How will you choose to live with diabetes?
Diabetes is one of the oldest diseases recognized by ancient physicians. In 1552 B.C., Egyptian physician Hesy-Ra documented frequent urination and emaciation as symptoms of a strange disease that led to early death of those who suffered from it. Fast forward a few thousand years, when doctors tried a variety of treatments, none of which really worked. It wasn't until the breakthrough discovery of insulin in 1922 that those with type 1 diabetes had any real chance of survival. In the 1950's, oral medications for those with type 2 diabetes were invented, offering a longer, healthier life to those living with the disease.
That history might be an inspiring lesson in what dedicated physicians can do, but it could be the last thing you want to hear when you have been diagnosed with diabetes. You might not want to hear about how millions of people have learned to live a long, healthy life with the disease.
Worried about how you will live with diabetes?
It starts by taking good care of yourself. Make no mistake: Using that blood glucose meter, changing your diet, exercising more, going to the endless doctor's appointments, dealing with all of the tests, and so many other hurdles add up to a serious lifestyle change. Any change is hard, but a lifestyle change of this magnitude is especially hard.
But the good news is that you have plenty of help to get through it.
- Start by talking to your doctor about what to expect. Ask about your medications, the tests you will undergo, your blood sugar range and anything else that concerns you. Now is the time to ask many questions.
- Then turn to your family and friends. Tell them that you have diabetes. Share with them what this means, and counteract any misconceptions with literature. Ask your doctor for fact sheets. Get further information from reputable websites. Share this with those who care about you.
- Need more support? The diabetes community has a very strong and supportive online presence. From Twitter to Facebook, blogs to forums, you can find thousands of people who need support or are willing to give it -- people just like you.
You have diabetes. There's not much you can do about that. So why not turn the fact of your diagnosis into an opportunity? Now is your chance to get to know your body better than ever before, to take care of yourself in ways you haven't, and get on the path to good health. It will take some time, effort and lifestyle changes to get there.
But millions of people have done it, and so can you.