Have you been recently diagnosed with diabetes or learned you are prediabetic? Reading type 2 diabetes stories from those living with diabetes can serve as a reminder of the importance of getting your blood sugar under control. Here’s a story from a CareSync employee who wanted to share her personal experience with type 2 diabetes.
I was 40 years old when I received my diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It was the same age my father was when he was diagnosed. I knew there was a good chance I would get it, as nearly every relative on dad’s side had it, including my aunt and brother.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes happens when the pancreas cannot produce enough beta cells to deal with the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Type 1 occurs when the pancreas fails entirely, making the person insulin-dependent. Type 2 occurs when the pancreas is still functioning, but not efficiently enough to deal with the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.
Complications With Diabetes
Uncontrolled diabetes can have serious consequences. High amounts of glucose over an extended period of time can cause damage to the circulatory system as well as the organs. And type 2 diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and accounts for 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of heart disease.
Diabetes can’t be cured. But with Type 2, the patient has a lot more control over the situation, and with effort, can get their blood sugar under control or even put their diabetes into remission (>6.0 HbA1c blood test).
The Impact of Diabetes
My life has changed a great deal in the five years since my diagnosis.
When I shop for groceries, I’m much more mindful of the nutritional content of the food I put in my grocery cart. You learn how to read labels - on everything. It’s a daily struggle, and yes, sometimes there’s burnout involved.
With me, I get burned out on testing my blood glucose a lot more often than I cheat on my menu. Nobody likes the finger stick!
But whenever I get off the path, I think of my father who’s been living with diabetes for 35 years. Over the years, he was on-and-off serious about his type 2 diagnosis, and he’s had to deal with the consequences of that. His feet are deformed from multiple toe amputations, and he developed diabetic retinopathy, which has rendered him nearly blind. He also has neuropathy of his lower extremities (he can’t feel his feet at all), and has lost most of his hearing.
Although he does okay, he’s a very real reminder to me that I need to take diabetes seriously, and do everything I can to keep my A1c numbers low before real damage is done. I’m certain that if my father had a do-over, he would quickly reverse some of his old habits if it meant he’d be able to have his health back.
I share that perspective in the hopes it will serve as a cautionary tale. At CareSync, we genuinely care about the health and well-being of our patients, and many of us battle some of the same chronic conditions as those we serve, or have family members we care about who do. We want to do everything we can to help you get and stay as healthy as possible.
I encourage everyone to take the type 2 risk test, whether or not you have symptoms. The test is located here: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/. Don’t be afraid of knowing your risk. That knowledge is power.
It’s possible to live well with diabetes, to eat delicious foods and not feel deprived. But you must be willing to open your mind to new ways of preparing and measuring food, and developing new, healthier habits.
Care Coordination by CareSync supports individuals with diabetes in managing their condition and staying on track with their doctor’s treatment plan. To learn more about CareSync and its support for individuals, family members, and caregivers, please visit our website.