4 Steps to Manage Your Type 2 Diabetes for Life
There’s a good chance that you or someone close to you suffers from type 2 diabetes. The condition is spreading rapidly across the United States. According to the most recent data, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes and type 2 diabetes covers more than 90% of these cases.
It’s a shocking number. It means that more than 10% of all the people in the United States are dealing with this disease and its associated problems!
Beyond just the physical effects, diabetes is a costly disease, too. Diabetic patients have more than double the average health costs of non-diabetics. It is the most expensive chronic condition in the United States, costing more than $325 billion per year in total.
Getting this condition under control makes such an impact in people’s lives – but how do you do it?
At Curally, we know it can be done. We do it all the time with the people we’re working with and helping, so let’s take a look at some of the key things we work on to help people control or reverse their type 2 diabetes.
What Are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
When you boil it all down, diabetes is a mismatch between the amount of sugar and the amount of insulin in someone’s body at a given time. This mismatch manifests itself as increased blood sugar, and along with that increased blood sugar comes various symptoms.
One symptom you may experience is that you would be very thirsty and drink a lot of fluids. In medical terms, this is called polydipsia, but that just means excessive thirst and can be a symptom of a variety of conditions.
Another symptom that is related to this is called polyuria. In plain language, you have to pee a lot more than normal. This symptom comes because of two reasons. First, you are drinking more due to the excessive thirst we talked about. Second, there is too much sugar in your body to be reabsorbed in your kidneys, so it spills over into your urine and causes you to urinate more.
These two symptoms combined – excessive thirst and frequent urination – are the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes. There are other symptoms, of course, including:
- Weight loss
- General sense of weakness
- Early fatigability
- Muscle Wasting
Pay attention for these symptoms to get a potential early warning signal for this dangerous condition!
Know the Truth About Diabetes Care and Your Body
We all have a natural tendency to try to study for a test. We want to pass – whatever that means in the context of a given test! Studying in school is great, but we also see this in healthcare, where it can be a problem.
Here’s what we mean. When people go to their doctor, they often study for that test by temporarily changing their behavior.
You may have heard someone (maybe even yourself!) say something like, “I’m going to my doctor next week, so I have to watch what I eat until then.” Making healthy lifestyle choices is great. But if you only do it for one week before the test (the appointment) to get better exam results and don’t make those same healthy choices the rest of the time, then you’re getting a false sense of security.
The truth about your body is in the reality of how you live moment by moment and day by day. It’s not in how you study for the test. So the first step to controlling diabetes is learning and acknowledging the truth.
When you are testing spontaneously before or after a meal, there’s no studying that happens. It is what it is, and the results will reflect reality. Managing your diabetes condition has to start there.
Change Your Behavior for the Better
The solution that many people and even doctors will jump to for diabetes is managing by medication, using something like Metformin. But that overlooks the obvious and most practical way in which to manage the condition: modifying our own behavior.
We can lower our blood sugar through increased activity, decreased diet intake, and changing the types of foods we eat. These are variables that we control for ourselves and that impact weight management, a primary concern for controlling diabetes.
There is no one-size-fits-all plan, though. You have to customize the approach for each individual person. If someone has serious knee pain, it’s not reasonable to expect them to begin to jog. You have to find a method that fits an individual’s circumstances:
- Do they have other compounding conditions?
- Is there a family history of diabetes?
- How long have they suffered from diabetes?
- What else is going on in their life?
It takes careful planning, but as people begin to make positive choices in their daily routine, change happens.
Get an Accountability Partner for Your Diabetes Lifestyle Changes
Making changes to your everyday lifestyle is essential. Unfortunately, making those changes is also hard – especially if you’re trying to do it all by yourself. It takes a lot of coaching to succeed and make those healthy choices a permanent pattern. You need someone who can hold you accountable and go on this journey with you.
The first step to developing new habits is recognizing a need. Once you’ve acknowledged that, then you need to find a person who will help build a practice of discipline and sticking to the plan even when it gets hard.
Many people instinctually look to a family member to play this role. But while that may work in some situations, we have found that it is often better to have that coach be someone outside your family. Accountability can require difficult conversations, and that added friction is even more challenging when your coach is someone you live with.
On the other side, if you’re looking to be that accountability partner, it comes down to trust. You can’t get someone to respond to your advice if they don’t trust you, and to establish trust you have to take the time to get to know someone.
It’s a long process: building that relationship today so that you can encourage them and teach them and hold them accountable for tomorrow and beyond.
At Curally, we understand the importance of coaching and accountability. It’s central to everything we do when we work with participants. Our nurses take the time to build relationships of trust and provide the feedback you need – whether it’s encouragement, professional advice, or even tough love. If you’d like to learn more about how Curally can help you and others in your organization suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes, contact our team today!