Facing Down a Diabetes Diagnosis
We’re not going to lie—the first 30 days of managing diabetes are going to be a confusing and stressful time. After all, you’ve just been diagnosed with a condition that you and 24 million other Americans will be managing for the rest of your life. But one thing that should put your mind at ease is that once you get the hang of it, the maintenance required to manage diabetes will feel like a piece of sugar-free angel-food cake—light and simple!
Diabetes: What Type Are You?
Your best tool to manage diabetes is your diabetes management team—an eye doctor, dentist, podiatrist, registered dietitian and diabetes educator. This combination is the same for all diabetics, but the way in which care is implemented will vary between type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as “juvenile diabetes,” because of its tendency to affect children and young adults. It’s characterized by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin, a vital hormone used to convert glucose (sugar) and other foods into energy. Type 1 diabetics often need insulin pumps and a blood-glucose monitor to manage their disease.
Type 2 diabetics also do not produce enough insulin, but they get the disease because their bodies ignore the production of insulin, leaving sugar to float around in your blood stream (which is bad). It has been framed as a lifestyle disease, but genetics, race and age can also play a part.
“You can, however, prevent about 70% of people from getting type 2 diabetes if they stick with an exercise and diet program,” says Alan L. Rubin, M.D., author of several diabetes books, including Diabetes For Dummies and Diabetes Cookbook For Dummies. For those who can’t control their condition with diet and exercise, regular insulin injections or oral medications might be needed.
There are a few numbers to memorize when you’re checking your blood-sugar levels. Your glucose monitor should read between 100 to 140 mg/dL before bedtime and 90 to 130 mg/dL before meals. Above 130 mg/dL before a meal or greater than 180 mg/dL after a meal means your diabetes is out of control. Lower than 70 mg/dL signifies low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia.