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You’ve Got Diabetes: Now What? Part 1

 

“Diabetes is a life-changing diagnosis, but you do have a lifetime to work on it. The sooner you learn how to work on it appropriately, the better off your quality of life is going to be,” says Dr. Edward Salko, PersonaLabs Medical Director.

“But it’s only when you know you have diabetes that you can start to make the changes you need to,” he continues. “Congratulations on taking that all- important preliminary step: getting tested.”

Now, here are the next steps to follow that can help prepare you to manage diabetes in a strong and healthy way.

Step 1: Slow Down and Breathe

Whether it’s type 1 (formerly called “Juvenile Diabetes”) or type 2 (“Adult Onset”), it’s a given that diabetes will change your life. But being a diabetic does not change who you are. (And you can get either type of diabetes at any age.)

Sure, there’s a lot of fear surrounding the disease, and rightly so. Diabetes can be deadly. But diabetes can be managed. Most times, in ways that will positively affect your overall lifestyle.

The changes you need to make do not need to happen overnight. So allow yourself to take a deep breath. If you feel anger, guilt, shock and confusion – most people do – try to relax.  Give yourself a break and if you need it, a few days to take it all in.

Step 2: Get Some Initial Answers

“Is it Type 1 or Type 2?”

Diabetes is caused by having high levels of glucose, a type of sugar, in your blood. This is know as hyperglycemia. If you have diabetes type 1, this happens because your body is not producing any insulin. In diabetes type 2, your body is not properly using the insulin it’s creating, or it’s not creating enough.

Type 1 diabetes occurs only 10-15% of the time. Type 2 diabetes is far more common; 85-90% of diabetics in the U.S. have this type of diabetes, which  can be managed primarily through changing behaviors – including diet and exercise.

“How Did I Get My Number?”

If you’re concerned a about a high blood sugar level – over 126 mg/dL – first make sure you fasted before taking your blood test. You should have had nothing to eat or drink for 8 hours.

A fasting blood test is what you need for an accurate number, and it’s recommended that you always look at the results of two or more tests.

Click here for a PersonaLabs Diabetes Profile.

“Can It Be Cured?”

Type 1 diabetes isn’t preventable, but it’s treatable with insulin.

In many cases, people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can control it so that there are few or no complications, and their blood sugar levels stay within normal ranges. So while their diabetes isn’t “cured,” it’s not creating any problems.

“How Much Will It Cost?”

Most health insurance programs today have full coverage for diabetes treatment, and recent U.S. laws are designed to protect patients’ rights. Click here for here more information.

There are also a variety of programs in place to treat diabetes for those who are uninsured or underinsured. Click here for more information.

The fact is that when type 2 diabetes is caught early enough, controlling the disease through diet and exercise does not have to be expensive. PersonaLabs is able to offer a range of low-cost testing to manage the disease, as well. Click here for more information.

“Why Me?”

Okay, so there’s no real answer to this question, particularly when it comes to type1 diabetes.

But you are at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes if

  • You’re overweight
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You’re not physically active
  • Someone in your family has or had type 2 diabetes
  • You’re African American, Native American, Latino or Asian American, particularly if a relative is or was diabetic. 

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