most people, getting fitter and losing weight will delay the need for tablets or insulin for many years.
Find out more information about blood glucose monitoring.
What can happen if I don’t manage my diabetes?
If your blood glucose levels remain high for prolonged periods of time it can lead to problems such as kidney damage, heart attack, stroke and blindness. These are very serious conditions. Managing diabetes well will help reduce these risks.
How can I look after my diabetes? 6 steps to good health
- Ask your GP to refer you to a diabetes educator and dietitian. This can be at the local community health centre or private services. All people with diabetes should visit a dietitian and diabetes educator to learn how to manage their diabetes. The advice you get will be tailored for your needs. They will teach you how to make these changes part of your life. Certainly you will feel better with time
- Monitor your blood glucose levels regularly and record your results
- Follow a healthy eating plan
- Become more active every day
- Always take the medications or insulin that has been prescribed for you
- Keep a positive mental attitude
Where can I get help?
- Your diabetes healthcare team - A lifelong condition like diabetes is best managed by you with the support of a diabetes team, which may include your GP, diabetes educator, dietitian and podiatrist. Depending on your needs, the team may also include medical specialists, an exercise physiologist or counsellor.
- Membership with Diabetes Victoria gives you the support you need to manage your diabetes
- Attend one of our education events for people living with type 2 diabetes
- Call the Diabetes Helpline on 1300 136 588 to speak to a health professional
- Meet other people with diabetes at one of our support groups
- Check out some of the resources we have for free and in our online shop