Did you know that 1 in 14 people, in the UK, are diabetic? More people, than ever, are at risk of type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a condition whereby the body attacks cells in the pancreas, meaning it cannot produce insulin. There is currently no evidence to show the risk factors for type 1 and unfortunately, there is no cure. However, research continues.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition whereby the body either does not produce enough insulin or the insulin is ineffective. This means your blood sugar (glucose) levels are not controlled and therefore become too high. Type 2 is often linked to being overweight or inactive, or having family history. A cure for type 2 diabetes has not been found but it can be prevented, controlled and/or reversed.
Here are some ways you can make living with type 2 diabetes easier:
The more you know, the better you will be able to manage your day-to-day life. Educate yourself on how type 2 diabetes will affect your life and the steps you can take to make life as comfortable as possible. One way to better understand your body is by keeping a track of any changes or updates you receive from your doctor. Stay in contact with your diabetes healthcare team and attend all your appointments. It is important to be able to easily contact them so make sure you have your healthcare teams contact information at hand.
Diabetes can affect your mental health as well as your physical health. Some people tend to find this time quite stressful and can lead them to start feeling a little bit depressed. A new diagnosis of diabetes may come as a shock so having emotional support is essential for your mental health. Whatever you are feeling, you aren’t alone. There are many ways you can find emotional support. Whether it is from family and friends or from a diabetes support group, make sure there are people that you can talk to.
Driving with Diabetes
Most people with diabetes can carry on driving but here are some steps to ensure your safety. There are two main things can affect your ability to drive safely: if you are at risk of having a hypo (blood sugar levels drop below 4mmol/l) or if you develop diabetes complications such as problems with your eyes or nerve damage. If these things affect you, you need to know what the rules are. For more information click here.
Here are a few simple steps to follow when you drive:
- Check your blood sugar levels
- If your reading is above 5mmol/l then you are okay to drive
- If your reading is under 4mmol/l, then treat, and wait until you reach your target.
- Bring treatments on the journey
- Don’t delay meals and take regular breaks
A Diabetes Diet
There isn’t a one-size fits all when it comes to what you should be eating when diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as no two cases of diabetes are the same. In the past, people were told to cut out sugar from their diets, but the best advice would be to eat smaller portions, make healthier choices, and allow yourself treats occasionally. Low carb meal plans have been said to be the better meal plans to stick to.
It is true for all diets, that it is better to control your intake rather than to try cut elements out of your diet completely. Instead, focus on setting realistic targets for yourself such as reaching a target blood sugar level or maintaining a healthy weight.
Diabetes is manageable and does not need to take over your life. Try your best to stay educated about the small changes you can make in your life so you can stay on top of your type 2 diabetes.