Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 9.4% of the population — or 30.3 million Americans — have diabetes. And those numbers are even higher when you include the 84.1 million Americans considered prediabetic.
While a diagnosis of diabetes can alter your life, it isn’t a death sentence. At Wasatch Peak Family Practice, we can help you understand the ways your life may change after learning you have diabetes. It’s also easier to navigate these changes when you’re working with a trained and knowledgeable physician.
With our focus on compassionate care, we work with you to control your diabetes so that you can live as normal a life as possible.
Blood glucose is your body’s main source of energy, and it comes from the food you eat. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin to process your glucose. Insulin helps transfer glucose from your blood to your cells. If you have diabetes, you have issues with your body’s insulin use or production.
With Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make insulin. To survive, you need to take insulin every day; otherwise, your cells won’t receive enough glucose. With Type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use or make insulin properly.
Recognizing the signs of diabetes
Both Type 1 and 2 diabetes leave you with too much glucose in your blood. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including:
- Increased thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Unexplained weight loss
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections, like skin, gum, or vaginal infections
In most cases, symptoms typically develop faster and more dangerously when you have Type 1 diabetes.
Five things to expect when you have diabetes
When you have diabetes, you often have to make some changes to live a healthy and normal life. Here are five ways your life changes after a diagnosis.
Finger pricks get easier
Self-monitoring your blood glucose level is a crucial aspect of diabetes management because it helps you know when to eat, take insulin, or finish physical activities. Although self-monitoring machines can vary, almost all of these devices use a quick finger prick to capture a small amount of blood for testing.
You learn all about insulin
The severity of your diabetes determines how to keep your blood sugar levels regulated. In most cases, you only need insulin injections for Type 1 diabetes. However, extra insulin could be necessary if you have Type 2 diabetes as well. Either way, understanding your insulin needs plays an essential part of managing your diabetes.
Controlling your carbohydrate intake becomes second nature
Your body processes carbs as blood glucose — but some carbs get processed faster than others. If you have diabetes, you need to learn which foods contain slow carbs and which contain fast carbs. For example, your body processes sugars found in fruits and vegetables more slowly than those found in breads and sweet treats.
You consume less alcohol
While some diabetics should avoid alcohol altogether, anyone with diabetes should avoid binge drinking, and limit yourself to one or two drinks. When you engage in moderate drinking, your blood sugar can rise. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause your blood sugar to drop to dangerous levels. Alcohol can also impact your judgment and willpower, both of which are an important part of safely managing diabetes.
You adapt lifestyle changes to help manage your condition
Diabetes not only harms your body, but it also comes with a laundry list of complications you need to consider. However, like nearly every disease, it’s easier to manage diabetes with increased physical activity, improved diet, and the benefits of weight loss. You won’t have to turn into a health nut to manage your diabetes effectively, but making these lifestyle changes makes it easier.
If you have diabetes, you’re not alone. At Wasatch Peak Family Practice, we can help you learn to manage your blood sugar and live a healthy life. Contact us by calling or clicking today to request an appointment at our Layton, Utah, office.